When Christmas Cards More Disturbing Than Merry

Oh yes, it's a jolly Christmas indeed when you walk through the neighborhood and spot a gremlin lying in wait with a baseball bat, ready to brain you. Is this image supposed to engender good cheer and happy holidays? It wasn't exactly an outlier among Christmas cards from 100 years ago or more, which could be fairly disturbing. It could have been an attempt to elicit a laugh at other people's expense. As Mel Brooks once said, “Tragedy is when I stub my toe. Comedy is when you fall into an open manhole and die.” Maybe that's what the designer of this card had in mind.



"Thoughts of you." That almost seems like a threat! But since there were a lot of these weird Christmas cards around in those days, maybe they were taken as the comedy they were intended to be. You can see a roundup of 20 disturbing vintage Christmas cards at Mental Floss.   


The True Story Behind Cocaine Bear



Now that the movie Cocaine Bear is being promoted as "based on a true story," people are clamoring for the real account. You can read the story of the drug dealer, Andrew C. Thorton II, at Wikipedia or in the book The Bluegrass Conspiracy. Thorton's last adventure was also the basis for a storyline in the TV series Justified.

But what about the bear? I realized that our previous post from years ago is suffering from link rot, so you might wonder how the bear came to be stuffed and displayed at Ky for Ky's Fun Mall. The bear, affectionately named Pablo EscoBear after the notorious drug lord, didn't leave any documentation of its life outside of eating 75 pounds of cocaine. However, his death was just the beginning of a wild story that involves a necropsy, taxidermy, Las Vegas, Waylon Jennings, a traditional Chinese medicine shop, theft, and wildfire. Read the whole crazy story at Ky for Ky.  -via Metafilter


See the First Trailer for Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny



The film previously known only as Indiana Jones 5 now has a title: Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny. We don't yet know what the title means, but we do know a few things about the movie. The opening set piece is set in the 1940s, which required computer "de-aging" to make Harrison Ford look like he did in Raiders of the Lost Ark. The rest of the movie is set in 1969 against the backdrop of the space race. Indy is supposed to be 70 years old in the film, well in line with the 80-year-old Ford's abilities. Mads Mikkelsen plays the villain, which is loosely based on Werner Von Braun. Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny will open in theaters on June 30, 2023. -via reddit


Mechanical Engineer Studies the Sounds of Human Excretory Functions

The magazine Inverse reports that David Ancalle, a doctoral student in mechanical engineering at Georgia Tech, is leading a team of researchers that is studying the sounds of excretion in precise, scientifically measured detail.

The Synthetic Human Acoustic Reproduction Testing (S.H.A.R.T.) machine, which is pictured above, simulates sounds of human excretion. Ancalle hopes that his team will be able to create an artificial intelligence that will use the S.H.A.R.T. to detect health problems by the sounds that people make while excreting urine and feces. The program that they have so far can correctly identify a particular excretory event 98% of the time.

Ancalle is especially interested in diarrhea. He envisions a future in which the sound of this experience would be recorded by a smart toilet and provide an early alert about a potential disease outbreak. The device pictured above a prototype for a sound detector that could be installed in bathrooms.

This is our future.

-via Dave Barry | Photos: Georgia Tech Research Institute


Mother Exhumes Daughter’s Corpse After Funeral Service Refused To Proceed With An Open Casket Service

This is just devastating.

A grieving mother has decided to bring back her daughter’s buried corpse after hiring a suspicious funeral company that refused to proceed with an open casket service. 

Teresa Moraitis, 82, spent over $10,200 on Peter Tziotzis’ Orthodox Funeral Services to lay her daughter to rest. She paid for an open casket service and embalming for her child, Helen Moraitis, 56. 

Five months later, she decided to exhume her corpse after suspecting the funeral staff stole the jewelry Helen was buried with. What the mother saw upon getting her daughter back was depressing. 

First, her suspicions were correct as the gold chain and locket she was supposed to be buried with, along with two bracelets and a diamond ring were all missing. 

Second, and sadder news than the previous discovery, is that her daughter was naked, unembalmed, and stuffed in a blue body bag. Helen was also found to have one of her arms forced behind her head. Usually, the deceased have their hands on their chest or abdomen. 

Peter Tziotzis was later arrested over the allegations but was then released without charge. As of the moment, police investigations are still ongoing. A new funeral service for Helen will be held.  

Image credit: Pavel Danilyuk/Pexels


The Best Places to Go in 2023

Now that the year is coming to a close, maybe you’re looking for potential places to visit in the new year. Whether it’s for coming up with a new bucket list, or just some dream places you’d like to visit during the next set of holidays, here are some of the great places that you can try! 

A short guide was created by Condé Nast Traveler editors from the U.S. U.K., Spain, and India to help travelers create their itineraries for the next year– and honestly, we think these places are amazing! The list contains a good mixture of known areas and some unknown regions, or as the editors called it, “the lesser-trammeled, even once-forbidden, regions.”

The list contains 23 places and has a lot of variety. From ancient rainforests to historical landmarks to blossoming culinary scenes, to areas filled with rare art exhibits, and more!  

Take a pick from any of their recommendations here! 

Image credit: Liam Spicer/ Pexels


Books That Can Make You Smarter

There’s an assumption that book readers are very smart. It is true that book readers tend to be very eloquent, as their vocabulary expands as they read more titles. Additionally, they could also get new information from the literature they read.

In short: yes, reading can make you a bit smarter by making you more informed. There’s absolutely no harm in using this method to be more knowledgeable about different topics out in the world. If you’re looking for the best titles that can make you smart, The Atlantic has got you covered! 

The American magazine has compiled a list of the best non-fiction books that can help guide new readers to grasp deeper and unfamiliar concepts. They also reassure their readers that their recommended books are very easy to digest! 

These books mostly focus on deep and philosophical questions, such as the meaning and relationship between life and death. Additionally, some of their recommendations are focused on taking a deep dive into the world by looking into the economic patterns that emerged, as well as the history of different events such as the American census. 

Check the full book list here if you’re interested. Although, if we may also share our opinion, you can also look at fiction titles to be a bit more knowledgeable as well. What’s important is you can easily read, understand, and enjoy the book you’re reading!  

Image credit: Element5 Digital/ Pexels


What Are Car Washes Really Doing To Your Car?

Automatic car washes are an experience and a convenience. There are certainly cases where you can hire somebody to wash your car for you, or drive them straight to a machine that will quickly and easily clean your vehicle without any hassle. 

Many people tend to lean towards these services as manually washing these big devices can be a chore, and be quite time-consuming. Additionally, not everyone has enough space where they can happily splash away their car’s grime and dirt. 

While convenience can be offered by these automatic car washes, it still begs the question: are they really good for your car in the long run? Well, Slash Gear has looked up the potential side effects of frequently running a vehicle into any of these establishments. 

One of the most notable things is that these services can break up the paint in your car. This is because the machines will slap and have contact with the car’s paint. Also, automatic car washes tend to increase friction while removing dirt, so what happens is they tend to cause scratches and swirl marks. 

Car Magazine UK also shared that the big rotating brushes you can see inside are usually poorly maintained and can cause cross-contamination of dirt from other cars, which can lead to car paint becoming dull. 

Image credit: Pixabay 


New Minerals Found Inside a Meteorite

Scientists have discovered a new set of minerals in a meteorite that landed in Somalia in 2020. These new resources were found in a 70-gram slice from the said celestial object, which was called the El Ali meteorite. 

Taking a slice from the El Ali, experts have classified it as an Iron IAB complex meteorite, thanks to the meteoric iron and tiny chunks of silicates that compose it. 

Aside from discerning its type, they have also discovered the new minerals by comparing them with versions of them that had been previously synthesized in a lab, discerning that they were quite new from what the records the researchers had. 

These minerals were named elaliite after the meteor and elkinstantonite after Lindy Elkins-Tanton, the managing director of the Arizona State University Interplanetary Initiative. 

She is also the principal investigator of NASA’s upcoming mission Psyche, which aims to investigate the mineral-rich Psyche asteroid for evidence of how our solar system's planets formed.

These resources will be further investigated by experts to understand how El Ali was formed. Aside from that, they are also looking at how minerals can be applied to material science.   

If you’d like to learn more about the meteorite or the new minerals, check out Live Science’s full report here! 

Image credit: University of Alberta Meteorite Collection


Why a Solid Ball Will Stay on a Spinning Turntable



I had never heard of the Turntable Paradox until just now, but it makes me want to search through the basement for a working turntable and a billiard ball. Steve Mould explains how a solid ball set on a turntable will just roll along and chill for quite some time before eventually leaving off the side. Other objects are affected by centripetal force and get slung off pretty quickly. What's going on here? Mould explains the physics behind the Turntable Paradox, but it still looks like magic to me.  -via Laughing Squid


The Most Uniquely Popular Toy in Every Nation

You might look at these maps and think, "come on now, there couldn't be that much variety in which toys each nation likes best." And you'd be right. The clue is in the title here. Last year, ToyZone made maps of each nation's most popular toy, and the results were about what you'd expect- game consoles ruled the world, with a few places preferring Barbies or LEGO. That might be accurate, but it makes for a boring map. In their map this year, they gathered the data on the toys with the most Google searches in each country, and then compared each answer with the popularity of toys in surrounding nations. So while these toys are popular, the "uniquely" part comes in when a toy is searched more in one nation than the others. That's why Lincoln logs are the toy mapped for the US. It's not that Lincoln Logs are all that popular; it's that no one else in the world plays with them. The rest of the world buys LEGO, Duplo, or Nanoblock building toys.

Personally, I think these maps would be more useful if they were broken down into age groups, but that's difficult when your research consists of analyzing Google searches. There are world maps of toys broken down into categories, such as dolls, building blocks, board games, and video game consoles. See the maps for each continent, category, and the world at Toy Zone. -via Metafilter


Cocaine Bear is Finally a Movie



A drug transport went bad in 1985 and led to a plane ditching $15 million dollars worth of cocaine, which landed over the woods of Georgia. A bear found some of the cocaine and ate 75 pounds of it. The story became a legend in Kentucky, where the drug smuggler was from (he died parachuting from that flight). The bear is even on display in Lexington! Ever since the story came out in the papers, people have been talking about the movie that should be made from the story. For a long time, it fell into that category of "not believable enough." But times have changed. Now, Cocaine Bear has become a reality.

Watch the first trailer above, which contains several F-bombs. The movie appears to be a bloody gore-fest that is also a comedy. It has been highly fictionalized, since no one actually encountered the bear before it died, but can you blame them for bringing us an extra-large bear in a cocaine rage? Cocaine Bear will be in theaters February 24th. -via reddit


Detailed Facial Reconstructions of People From Varying Periods Made Possible With New Scientific Techniques

Before, archaeologists probably relied on artists to create reconstructions of the remains they found on sites of interest. Or maybe they did the sketches and recreations themselves.

But thanks to numerous advances in modern science and technology, researchers are now able to reconstruct the visages of people who lived in the past with great accuracy and extreme attention to detail.

Live Science compiles 30 facial reconstructions of people from varying periods, from the Stone Age to the early modern period. Check out the many pictures at the site, and see what these people might have looked like as they lived on Earth.

(Image Credit: archiv MZM/ Live Science)

(Image Credit: Chris Rynn/ Live Science)


Meta’s Cicero Bests Humans In The Board Game Diplomacy

There has been immense growth in artificial intelligence in the decades that have gone by. It has grown to a point where it could beat us at our own games. Literally! Now, it seems that AI has developed even further.

Chess Grandmaster Garry Kasparov was beaten by an AI called Deep Blue. In 2015, the AI called AlphaGo defeated 9-dan Go master Lee Sedol. This time around, it's different, as Meta AI recently announced Cicero, claiming that this is the first "to achieve human-level performance in the strategic board game Diplomacy."

While Diplomacy is also a board game similar to chess and Go, Diplomacy has something more than a set of rules. In this game, players need to talk with each other. In other words, playing this game requires good communication skills. And according to Meta, Cicero has those.

Meta trained Cicero using an online version of the board game via webDiplomacy.net. Over time, Meta reported that Cicero have achieved "more than double the average score" of the top 10 percent of human players.

But why is Cicero successful in the game? The answer lies in its programming. Meta combined AI models for strategic reasoning (like AlphaGo) and natural language processing (like GPT-3) to create the AI. Using these models, Cicero can coordinate with other players.

Meta notes that this technology could be a way to "ease communication barriers" between us and AI. However, the same technology could also be used for harm by impersonating people to manipulate individuals. And so, Meta hopes that other programmers build their codes "in a responsible manner."

More about this over at Ars Technica.

(Image Credit: Meta AI/ Ars Technica)


The Complicated Science of Recommended Daily Water Intake

You've probably heard people say that you need to drink at least 8 glasses of water daily. But while there is clearly a benefit to keeping yourself hydrated, there is, unfortunately, no definitive rule on how much the recommended daily water intake is.

In an attempt to shed light on how much water the average person needs, researchers conducted a metabolism experiment on over 5,600 people from 23 countries. These participants were given a 5% "doubly labeled water" — a type of water with an unusual isotope of hydrogen called deuterium. This water, which is 10% heavier than regular water, is used in experiments to determine how fast chemicals move through the body.

The study found that water turnover (the total amount of water input and output) varied depending on factors such as age, sex, and body size, to name a few. Men aged 20-30 had the highest water turnover level, and this decreased after age 40. On the other hand, women aged 20-55 had the highest water turnover levels, and levels decreased after 65. The study noted that newborns had the highest water turnover, which is 28% daily.

To sum things up, the research states that "one size does not fit all for drinking water guidelines."

More about this study over at ScienceAlert.

(Image Credit: congerdesign/ Pixabay)






Email This Post to a Friend
""

Separate multiple emails with a comma. Limit 5.

 

Success! Your email has been sent!

close window
X

This website uses cookies.

This website uses cookies to improve user experience. By using this website you consent to all cookies in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

I agree
 
Learn More