You’ve found the perfect vacation getaway. Now all you have to do is get there. Are you looking forward to the travel experience, or do you consider it the necessary evil you must endure to really start your vacation once you get there? Sarah Cooper at The Cooper Review divides travelers into two types. Which type you are depends on what you are doing at the time, so there is a lot of crossover. This division only pertains to how adventurous you are. Check out the entire collection of comics to peg yourself -or someone you’ve traveled with.
Shark Week is upon us, as it has been for 28 years. While we marvel at the awesomeness of the predators of our nightmares, you have to wonder about the folks who actually get in the water with them to get the footage. Andy Brandy Casagrande IV, in addition to having the world’s most awesome name, is a shark cinematographer. He’s the one who gets a great white shark to say "cheese" for the camera. He shares some tidbits about his job with us.
The shark-proof cage so often seen in TV specials serves a real purpose. Casagrande is well-known for diving without one, but there are times when even he prefers the security a cage can provide. “The cage protects you from sharks that might be a little more bitey than usual,” Casagrande says. “It can keep you safe from sharks that might sneak up on you, or if visibility is bad, or in the dark.”
Sharks have unique personalities just like people, according to Casagrande. “If you’re at a party or a bar and you see some dude that has bloody knuckles or a black eye, and he looks angry, that’s not the kind of guy you walk up to and stick your GoPro in his face," he says. "Often if a shark is all chewed up and looks like a brawler, that shark is not afraid to engage in conflict.” But many sharks are ambush predators, and so you may not see that brawler coming—hence the cage.
If you go to France, you may as well skip the Louvre because it’s overrun with tourists. If you go to Italy, you may be disappointed in how commercialized the Leaning Tower of Pisa is. And if you are looking for a relaxing island getaway, you might do well to skip the most popular destinations and organized tours, and try one of the beautiful, lesser-known islands of the world. Like the volcano called Aogashima.
About 358 km away from Tokyo, Japan is the small, volcanic island called Aogashima. It is the most isolated island of the Izu archipelago, though it is inhabited by approximately 200 villagers. The island is a crater made by a volcanic eruption, and inside the crater is another volcano. Its 1780s eruption classifies it as active, because nearly half of the people living there died. For more than fifty years, nobody returned.
It is a lush tropical island in the Philippine Sea with a mysterious lure. Its serenity brings travelers to unwind in its geothermal sauna. The adventurous come to hike and cook their meals in the volcanic steam vents using pots provided at the sauna. Ferry and helicopter are the only options for reaching the island. It is a bit like Shangri La, only in the midst of the sea. It also comes with a warning that nobody knows when or if it will erupt again. The brave may reap the experience of a lifetime there.
See nine other surprising island destinations at Money Inc.
The following article is from the book Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Nature Calls.
(Image credit: Joi Ito)
What happens when the delicate balance of nature tips in such a way that a particular animal population spikes to unsustainable levels? Pretty much what you’d expect: chaos… famine… and critters out the wazoo.
THE 48-YEAR CURSE
The wild bamboo forests in northwest India and parts of Burma are home to an odd curse: Every 48 years, like clockwork, they produce an army of hungry rats that devour the local rice crop. The phenomenon is called mautam (which translates to “bamboo death”) and is caused by the life cycle of melocanna bamboo, the local variety. The plants live for exactly 48 years, at which point entire forests die off simultaneously. But before they die, they produce a tremendous amount of seed-filled fruit. The fruit will replant the next generation of bamboo, but in the meantime, it also provides a huge increase in the amount of food available to the local black rat community.
(Image credit: Flickr user Matt Baume)
The sudden food surplus sets off a population boom. For as long as the good times last, the rats breed continuously. It takes only about 11 weeks for the baby rats to reach maturity. That means, during the year that the forest fruits, the rat population jumps exponentially every couple of months— from as few as 100 rats per acre to as many as 12,000 per acre. And at just about the time that the rat population is hitting its peak, the bamboo fruit runs out.
Fifty years after Star Trek debuted on TV, Star Trek: Axanar was made by fans to much higher standards. So it only makes sense that everyday people could recreate the moon landing with the latest movie sets and video effects, right? Or maybe it’s not so easy.
Why do people still have doubts that the moon landing really happened? Mostly because it was such an amazing accomplishment. And because the people that populate the internet tend to be too young to remember it. That same internet feeds conspiracy theories about everything being either fake or controlled behind the scenes. The truth is that we had the technology to go to the moon in 1969, but we didn’t have the technology necessary to fake it. -Thanks, Ricky Sans!
Yan, from Geeks Are Sexy, wanted to surprise his wife for her birthday with a cake that spoke to her interests. She’s a big fan of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander book series, so she got this lovely custom cake made by Josianne St-Laurent from Simplement St-Laurent. It was part of a surprise party and Mrs. Yan was delighted! You can see more of the cake’s intricate details at Geeks Are Sexy.
New York City in the late 19th century was spilling over with new immigrants as well as Americans who wanted to start over with a clean slate, whether to advance themselves or take advantage of others. William Henry Ellis was born into slavery on a cotton plantation in Victoria, Texas. But in New York, he became Guillermo Enrique Eliseo, a “fabulously rich” banker from Mexico. Columbia University history professor Karl Jacoby tells us about Ellis’ new identity in an account from his book The Strange Career of William Ellis: The Texas Slave Who Became a Mexican Millionaire. Not only did Ellis convince people he was someone else, but he was surrounded by others who did the same.
To escape the Jim Crow South, the young William Henry Ellis relocated to Manhattan in the 1890s. Fluent in Spanish from his childhood along the Mexico border, he soon persuaded his new acquaintances that he was from a well-to-do Mexican family—an enticing pose to Wall Street investors at a time when almost every item in the U.S.’s burgeoning consumer economy owed its origins in one way or another to Mexican resources, from the Mexican copper used to electrify American cities to the Mexican rubber that went into making tires for the newly invented automobile.
Ellis’s remarkable talent for reinvention made him arguably the first African American on Wall Street (his only known rival for the crown being Jeremiah G. Hamilton, a black man who made his fortune in the 1840s, when Wall Street was still in its formative stages). Yet as his experience in New York demonstrates, even an accomplished trickster like Ellis, who managed to evade the defining phenomenon of his age—the color line—could himself be tricked, especially when sex and scandal were added to the maelstrom of shifting identities that was Gilded Age New York.
Read more about Ellis and the other impostors who both befriended and used him, at The Daily Beast. -via Digg
Jon Snow’s sword, named Longclaw, is made of Valyrian steel and is five centuries old. It’s a wonder it has lasted this long, considering how it wobbles like rubber under just the pressure of Snow mounting a horse. Last week’s Game of Thrones was the most expensive episode to date, yet this made it into the final production. Well, to be fair, it took a really sharp-eyed imgur user to spot it and isolate it. The season finale of Game of Thrones is tonight. -via Uproxx
Gavin Free and Dan Gruchy, also known as the Slow Mo Guys, explore ways to relieve a spray paint can of its contents other than the normal method. A gun works well. So does an axe and a sledgehammer.
See more videos from the Slow Mo Guys.
Comic book authors are constantly trying to change things up, to keeping long-time readers interested and to give a new generation a way to relate to superheroes who have been around for decades. The backstories change, the characters themselves change, and for visual effects, those iconic costumes get changed. Sometimes the change in costume is too drastic; sometimes it’s just dumb. Like the time Batman died and Commissioner Gordon took on the role, using a huge mecha-suit to give him the strength of a much younger and fitter hero.
Yes, for some reason, old Commissioner Gordon thought that the best way to live up to Batman's legacy was to strap himself into a Japanese cartoon labeled with "GCPD" and pass it off as a Batsuit. It had police lights. It had a diaper. And for some reason, Ultra Super Sentai Mecha BatoMan also came with bunny ears. It's like they held a coloring contest and the top 50 children all got to include one stupid idea in the new Batman suit.
That didn’t last long. There have been other extreme missteps with superhero costume changes, detailed at Cracked in the colorful language you’ve come to expect.
Ernesto Llamas is a Ph.D. student at the Center for Research in Agricultural Genomics in Barcelona, Spain. He uses a micropipette a lot. He also draws comics about his life in science, which he posts at the Facebook page Sketching Science.
Recurring themes in the comics are of scientists being lonely and …micropipettes. You draw what you know. If you’ve ever worked in a biology lab, or you know someone who does, these will hit home.
Considering how much we report on fair food, the title might make you think that this is an entire hamburger -bun and all- breaded and deep-fried on a stick as an extreme dish. No, this is a method for cooking your hamburger patties that’s been around for at least 100 years. You can do it at home to make the same kind of burgers your family expects. It began at Dyer’s in Memphis.
In my travels throughout the United States I have since discovered other deep-fried burger joints, stands, and carts, and they all share one very important component—rich hamburger history. The method for deep-frying burgers was actually born of laziness: an accident-turned-tradition. One day, in around 1912, Elmer Dyer was too busy to drain the skillet he was using to cook burgers. Eventually the rendered fat became a deep pool of grease. Elmer discovered that if he strained the grease and used it to cook with, the result was actually a better-tasting burger.
Now I know what you are thinking—“Yikes! I’m not eating a deep-fried burger!” But trust me, you should, and you will. The deep-fried burger cooks in just 1 minute and, if the temperature of the oil is just right, the patty deflects most of the oil. These factors allow the patty to retain a moist composition and lend it a slightly crispy exterior.
Sherlock Holmes and his trusty sidekick Dr. Watson have been with us onscreen for 100 years. Video editor Sanguinity shows us 54 different iterations of the duo on film, from the 1916 silent film Sherlock Holmes to the web series S(her)lock, which launched this year. They include movies, TV shows, animation, and even video games.
The clips are quick and jump around from era to era. What’s striking is that no matter who plays the part or what year the film was made, you always recognize the characters. You’ll find a list of the video sources here. -via Metafilter
This is Sweepee Rambo, the newly crowned World’s Ugliest Dog. He won the competition yesterday at the Sonoma-Marin Fair in Petaluma, California. Sweepee Rambo is a 17-year-old blind Chihuahua-Chinese Crested mix. She accompanies Jason Wurtz of Encino, California, to work every day.
"I've had girlfriends over the years and they were jealous of her and like I told them, she was here when you came and she'll be here when you leave, that's the best friend I have," Wurtz told TODAY.
Does this dog remind you of anyone? See more pictures of Sweepee Rambo and her competition at Buzzfeed.
In 1907, Harry Thaw went on trial for murdering Stanford White. Thaw was the paranoid heir to a Pittsburgh railroad fortune, and White was a renowned architect and playboy in New York. Both were obsessed with model Evelyn Nesbit, who was much younger than either man and was the model for the “Gibson Girl” look. White deflowered Nesbit in a date rape when she was a young teen; Thaw married her after stalking her at her workplace and years of abuse. In 1906, Thaw shot White in front of a crowd during a performance at Madison Square Garden. The ensuing trial, involving three celebrities, was a media sensation.
Newspapers had a segment of reporters dismissively called “sob sisters” or “the pity patrol.” These were female journalists whose only career path in a male-dominated field was reporting stories of wronged women for female readers, the more melodramatic the better. The story of the deadly love triangle with an abused starlet at one corner was exactly what they sought. According to American Eve, Hearst and Pulitzer both assigned sob sisters to the story. Papers in Pittsburgh, home of the Thaw family, also ran daily coverage. According to Lloyd Chiasson in his book The Press on Trial, a Western Union office was opened in the courthouse just to help reporters wire dispatches.
Soon, reporters uncovered past exploits of the man they dubbed “Bathtub Harry” for his habit of scalding women (and apparently, once, a bellboy whom the Thaws paid hush money). There was a counter-effort, financed by Mary Thaw, to portray her son as a defender of womanly virtue. Letters to the editor praising Thaw as such started appearing in newspapers. According to The Press on Trial, Mary Thaw even commissioned the writing of a three-character play based on the events (two of the characters were named Harold Daw and Stanford Black), portraying White as a perverted hedonist.
It was the first time the term “Trial of the Century” was used. Read about the trial, the characters involved, and the precedents the legal proceedings set at mental_floss.
Why would you bother trying to make a car ad without the car itself? Well, ad producers will tell you it’s not always easy to get a few vehicles of the latest model with every style change, especially on short notice. But more often, you’ll spend time and money making a great ad, and then one of the suits will insist you reshoot with a different color car. You can change that with computer graphics now, but wouldn’t it be even more cost-effective if they allowed for those expected alterations at the beginning, and dispensed with the real vehicle models from the start?
The Blackbird is a new vehicle from The Mill, designed to imitate the size and actions of any vehicle, which can be then be skinned by CGI to resemble any car, even one not yet on the market. This innovation will excite ad agencies way more than the car companies that hire them. It will also help us to convince our more gullible friends that you can’t believe everything you see on TV. -via Viral Viral Videos
He may resemble a certain sponge we all know and love, but this is Sandwichboy! He lives under the sea, which is not the best environment for a sandwich. He spends his time trying to catch octopuses with a butterfly net! And he’s just one of a huge list of poorly-done knockoff items like Frans Tromers and Pubescent Frog of Silent War. See 24 of them at Buzzfeed.
Before they were dolls, they were doll parts, which are mass-produced. We know that, but seeing rows and rows of disembodied doll parts is still eerie. Mashable assembled a collection of 26 images taken in doll factories between 1931 and 1955 that are perfectly innocent but still inflict a feeling of dread. -via the Presurfer
You might not have known, but Los Angeles does have a mass transit train system. Metro Los Angeles has produced a new set of safety videos that teach Californians how to not get themselves killed while taking the train. The “Safetyville” series is about as graphic as it gets, considering stick figures are the stars.
This is just one of the set. Continue reading to see the rest.
Intellectual property owners have to walk a fine line between encouraging fan engagement and protecting their franchise against copyright infringement. The various entities behind the 50-year-old Star Trek franchise have been forgiving up to a point, and that point is Star Trek: Axanar, a full-length fan film that was crowdfunded to the tune of $650,000. CBS and Paramount filed a lawsuit against Axanar’s producers. And now the two companies have released a list of ten guidelines for Star Trek fan films that could help fans avoid a lawsuit. They limit the length, budget, and content of fan films. Actors must be amateurs, although in the real world, the definition of “amateur” could be argued. However, they cannot be paid for their contribution to a Star Trek fan film. And the finished product cannot be sold or even monetized on YouTube.
On the one hand, Axanar is a blatant case of copyright infringement. On the other hand, so are smaller fan films that the franchise tolerates because they feed the fandom and boost interest in Star Trek films. The producers of Axanar have released their response to the new rules. -via Slashfilm
Going to the beach for a vacation is a common, but relatively recent, practice. Throughout most of history, the seashore was a place to be feared, with sea monsters, pirates, and destructive storms. The people that lived and worked there knew different, but they didn’t think of the beach as a treat, either. How did all that change? Historian Alain Corbin fills us in.
Around the mid-18th century, according to Corbin, European elites began touting the curative qualities of fresh air, exercise and sea bathing. Especially in Britain, home of the Industrial Revolution, aristocrats and intellectuals became preoccupied with their own health and hygiene. They viewed workers, whose numbers were multiplying in factories and new industrial towns, as strengthened through labor. By comparison, the upper classes seemed fragile and effete: lacking in physical prowess and destined for decline. The notion of the “restorative sea” was born. Physicians prescribed a plunge into chilly waters to invigorate and enliven. The first seaside resort opened on England’s eastern shore in the tiny town of Scarborough near York. Other coastal communities followed, catering to a growing clientele of sea bathers seeking treatment for a number of conditions: melancholy, rickets, leprosy, gout, impotence, tubercular infections, menstrual problems and “hysteria.” In an earlier version of today’s wellness culture, the practice of sea bathing went mainstream.
The view of the beach as a restful, restorative place took some time to spread to other places and classes. But there have been consequences of our fascination with beach getaways, both culturally and environmentally. Read about the history of beach vacations at Smithsonian. -via Boing Boing
It has been noticed for centuries -if not longer- that eating asparagus gives one’s urine a distinctive smell. Describing the smell is a problem, though. Some people (Proust) liked it, others didn’t (Ben Franklin), while some have never encountered the smell. Those who recognize it just call it “asparagus pee smell.” And there’s some difference in our knowledge as to whether everyone produces the smell after eating the vegetable, and whether everyone has the ability to detect it, particularly since smelling urine is a subject many people just don’t talk about.
One thing most scientists agree on: asparagusic acid (which, as its name suggests, is only found in asparagus) is metabolized into sulfur-containing compounds, like methanethiol—the most prominent smell in your asparagus pee. These chemicals usually have a low boiling point, becoming smelly gases at room temperature, and hitting us in the face with that familiar odor.
But who makes asparagus pee, and who smells it?
According to Professor John H. McDonald in the biology department at University of Delaware, a 1980 study found that all participants produced asparagus pee, but only some smelled it. A 1987 study found the opposite; only some participants produced asparagus pee, but everyone could smell the difference. And a 1989 study found that 103 French people all produced asparagus pee and all of them identified it as stinky.
Then there are the people who aren’t sure which category they fall in, because they don’t like asparagus and don’t prepare it for the family. Read more about the effects of asparagus on urine at First We Feast. -via Metafilter
Every year the the Collings Foundation sponsors the Race of the Century, which seems odd for an annual event, but this is a historic demonstration. Various vehicles in use in the late 19th and early 20th centuries are pitted against each other. The race highlights how the evolution of motor vehicles was often two steps forward and one step back. Early motor cars were not an improvement on horses, but they were a step to something that was. National Geographic has the story.
When the 1904 Franklin rolls out for the Race of the Century, there is always a person with a red flag walking in front of it. In the first race, the car goes up against a horse-drawn stagecoach, a runner, and a female bicyclist holding a “Votes for Women” sign, all proclaiming that their mode of transportation is superior to the newfangled horseless carriage.
Whoever wins the first race goes on to the second. Whoever wins that continues to the next one, and so forth. Each race introduces new concepts and technology, and the winners are different every time. (Though the antique cars are well-kept, they’re still old—slight weather changes can affect their performance.)
Interesting, but when I saw this video of so many disparate vehicles racing each other, all I could think of was Japan World Cup 3. This time, there were no horses running sideways on their hind legs. -via mental_floss
When you grow up in a wealthy family, you don’t know any other way until much later. In a recent AskReddit forum, some rich kids shared the moment that they found out everyone else’s lives are not like theirs.
I thought everyone got to eat dinner quite often with the president. I always thought the president has dinner at random houses until I learned otherwise when I finally joined regular school (I was homeschooled till I was age 9) and no kid believed my "dinner story "
*Dad was Ambassador of Kenya to Saudi Arabia
Taking trips overseas constantly. I remember being so surprised in elementary school that my friends had never been to Europe. My earliest memory takes place in a villa in Monaco.
Also, apparently 6 year olds aren't supposed to like tartare or oysters on the half shell.
I was trying to show a friend of mine that she's rich because her family has a TEAM of maids and drivers. Seriously, a driver for every member of the family. She said she's not rich, because "Everyone has maids and drivers." I asked her... do you think your maids and drivers have maids and drivers? I think then it clicked that she might be rich.
David Freiheit of Montreal enlisted the help of a wild squirrel in a city park to help pull his daughter’s loose tooth. He tied a length of dental floss to the tooth on one end, and attached a chunk of granola to the other end.
Freiheit is pretty excited about getting this stunt on video, while Stacy is concerned about retrieving her tooth! Don’t fret, Stacy, the Tooth Fairy probably reaped enough reward from the Viral Video to leave something under your pillow. -via Dave Barry
Jim Gass was a wealthy man. He suffered a stroke in 2009, and went on a worldwide search for a cure for his resulting difficulties. Money was no object, and he figured the worst that could happen was that he didn’t get better. He was wrong. Gass developed pain in his lower back, which turned out to be a mysterious mass growing on his spine. A surgeon opened him up, and found a bloody mass that was strongly attached to the tissues around it.
He added, “I had never seen anything like it.”
Tests showed that the mass was made up of abnormal, primitive cells and that it was growing very aggressively. Then came the real shocker: The cells did not come from Jim Gass. They were someone else’s cells.
Mr. Gass, it turned out, had had stem cell therapy at clinics in Mexico, China and Argentina, paying tens of thousands of dollars each time for injections in a desperate attempt to recover from a stroke he had in 2009. The total cost with travel was close to $300,000.
Stem cells hold a lot of promise for medical use, but they have their drawbacks, namely that they divide and mutate quickly and can grow into all kinds of cells that are hard to predict. That’s why stem cell research is progressing slowly. Read the story of Jim Gass and his quest for alternative treatment at the New York Times. -via Metafilter
Europe is home to some very old and classic buildings, but also creative designs by inventive architects and artists. As odd as they may be, it’s a step up from cookie-cutter suburban complexes, and far from bland. Shown here is the Hundertwasser Haus, designed by Friedensreich Hundertwasser.
Most people have never heard the name Freidensreich Regentag Dunkelbunt Hundertwasser before (perhaps gratefully), but the architect is highly regarded in Austria. In Vienna particularly, he is known for an exceptionally quirky and strange home. The Hundertwasser House is actually an apartment complex, but it is characterised by seemingly random design.
The bright, patchwork colours and undulating floors have had modern architects shaking their heads, because there seems to be little logic to its structure. Despite this, the building is wildly popular and today stands as one of the most treasured buildings in Europe. It is highly praised for the way in which it incorporates vegetation and has inspired many modern copycats.
If I were to go back to apartment living, I’d want it to be in a place like this. See the other nine unusual homes of Europe at Housely.
It’s the story of humans, from the time our distant ancestors dropped from the trees and started walking up right to the relatively brief period we call recorded history. We had a lot to do to get where we are, like learning to deal with tools and fire, but most of all, each other. There were many important systems to develop, like cooperation, communication, education, organization, and civilization.
Even as a child, I had this same idea. I saw Snow White and the Seven Dwarves and then played all the parts in the privacy of my bedroom, and the mirror always showed me the answer to the question. The real magic, I figured, was in asking the right question. If the Evil Queen had asked who was the most evil person in the kingdom, she would have gotten the same answer when looking in a mirror. This is the latest comic from Alex Culang and Raynato Castro of Buttersafe.
YouTube user Darth Blender refreshed the trailer from the 2010 animated movie How to Train Your Dragon by replacing the video with clips from the HBO series Game of Thrones, while retaining the original audio. Let’s see how that turned out.
It’s a mashup that should have been done long ago, but waiting this long meant that more video footage was available from Game of Thrones. It also means that kids who watched How to Train Your Dragon six years ago may be grown up enough to enjoy Game of Thrones now. -via the A.V. Club
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