Miss Cellania's Blog Posts

New Fossil Animal Looks Like a Tulip

A prehistoric creature found in the Canadian Rockies has been named Siphusauctum gregarium, which is both a new genus and species. It lived 500 million years ago, when the area now nickenamed the "Tulip Beds" was underwater.
Siphusauctum has a long stem, with a calyx – a bulbous cup-like structure – near the top which encloses an unusual filter feeding system and a gut. The animal is thought to have fed by filtering particles from water actively pumped into its calyx through small holes. The stem ends with a small disc which anchored the animal to the seafloor. Siphusauctum lived in large clusters, as indicated by slabs containing over 65 individual specimens.

Lorna O'Brien, a PhD candidate in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Toronto and her supervisor Jean-Bernard Caron, curator of invertebrate palaeontology at the Royal Ontario Museum, report on the discovery today in the online science journal PLoS ONE.

"Most interesting is that this feeding system appears to be unique among animals. Recent advances have linked many bizarre Burgess Shale animals as primitive members of many animal groups that are found today but Siphusauctum defies this trend. We do not know where it fits in relation to other organisms," said O'Brien.


(Image credit: Royal Ontario Museum)

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The New Blue Marble

NASA has released a high-definition image of the Earth it calls Blue Marble 2012.
A 'Blue Marble' image of the Earth taken from the VIIRS instrument aboard NASA's most recently launched Earth-observing satellite - Suomi NPP. This composite image uses a number of swaths of the Earth's surface taken on January 4, 2012. The NPP satellite was renamed 'Suomi NPP' on January 24, 2012 to honor the late Verner E. Suomi of the University of Wisconsin.

The original Blue Marble image was taken in 1972 by astronauts aboard Apollo 17. Until today, it was my desktop image. NASA has made the new image available for download in several sizes. Link to story. Link to image. -via Buzzfeed

(Image Credit: NASA/NOAA/GSFC/Suomi NPP/VIIRS/Norman Kuring)

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The World’s First “Carphone”

On March 21, 1920, the Sandusky Register reported on an astonishing invention in which W. W. Macfarlane, traveling in a car (driven by a chauffeur), held a conversation with his wife back at the garage -500 yards down the road! The article is reprinted at Paleofuture. Link

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Fashion Princesses

DeviantART member viria13 put modern fashions on Disney princesses (and Anastasia, too). The artwork is lovely, but can someone tell me who "Kida" is? Link -via The Daily What

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To RP Salazar, with Love

(YouTube link)

A misdirected email connects two people 9,000 miles apart who turn out to share more than the same name. This is the latest animation from the Rauch Brothers for StoryCorps. How do they find such great stories? This is one that is included in StoryCorps new book All There Is: Love Stories from StoryCorps which will be available February 2. Link

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Who Does Google Think You Are?

If you don't toss your cookies on a regular basis, you leave a trail behind as you surf the web. But making any sense of that trail is a science that may be beyond the reach of automated analytics -at least for now.
Ars Technica’s Casey Johnston has started a fun new game: find out what Google guesses is your age and gender. These “inferred demographics” are based on the websites you visit and are tracked by a Google cookie; they are used for advertising purposes. Given Google’s controversial announcement Tuesday that users will not be able to opt out of new privacy changes, learning what the company thinks about you seems particularly useful, and informative.

The Google ad preference page shows my interests, which is actually evidence of my work plus the interests of the three teenage girls who also use my computer, often without changing to their own Google accounts. Then it guesses that I am male, age 24-34. Wrong on all counts. How is this useful to advertisers? These analytics are based on categorizing individuals based on the perceived behaviors of groups. In real life, we call that discrimination and try to teach our kids not to do it. Either way, there's a lot of room for error. How wrong are they about you? Link -via Metafilter

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Still Life

(vimeo link)

Artist Scott Garner gives us a depiction of a bowl of fruit on a table, named "Still Life." But this interactive artwork is anything but still! Link -via The Daily What Geek

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Cardboard Kitten Tank

Instructables member TigrisLi make a tank for her kitten out of cardboard, and posted the instructions so you can make one, too! Even if you don't want a kitty-sized cardboard tank, don't miss the short film she made of her kitten using it to blow the enemy away. Link -via Laughing Squid

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What Is It? game 211

Once again, it's time for our collaboration with the always amusing What Is It? Blog! Do you know what the object in this picture is? You can win even if you don't know!

Place your guess in the comment section below. One guess per comment, please, though you can enter as many as you'd like. Post no URLs or weblinks, as doing so will forfeit your entry. Two winners: the first correct guess and the funniest (albeit ultimately wrong) guess will each win a T-shirt from the NeatoShop.

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?

Check out the What Is It? Blog for more pictures of the details of this mystery thing. Good luck!

Update: the pictured item is a meat cleaver with an attached combination tool, which is for sale at eBay. The first person to identify it was Michael S. Gatlin, who wins a t-shirt for his efforts! Chuck Farkley came up with the funniest answer:

Pablo Picasso

mixed media with cleaver

So Chuck wins a t-shirt from the NeatoShop, too! Thanks to everyone who played this week. See the answers to all this week's mystery items at the What Is It? blog.

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When Larry Met Sergey

When Larry Met Sergey is the highly condensed story of Larry Page and Sergey Brin and the company they named Google. Scroll down for each chapter (slowly, because the graphics are in layers) and watch the men's hairstyles and clothing change over the years. Link -via the Presurfer  

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Boots and Cats

(YouTube link)

This makes no sense at all, but does that matter when a video has cats and boots and other stuff? It's even got a catchy chant! Animation by Henry Edmonds, with music by Robert Clouth. -via Buzzfeed

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Money Laundering

After the fire department came and found someone had pulled a false alarm, Louisville Metro Police responded to a call about a man acting very strange. They arrived to find Jose Veras of Radcliff, Kentucky, in an apartment building laundry room, stuffing money into a washing machine.
When officers arrived they allegedly found cash, "laying all over the area." Police also say that several residents were out in the hallways complaining about Veras was banging on their doors and running around.

Police eventually found Veras on the first floor in the laundry room, allegedly trying to stuff money into a washing machine. Officers say he did not live at the apartment, had no reason to be there and -- what's more -- was the one who pulled the fire alarm in the first place.

Police say they found over $1,000 scattered throughout the halls and in the washer.

Veras was arrested for trespassing. He apparently has a mistaken notion of what money laundering really entails. Link -via Arbroath

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Mal and Chad's New Book!

Comic artist Stephen McCranie has been very busy the past few months, and the result is a new book called Mal and Chad: Food Fight! featuring boy genius Mal and his talking dog Chad. To publicize the book, Stephen is running a special Fill in the Bubble Contest at his website. Your caption could win you a personalized comic portrait and the book! Link

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Celebrity Sleepovers

(video link)

New York comedian Mark Malkoff visited every Starbucks in Manhattan, raced a Big Wheel against a bus, and treated people to free cab rides. His latest stunt is to take a trip to Los Angeles and avoid hotel bills by bunking at various celebrity's homes. Thirteen of the people he contacted said, "Sure!" -Thanks, Mark!

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What Your Favorite Blog Says About You

Slackstory posted a list of blogs and the characteristics of those who like them. You’ve bought food from ThinkGeek? Are we really that geeky? I didn't even know ThinkGeek sold food (I tend to get my candy from the NeatoShop). There are plenty of other blogs listed, with even more in the comments, and you might get a kick out of what they say. Link

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(YouTube link)

Michel Gondry produced this ad for Sunshine Sakae, a Japanese department store. The store connection will eventually become clear, although you may be giggling too much to catch it. (via The Daily What)

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The Origin of the Beatles Haircut

Neatorama presents a guest post from actor, comedian, and voiceover artist Eddie Deezen. Visit Eddie at his website.  

New York Press Conference 1964

Reporter: Where you your haircuts come from?

George Harrison: Our scalps.

In their early years as a fledgling rock and roll band in the late 1950s and into the early 1960s, The Beatles each sported typical slicked-back, greased-up Tony Curtis/Elvis Presley type D.A. haircuts. In an early explanation as to the origin of the Beatles haircut, George was quoted as saying that he came out of the swimming baths one day, his hair had fallen down over his forehead, and he just left it that way.

The true derivation of the world famous coiffure is a bit more complex. In August of 1960, the newly-0named "Beatles" consisted of five members: John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, bassist Stu Sutcliffe, and a newly-hired drummer named Pete Best. The band was hired to play as series of gigs in August of 1960 in Hamburg, Germany. It was there that they met two people who were to have a profound effect on their future careers as icon and trendsetters: Astrid Kirchherr and Jürgen Vollmer.
Kirchherr was a very original and creative photographer. One night she saw The Beatles play at a local club in Hamburg called the Top Ten Club (she was talked into going by her boyfriend Klaus Voorman and fellow artist and friend Jürgen Vollmer). Astrid, Klaus, and Jürgen struck up an immediate and close friendship with the five young, talented, and slightly homesick young rock and rollers. Also, Astrid and bassist Stu Sutcliffe almost immediately fell in love.
Continue reading

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7 Movie Favorites Recast With Cats

You love movies; you love cats. Put them together, and you have seven delightful movie posters! See the rest at Next Movie. Link -via Buzzfeed

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Suburban Fishing

Remember this trick the next time you drop something out of a window and don't want to walk all the way downstairs to retrieve it. It helps if your vacuum cleaner is lightweight. Link -via John Walkenbach

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10 Misconceptions Rundown

(YouTube link)

C.G.P. Grey gives us ten more reasons we take anything we see on the internet with a grain of salt. You can always look for more information.  -via reddit

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You Don't Say

You can find puns and one-liners all day on Twitter if you follow the right people. Twaggies takes those one-liners and illustrates them in comic images. This one is from @yuckybot. See more of them at Go Comics. Link

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Archaeopteryx and its Feathers

Ryan Carney and his colleagues at Brown University released a scientific paper on the feathers of the Archaeopteryx today. Carney celebrated by having an Archaeopteryx feather tattooed on his arm, thereby gaining himself an entry in Carl Zimmer's science tattoo collection. But what about the Archaeopteryx?
The first fossil of Archaeopteryx was a single feather–the one that Carney has turned into a tattoo. It was discovered in 1861 in a limestone quarry near the town of Solnhofen and brought to Hermann von Meyer, one of Germany’s leading paleontologists at the time. As scientists would later determine, this exceptional feather was 145 million years old. Despite its antiquity, the feather looked much like the feathers on the wings of living birds.

The fossil was so extraordinary that Von Meyer wondered if some forger had etched it. After all, Solnhofen limestone was prized for making finely detailed lithographic prints. But then von Meyer compared the slab and the counterslab and found them to be identical.

Now 150 years later, we know a lot more about the Archaeopteryx and how it fits in the evolution of dinosaurs to birds. Read how many of these discoveries came about at The Loom. Link

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Family Reunion Dinner

(YouTube link)

Warning: This Chinese New Year video might cause you to run for your hankie. From Bernas, a rice distribution company. -via The Daily What

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Tour the Underground Missile Silo Home

You've probably seen the ad for this underground missile base in New York state that's been on the market for some time. Now you have a chance to take a virtual tour! Scout from Scouting New York went to the site and the owners were gracious enough to let him look around and take plenty of pictures. There's a nice house on top, and part of the underground has been renovated for use as a modern living area. Then there are parts that recall the facility's original use during the Cold War. Link -via the Presurfer

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Wastelander Panda

(vimeo link)

Mashups of two different but familiar stories are a common basis for internet videos, often because they are just plain strange. Can you imagine any stranger combination than Mad Max and Kung Fu Panda? Wastelander Panda is the story of a fighting panda set in a post-apocalyptic world. Epic Films produced this as part of a TV series in development. -Thanks, Marcus!

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The World's Ugliest Cars

This is the 1957 Aurora. We will never know what the public would have thought about it, as only one prototype was built, and it didn't work well enough to make it to its own press conference. Now wait, before you argue that the Aurora can't be the world's ugliest car, check out the huge collection of ugly cars at Dark Roasted Blend. They are all ugly in their own ways. Link

(Image credit: GATSBY Magazine)

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The Chemistry of Meringue

Not the dance, that's merengue, which has plenty of chemistry, too. This concerns that delicious sweet fluff that tops your lemon meringue pie or the lightweight candy sold at bake sales. It's made by beating egg whites into a foam, which can then be cooked. But getting it right is tricky. It may help to know the scientific reasons it might not turn out they way you expected. Smithsonian's Food and Think blog tells you all about the meringue that went wrong. Link

(Image credit: Flickr user wiserbailey)

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Did They Ever Win a Primary?

So far, three Republican presidential hopefuls have won one state primary or caucus each. Eventually, only one will be selected for the presidential race. Mental_floss looks back into previous election races for today's Lunchtime Quiz. You will be given ten politicians who ran for president unsuccessfully in the past, and you try to recall whether they ever won a state primary race or not. It's not easy! I was surprised to score 60%. Link

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(YouTube link)

This little short film appears to be a teaser for a longer story by effects designer Aaron Sims. If he is trying to raise interest in getting a studio to fund a feature film, this is the way to do it. Wouldn't you like to see the rest of the story? Link -via Geeks Are Sexy

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I Hate It When....

When I saw this at reddit, of course I entered the search term to see if it would autocomplete the same way for me, which it did, and the first search result is a Facebook page. Apparently, the phrase has been around for at least a few days. Link

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Profile for Miss Cellania

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