For most of the first half of her life, Elizabeth "Libba" Cotten lived in obscurity, outside the life of fame. But during her childhood years, she had been a lover of music and instruments. This she carried with her well into her adulthood when she became a domestic for a family of musicians, the Seegers. It wasn't until the 1960s when Libba Cotten would get recognized, record her own albums, and go on tour singing in various music, mostly folk, festivals. Her career began at the age of 66 and only at the age of 93 did she win her very first Grammy.
Ganbreeder is a web toy that will remix photos until they are terrifying. Select a creature (or an inanimate object; they don't care) and crossbreed it with other creatures. You can take a sea slug and "mix in genes" from a dog or a building or a plate of beans. You even control how much of each new addition goes into the finished picture, but nothing will prepare you for the horrifying results. Or you might end up with something completely normal, like when I mixed some mashed potatoes with a lobster and it just looked like dinner. Yeah, you have to sign up for an account in order to use it. -via Boing Boing
In grim scenes uploaded to social networks and described as "post-apocalyptic" by Russian media, Siberian residents in the cities of Prokopyevsk, Kiselyovsk, and Leninsk-Kuznetsky have shared images of their soiled, shadowy landscape – prompting at least one Twitter user to ask, "Is this what snow looks like in hell?"
The director of the Prokopyevskaya coal plant claims the black snow was the result of a broken shield at the facility, which exposed coal powder to the atmosphere – but has also said emissions inevitably escape, and "we can't tackle coal dust in the streets".
Cats don't seem to understand the concepts of personal space or privacy. When they want attention, they want it NOW. Whether you're doing your homework or brushing your teeth, they will get between you and whatever tasks you are trying to finish.
Britain's 99-year lease on Hong Kong was up in 1997, but it's not easy to integrate a British colony into the larger China. You might recall the fireworks at the handover, but there was a lot more involved in the celebrations of the day, and plans for a transition that continues today. Wendover Productions explains what happened during the handover. They don't touch on the most noticeable conundrum: Hong Kong traffic still uses the left side of the road, while cars in China travel on the right. -via Digg
Karl Lagerfeld, the creative director of the fashion empire Chanel, passed away Tuesday at age 85. He left behind his beloved companion Choupette, an 8-year-old red point Birman cat. Choupette has a modeling career, her own line of makeup, two personal maids, a chauffeur, a bodyguard, and 243,000 Instagram followers.
Ashley Tschudin, the manager of Choupette’s blog and social media channels, released a statement to People detailing how the cat is coping.
“During this time, Choupette is coping with the loss the best she knows how to, but at such a young age (and being a cat), that is challenging. Karl Lagerfeld is and will always be her ‘Daddy.’ She is choosing to put her best paw forward and hopes that her loyal fans and followers will continue with their outpouring of love to help ease the pain,” the statement reads.
Ze Frank has another edition of the delicious and ridiculous True Facts series, this one about various species of lemur. These relatively small primates are both amusing and endangered. Warning: contains potty humor and brief glimpses of lemur genitals and mating. -via Laughing Squid
You know all those movie scenes where the main characters walk away from a huge explosion? How accurate could that possibly be? And how about that time Indiana Jones hid in a refrigerator to survive a nuclear blast? Columbia University explosives engineer Rodger Cornell goes through quite a few of these famous film scenes to rate their accuracy and explain how real explosions work and the damage they can doing in real life. -via Geeks Are Sexy
The only thing most of us know about the German airship called the Hindenburg is that it caught fire in 1937, a disaster that was recorded on film with the announcer proclaiming "Oh, the humanity!" The Hindenburg had made 36 Atlantic crossings in its short life, for which passengers paid $400, equivalent to more than $7,000 today. It had cabins that could sleep 70 passengers, although they were small. No matter, because there was plenty of room to socialize in the dining room, lounge, writing room, bar, and even a smoking room. Take a peek into the luxury travel offered by the Hindenburg in a gallery of photos at Bored Panda.
You've probably never thought of it, but potatoes are a big part of our language. If you're a meat-and-potatoes type of guy who likes to veg out, you might be a couch potato. If you post a poor quality picture on the internet, you might be accused of taking it with a potato instead of a camera. Do you want fries with that? Potato idioms are global, and they go way back.
The records of the pre-Columbian and immediately post-contact Andes are not particularly good, but we do have some records that suggest that the potato had such a place in the Quechuan languages of the mountain population. According to a 17th-century Jesuit priest who spent time in these communities, the time a potato takes to cook was used as a shorthand division of time, so one might say that it took someone three pots of potatoes to build a roof. That continues to this day. According to the book Food, Power, and Resistance in the Andes: Exploring Quechua Verbal and Visual Narratives, by Alison Krögel, referring to potatoes can be used to cut a local down to size. If someone from the mountain region begins to put on the airs of a coastal resident of big-city Lima, a friend might say that they are “tan Cusqueño como la papa wayru,” meaning that they’re actually no more cosmopolitan than a local mountain potato.
Not all potato idioms are negative. Other languages use the potato to convey everything getting enough to eat to a lumpy shape. What these idiom have in common is their commonality, because everyone understands potatoes. Find out how potatoes have infused language at Atlas Obscura.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual as well as the Structured Clinical Interview for the DSM are some ways on how to diagnose a patient's mental health and if they suffer from mental disorders. It's not really the best way to diagnose someone, but it provides some insight on a person's thought life as well as their mental and emotional disposition. Now, whether it leads to the right conclusion is still a bit suspect but again, it does provide some form of roadmap where psychologists can begin to navigate a person's mental health. The following interview between Dr. Barron and William Perry shows the different questions within the SCID.
Over the past several decades, China has grown exponentially to become the economic powerhouse that it is today and has given its leader such immense power on the global stage. Of course, China had once been on a very strict path toward communism, where class inequalities would be abolished and everybody would have public ownership of property. Everyone will receive what they need from these publicly owned institutions. But trying to skip a step in what Marx calls the stages of historical development can lead a nation to crash and burn. So in the past decades, the Chinese government has been doubling back and boosting their economic power by allowing some form of capitalism to accumulate enough wealth. All of this, of course, is headed toward their goal of achieving communism. And that's the gist of what Chinese socialism is. But will it hold up? Recently, China has hit a bump on the road and their economic growth has slowed down. Will they be able to achieve their long-term goal of communism? Or will they go through the same financial crisis that the West had back in 2008? Only time will tell.
Ernest Borgnine, A-list actor and winner of the 1955 Academy Award for Best Actor, shocked the celebrity world when it was announced in 1962 that he had signed a contract to be the lead in a new TV comedy sitcom, McHale's Navy. Why would a film actor at the top of his game do such a thing? TV? Surely you jest, Ernie. However, this video tells how and why it came about and it is as surprising a story as is the man's himself. Here was an actor who had won an Oscar for playing a good natured butcher (Marty), who earlier had played a sadistic Army Sergeant (From Here to Eternity), and who was later to play a tough-as-nails outlaw (The Wild Bunch), a vicious boss (Willard), and a flinthearted Army General (The Dirty Dozen). Whatever made someone think he could convincingly do comedy is unclear, but, boy, was that ever the right design. From the IMDb:
These are the adventures of the misfit crew of PT-73 during World War II. They're one of the best fighting crews in the Navy, but break regulations when it suits them. Their commander, Lieutenant Commander McHale, is at times as roguish as his crew, but he puts his foot down when things go too far. They are assigned an Executive Officer, Ensign Parker, who is by-the-book, but too much of a klutz to command too much respect. They have a house-boy Fuji, who deserted the Japanese Navy, who wears a POW outfit, just in case he's caught, so he won't be shot. Their nemesis is Captain Binghamton and his aide Lieutenant Carpenter. They're initially stationed in the South Pacific, but moved to Italy in the last season.
The show ran for four seasons and was accompanied by two films, the latter of which did not include Ernest Borgnine because of schedule conflicts. It was again one of my father's favorite TV shows, he being a former Marine, and we never missed it - never. I have seen most if not all episodes and can honestly say that I have never seen a bad one. It too was a 'safe' program for families to watch and parents had nothing to worry about.
YouTube seems to contain many if not all episodes, and I have embedded three of them below, including the premier episode. The series has been in syndication ever since it ended in 1966 and so many may have seen it who otherwise probably would never have. If you have not experienced McHale's Navy, give it a try and you will be hooked. You can thank me later.