Tony Starch is …Iron Can! In an upcoming movie, he goes head-to-head with the super villain Fabrice Crimp, who is out to put a wrinkle in Starch’s world. Can Iron Man flatten Crimp before he runs out of steam? This parody trailer by Anders Wotzke and Michael Nixon was two years in the making. Wotzke says it’s because he’s lazy. -via Viral Viral Videos
Birdbox Studio has given us many delightful cartoons, so you’d think their Christmas card would be animated …and it is, sort of. What they have is an old-fashioned flip book animation with music and a special effect at the end. It’s not clear whether this is a single “card” they made to film or whether it has actually been mass-produced. Then again, it could be rigged with a bit of video magic. Either way, it’s gloriously odd and retro. If this is their Christmas card, you have to wonder how much money these guys spend on actual gifts! -via Tastefully Offensive
Look at this amazing cake! It’s got multiple references to events that happened in the TV series The Walking Dead. This image has been passed around Pinterest and Twitter for months with no reference to the artist who created it, although they deserve a golden spatula. It’s just one of the many Walking Dead-themed cakes in a collection at Uproxx. Who knew there were so many ways to incorporate zombies into cakes?
The first attempts at sex education in the U.S. over 100 years ago were to reduce the incidence of venereal disease (now called STDs). The medium of movies proved to be a valuable tool for disseminating information, although laws against pornography caused problems for those who honestly tried to educate. Public health concerns, changing laws, moral panic, and politics created a tug-of-war over sex education in schools (which continues today), although the military cut right to the chase in the war against VD. Sex education films for schools continued to demonize premarital sex, masturbation, and homosexuality, and didn’t even address venereal disease until 1959.
In Coronet’s 1947 film “Are You Popular?,” Jenny, the promiscuous high schooler, is shamed and compared unfavorably to proper, virginal Carolyn. The voice-over says, “Jenny thinks she has the keys to popularity, parking in cars with boys at night. When Jerry brags about taking Jenny out, he learns that she dates all the boys, and he feels less important. No, those who park in cars are not really popular, not even with the boys they park with. Not when they meet at school or elsewhere.”
“That was certainly a message in these films, which I think still exists today, that a young woman who is interested in sexual relationships, who maybe initiates sex, is seen as the ‘bad girl’—and that’s the girl nobody wants to sustain a relationship with.” Goodman says. “That was a burdensome message to many young women.”
Sex education films changed drastically in the 1970s, when movies were produced that would never be approved for schools today. You can read a fairly comprehensive history of sex education films going back to the beginning of motion pictures at Collectors Weekly.
Chef Thomas Keller owns the renowned Bouchon Bakery in Napa, California. Oliver Bernardino is a 23-year-old pastry cook in Vancouver who idolizes Keller and would love to work for him. Instead of sending a letter or a resume, Bernardino spent 70 hours baking and constructing an exact replica of the Bouchon Bakery out of gingerbread!
"I wanted to make something that I was truly inspired by, and would motivate me to bring out my best work," says Bernardino. So he meticulously studied the Bouchon Bakery cookbook, his own photos from the visit, and info on the Web to replicate the look, down to tiny details like a table stacked with Keller's signature TKOs, blue apron, and a roll of green painter's tape and a Sharpie, used in Keller's kitchens to mark containers. "It's a take on what I thought their version of a 'plate of cookies for Santa' would look like," he says. Other replica elements include a macaron tree, a stack of baguettes, and the bakery's signature yellow awnings. "I was also really happy with how the benches and garbage bins came out," he says.
Bernardino’s gingerbread bakery is now on display in an exhibit called Gingerbread Lane at the Vancouver Hyatt, to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Read more about it and see pictures from all angles at San Francisco Eater. -via Messy Nessy Chic
Vat19, who brought us the gummy peppers, offers a 26-pound gummy candy in the form of a python. The Gummy party Python measures 84 inches long and packs in 36,000 calories. Of course, you don’t want to eat it all yourself, do you? It’s said to contain over 300 servings, which is some party. It could make a good gift for the right person -the candyholic on your list. The Party Python comes in two flavors, but both are sold out right now (they expect more December 17th). You can see more pictures and a video at the product page. -via Geeks Are Sexy
George Strother and his wife, of Escondido, California, thought they felt an earthquake early Wednesday morning. It was only when an Escondido police officer knocked on their door that they found out a car had crashed through the roof of their garage! A BMW had broken through the roof and landed on Strother’s Nissan Pathfinder. His Mazda Miata was also damaged by the falling roof. The driver of the BMW, which was loaned out from a car dealer, didn’t stick around to face the damage. The Strother’s home sits around twenty feet below a roadway, and police estimate that the driver of the BMW took a turnoff too fast. The garage can be repaired, but the two cars may be totaled. -via Arbroath
(Image credit: George Strothers)
Santa Claus is an extremely busy man this time of year, what with corporate and TV appearances, meeting children at schools, public and private parties (which he charges big time for), and hospital visits (which are free). But Claus took some time to talk to Elizabeth Segran at Fast Company.
If you’re wondering why I’m referring to this bearded man in his sixties from Valley Stream, New York—not the North Pole—as Santa Claus, well, it's because Santa Claus is his legal name. (And no, he won't give up his given name.) He officially changed it two years ago. "I was having a difficult time convincing kids that I was the real deal," Santa tells me. "Kids would be confused and upset, asking me where my sleigh and reindeer were when they saw me leaving the party in my pickup truck. I needed to convince them that I was really Santa Claus, so now I can pull out my driver’s license or my insurance card and it says right there: Santa Claus."
Claus talks about the strange events that led him to become Santa Claus, how his December schedule is going, and what he does the rest of the year. -via Digg
(Image credit: Valerie Lapinski for Fast Company)
Here we have NASA’s song parody of Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass.” It’s a natural! The song and video were created by the Pathways Interns of NASA's Johnson Space Center. That’s the same student group that did the parody song NASA Johnson Style a couple of years ago (although probably not the same students). This song is about the Orion project, which may someday take us into deep space. -via reddit
Every year since 1966 the people of Gävle, Sweden, erect a huge straw goat for Christmas. The traditional Gävle Goat went up the the last weekend in November this year. The big question is: will it survive until Christmas? Many of the goats have been the victim of arsonists over the years. How many? Atlas Obscura plotted the fates of each goat since 1966 and produced a timeline memorializing those that did not survive the holiday season.
The graphic above is just the beginning of the timeline; you’ll need to scroll right at the site to ponder the 37 unfortunate events that have befallen the goat over the years, which include auto accidents, attack by fireworks, and a kidnapping by helicopter. To keep up with this year’s Gävle Goat, you can follow it on Twitter and check out the Gävle webcam.
Champagne is a lie! Your sparkling wine doesn’t have to come from France to be authentic. Here are six products that can really only be produced in one place on the globe.
1. Cowichan Sweaters
Long before it accompanied him on his many misadventures, Jeff “The Dude” Lebowski’s bulky, brown sweater was a sartorial staple of he Pacific Northwest. Known as a Cowichan, the outerwear has been hand-knit by indigenous people in British Columbia since the 1800s, when Scottish settlers and missionaries first introduced the Indians to knitting. (They’d been weaving their garments from goat hair in previous centuries.) The distinctive sweater made waves at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair; since then, the shops in Vancouver have been brimming with Cowichans, all showcasing similarly beautiful tribal patterns. So how can you spot a fake in a crowd? Throw some water on it. Real Cowichans aren’t just warm- they’re waterproof! Because they’re made with untreated wool, the garments contain enough lanolin (a waxy substance produced by wooly animals) to keep sweaters dry.
2. Vidalia Onions
(Image credit: Yumion)
Snickers bards and Tootsie Roll Pops weren’t the only sweet things to come out of the Great Depression- onions belong on the list, too! In 1931, Georgia farmer Mose Coleman planted a batch of the pungent bulbs but was shocked when the onions turned out so mild that they could be eaten like apples. It turns out, the low sulphur content in East Georgia’s sandy soil was perfect for turning plain old onions into dirt candy. Over the next 50 years, the grocery chain Piggly Wiggly made Vidalia onions a produce aisle superstar by distributing the veggies across the South. Meanwhile, local farmers won protection for their distinctive crop in the 1980s; as a result, only 13 counties and portions of seven others can legally call their onions Vidalias. Today, the state pays tribute to its favorite veggie with an onion museum, where visitors can learn about Vidalias while hanging out with Yumion, Georgia’s official onion mascot.
3. Cuban Cigars
Did your family ever pull that “Instead of buying toys this year…” business with you? If you’re talking to a young child, you better be talking about going to Disneyland, where you’re sure to get souvenir toys. Getting a “family gift” like a new TV never quite cut it when all you ever heard from your friends and your old TV was toys, toys, toys. Once the kids are around ten or eleven, it just might work. This comic is from The Gentleman’s Armchair. -via reddit
Christmas is a great time for cats: so many toys, boxes, ribbons, lights, and boxes to play with -and even a tree in the house! Timo the Ragdoll Cat has a great time during the tree decoration. And there’s a bonus, as many of the ornaments appear to be furry. You may as well just hang cat toys from the tree!
I first saw this newspaper clipping at Bad Newspaper a couple of weeks ago. Today I found out where it came from. The story is from Forge Press, the student newspaper at Sheffield University. You can see the full page here. The paper is to be commended for saying what many were already thinking.
In case you are confused, the British actor is named Benedict Cumberbatch. I think.
James Houston created a Christmas greeting for the Glasgow School of Art last year using obsolete equipment to generate old-school synthetic speech singing “The Carol of the Bells.” The idea is about repurposing Christmas gifts of the past.
The ensemble: A collection of vintage Mac computers, a Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum + 1 and a SEGA Mega Drive perform a rendition of "Carol of the Bells" with lyrics re-written by Robert Florence & Philip Larkin in the Mackintosh Library at The Glasgow School of Art. Jacket by Ten30.co.uk (Alan Moore, GSA Textiles alumnus 2008).
Bruce Farrer has been a high school teacher for decades. He gives every student an assignment to write a ten-page letter to the person they will be twenty years from now. It’s not an uncommon assignment, but Farrer goes the extra mile by keeping those letters for twenty years, and then he sends them! What a gift it is to receive ten pages that show what you were like twenty years ago. This profile of Farrer’s ongoing project not only illustrates his dedication, but is also a commentary on the lost art of letter-writing. -via Viral Viral Videos
When anyone visits Iceland, they find the place so beautiful and surreal that they are compelled to make a travelogue. Alex Cornell wanted his to be a little different, so it is framed as an expedition to another planet, recalled twenty years after the fact. It works surprisingly well!
We visited the planet Iceland in August of 2014. This is what we remember. Scattered memories from a strange and beautiful place. Not soon to be forgotten.
Melissa Tabor and Judd Doramus of Garden City, Idaho, were riding horses Saturday when their dog, a Jack Russell named Baby Dog, ran off. They searched for her, but it was Sunday before a neighbor found her with her head stuck in a pipe. The family disconnected the pipe section, but could not remove the pipe from the dog’s head.
Melissa brought the pipe and her dog to the WestVet Emergency Hospital on Sunday. Upon arrival, Dr. Andrea Oncken, Board Certified Veterinary Criticalist, determined that while the dog’s condition was stable, she was suffering from dehydration and shock. The ER team anesthetized Baby Dog, hoping that she would relax and enable the crew to gently remove her head from the pipe. When these attempts were unsuccessful, the Boise Fire Department was contacted.
The Boise Fire Department cut through the pipe with a saw, in an operation that took the better part of an hour. The procedure was done outside the clinic, due to sparks from the saw.
This is not the first time that Baby Dog has made the local news. The Kuna Melba News reported in March 2013, that Baby Dog and her housemate “Little Dog” slipped Melissa’s truck into gear while attempting to get some doggie treats from the dashboard. Fortunately the pair of Doggie bandits only caused minimum property damage.
The ancient architectural feature known as windcatchers, or Bâdgir, made living in the Middle East bearable. These towers are built with openings facing the wind above and direct the air down into the building. When the wind isn’t blowing, they can act as a chimney and funnel heat upward. It’s not air conditioning, but the moving air makes it possible to stay inside when the sun is baking the earth. The Persian design spread to Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and other parts of the Middle East where they are still in use today. Even new buildings take advantage of this ancient idea to beat the heat. Read more about windcatchers and see pictures of them from many places at Kuriositas. -via the Presurfer
(Image credit: Flickr user ninara)
Roger Baillon collected sports cars in the 1950s and ’60s. In the 1970s, a financial reversal led him to sell off about 50 cars, but the remaining 60 were left at his property in western France, where they sat untouched until earlier this year. Baillon died, and his son Jacques, who inherited the cars and did not know their value, died last year. The collector’s grandchildren have decided to sell cars. The Baillon Collection includes models like a 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spyder and a 1956 Maserati A6G 2000. Matthieu Lamoure of Artcuriel Motorcars is excited about the upcoming auction.
Mr. Lamoure said the sale will be a no-reserve auction, adding that Artcurial has not yet announced presale estimates for most of the cars. He did, however, have estimates for two of them. The Ferrari California, which he said once belonged to Alain Delon, a French actor who had been photographed in the car with the actress Jane Fonda in 1964, was expected to sell for $11.7 million to $14.8 million. The Maserati A6G 2000, he said, was expected to sell for $985,000 to $1.5 million.
Many of the most avid internet users grew up pin the ‘90s, and have fond memories of the decade. However, of you were young then, you might now know all these 90 facts in this week’s mental_floss List Show. Get ready for a wave of nostalgia! If you are older, the ‘90s might have skipped by while you weren’t paying close attention. That would be me- I was busy going through a mid-life crisis. But I well remember Miss Cleo! Once I was running a radio contest and picked up the phone to tell someone they were the sixth caller, and Miss Cleo started talking. The joke was, if she were really psychic, she would have been the winning caller number nine. John Green has some amazing trivia that you never thought of -like how ‘90s boy bands were named. I never had a clue. -via mental_floss
Here’s a video that is enjoyable two ways. Leila Elkhalidy is playing a medley of tunes from the video game Mega Man 2. She’s really good, and it could have been just a nice music video. But her cat decides the sequence needs a visual element -oh, what am I saying? The cat decides she needs to pet him instead of fooling around on the piano! Who will win in the end? -via Daily Picks and Flicks
In my neck of the woods, people occasionally talk about how lucky someone is to get a job at UPS. Sure, the pay is great, and the position is fairy secure compared to other private-sector jobs in an at-will state. However, UPS drivers earn every cent of their pay.
1. They’re always being watched.
UPS knows time is money, and it is obsessed with using data to increase productivity. Jack Levis, UPS's director of process management, told NPR that “one minute per driver per day over the course of a year adds up to $14.5 million,” and “one minute of idle per driver per day is worth $500,000 of fuel at the end of the year.” The hand-held computer drivers carry around, called a DIAD (short for Delivery Information Acquisition Device), tracks their every move. Ever wondered why your UPS man can’t stick around to hear your life story? He probably has between 150 and 200 stops to make before the end of the day, and he’s being timed. “You’re trained to have a sense of urgency,” says Wendy Widmann, who drove for 14 years. “Be polite, but you gotta go.” Sensors inside the truck monitor everything from whether the driver’s seat belt is buckled to how hard they’re braking, and if the truck’s doors are open or closed. All this data is compiled for UPS analysts who use it to come up with time-saving tactics.
And of course they are in a hurry: The trucks have no heat, A/C, or radios. But if you do a good job and stick around, there are rewards. Those are just a few of the things you’ll learn about UPS drivers in a list at mental_floss.
(Image credit: Flickr user Paul L Dineen)
What can you say about the great comedic genius Mel Brooks? He has given us some of the funniest movies in history. Which of Mel's wonderful films made you laugh the most? Was it The Producers? Blazing Saddles? Young Frankenstein?
A brilliant writer, director and performer, Mel is a true comedy immortal. Here's a few facts you may not have known about Mr. Mel Brooks.
* Mel is one of the rare performers who have won an Emmy, an Oscar, a Grammy and a Tony award.
* He has three films in AFIs list of Funniest Movies of All-time: Blazing Saddles (1973) is #6, The Producers (1968) is #11, and Young Frankenstein (1974) is #13.
* Although Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein are thought of as his most popular films, his biggest video sales come from Spaceballs (1987) and Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993).
* Mel was a small, sickly child who was often picked on by his classmates.
* He was a combat soldier in World War II. Mel was a corporal in the U.S. Army stationed in North Africa. One of his duties was defusing land mines before the infantry moved in.
* As a soldier, Mel took part in the Battle of the Bulge.
YouTube stars got together, like they do every year, to mashup the music and memes of the year before we turn out calendars. The music is pretty good, but it’s a couple minutes into the video before we see any recognizable memes- and then they are overwhelmed by TV stars. Maybe 2014 on the internet won’t be as memorable as some other years. Maybe we’re all just a little too jaded. A list of all the folks who contributed can be found at the YouTube page. -via Uproxx
Physics Girl shows us what happens when you are lucky enough to have your own pool, a plate, and a sunny, windless day. All that would be nice even if you didn’t try this physics experiment! She keeps saying “This is really cool!” but she’s absolutely right. I had no idea fluids would move that way, and when she added food coloring, my mind was blown. In the comments, she expressed surprise that it worked out as well as it did, even though she already knew the physics involved. Physics Girl has quite a few other really neat videos at her YouTube channel. -via Metafilter
This is a Canada Lynx, a species that has been re-introduced to Colorado over the past 15 years after being almost wiped out in the U.S. Look at those big feet! They act as snowshoes, as the cat evolved to hunt in snow. The picture was taken at the Frisco Creek Wildlife Hospital and Rehabilitation Center in Colorado, formerly the Dieterich Native Species Treatment Center. You can read about the center at Mud ’N Feathers.
The center's founder Susan Dieterich commented on the post and assures us the lynx in the picture was fine, just sedated for a health check. A lynx can look amazingly cuddly when asleep, but dangerous when alert, because they prefer to avoid human contact. -via reddit
Vi Hart partnered with game designer Nicky Case to create Parable of the Polygons, a game that illustrates how human nature (and math) makes diversification difficult, whether it’s a neighborhood, school, work place, or even a circle of friends. Your goal is to make everyone happy by moving the unhappy polygons into a group that makes them happy. They all prefer a diverse group, but are unhappy if less than a third of the others in the group resemble themselves. Sounds easy, right? It’s not.
What's up with that? These are good shapes, nice shapes. And yet, though every individual only has a slight bias, the entire shape society cracks and splits.
Small individual bias can lead to large collective bias.
There are several playing boards, in which you can adjust the polygons’ bias or happiness standards. Try out all the different scenarios to see how flexibility makes all the difference -but only if you can get everyone on board. In the real world, there will always be those who are never happy, even if we somehow achieved a shared standard of happiness. -via Metafilter
Maika Keuben, who made the awesome Cthulhu Christmas trees in years past, Just finished a festive Cthulhumas Wreath Creature for the holidays! It’s one of several Cthulhu holiday projects she’s working on -I can’t wait to see what else she comes up with. The details are in this imgur album. Don’t miss the captions- they are delicious!
You can see more of Keuben’s Cthulhumas projects in this Flickr set.
(Image credit: Flickr user (OvO))
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