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Lava Crickets' Odd Lifestyle

What are lava crickets' secrets to living in a barren wasteland? That is what a group of researchers will try to find out as they set out for Kilauea's lava fields.

The problem with trying to study lava crickets is that they don't stay long in a certain area.

Led by Marlene Zuk, an entomologist at the University of Minnesota in St. Paul, the team hopes to understand how these insects have come to be such effective colonists in a hostile environment.

(Image credit: Alan Cressler/Flickr)


The Lost World (1925)

Look! It's Cap'n Huffenpuff! Oh, wait, that was last week. It's actually Wallace Beery in the role of Professor Challenger in the 1925 film The Lost World, although Professor Challenger was used by Bob Clampett as the model for Cap'n Huffenpuff. The film was also the inspiration for 1933's King Kong (both films involving the bringing back of a prehistoric creature to civilization) and other works of science fiction.

The Lost World was a faithful adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle's 1912 novel, with but a few deviations. Even today, in the age of Jurassic Park, it is quite watchable. From the IMDb:

In this 1925 silent era film, a Professor Challenger (Wallace Beery) leads a group of British explorers to South America, to prove to the civilized world that there exists a land of living prehistoric creatures. What the explorers find is exactly that ... a rugged Amazon plateau inhabited by all kinds of dinosaurs. It's a wonderful film concept befitting Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's adventure novel. The dinosaurs were brought to cinematic life via stop-motion animation, the first time that the then new technique had been applied, on such a grand cinematic scale. For its visuals alone, "The Lost World" is an important film. (The man who made the dinosaurs come alive is the same man who made King Kong come alive - Willis H. O'Brien.)

YouTube offers the complete film (although there are several versions due to various efforts at remastering) and it is embedded below. Grab the kids and see how they like Jurassic Park v1.0. At least they can talk during the film without anyone missing anything.

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Google, Facebook Defrauded by Lithuanian of Over $100 Million

One would think that the biggest tech companies in the world would have stringent safety and security measures to prevent them from being scammed.

But indeed they were victims of fraud attacks by Evaldas Rimasauskas who used business emails to trick employees and siphoned over $100 million into several bank accounts.

According to the indictment, Rimasauskas registered and incorporated a Latvian company with the same name as the Asian computer hardware manufacturer Quanta Computer Inc as reported by Bloomberg, and also opened multiple accounts at banks from Cyprus, Lithuania, Hungary, Slovakia, and Latvia to receive the fraudulent payments.
Today's DoJ release states that he "caused forged invoices, contracts, and letters that falsely appeared to have been executed and signed by executives and agents of the Victim Companies, and which bore false corporate stamps embossed with the Victim Companies’ names, to be submitted to banks in support of the large volume of funds that were fraudulently transmitted via wire transfer."

More on this from Bleeping Computer.

(Image credit: mohamed_hassan/Pixabay)


50 People Try to Poach an Egg

The first half of this video from Epicurious shows clueless cooks trying to poach an egg, beginning with the most clueless. Then we get the lowdown on how it's really done. I have never poached an egg, because I've seen it done and it doesn't seem appetizing. But since I have seen it done, I could do it if there was a reason to. And now you can, too. -via Digg


The Pink Trombone

The Pink Trombone is an interactive graphic that shows how the human voice works. The sound is produced in the larynx, and different sounds that produce language are caused by the actions of the tongue, palate, lips, and nasal cavity, all of which you can manipulate onscreen. Click around and explore what happens. You can hear the sounds of consonants changing as you close the oral cavity from the lips on back, from p to d to dr to w to g. Now change the shape of the tongue and do it again. I even managed to produce throat clicks. However, you are warned that the web toy may perform poorly on a Firefox browser, and sure enough, after some time I had to relaunch. Still worth it. -via Kottke


A Bullet, Some Lemonade, and A Bit of Imagination: How A Man Survived Being Shot in the Mouth

Certain circumstances can push someone so close to the edge that they get the sudden impulse to want to end their suffering as quickly as possible. However, in the case of this sailor from the Royal Navy, the attempt on his life was unsuccessful.

When the man was brought to Stephen Love Hammick, the navy surgeon observed the extreme agony of the man who was bleeding profusely from his mouth and the extent of damage that a pistol ball had done to his face, mouth, and neck.

Hammick tried every possible way to keep the man alive despite the pain that the man had to endure. The surprising method he used to usher a speedy recovery was the lemonade enema. Read on for the full story.

(Image credit: Thomas Morris)


Inside the Minds of Male and Female Serial Killers

A study on male and female serial killers' modus operandi have led researchers to determine how their methods differ which could be explained by psychological evolution. Of course, this is not to say that the patterns are fixed and that men and women will only stick to a certain method.

But this research does inform us about the motives, how men and women generally go about these crimes, and it would give us insight to help murder investigations.

While there is considerable public interest in serial killers, Harrison said there has been little research on these crimes, possibly because serial killers are relatively rare.
But while working on a previous study, Harrison started to notice a difference between male and female serial-killing patterns that she was interested in exploring.

(Image credit: Wikimedia Commons)


What Henry Hill Did After His Goodfellas Days

The 1990 movie Goodfellas was based on the life of mob informant Henry Hill. The film ended when he went into the witness protection program. The 1990 movie My Blue Heaven was also based on Henry Hill's life, except it was a fictionalized comedy that began with Hill's entry into obscurity. Nora Ephron, who wrote My Blue Heaven, got to know Henry Hill while her husband, Nicholas Pileggi, was writing his book Wiseguy, on which Goodfellas was based. It turns out that her comedy was pretty close to the truth. Henry Hill had quite a few adventures in the witness protection program.

With his Goodfellas era over, a man who had never known life outside the mob was unleashed on an unsuspecting world as one of us. In May 1980, when he sat down in the office of Ed McDonald, the prosecutor who was arranging his entrance into Witness Protection (WITSEC for short), Henry brought along two of his mistresses and tried to enroll them in the program along with his wife and children. It was the first in a string of unbelievable stunts he would pull while in the program.

The Hills hoped to be placed somewhere glamorous and warm, but they got Omaha, Nebraska. The lanky man with the thick Brooklyn accent might as well have been from another planet. For their first meal out, Henry took the family to Omaha-based-chain Godfather’s Pizza, as if to dare the Midwest to change him. It felt like he’d arrived at the ends of the earth, all flat land and sky, cows at pasture everywhere he looked. “It was like another country,” Henry recalled later. He claimed his body could never get off New York time, so he would be up an hour too early every morning, dressed to the nines in expensive suit and shiny loafers, nowhere to go. At the grocery store, he and an employee stared each other down over Henry’s request to be directed to the Italian food. He bought out their supply of Ronzoni lasagna noodles.

Hill kept in contact with some New York friends, got arrested rather often, and occasionally got his picture in the local papers, which drove WITSEC agents crazy. But the straw that broke the camel's back was Hill's sudden marriage to a hairdresser, despite the fact that he was already married with two children. Read the story of Henry Hill (aka Martin Lewis), his first wife, his second wife, and the private eye who exposed the arrangement, at Medium. -via Metafilter


Second Worst Earthquake in South Korea Trigged by Geothermal Plant

Many natural disasters are beyond our control. But there are some disasters that humans have had a hand at, influenced by the destructive activities we do.

In 2017, South Korea experienced their second worst earthquake in history but it wasn't a natural occurrence completely, as an investigation reveals that a geothermal plant in Pohang had caused it.

(Image credit: DESTRESS Project)


New York Mother Alley Cat Sneaks into Apartment Building - and Finds Humans to Help Her Family

A mother alley cat and her two kittens snuck into the basement of a Bronx apartment building one day. At first, residents though she belonged to someone because she was friendly; however, when no one claimed her, it became clear that she was a stray. The landlord couldn't let them stay there, so the person who found them took them to a shelter.

Jess Thoren, a volunteer with Animal Care Centers of New York City offered to foster the little family. She named the mother Claudia and the kittens Cassia and Iggy. The three soon settled into their new home.

Two weeks later, an orphaned kitten that needed fostering was brought to the same shelter. Thoren accepted the kitten, knowing she would be better off with an adoptive mom.

Claudia took to the waif right away and began caring for her as she did her own offspring.

This little blended family now has a bright future as beloved pets rather than strays wandering in the streets.


Play Boys

This surreal award-winning animation by Vincent Lynen has a lot going on. He says it's about "Macho's, guns, cars, motorcycles and hot girls." There's a lot of playing going on, but you have to wonder who is the winner. It may start slow, but it sure gets going when the shooting starts! -via Digg 


A Proud Naval Captain

It shouldn't take you long to identify who this seafaring hero is. Artist Booster Pang decided to "do a realistic 18th century style naval portrait of the one and only Captain Crunch." He looks as crusty as his signature breakfast, doesn't he? You can buy a print, poster, or accessories featuring the captain here. -via Laughing Squid


Time for Beany (1949-1954)

You may or may not have ever heard of Robert Clampett, who died in 1984, but his is one of the most interesting stories in the history of animation. He got his start at the Leon Schlesinger Studios (later bought out by Warner Brothers), where he worked under the supervision of legendary cartoon director Tex Avery. He soon became a cartoon director himself for Warner Brothers, where he turned out some of the best cartoons ever made, such as this and this.

After leaving Warner Brothers in the late 40's, he struck out on his own, as he had his own ideas and had tired of the corporate culture. Teaming up with a couple of then-luminaries in the world of humorous entertainment, in 1949 he began producing a TV series called Time for Beany, which was a live-action puppet show. From the IMDb:

Unbelievably, this show was done live 5 times a week for 6 years, from 1949 to 1955. Stan Freberg and Daws Butler played, respectively, Cecil and Beany, and it was produced by Bob Clampett, with all 3 sharing writing credits. It was about the adventures of a boy and his seasick sea serpent, and was a hit almost from the first episode.

That said, it doesn't for a moment convey the incredible inventiveness and hilarious insanity that went on during the show, and behind the scenes. They frequently ad-libbed, especially when they couldn't find the scripts.

The "Time for Beany" live show eventually became "Beany and Cecil", the animated cartoon that all us baby boomers loved in the early 60's. But the animation could never, no matter how much we loved it, surpass these live shows.

How popular was Time for Beany? From the IMDb:

It was rumored that Albert Einstein liked it so much, he stopped work every day to watch. He was addressing a group of Nobel prize winners in 1950, and stopped abruptly, telling his audience he had to leave since it was "Time for Beany". Groucho Marx of the Marx Brothers wrote that it was the only show adult enough for his young daughter Melinda to watch. In fact, Groucho even made "Time For Beany" references on his own popular early television program, "You Bet Your Life".

Actor Jimmy Stewart pleaded with Paramount not to change the show's air time so that he would not be forced to miss it. When actor Lionel Barrymore worked on the MGM set, studio head Louis B. Mayer forbade television sets on the lot because he felt they were a threat to the motion picture industry. So, Barrymore was forced to send his chauffeur to a local bar to watch "Time For Beany" and return to report on the plot developments in the puppet show when he wasn't able to see it himself because of the shooting schedule.

YouTube has numerous episodes and commentaries and several are embedded below. Note that the DVD box set contains some rather incredible commentary by the creators that cannot be found anywhere else.

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The Misunderstanding of The Scream by Edvard Munch

Edvard Munch's 1893 painting The Scream has become iconic, even inspiring an emoji. Everyone knows the painting, even if they don't know who did it. It's the image of a man screaming. Or is it?

A new exhibit at the British Museum seems to clear up a longstanding debate. The figure in the painting is not screaming, but hearing a scream.

Really? The wide-open mouth led us to believe the figure was screaming, but the hands over the ears could be a reaction to a scream. The terrified face lends itself to both interpretations. The evidence for the person hearing a scream is from Munch's diary, which you can read about at Quartz. -via Nag on the Lake


Loonshot Nursery: England's Genius Factory

When you put together the greatest minds in one room, we are sure to expect great innovations and discoveries to come from them, or so that's what we think would happen in such a scenario.

Being able to bounce off ideas with other people can give inspiration and motivation for these geniuses to uncover the principles of nature and help the rest of us understand the mechanisms of the world, in order for us to put it into practical use.

During the latter phase of the Renaissance and well into the Age of Enlightenment, many great minds sprung up all over Europe. But England had been one of the nations that made the most use out of their geniuses, and this was how they did it. Eventually, with these efforts, England was able to kickstart the Industrial Revolution.

(Image credit: Wikimedia Commons)

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