A goat climbs halfway through a hole and can’t figure out what to do next. Poor stupid goat! His buddy decides to help out, by “pushing” him out of the hole. Is that clever ...on a goat scale? It’s not much help! But eventually the goat lady comes and makes everything all right.
The most beautiful cat in the world? I don’t know, but he sure is fetching. And even more interesting when he’s asleep.
These pictures were rearranged by redditor shayne9512 from a series posted by BitterRaven, but we don’t know who the original photographer is. This cat introduced me to a subreddit called Animals Being Derps, which I will have to visit again.
In order to secure a three-year purchasing contract with the state of New York, office supplier Staples agreed to sell 291 common items for a penny. They hoped to make up the difference in sales of higher-priced items, but the company neglected to put any limits on the penny purchases. You can imagine what happened. Schools, prisons, charities, and other agencies ordered “staples” such as tissue, paper towels, tape, and batteries by the truckload.
The Monroe-Woodbury school district, about 50 miles north of Manhattan, was the top bargain hunter, taking delivery of $677,000 of penny items at list prices during the contract's first few months, paying $299.15. The numbers come from spreadsheets provided by the state in response to a Freedom of Information Law request.
Sheri Patterson, finance officer at Monroe Woodbury High School, said boxes were "stacked in hallways…we didn't have any place to keep" them.
There were surprises. Ms. Patterson thought a penny paid for a roll of paper towels—instead, it was for a 24-roll pack. The school received 53 packs, records show. "We were just wondering whose idea this was," said Ms. Patterson, "and if they still had their job."
Staples declined to comment on personnel matters.
Many of the penny items ordered have not been delivered, and the state is negotiating with Staples to fulfill the terms of the contract.
A coveted penny item was a 64GB SanDisk flash drive, a large "thumb drive" to store or transfer data. It listed for $249.99 but recently was priced at $54.99 on Staples.com.
Customers ordered 128,978 of them in the contract's first few months, documents show, compared with anticipated annual demand for 33. Staples delivered 1,080 in that period. Had it delivered all those ordered, it would have sold drives with a current retail value of $7.1 million for $1,290.
Whoever made the estimates of how many items would be purchased forgot one basic rule of retail: people will do without expensive items, but will buy if the price is right. Staples’ estimate of their loss has to be taken with a grain of salt, however. Who pays $2 for a single pad of Post-it notes? Or a thousand dollars for a shredder? I have a shredder and a bag of Post-it notes for an investment of about $6, although they’re not the same brands. Read more about the fiasco at the Wall Street Journal. -via Metafilter
The lizard named Uroplatus phantasticus is more commonly known as the Satanic leaf-tailed gecko. You can see why in this photograph, only because the background is gone. There’s a picture at Wired that challenges you to figure out what is gecko and what is real leaf. It’s an amazing camouflage adaptation for these creatures found only in Madagascar. Good luck finding one.
Reinforcing this camouflage for the satanic leaf-tailed geckos is their behavior: They’ll spend the day hanging motionless off of branches or snuggling among dead leaves, often twisting their leafy tails around their bodies. Other larger species in the satanic’s genus have still another strategy for sleeping safely during the day, flattening their bodies against tree trunks and limbs, making good use of those famously grippy feet (a magic power derived, by the way, from countless hair-like structures that allow some geckos to even stick to inverted glass panes, not that nature would ever ask them to). Fringes and flaps along the edges of their bodies help erase their outlines and shadows, dissolving the geckos into the bark.
We can see why they are called leafy-tailed, but what’s satanic about them? If you confront one, they’ll stare and scream at you, and local folks are afraid of them. They come in all colors, too, just as the leaves they hide among vary. You’ll see quite a few more pictures of this gecko and his camouflaged relatives at Wired. -via Not Exactly Rocket Science
Jürgen Horn and Mike Powell have moved on from Tokyo and set up housekeeping in Skopje, Macedonia. If you received your geography education before 1991, Macedonia is just north of Greece and just south of Serbia. But back in 1903, a small Macedonian town on a mountain declared its own independence from the Ottoman Empire. The Republic of Kruševo lasted ten days.
The brave and hopelessly out-gunned army of Kruševo met the advancing Turks in the Battle of Mečkin Kamen, a couple kilometers outside the town. Led by Pitu Guli, the rebels fought bravely, but were simply no match for the Ottoman force. In the end, Kruševo’s defenders were annihilated, and the Ottomans marched into town where they inflicted a bloody retribution on the townspeople.
Today, Kruševo has recovered and become one of the jewels of Macedonia, the highest mountain town in the Balkans. We visited for a couple days. With just 5000 inhabitants, it’s the kind of place with which you can become familiar within no time. Kruševo feels like a mountain retreat, so small and peaceful that it’s hard to imagine it as the scene of such vicious fighting.
The rebellion is memorialized with a monument called the Makedonium, this artfully-shaped building with a museum inside. Read more about Kruševo and the Makedonium, and see plenty of pictures, at For 91 Days.
I have one question about this ad: Do the books come with that chair, or do you have to pay extra? Found at Bad Newspaper.
In this little ditty from Adult Swim, a lonely geek contemplates Star Wars VII. What if it’s awful? So many things could go wrong! That’s what we call “managing expectations,” or “not getting our hopes up.” As with most of the big blockbuster movies these days, the anticipation is more enjoyable than the payoff. -via Geeks Are Sexy
One of Dorkly’s People You See at Every Nerd Convention we posted just yesterday was a “Furry who refuses to admit they’re being furry,” with a cosplayer insisting he’s Rocket Raccoon. You can’t win at that game, unless you have something no one else has …like honestly being less than three feet tall!
Instagram member tyndalecode found a Rocket Raccoon that’s the perfect size at Comic Con!
And he's ready to party! -via The Mary Sue
Former Army Staff Sgt. Ryan M. Pitts received the Medal of Honor on Monday from President Obama for his action during a battle in Afghanistan. The New York Stock Exchange invited him up to open their trading session Wednesday by banging the gavel. Pitts did that, all right, but he is apparently stronger than the folks who normally wield the gavel. He knocked three times, and broke it clean off! The look on his face is priceless -as if he’d be in trouble for damaging equipment. It’s Wall Street, not the military, so the only result was a great gif. You can see the full video at Mashable. -via mental_floss
The 1980s gave us some truly awesome movies, but you have to allow for their age. While the trope of hacking computers was quite useful to advance a plot, the depiction of how it’s done was woefully unrealistic. For those of us who actually used computers in the '80s, these scenes seemed ludicrous even when they were new. Yeah, the unrealistic speed was due to movie pacing, we got that, but other things made no sense. A security agency requires a login but no password. If you’re nerdy enough, you can draw a picture by typing. Transferring data means they have to show you that data onscreen as it loads. From our 21st-century vantage point, even the futuristic computers were lame: you have a 3D holographic display, but you can’t produce a decent human voice? This supercut is from the folks at Found Item Clothing, where you’ll find a list of the movies. -via Laughing Squid
Our language and how we use it owes a lot to the movies. The title of a movie that many people have seen can serve as shorthand for a concept that might take a couple of hours to explain otherwise. Sometimes the term originated with the movie title, in other cases it was a valid term that few knew or used, but now everyone knows what it means. Did you know what a “full monty” was before the movie came out? Or a “bucket list”? Mental_floss looks at eleven movies that help us communicate with just their titles, with explanations and helpful video clips.
Oh yeah, the image above is from one such film. Can you name it before you see the list?
The rival cat doesn’t defend himself at all, because he’s ceramic. But that doesn’t make the battle any less important to this kitten! -via Tastefully Offensive
During World War II, the German military faced a threat worse than the Allies: typhus. The disease was killing soldiers and weakening the German forces on the Eastern front as they faced the Soviet Army. They scrambled to develop a typhus vaccine in hurry. Joachim Mrugowsky, head of the SS Hygiene Institute, set up a research lab at Buchenwald concentration camp, thinking it would be safe from Allied bombing.
Dr. Erwin Ding-Schuler, an ambitious but callow Nazi officer and Mrugowsky’s deputy, was chosen to lead production, and began assembling captive scientists with the help of his new clerk, an imprisoned German intellectual named Eugen Kogon. Among those drafted was a gentle Jewish biologist named Ludwik Fleck, who was a former assistant of Dr. Weigl whom Weigl had protected during the Nazi occupation of Lviv.
Thus began one of the most effective but least-known deceptions of World War II, one that is wondrously thick with irony: For 16 months, working under the noses of his clueless Nazi overseers—in particular Ding-Schuler, whom Fleck described as a “dummkopf”—a Jewish doctor managed to send fake typhus vaccine to the Nazi soldiers at the front, even as he provided the real thing to inoculate his fellow condemned Jews in a concentration camp.
The project started off on the wrong foot, with Nazi doctors who had no experience in immunology, overseeing camp inmates who lied about being doctors, using a translated French pamphlet as a how-to guide, to do an extremely complex procedure under horrid conditions. That was before Dr. Fleck came along, and the group finally had someone who knew what he was doing. It’s a fascinating story overall, with a Nuremberg climax fit for Hollywood, at Politico magazine. -via Digg
(Image credit: Archiv fur Zeitgeschichte, Zurich)
Bill Hammack, the Engineer Guy, explains how that weird electronic musical instrument the theremin came about. Russian inventor Léon Theremin patented the theremin in 1928. That’s weird, since we associate the sound with time travel, space travel, and horror. But it’s not as weird as what happened to Theremin himself. -via the Presurfer
A quiz title like this is catnip for me. See, I was a radio disc jockey for 24 years. We used to brag that we could name that tune in one note -backward. Yet I didn’t do as well as I thought I would, because I was in a hurry, that was a long time ago, and I wasn’t always playing Top 40 music.
Still, these quizzes at Slate were fun to do. I say “quizzes” because they are broken into decades: music from the 1970s (where I scored 16 of 16), the 1980s (14 of 16), the 1990s (8 of 16) and recent music (9 of 16). Even if you don’t recognize the song, the Hangman-style answer format can help you guess one letter at a time. There are links to each section from all the other sections, so you may as well start with the quiz on recent music. -via Metafilter
This week marks the 30th anniversary of the film Revenge of the Nerds, which was released back in 1984 when “nerd” was a really embarrassing thing to be called. The actors were nervous about appearing in a movie with “nerd” in the title! You remember the movie, but there’s a lot you probably don’t know. Like,
6. Filming on the University of Arizona campus had its problems. Just like the failed remake, the first film had college issues as well. The studio had been given permission to film on the campus, but revoked their filming privileges after reading the script. Producers had to convince the school they wouldn’t harm their reputation and eventually the school gave them the “okay,” with the many of the students posing as extras.
14. Robert Carradine and Anthony Edwards tested their nerd attire during Rush Week. The actors wanted to put their nerd outfits to the test and attended several fraternity rush events to see how their pocket protectors went over. According to Carradine, one frat house’s president gave them a single look and said “No way.”
Time has proven that nerds really do inherit the earth, and the stars of Revenge of the Nerds now look back at that time fondly, despite their misgivings. Read the rest of the list at Uproxx.
This statue of a fossilized T. rex stands on the Google “campus,” which is what they cll their office complex. His name is Stan. The Googleplex is also infested with a flock of plastic flamingos, which have ganged up on the dinosaur to pick the bones clean. Stan seems to not mind at all. -via Boing Boing
Man has exploited the ocean and its creatures for as long as mankind has existed. Now the sea creatures are fighting back! Arif Sabir was spearfishing with friends off the coast of Jupiter, Florida, when they encountered a large Goliath grouper. The men get a short laugh in just before the grouper takes a bite out of Sabir’s flipper and makes off with his catch, spear and all! The spear was recovered later. Never underestimate an ugly, slow-moving fish when you’re in their territory. -via Daily Picks and Flicks
The following is an article from the book Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Plunges into Music.
Johnny Cash was one of country music’s first “outlaws,” but the music industry was still surprised in 1957 when he played a concert at Huntsville State Prison in Texas. Over the next decade, Cash performed over 30 prison shows and recorded albums during at least three of them. (The shows at California’s Folsom Prison and San Quentin became the most famous). Here are ten little-known facts about the Man in Black’s prison concerts.
1. Columbia Records repeatedly rejected Cash’s requests to record a prison concert.
Cash started playing at prisons in response to fan mail from inmates who identified with his songs (especially “Folsom Prison Blues”). Soon he discovered that “prisoners are the greatest audience that an entertainer can perform for. We bring them a ray of sunshine into their dungeon, and they’re not ashamed to respond and show their appreciation.” He suspected that their excitement and gratitude combined with the thrill of performing in a dangerous venue would create the perfect setting for an album. His record company disagreed -they thought the concerts would kill Cash’s career and hurt the label’s image. But when Columbia brought on producer Bob Johnston -known for being a bit wild himself and for bucking authority (as well as producing for Bob Dylan)- that stance changed. Johnston readily approved the country star’s idea.
Columbia remained tight-lipped about the performance and the release of Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison in 1968, still believing the album would never sell. But it did… an incredible 500,000 copies in one year. Sales were boosted by Cash’s tough guy image (he wore solid black clothing, used profane language, had a gravelly voice, and fought an on-again-off-again addiction to drugs). To help the cause along, Columbia released exaggerated ads claiming Cash was no stranger to prison. Which brings us to…
2. Cash never served time at Folsom, or any other prison.
He did seven short stints in jail, though, for drug- and alcohol-related charges. his song “Folsom Prison Blues” was instead inspired by the 1951 movie Inside the Walls of Folsom Prison. According to biographer Michael Streissguth, another influence was Gordon Jenkins’s song “Crescent City Blues,” from which Cash “borrowed” so heavily that when his version was recorded on the Folsom album, the original artists demanded -and received- royalties.
3. Cash inspired future country music star Merle Haggard.
Before the printing press, books were copied by hand, often by monks who worked for years on one volume. Those original manuscripts are rare now, and hard to read, but for the diligent student, they have a bonus. The illustrations, decorations, and marginalia often have nothing to do with the text, and are often much weirder and more vulgar than anything else in the book. These artworks are a study all their own, and have became quite popular as a glimpse into the medieval mind.
Kaitlin Manning, an associate at B & L Rootenberg Rare Books and Manuscripts, says part of the reason why modern viewers are so captivated by marginalia is because we expect this era to be so conservative. For example, few Monty Python fans realize that the comedy group’s silly animations are direct references to artwork in illuminated manuscripts. (Illuminated simply means decorated with gold or silver foil.) “I think it’s such a shock when you have this idea in your head of what medieval society was like,” says Manning, “and then you see these bizarre images that make you question your assumptions.” The wild mixture of illustrations is a challenge to our contemporary desire to compartmentalize topics like sex, religion, humor, and mythology.
Manning was first drawn to marginalia while studying at the Courtauld Institute in London, where she was able to work with some of the most significant illuminated-manuscript collections in the world, including those at the British Library. “I loved the idea that marginalia was such an overlooked part of the medieval experience,” says Manning, “so much that up until 20 or 30 years ago, scholars were completely uninterested and wrote it off as trivial or not meaning anything.”
Though the meaning of specific images is still hotly debated, scholars conjecture that marginalia allowed artists to highlight important passages (or insert text that was accidentally left out), to poke fun at the religious establishment, or to make pop-culture references medieval readers could relate to. We’ll probably never understand all the symbolism used in marginalia, but what have we learned about medieval life through these absurd images?
Manning tells us what we now know about strange medieval marginalia and what it means at Collectors Weekly. A couple of the illustrations might possibly be NSFW.
How can you not love the logic of scientists? This image is from SciencePorn.
It’s giveaway time! Neatorama and the Neatoramanauts Facebook page have teamed up with The Hidden Triforce to bring you more good stuff! The Hidden Triforce is a Legend of Zelda fansite that gamers will love. Neatorama has the t-shirts that everyone loves! In celebration of the partnership, we are giving away three t-shirts to three winners. But you gotta enter. Click below to get your name in to win a t-shirt from the NeatoShop and The Hidden Triforce. You have until Monday at noon to enter. Good luck!
Mary Poppins sings, dances, performs magical feats, and keeps a smile on her face while raising a banker’s kids -for $7.25 an hour. Minimum wage means he’d mostly likely pay her even less if it weren’t illegal. That can get to you over time, but Mary still keeps a smile on her face as she explains why she is quitting her job. Kristen Bell stars in the latest video from Funny or Die.
Fishfinger has completed their trilogy of art posts about the HBO series Game of Thrones. This one illustrates the various deaths on the show through the first four seasons. Actually, just the most important character deaths, because all of them would take up too much space! Since that concept contains massive spoilers, you’ll have to continue reading to see it.
If you need playlist for a class reunion or a theme party, or you just want a background playlist for your internet surfing, The Nostalgia Machine is here for you. Enter a year and the machine will give you the top songs of that year, each with an embedded video. Select a significant year, like the year you graduated from high school or went through puberty, and you can wallow in nostalgia for the rest of the day! Sorry, it only goes back to 1960. -via Metafilter
On Aug. 20, 2013, the Curiosity rover looked up from the Martian surface and saw an eclipse like you’ve never seen on Earth. The tiny moon Phobos passed in front of the sun, although the 14-mile wide moon is too small to cover it completely. And since Phobos is only 3,700 miles up (compared to our moon, which is 239,000 miles from Earth), the irregular shape of the satellite is visible. Phobos is on a trajectory that will eventually result in its death spiral, which you can read about at NPR. -via Digg
The forecast for La Crosse, Wisconsin, is for continuing mayflies. According to the National Weather Service, conditions are perfect for the emergence of mayflies along the upper Mississippi River, and the area teems with them every year. The swarm this year is thick enough to be caught on weather radar. What does it look like on the ground? Like this:
Success! Your email has been sent!