How many ways can you make table tennis into a form of entertainment? Well, there are trick shots, but that’s just the beginning of the silliness Takkyuu Geinin (which means “table tennis entertainer”) put together.
When Seth Freedland booked a hotel room, they asked if they can do anything else. He asked for framed pictures of Jeff Goldblum in his room. They complied in style, with three framed publicity photographs of Goldblum at various ages.
Freddland's girlfriend, Amy Marsch, was quite impressed! -Thanks, Alec Bings!
The following is an article from The Annals of Improbable Research, now in all-pdf form. Get a subscription now for only $25 a year!
by Alice Shirrell Kaswell, Improbable Research staff
“Delusional Reduplication of Parts of the Body,” Edwin A. Weixstein, Robert L. Kahn, Sidney Malitz, and Jules Rozanski, Brain, vol. 77, 1954, pp. 45–60. The authors, at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City, report:
Four brain injured cases are described with reduplicative delusions of extra hands, legs, eyes and multiple heads…. Case 3.—A 29-year-old man was admitted to the Neurological Service of the Mount Sinai Hospital on June 20, 1952…. On July 29, he expressed the delusion that he had three heads and four bodies. One head and body were with him, but the others were upstairs in a closet. The head with him had not been operated upon but was “empty.” He described it “like a hunk of wood, having no use, no utility.” He charged that “I’m being punished because my head drained wrong, so what.” He attributed the bandage on his head to its having been hurt slightly in an automobile accident. He called one of the “other” heads his “main head” or “regular head” which had had pain but had been operated upon and now no longer had pain. He enumerated the "other" bodies as “one willed to me, one a duplicate of the original, and one I grew for protection.”
Parts for the Taking, Selectively
“Specialist Ant-Eating Spiders Selectively Feed on Different Body Parts to Balance Nutrient Intake,” S. Pekár, D. Mayntz, T. Ribeiro, M.E. Herberstein, Animal Behaviour, vol. 79, no. 6, June 2010, pp. 1301–6. The authors, at Masaryk University, Czech Republic, University of Aarhus, Denmark, and Macquarie University, Australia, report that, among other things:
Earthling Cinema looks at the Dreamworks movie Shrek from the point of view of aliens from outer space. That means that various concepts have to be explained as if they were outside of one’s experience, and those explanations are just wrong enough to grab your attention.
In addition to explaining the characters and plot, the alien then goes into the history of how Shrek came about, which is even funnier, as he points out all the Disney references in the movie and the reason they are there. Makes perfect sense to me! Now I want to see the whole movie again. -via Laughing Squid
Jun Yoshizuki of Jun's Kitchen charmed us last year by showing us how to make Fluffy Omurice. Everyone noticed his beautiful and well-behaved cat. Now he prepares a special meal for his cat Kohaku.
From the YouTube page:
I normally cook a meal like this for Kohaku once a year on his birthday, but since I got a lot of requests to make a food for him, I decided to make this video. I’m going to make meals for human from next time. If you want to make a meal for your cats, please do research on which ingredients are okay to use. Also, make sure not to feed too much nor too often since it’s difficult to make a meal that are nutritious enough for cats.
And then he posts the recipes, in case you want to treat your cat, too! -via Tastefully Offensive
We read about the Oneida Community, which evolved into a silverware company. It’s not the only intentional community, or utopia, that morphed into a successful consumer goods company. the Amana settlement in Iowa began as a separatist religious commune, but ended up in your kitchen.
If Amana sounds familiar it may be because it’s the name of your fridge or microwave. Although the Germanic religious group embraced separatism and outdated fashions in a similar way to the Amish, the Amana Society has always had a comfortable relationship with technology.
In 1855, the Amana Colonies were founded by a Pietistic German religious sect called the Community of True Inspiration. The founders were communal pacifists attracted to America for its religious freedom and to Iowa for its fertile soil. This soil was made available by earlier treaties designed to drive out the Meskwaki Nation to make room for white settlers.
Ellie Gordon-Moershel came from a family of Amana settlers, but didn’t connect the family’s appliances with the traditional religious sect her mother grew up in for many years. Now she tells us the story of Amana, both the sect and the company, at Atlas Obscura.
(Image credit: courtesy of Ellie Gordon-Moershel. Pictured is her )
Today is International Talk Like a Pirate Day, celebrated every September 19th since 2002. The holiday is an invention of Chumbucket and Cap’n Slappy (John Baur and Mark Summers), who dreamed it up in 1995. It’s a fun time to do pirate things, like drink and talk funny, but did real classical pirates talk that way? Not necessarily. The language we use, the gruff voice punctuated with “arrrs” came from the 1950 Disney film Treasure Island, starring Robert Newton as Long John Silver.
Born in Dorset and educated in Cornwall, Newton based his pirate talk on his own native British West Country dialect. His accent might not have been far off—the south west of England has long been associated with pirates because of its strong maritime heritage; notorious pirate Blackbeard was even said to have come from Bristol, in the heart of that area.
Newton’s iconic role as Long John Silver was so influential that a variation his West Country English became the standard for portrayals of pirates on stage and in the cinema. As historian Colin Woodard told the National Geographic in 2011, “Newton’s performance—full of ‘arrs,’ ‘shiver me timbers,’ and references to landlubbers—not only stole the show, it permanently shaped pop culture’s vision of how pirates looked, acted, and spoke.”
In reality, pirates of the period came from many countries with a wide variety of speech patterns. Read more about the origins of pirate speech at Time.
And read more about pirates at Neatorama:
Myth-Adventure: The True Story of Captain Kidd
The Last Great Buried Treasure Mystery: The Money Pit at Oak Island
Pirate Lore: 7 Myths and Trrrrruths About Pirates!
5 Little-Known Pirate Stories
Democracy on the High Seas: How Pirates Rocked the Vote
Neatorama Facts: Pirates of the Caribbean
Why It Sucked To Be A Pirate
How to Eat Like a Pirate
This started out as lighthearted banter between two Twitter celebrities, author Neil Gaiman and composer Lin-Manuel Miranda. But there was a question about the species of the animal in the picture. Luckily, a public forum will attract Those Who Know. One response began,
As a rodent biologist, I couldn’t resist putting in my two cents. I have no idea how old this thread is, but here goes. So, it’s hard to see in the original tweet if the rodent of interest is a vole or a muskrat. Now, I think we’ve all adequately described why it isn’t a beaver (though I didn’t see mention of the pronounced lids over a beaver’s eyes, or the high positioning of the eyes on the head, or the almost invisible ears, all of which I find more reliable than the big naked nose).
Tumblr member badhandful goes on to explain more differences between the critters. A lot more. You can see the whole exchange at Gaiman’s blog. Now I will be able to distinguish between the three rodents when they invade my backyard, but we still don’t know where Lin-Manuel Miranda gets his creativity. -via Metafilter
With only a couple more weeks left in September, it’s time for you to plan your Halloween decorations. Or maybe you just want to enjoy the over-the-top decorations produced by the work of others. This homeowner, somewhere in Texas, went all out a few years ago with a tribute to oversized movie monsters from King Kong and Jurassic Park.
And this one brings The Walking Dead to the neighborhood. Anyone would recognize it, but you’d think if they went to this much trouble, they’d put wings on the back of Daryl’s vest. If you’re considering doing your home up for Halloween, Housely has some tips for doing it right, plus 50 pictures to give you inspiration.
"Follow your passion!" They tell us that all the time, and it’s just not good advice for everyone. Yeah, sure, if you’ve always wanted to be a surgeon, follow that passion and make it happen. But there are some passions that just don’t fit in with employment. Besides, if you make your passion your career, what are going to do for a hobby? Even pyromania loses its charm when you do it day in day out for years to earn a living. This is the latest from John McNamee at Pie Comic.
Polish sisters Celina and Maja Debowska are artists with felt. They have a collection of beautiful hats, shawls, and gloves, but their main draw is the artistic and realistic felt animal scarves available at their Easy store celapiu. Each item is hand made in Krakow, and they do accept custom orders. See some of their custom work at Facebook. -via Laughing Squid
Are the Simpsons a middle class family? Upper middle or lower middle? Or working class? He’s had a lot of jobs, but has worked at the nuclear power plant more than anywhere else. Homer owns a house, has a car, and a wife who doesn’t work, but that’s mainly because she has an infant. Who will never grow up. So what’s their economic status?
Considering how many episodes there have been (597), someone with some time can figure it all out. And Vox did. -via Viral Viral Videos
The following article is from Uncle John’s Factastic Bathroom Reader.
Quick answer to the question, “What the heck is a geoglyph?” Do you know what the Nazca lines are? Then you know what a geoglyph is!
(Image credit: Colegota)
1. THE NAZCA LINES
A geoglyph, meaning “land picture,” is a large— sometimes huge— image formed on or carved into the surface of the earth. The most famous are probably the Nazca lines, the enormous figures of people, animals, plants, and geometric shapes scribed into the ground in southern Peru by the ancient Nazca people roughly 1,500 years ago.
But the Nazca lines aren’t the only ones. Geoglyphs can be found all over the world, including in North America. Here are the stories of a few you might want to see for yourself someday.
2. THE UFFINGTON WHITE HORSE
(Image credit: NASA)
Located on a hillside in the parish of Uffington, in south-central England, this geoglyph is so big (about 374 feet across) that from up close it’s impossible to make out what it is. But from a distance— as far as 20 miles on a clear day— it comes to life. It’s the stylized figure of a running horse. It was made by digging trenches up to 10 feet wide in places and filling them with crushed white chalk, making the image stand out starkly against the lush green hillside. And it’s very, very old: archaeologists say it dates to between 1400 and 600 BC. Who made it— and why— is unknown. And some people say it’s not a horse but a cat or perhaps a dragon, although written descriptions of the ancient work going back to the 11th century AD refer to it as a horse.
The Center for Infectious Disease Research teamed up with the artists of Motive to produce a series of retro-style propaganda posters promoting the fight against infectious diseases. This is a battle worth throwing all our weight into, because pathogens have no mercy and no humanity.
“Old news” diseases are often relegated to the back page. The tidal wave of attention we’ve seen for Zika and Ebola is precisely what we need for other global diseases that quietly continue to have an astronomical, sustained human impact, such as HIV, TB, and malaria. Infectious diseases claim the lives of 14 million people each year. To put that in perspective, this is somewhere near the population of the four biggest cities in the US. Combined.
The Taylor & Francis Group thought it might be easier, or at least more fun, to read scientific abstracts as comics. They are testing this theory with a series of Cartoon Abstracts, where real studies are summarized in public service-style comic pages. They are enlargeable at the link.
Shown here is an illustrated abstract for the 2014 paper “Perturbations in Epidemiological Models: When zombies attack, we can survive!” You can read the original paper in this pdf.
Oh yeah, they take submissions, in case you want to get your abstract illustrated. -via Metafilter
Did you know that Napoléon Bonaparte tried his hand at fiction before he became a revolutionary? Well, if Saddam Hussein could write a romance novel, why not Napoléon? In 2007, a French publishing company found (and published) a novella written by Napoléon, and now a few pages of the original manuscript is going up for auction.
Clisson et Eugénie is unabashedly autobiographical. Penned in the autumn of 1795, while Napoleon was still rising in the ranks of the French army, the novel centers around an officer named Clisson, “a man of fervent imagination, with his blazing heart, his uncompromising intellect and his cool head”. The war-weary Clisson decides to quit his position and enjoy the spa baths of central France. There he meets two young women, Amélie and Eugénie, and falls desperately (and tragically) in love with Eugénie. While tender, this romance is also quite tame. The closest the author comes to sex may be: “Their hearts fused … the most exquisite voluptuousness flooded the hearts of the two enraptured lovers.”
The novella only runs about 22 scribbled pages, so the plot swiftly progresses from love to marriage to melancholy.
Only four pages will go to auction; the rest are in a museum or single pages in private collections. Napoléon wrote the story when he was 26 years old, and it very well may have been a kind of self-therapy, as it was based on a woman he knew and loved. Think about how history may have been different if he had found success as a novelist! Read more about Clisson et Eugénie at the Guardian. -Thanks, John Farrier!
Everything changed when Disney bought Lucasfilm and all the Star Wars properties. At first we were excited, because that meant that we’d get more Star Wars movies, while feeling apprehensive, because we didn’t want it to turn into Mickey Mouse. Then Disney announced that the "expanded universe" of novels, games, and fan fiction up to that point were not to be regarded as canon, which startled fans. What were they thinking? They were thinking of unifying all Star Wars lore. And that in itself raises many questions.
When Lucasfilm was purchased by Disney, the decision was made that anything that advances the Star Wars story would become part of the same singular canon. Books, comics, games—they’re now as definitive as TV and film. Anything you pick up related to Star Wars adds to the whole; there’s a group of executives called the Lucasfilm Story Group whose sole job is to make sure all of these moving parts come together in a cohesive way.
As a Star Wars fan, I can’t think of anything more exciting than it all having a purpose. The amazing fact that we’re finally finding out what happened to Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, and Han Solo (RIP) after Return of the Jedi is just the icing on the cake. Now, every single bit of Star Wars out there gives us another piece of the puzzle. You can go to the store, pick up Marvel’s Star Wars comic, and read crucial pieces of Star Wars history. Did you ever wonder how Darth Vader would’ve reacted between when he realized Obi-Wan Kenobi hid his son from him? Well, that happens in the comics—and it was a result of Luke Skywalker meeting Boba Fett, if you can believe it.
At the same time, longtime fans are having a time shifting from a malleable fictional universe to a concrete universe, and newer fans wonder if you really have to buy all those comic books to learn what’s going on. The pros, cons, and questions about Disney’s new approach to Star Wars are laid out for your reading pleasure at io9.
Scrattie, like most dogs, doesn’t know where the destination will be when they get in the car. Often it’s just errands. Every once in a great while, they go to the dreaded veterinarian. But as soon as they make that left turn, Scrattie realizes they are going to the dog park!
Oh, joyous day! Oh, what a happy dog! This is even better than when Navin Johnson got his name in the phone book. -via Viral Viral Videos
Wherever there are people is a good place to provide them with a place to meet and drink. Remember, one of the first things the Pilgrims did after landing at Plymouth was to build a brewery. It’s the same with any other remote outpost. The southernmost bar in the world is at the Vernadsky Research Base on Galindez Island in Antarctica. It’s quite popular among the locals.
This tiny, one-room social area is located among the same research facilities where scientists first discovered the hole in the ozone layer. The bar was built by carpenters during the station's British stewardship, although they were supposed to use the wood to build a new pier for the complex. Instead they decided the base needed a place to drink.
The carpenters built the bar to recall the rustic pubs of their homeland with exposed wooden beams and aging photographs of Antarctica explorers. After the station’s purchase by the Ukraine in 1996, the bar became a firmly Ukrainian establishment where you can drink and cavort with researchers during the off hours. In addition to the standard libations, the bar also makes its own vodka using the surrounding glacial ice. The drink can be purchased for three dollars a glass or it is free with the donation of some womens’ undergarments to display behind the bar. Judging by the decor, there have been a number of free drinks. Essential drink: A glass of home-brewed vodka. (Your payment method is up to you.)
Other bars are located at Pitcairn Island, Tristan da Cunha, the Australian outback, and one in Nepal that I believe was once owned by Marion Ravenwood. Read about all ten extreme bars at Atlas Obscura.
(Image credit: Flickr user ravas51)
This scene was recorded by Google Street View in 2015 in Cambridge, England. As you can see, a cow was crossing the walking path to graze on the riverbank, but her friends won’t be able to rib her about it because her face has been blurred for privacy. When this was pointed out, Google told NPR:
"We thought you were pulling the udder one when we herd the moos, but it's clear that our automatic face-blurring technology has been a little overzealous.
"Of course, we don't begrudge this cow milking its five minutes of fame."
But the scheme wasn’t totally carried out. If you check the Street View scene embedded at NPR, you can look at the cow from the other direction and see her face clearly. Oops! Still, the cow can request additional blurring any time she wants to. -via mental_floss
The Death Guild staged a modern day Thunderdome battle at Burning Man 2016. It wasn’t quite like the third Mad Max movie, though, as these competitors were dinosaurs! The action starts at two minutes into this video.
Two warriors in inflatable T. rex costumes, members of the Mystikal Misfits, went at it suspended by bungee chords, while spectators watched from the surrounding matrix. A good time was had by all. This was only one of the many events held at the Thunderdome during Burning Man. See more images from the Thunderdome at the Death Guild's Instagram gallery. -via Laughing Squid
Mr. Israel Kristal turned 113 years old on Thursday. Earlier this year, he was certified by the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest man alive. Born in Poland on September 15, 1903, Kristol studied the Torah from a young age and was a master candymaker most of his life. His mother died when he was seven, and then his father was drafted by the Imperial Russian Army and died in World War I. Kristol turned 13 during that time and never had a bar mitzvah.
During World War II, Kristol’s two children died during the family’s confinement in the Lodz ghetto. He and his wife were sent to Auschwitz in 1944, where she died. When the Red Army liberated Auschwitz in 1945, Kristol weighed only 37 kilograms (81 pounds). Within a few years, he remarried, emigrated to Haifa, Israel, and had two more children. He now has dozens of descendants. And soon he will have the bar mitzvah he was denied during the Great War.
His daughter, Shulamith Kristal-Kuperstoch, told CNN that Kristal's long-delayed bar mitzvah would be held close to his Hebrew birthday, which falls this year on October 2.
Kristal-Kuperstoch said it would be a "privilege" for her to organize the upcoming ceremony for her father, as a way of correcting the past, and as a gift to him.
Kristal has been carrying out Jewish rituals and responsibilities for 100 years now. When they get to the part where they traditionally say, “Today, you are a man,” they will really mean “Today, you are THE man.”
(Image credit: Guinness Book of World Records)
We’ve known from the beginning that there was some strange attraction between Batman and Catwoman. It’s even stranger in this short encounter full of crime, romance, mischief, and discipline.
Catwoman can be a real pain sometimes. Anyone who has a cat knows how it is. -via Geeks Are Sexy
Warning: this footage is disturbing, on its way to a happy ending. It’s pretty nerve-wracking to see how many vehicles passed so close to a kitten that had fallen out of a vehicle, or even drove over it. Luckily none of them actually squashed the poor thing before a good Samaritan stopped to save it. Even he’s not sure at first whether the kitten is alive. It was obviously terrified stiff.
This sequence of CCTV footage is from the town of Kaliningrad, Russia. The guy is our hero, even though he might not even know about the video. -via Uproxx
History books are full of the powerful, the rich, and the famous. When studying the past, we rarely get a good look into the lives of the everyday people of those eras. That’s what makes vintage mugshots so fascinating. No one is more powerless than the folks hauled into police stations as suspects. And the information recorded with those mugshots gives us an idea of how they were regarded. Mark Michaelson has been collecting vintage mugshots for decades. He’s the author of Least Wanted: A Century of American Mugshots, which has a collection of images, but is also a book on the history of mugshots. He tells us what kinds of mugshots he looks for on eBay.
My general idea was to avoid anyone famous or particularly violent or scary. Mugshots of famous gangsters and celebrities are popular, but I’m interested in something else—the small timers or the ones who fell through the cracks. When I was in Rome and saw the ruins, I wasn’t thinking about Caesar; I wanted to know about the guy who laid bricks in the Forum. What did he wear? Where did he go after work? Where did he live? What did he eat and drink?
I feel like an archaeologist trying to find and preserve these records of the common man, most of which are treated like trash and destroyed once they’re no longer in use. Over time, I accumulated an enormous cast of characters, and I called my collection the “least wanted.” Men and women. Young and old. Rich and poor. They’re so-called transvestites, communists, hop-heads, pimps, hookers, stooges, grifters, and goons. Punks, sneaks, mooks, and miscreants. Heartbreaking and hilarious.
Michaelson tells how mugshots came about and what those small images tell us about the people and the times they endured at Collectors Weekly.
NASA was formed in 1958 to replace the NACA (National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics), and introduced the concept with a short film -back when even the directors pronounced it “En Aye Ess Aye.”
Since then, NASA has produced many such films, TV shows, and videos to bring space close to all of us. Here’s a compressed look at them. -via Boing Boing http://boingboing.net/2016/09/16/enjoy-50-years-of-nasa-footage.html
Redditor bbcgarcia is a Street Fighter cosplayer. Her cosplay group was at a park in Sacramento doing a photoshoot. At the same time, Quang Tran and Judy Mai’s wedding party was there to have pictures made. They are Street Fighter fans. The two groups combined to made one of the most awesome wedding pictures ever! See it bigger at reddit. -via Daily of the Day
(Imagecredit: Michael Igtiben)
Ragdoll cats are all the rage in the last few years. They are big and fluffy and go limp when you pick them up. Artist and animator Simon Tofield tells us more about the breed, because he’s been drawing ragdolls.
I had a cat once that everyone insisted was a ragdoll, but I think she may have been a breeder’s reject because while she had all the other specifications, she wasn’t large. But she went limp just like the best of them.
We’ve covered Britain’s worm-charming competition before, and even had an explanation of how it works. The town of Caryville, Florida, recently held their own worm charming festival, which they call “worm fiddling’,” because of the technique used.
Vying for prizes and bragging rights, men, women and children drove stakes into the ground within assigned patches of scrubby ground and then rubbed the stakes with pieces of wood, axe blades, and even PVC pipe.
The efforts were successful as the winner actually compelled over 50 worms to come to the surface through the unusual methodology.
The festival is actually a revival, as Caryville used to do this every year until 2008. Let’s hope they can do it again next year, because I know a few folks who would want to try it. See a video of the competition here. -via Arbroath
Looks like the doc has found the secret to happiness. He’ll probably get rich telling people what they should already know. Yeah, I would love to snuggle with all four of my cats at once, but each of them only gets along with two others, and those relationships aren’t completely reciprocal. I can sometimes get two of them at once, though, and that makes me happy. This is the latest from Lunarbaboon.
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