Miss Cellania's Blog Posts

What Is It? game 323

Hey look! It's time for our collaboration with the wonderful What Is It? Blog! Do you know what the object in this picture is? It doesn't really matter if you do, because we are looking for the funniest guesses. You can win a t-shirt from the NeatoShop! But first, read the rules:

Place your guess in the comment section below. One guess per comment, please, though you can enter as many as you'd like. Two winners who submit funny and/or clever (albeit ultimately wrong) answers will each win a T-shirt from the NeatoShop.

If you guess the correct answer, you'll get a big pat on the back.

Please write your T-shirt selection alongside your guess. If you don't include a selection, you forfeit the prize, okay? May we suggest the Science T-Shirt, Funny T-Shirt and Artist-Designed T-Shirts?

This ia one of several mystery items of the week at the What Is It? Blog. Good luck!

Update: The mystery tool is an ice pick. A serious ice pick. Your funny answers were good, too. One came from tchitchou, who said, “That's an old device used to curve bananas. This version is no longer used because workers were cutting their fingers too often. A round version is now used.” That’s good for a t-shirt from the NeatoShop! Phil and Buster had a winning answer, too: “This is a device my third grade teacher used to demonstrate the difference between a dull ache and a sharp pain.” Ha! Congratulations to the winners, and thanks to everyone who played. See the answers to all of the mystery items of the week at the What is It? blog.

Love games and puzzles? Visit NeatoPuzzles for more!

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Learning to Love Death: New Museum Takes a Walk on the Shadow Side

You may be familiar with the blog Morbid Anatomy, but now it’s much more than a blog. It has expanded into a library and a museum with a lecture hall. The Morbid Anatomy Museum is set to open in Brooklyn in May. Collectors Weekly talked to founder Joanna Ebenstein about the new museum.

Morbid Anatomy started out about death, but now it’s expanded now to be about a lot of things that fall through the cracks, things that we don’t talk about in a dignified discourse. So the fact that the history of paranormal research has been swept under the carpet interests me, in the same way we choose not to think about how Sir Isaac Newton was as interested in alchemy as he was in mathematics. I’m interested, too, in the fact that humans are essentially non-rational beings, but we want to be rational. We try, right? Death, the paranormal, alchemy, belief, faith, saints, and relics—these things all speak to something else that we need to have answered.

Ebenstein talks about how her interest in death and its incarnations began and how it grew into a career, and she tells us about some of the unique exhibits we can see when Morbid Anatomy Museum opens

(Image credit: Joanna Ebenstein)


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Cats vs. Dogs

Dogs score higher on most of the parameters in this graph from Doghouse Diaries, which is what you’d expect from a webcomic that names itself so. You may agree or disagree with any of them. Personally, I know some cats that are off the scale in neediness. Still, both animals have their charms and you should have at least a couple of each.


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Meet Little Miss Sunshine

(vimeo link)

The hen they call Little Miss Sunshine was a egg-layer in an industrial egg farm before she was rescued and retired to Edgar's Mission Farm Sanctuary. Now she’s a star, having been selected as a “spokeschicken” for Animals Australia to show how intelligent hens can be. I have my suspicions that other chickens aren’t quite as smart as she is. -via Everlasting Blort

Love cute animals? View more at Lifestyles of the Cute and Cuddly blog

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28 Birthday Traditions From Around the World

(YouTube link)

Since the mental_floss YouTube series a year old now, John Green is celebrating by examining birthday traditions around the world in this week’s mental_floss video. We make a wish and blow out candles on a cake, but while cakes are common, that’s not a universal custom. Some countries have other tasty treats, and a lot of places have customs involving smearing food on the honoree.  


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Les Pyramides d'Égypte

(vimeo link)

There are more ancient Egyptian secrets than we can imagine waiting to be discovered underneath the sands of time. If only we could find the remote control! This video from Kheops Pyramides lets us in on one story that no one ever believed because there was no hard evidence to be found. -via Kuriositas


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Nine Legendary Ship's Cats

Having a cat aboard a ship is good luck, they say. It’s certainly good for keeping vermin under control lest they endanger precious food supplies. Some ship’s cats were so well-known or beloved that they are part of history. Blackie, renamed Churchill, became famous not because he did his job well (which he did), but because he charmed the Prime Minister.

Blackie was the ship's cat of the Royal Navy battleship HMS Prince of Wales. In August of 1941, the ship conveyed British PM Winston Churchill to Newfoundland for the Atlantic Charter conference with FDR. As Blackie ambled over to the battleship's gangplank, Churchill restrained him by gently petting his head – a moment caught on film for posterity.

Blackie's encounter with the great man resulted in his receiving new name, “Churchill”. Although the re-monikered mascot survived the sinking of the Prince of Wales later that year and managed to make it to Singapore, he could not be found when the order came to evacuate the colony's naval base in early 1942.

Read the stories of eight other ship’s cats at Pets Lady. -via the Presurfer

(Image credit: The Imperial War Museum)

Love cute animals? View more at Lifestyles of the Cute and Cuddly blog

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Does a Bear Fall in the Woods?

(YouTube link)

Animal welfare officials were called when a bear was spotted 30 feet up in a tree in Panama City, Florida. The 250-pound bear was shot with a tranquilizer gun. To catch the falling bear, the crew erected a tarp as a sort of net a few feet off the ground. But a tarp is not as strong as a 250-pound bear falling from a 30-foot height, as anyone should have figured out. The bear tore right through and hit the ground with a splat. The bear was uninjured, and fortunately, slept right through the ordeal. -via Arbroath

Love cute animals? View more at Lifestyles of the Cute and Cuddly blog

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The Vietnam War Draft Lottery

During the Vietnam War, the prospect of being drafted was an overwhelming part of being a young man. From 1969 to 1972, drafts were determined by lottery. Birth dates were drawn to see who would be called up first. The lower your draft number, the more likely you were on your way to Vietnam. Vietnam War Draft Lottery collects stories of what it was like to have your fate resting on a piece of paper drawn from a glass bowl. It was one lottery you did not want to win. Here’s one of the stories.

On the day of the lottery, I was in Biochemistry laboratory at university.  When I finished my lab I ran back to the dorm to watch the lottery with all my buddies.  We were all freaked out.  During the three years since I graduated from high school in 1966, I had gone to the funerals of 16 close and not-so close friends who had died in Viet Nam.  They had joined right after high school in the “Buddy System”.  I remember the ads: “Who better to watch your back than your buddy.”  
 
We were the war babies. Since we were kids we played war in our back yards.  We were given BB guns for Christmas and wore Army helmets we bought at Army Surplus stores.  We were raised on the stories, films and television shows of the heroics in the Second World War.  It’s almost like we were preparing for our own war.  Well, we got our war.  But, it wasn't a world war; it was a small war, against a small country that was having a civil war.  I think if it had been a world war…we would have all enlisted.  But it wasn't, and now it was our war nevertheless.

I arrived at the dorm and went to my friend’s room where 12 of us were watching the lottery.  I remember we had cases of beers to help us through.  We knew this day could forever change our lives.  When I came into the room I could feel the tension and see that the lottery had already started.  It wasn't a big show on TV; it was just a series of numbers scrolling across the bottom of the screen while “I Love Lucy” played above. I arrived at the drawing of the 21st number.  I had missed the first 20 numbers. Was my number one of the first 20? Of course I asked everyone if they saw my birth date come up, but everyone was concentrated on their own numbers and no one remembered the other dates.  I had no way to find out what numbers had already been drawn, so I had to watch the whole process and hope that I wasn't already chosen. By the time number 300 was drawn I was convinced I was going to war.  By number 350 I had accepted my fate; I had to be one of the first 20 numbers I had missed.

It wasn't that I didn't love my country, I did, but after so many of my friends dying, I wasn't sure that fighting a war over political ideals--communism vs. democracy--was as important as the government was saying.  Let them be communists if they want to be.  Who are we to force a political system on another country?

I was freaked out to say the least.  By number 360 I had decided that I would join the Marines.  If I was going to go, I wanted to go as the best. My birthday, February 26, was finally drawn at number 365.  I had won the lottery.  After three years of constant stress always hanging over my head, I relaxed.  I believe I stayed drunk for the next 2 weeks.  Three of my friends in the room that day died in the next two years in Viet Nam. It was a day I will never forget.  "

There are many submitted personal stories about the draft lottery. Read about how the first lottery was aired, and see a video here.  -via Metafilter

(Image credit: National Archives)


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Orbital Mechanics

 

Who says video games aren’t educational? This low-key endorsement from Randall Munroe at xkcd (who is a former NASA roboticist) will probably do more for the game Kerbal Space Program than all the splashy ads they could buy.  

If you have no clue what orbital mechanics are, another word for the term is astrodynamics, meaning the science of how spacecraft move.


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It’s Not Nice to Mock Dear Leader

Mo Nabbach manages the M&M Hair Academy in London, England. After the story circulated about Kim Jong-un mandating that male North Korean students wear his haircut, Nabbach posted a sign outside his salon featuring a picture of the North Korean leader. The caption said, “Bad hair day? 15 per cent off all gent cuts through the month of April. Tuesday – Thursday." It was all fun and games until two men claiming to be from the North Korean Embassy visited the salon and ordered the sign removed.

Mr Nabbach's son Karim, 26, said: "We put up a poster offering a discount on men's haircuts.

"Then North Korean officials came in and asked for it to be taken down.

"My father told them: 'This is England and not North Korea' and he told them to get their lawyers."

His father removed the poster, but quickly put it back up after some of his clients urged him to demonstrate that Britain is a democracy.

Mr Nabbach said: "The two men were wearing suits and they were very serious. My father said it was very threatening."

Nabbach reported the incident to the police, who cannot do anything until a law is broken. The North Korean Embassy, which is only a few minutes’ walk from the salon, refused to comment on the incident. -via Uproxx


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Steve Talkowski’s Cute Robots

Steve Talkowski made these robot images for an art challenge called March of Robots. They sure look like toys or models, don’t they? You feel as if you could reach out and touch them! But the robots are images, well rendered in 3D, with photographed backgrounds. See more of them at Talkowski’s Behance page. -via Laughing Squid


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Playing Jenga with Heavy Equipment

(YouTube link)

One surefire way to get the internet’s attention is to take something that was already fun and make it so big that someone could get hurt. In this case, it’s a super sized game of Jenga, although for copyright reasons, they call the game “Stack.” The playing pieces are 600-pound blocks of wood. The players are operating five different pieces of heavy equipment (excavators and telehandlers, etc.) in this promotional video from Cat® Products (Caterpillar). When the stack finally tips over, you’d better get out of the way fast! There's a behind-the-scenes video, too. -via Viral Viral Videos

Check out more amazing talents over at our Mad Skills blog

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Super Mario Bros Theme Song on Wine Glasses

(YouTube link)

Dan Newbie uses 48 water glasses, two pencils, and a frying pan to play the Super Mario Bros Theme. You know the music, and this version is super-pleasant to listen to. -via Tastefully Offensive


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Make Your Own Marshmallow Peeps

Sure, it’s easier to buy marshmallow Peeps at the store, but you might not see them for a long time after Easter. The advantages of making your own are that you control the color and the flavor, and what time of year you can have them. Plus, you’ll know exactly how fresh they are. And just imagine how impressed your co-workers and mother-in-law will be (especially if you are artistically-inclined)! Molly Yeh has the complete recipe at Food 52.  -via The Week

(Image credit: Molly Yeh)

We dish up more neat food posts at the Neatolicious blog

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Cast Care Rap

(YouTube link)

A Staff Sergeant/Orthopedic Specialist at a military hospital teaches a little little girl how to deal with wearing a cast by delivering the instructions in rap form. The adults around her seem to be more impressed than the patient, but she’s young. For all she knows, singing medics could be common. Or maybe she's in pain, poor kid. But the rhymes, even when they don’t quite rhyme, are a great way to remember what he’s told you! -via reddit


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Sillof Does The Awesomes

Master figure builder Sillof was commissioned by Mike Shoemaker and Seth Meyers to make figures of the characters in the Hulu series The Awesomes. They, along with Lorne Michaels, produce the show, which stars Seth Meyers, Bill Hader, Rashida Jones, Taran Killam, Bobby Moynihan, Rachel Dratch, Kenan Thompson, and Ike Barinholtz. The action figures were to be given to the cast as gifts. Sillof blended the animated likenesses with the real actors behind the characters in his design. See all of the individual character figures at his site, and you may be able to pick out who plays who, even if you haven’t seen The Awesomes. -Thanks, Sillof!  

See also: More pop culture action figures by Sillof.


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Lo Lo Lo Lo Lohan: Zach Anner Songified

(YouTube link)

Zach Anner’s latest project is a workout series called Workout Wednesday, and episode #12 was particularly popular. The Gregory Brothers got hold of Anner’s video and songified it with AutoTune, with the result being this silly song about Lindsey Lohan and how a show on the Oprah Winfrey Network sets you up for life. Anyone who’s followed Zach Anner knows what a joke that is. Anner’s response to the video:

I endorse  this track 1,000%! I've been a fan of the Gregory for years so this is one of the coolest things that has ever happened in the history of mankind! Period.

People sometimes have the misconception that if something simply involves a person with a disability, that it MUST be making fun of people with disabilities. That's just backwards and dismissive. What we actually have here is a ridiculous but positive message transformed into one of the sickest dance anthems to ever blow out your Macbook Air speakers.

Turn down the drama. Pump up the jam.

...(mic drop)

If you want a track to work out to, this is available at iTunes.  -via Viral Viral Videos

Previously: More from Zach Anner


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TL;DR Wikipedia

If you think the articles in Wikipedia are too long to read, there’s a new Tumblr ready to enlighten you on all manner of subjects. TL;DR Wikipedia bills itself as “Wikipedia condensed for your pleasure.” It’s a hoot! Some of the entries are even funnier than these; I picked out a few that lacked objectionable language to show here. Otherwise the air conditioner entry would be at the top. My accountant would disagree about the last one, though, at least in my case. -via Metafilter


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Cthulhu Awakes!

Whew! We dodged a bullet there! The apocalypse has been postponed to an undetermined date. This world-saving vision is brought to you by John McNamee of Pie Comics.


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The Best Beaver Experience of My Life

(YouTube link)

John Cena got the opportunity to watch -and record- a family of beavers repairing their lodge right in front of him. They were in a hurry to get as much done as possible before the nighttime cold set in, and demonstrated exactly where the phrase “busy as a beaver” came from. The excited commentary is priceless! -via Metafilter

Love cute animals? View more at Lifestyles of the Cute and Cuddly blog

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Baby Hummingbirds in the Nest



This may be your best chance of seeing a hummingbird look big, but it’s all relative, as their nests are tiny. Redditor freebaer noticed a hummingbird had built a nest by his front door, so he took plenty of pictures. You can follow the sequence as the tiny eggs hatched and the birds grew, but don’t miss the very last image. As a bonus, he added a link to a video that shows how baby hummingbirds poop without making a mess. Or at least, without making a mess in the nest.

Love cute animals? View more at Lifestyles of the Cute and Cuddly blog

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Netflix Goes to Prom

(YouTube link)

Chicago teenager Muthana Sweis Tweeted Netflix and playfully asked the company to go to the prom with him. Surprisingly, Netflix took him up on his offer. No, they didn’t go as a date -Sweis had a date. But Netflix fixed him up good, with movie-themed gear to take him and his date in style. Sweis selected a James Bond tuxedo and a car and driver straight out of Grease. See? It doesn't hurt to ask! He was the big man at the prom, with cameras following him around. A good time was had by all. -via Time Newsfeed


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Pool Illusion Carpet

Amsterdam artist Jeroen Bisscheroux created an art installation called POOL loss of color. It’s a 25x50-foot carpet designed with the illusion of a deep and almost-empty pool. The genius of this illusion is that you can see the “depth” of the pool from several angles. It was on display at Grand Front Osaka in March. See more pictures, including some that show how the work was created, at Japan Trends. -via Laughing Squid


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World’s Toughest Job

(YouTube link)

A company interviews people via computer for a fake job. This is a tough job, the kind where you’re always on call, carrying a lot of responsibility, no breaks, no vacations, no holidays, and no pay. Would you sign up for a job like that? Of course not! Or maybe you would… because you can probably see the end of this one coming. It’s an ad, too, but don’t let that spoil your enjoyment of this prank. -via Viral Viral Videos


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Name the Baby, Redux

Back in 2008, we posted a notice that Jason Morrison and his wife were having a baby and taking votes from internet users on what to name the child. Five and half years later, they have a daughter named Athena, and are expecting another baby! Once again, they are asking for your help to name the child, but there are a couple of differences. 1. They know this one is a boy, and 2. they are paying for the votes this time around.

My wife and I (along with some other Googlers) have pledged to donate $1 for each vote –   see details in the FAQ.  For $1, Save the Children can provide one complete polio vaccination course for a child.  Just by voting, you will be helping a child in need.  If you would like to join us and donate $1 of your own, please go to this OneToday campaign.  Google OneToday makes donating to a good cause easy and fun.

As you might be able to tell from that paragraph alone, Jason works for Google. Read the rest of the story (and vote) at his blog.

See more about baby and kids at NeatoBambino

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Mr. Forthright's Tips for Raising Kids

(YouTube link)

Mr. Fortright (previously at Neatorama) tells us how to raise kids. He bass some intriguing ideas. That idea about throwing them a birthday party with clowns at 4AM may be just the thing to keep them in line! I can’t wait for the next  video on how to wake a teenager. -via Tastefully Offensive

See more about baby and kids at NeatoBambino

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Goose Steppin’

(YouTube link)

One guy in Poland herds a large flock of geese. Did I say a large flock? There are millions of them! And he doesn’t use dogs, or a ton of assistants, or even a stick. He just calls them and they come! In this video, they keep coming and coming and coming. They may still be trying to all fit through the gate now, who knows? -via Daily Picks and Flicks


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The Most Normal States In America

They've crunched the numbers to find which states are the most average in the U.S. The word “average” probably is more applicable than “normal,” because who is to say what normal really is? Anyway, they had the statistics on average Americans and compared them to statistics of states to find the closest match in things like income, family composition, education, race, language, and employment. I’ll go ahead and tell you that Illinois is the most average state, which won’t surprise you, but there’s also the top 11 average states, and the factors that make them that way, at Business Insider. -via Digg

(Image credit: David Wilson)


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24 Awesome Librarian Tattoos

Librarians are hardcore- just ask John Farrier, he’ll tell you. And the tattoos they get are sometimes pretty hardcore, too! Diane here got a tattoo of a Librarian tarot card, and others have skulls, books, hieroglyphics, quotations, and book art. I’d have to say my favorites are the images of librarians shushing patrons, because it’s classic. See the full range -24 librarians tattoos- in a list Jill Harness posted at mental_floss.

(Image credit: Flickr user arianne)


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Profile for Miss Cellania

  • Member Since 2012/08/04


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