Women's Worlds in Qajar Iran

The center subject of photograph, circa 1900, is Ismat al-Muluk, granddaughter of the King of Persia Nasir al-Din Shah, along with some family members. You can enlarge those goofy faces here. It is apparent that Ismat al-Muluk was greatly interested in photography, and had fun with it.   

In Iran, the Qajar era lasted from 1796 to 1925, and was notable for its great strides in the modernization of the nation. Harvard University has an online bilingual archive called Women's Worlds in Qajar Iran containing literature, personal writings, photographs, artworks, and more that bring insight to the lives of women during the Qajar period. Mefite elgilito has selected quite a few particularly intriguing photographs from the archive that are linked here. They serve as an entertaining introduction to the vast archive, and a glimpse into the Persia of 100 years ago.


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The Evolution of Science Fiction

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Science fiction speculates on the march of science and technology. The best science fiction raises questions about how those things affect humans and the way we live. PBS Digital Studios looks at the development of science fiction from Frankenstein to Black Panther with a delightfully animated video. -via the AV Club


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Sweden's Legendary Lake Monster

Scotland has the Loch Ness Monster, Lake Champlain in New York/Vermont/Quebec has Champ, and Sweden has it's own monster called Storsjöodjuret, which supposedly lives in Lake Storsjön. Accounts of sightings go back over 300 years, of a creature that's estimated to be anywhere from 10 to 42 feet long.

Of the creature in question, the late Mark Chorvinksy said the following: “Fisheries officer Ragnar Björks, 73, was out checking fishing permits on Sweden’s Lake Storsjön when he had the fright of his life. From the placid waters a huge tail suddenly broke the surface near Björk’s 12 foot row boat. The colossal creature attached to the tail appeared to be 18 feet long, grey-brown on top with a yellow underbelly. When Björks was alongside the monster, he struck at it with his oar, hitting it on the back. Angered, the creature slapped the water with its tail and the rowboat was thrown nine to twelve feet into the air. ‘At first I didn’t believe that there was any monster in the Storsjön…but now I am convinced.'”

Some theorize that Storsjöodjuret is an animal that was trapped in the lake during the last ice age around 15,000 years ago. Read some other tales of Storsjöodjuret encounters at Mysterious Universe. -via Strange Company

(Image credit: Andreas Eriksson)


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Trailer for Godzilla: King of the Monsters

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During Comic Con weekend, movies studio trot out thrilling trailers for movies that may be just around the corner, or may not be out for another year. Such is the case for Godzilla: King of the Monsters, the third Hollywood-made Godzilla film, and a sequel to the 2014 Godzilla. It will be the 35th overall Godzilla film. And like the Japanese film series, this one expands to include other giant monsters.

The new story follows the heroic efforts of the crypto-zoological agency Monarch as its members face off against a battery of god-sized monsters, including the mighty Godzilla, who collides with Mothra, Rodan, and his ultimate nemesis, the three-headed King Ghidorah. When these ancient super-species – thought to be mere myths – rise again, they all vie for supremacy, leaving humanity's very existence hanging in the balance.  

Godzilla: King of the Monsters will be in theaters in May of 2019. -via Tastefully Offensive


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Penguins of the Month

The National Aquarium of New Zealand erected a sign last year to shame their Naughty Penguin of the Month, complete with the reason for the award. In contrast, they also named a Good Penguin of the Month. It was a cute way to remind visitors that penguins are not all alike; in fact they all have their own distinct personalities. The Aquarium has kept up the idea, and posted a new Naughty Penguin and a new Good Penguin each month. Regular visitors got to know the best -and worst- penguins. Now @jonnywaistcoat has curated and posted evidence of each Penguin of the Month over the past year with commentary so that internet users all over the world can get to know the individual penguins, too!



It's good to know that Timmy, the original naughty penguin, actually made the good list once, but then fell back into his old ways. But we learn that Timmy is also a victim of bullying. Mo made the naughty list so many times, they turned to shortcuts to describe his behavior, as you can see in the picture above. And the new guy, Burny, is turning out the be a real sweetheart. See all the Penguins of the Month at Thread Reader.  -via Metafilter


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Fun With the Sprinkler

Cara Wohr's dog loves to play in the sprinkler water. How much does he love the sprinkler? Enough to drag it into the house through the doggy door! Was he thinking of sharing this wonderful water with his humans, or was it just too hot outside? We don't know, but she managed to take a picture for the insurance adjuster and her blog. See more pictures of Wohr's dog and the sprinkler at Cats, Beavers & Ducks. You can just hear the insurance guy now: "We know a thing or two because we've seen a thing or two." -via Mashable

(Image credit: Cara Wohr)

Love cute animals? View more at Lifestyles of the Cute and Cuddly blog

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Every Circle In This Image Is The Same Color

This image posted at reddit is an illusion. The twelve circles appear to be four different colors, but they are actually all the same color. You can enlarge the image here, which will help you see the real color of the circle. It's kind of peach. They appear different due to the different colored stripes allowed to cross them. What we have is an example of a Munker Illusion.



Yes, there are some people that the illusion will not work on. You can see a video that explains the illusion further at Digg.


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The Walking Dead Season 9: Official Comic-Con Trailer

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The Walking Dead will return in about ten weeks. Here's the first trailer for season nine, which is apparently about rifts in the rather large community of allies. We already know a couple of the core cast members won't survive the season, but we don't know yet how they will leave. It had better be spectacular. There's plenty of drama behind the scenes of The Walking Dead franchise, too. Meanwhile, in Texas...

(YouTube link)

Morgan, Victor, Alicia, and a bunch of new characters are looking for a new story line. Fear the Walking Dead will be back next month for the second half of the


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How to Stage Photos for a Real Estate Listing

Every once in a while, we have a real estate listing here at Neatorama. They are all either outrageous, unbelievable, or have a great story behind them. But if you are selling an average house, a nice place at a decent price, how do you get people to take a second look? A realtor trying to sell a two-bedroom house in Granbury, Texas, enlisted the help of a T-rex!

Among the lovely shots of hardwood floors, lake views, and a screened-in patio, we see ol' Tyrannosaurus raiding the fridge, taking a nap, fishing in the lake, and even mowing the grass. That's pretty impressive for a guy with such tiny arms, no?

The dino was even seen in the shower. They got 45 showings for the small house and sold it quickly. See more pictures at Realtor.com. -via Boing Boing


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Why Heathrow Airport Had Empty Flights to Nowhere

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Heathrow Airport in London is a huge global flight hub, but it only has two runways. Really. Landing slots at Heathrow are therefore extremely valuable to airlines, and some weird things can happen in order to keep those slots, like "ghost flights." The practice seems wasteful, but the airlines see them as an necessary investment. Half as Interesting, a channel from Wendover Productions, explains how that happened. This video slides into an ad at about four minutes. Also, I personally would not call Cardiff "Nowhere," but that's the title the video came with.  -via Metafilter


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They Opened the Granite Sarcophagus

Last week we read about a black granite sarcophagus found underneath the city of Alexandria. The Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities has announced that the sarcophagus has been opened. Sadly, the archaeologists found that while the stone coffin was sealed, it was not waterproof. The contents most likely do not include the remains of Alexander the Great, but we now know why it is so big- there are three skeletons inside. The automatic English translation of the Facebook post says,

Dr. Mostafa Ministers, Secretary-General of the high council of Antiquities, directed at the head of a scientific archaeological commission to the city of Alexandria to open the sarcophagus, which was detected in sidi jaber district
And he stated. My Minister has opened the coffin, showing that it was filled with sewage, which was leaked through the grove in this area, plus three skeletons.

Shaaban Abdul, specializing in the study of mummies and skeletons, confirmed that the initial preview of bone structures suggests that they are most likely to belong to three officers or military soldiers, where one of the skeletons found a blow to the arrow. I
He added dr. I would like to say that these structures discovered inside the coffin will be transferred to the museum of Alexandria's National Restoration Museum and study to learn more about skeletons, cause of death and historical era.
The coffin will be lifted after its initial restoration and transferred to Mustafa's entire warehouse in cooperation with the north military (engineering body).

As expected, there were no demons inside, but it will be some time before we can ascertain whether there is a curse attached. See more pictures at the Facebook post. They may be rather gruesome for sensitive souls. -via Buzzfeed

(Image credit: Ministry of Antiquities at Facebook)


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The Kind of Story We Need Right Now

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Seth Meyers tells the tale of DeDe Phillips, who was attacked by a rabid bobcat. As he proved when his second son was born, Meyers really knows how to tell a story. Since the June 7 attack, Phillips has undergone rabies vaccination, and is okay. Well, she's not only okay, she's a badass.   


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A Guide to the Most Delightful -and Sinister- Dollhouses in Pop Culture

This year, two movies and a TV series prominently features dollhouses. That inspired Gwynne Watkins to look at other dollhouses that have shown up in our entertainment, and that happens a lot more often than I would have guessed. There are 23 of them in this list, mostly from the past twenty years or so, but they go back as far as 1963.

The museum dollhouse in The Twilight Zone
In the Season 4 episode “Miniature,” introvert Charley Parkes (young Robert Duvall) becomes smitten with a beautiful doll in a museum display. After hours of gazing at the antique dollhouse, Charley discovers that his beloved is in an abusive relationship, and he breaks the glass on the display to stop a mustachioed male doll from raping her. It’s The Twilight Zone, so you know where this is going, but the attempted doll-rape definitely sours the happy ending.

The dollhouses are divided into the categories Delightful, Suitably Whimsical, Vague Unsettling, and Definitely Creepy. The Twilight Zone house was ranked as only Vague[ly] Unsettling, so you know they get a lot worse at the bottom of the list. Read about all of them, with plenty of video evidence, at Vulture. -via Digg


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Drama in the Deep

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Oceanographers were watching the bottom of the ocean from the vantage point of the Windows to the Deep 2018 expedition a couple of weeks ago. They see a benthic fish in a hole, waiting for something to come along that he can eat. A snail approaches. There are quill worms around. Then a barracuda comes along and upends all expectations. The live narration makes the drama all the more exciting. -via Tastefully Offensive


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The Best Notes Found in Used Books

No one wants to throw away books, so people pass them along to others. A used book is as good as a new copy, as long as all the pages are there and it's not disgustingly moldy. So we read books that have been read before, and sometimes we find notes jotted in them. Some are informative, others inexplicable, and some are just plain funny. Atlas Obscura asked its readers to submit the strangest notes they've found in books, and they responded with both stories and pictures. These include criticisms, recommendations, dedications, communications out of context, marginalia, snark, spoilers, secret code, and jokes. Some tell stories, while others only hint at the story behind it. Read them all at Atlas Obscura.

(Image credit: Annie Watts)


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Batman Wants To Join The Marvel Universe

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Comic Con San Diego opens today and will run through Sunday. All the comic book superheroes are there, including Batman. It's his chance to do what he's always wanted- to ditch DC and join the fun of the Marvel Cinematic Universe! The Marvel superheroes respond by having some fun at Batman's expense. -via Laughing Squid


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The Most Spectacular Astronomy Images of 2018

Thousands of entries in the Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year contest have been winnowed down to the top 25. The pictures are stunning, and they'll make you wonder how on earth did they shoot that? For some, it was quite an effort, like the picture shown here of the Orion Nebula, captured by Bernard Miller of the U.S.

The Orion Nebula, located 1,500 light-years away. For you photo geeks, this stunning image was produced by combining 36 hours of total exposure using six different filters; Ha, SII, OIII, Red, Green, and Blue.

But not all the top pictures were so complicated. Casper Kentish took a picture of the moon through his new telescope with an iPad and made the cut. See all 25 finalists at Gizmodo. The winners will be announced in October.


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The Surprising History of Las Vegas and the Rat Pack

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What can we learn about Las Vegas that we already didn't know? How about the proper way to pronounce Nevada? You might be surprised. In this episode of the Mental Floss show Scatterbrained, we'll also learn the history of the "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas" sign, Vegas misconceptions, some gambling research, and why Sinatra's friends were called the Rat Pack.


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When a DNA Test Shatters Your Identity

More than 12 million people took DNA tests from companies such as 23andMe and AncestryDNA in 2017, and the number is only expected to rise. While many of them only want to find distant relatives or find out what part of the world their ancesters came from, sometimes the results are completely unexpected. Imagine finding out you are not genetically related to your father, or less commonly, your mother. Or even a sibling or aunt, because DNA tests can reveal family secrets that don't directly involve the person taking the test.  

Lynn, 55, of all people, understood that DNA tests can reveal family secrets. Her husband had been adopted, and Lynn set out to use her son’s AncestryDNA tests to find his paternal grandparents. In the process, she compared her son’s results to her brother’s and quickly realized something wrong. It didn’t look like a typical uncle-nephew relationship. The reason, Lynn eventually found out, was that her biological father was not the father she grew up with. “I just didn’t see it coming,” she says. “If you go looking into other people’s secrets, you just might find one of your own.” Her mother still refuses to reveal what happened.

Such results can cause rifts in the family and send the subject into depression. But it's happened to so many people that online support groups have sprung up to help people deal with the fallout. Read about those groups at the Atlantic. -via Digg


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How Exactly Does Binary Code Work?

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Everything you see on the internet is coded by using only zero or one. Since there are only those two options in binary zero and one, they can be defined as "off" and "on." You might already know that, but you'll learn a lot more in this TED-Ed video from José Américo N L F Freitas. -via The Kid Should See This


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Community Plumbing: A Tribute to the Neighborhood Hardware Store

If you ever visit a local hardware store, you are familiar with their ambience of community. This is where professional contractors and do-it-yourselfers meet and exchange knowledge, support, and friendship. They are a reminder of our own infrastructure, of how things fall apart when you don't take care of them, and how skills can be developed by tackling concrete problems. An example is Crest True Value Hardware in the Williamsburg area of Brooklyn. In business since 1962, the Franquinha family not only sells hardware, but also incorporates the history of the neighborhood, and even works with local artists to bring the different types of neighbors together. One of their secrets is to stick with what's worked in the past.    

When Crest was planning its renovation, Joe sought out the advice of True Value’s specialists. “The first blueprint they gave me had no back counter,” he said. The consultants advised that his plan to keep all the nuts and bolts behind the counter was not an efficient use of space. “Says who?” he protested. “Do you have any idea how many times I get returns of ripped-open nuts-and-bolts packages … because customers bought the wrong one the first time, because there was no one helping them and they just grabbed it? Now they go to the back counter, because it’s the only place we sell nuts and bolts, and they get the right thing the first time.” That exchange has a value that doesn’t show up on the balance sheet, Joe said. The customer “might’ve only spent a dollar-fifty, but they walked out with a wealth of knowledge, with exactly what they need, and with the confidence knowing that the next time they have a project, they have a place that they can rely on.” Here he makes an argument that is extremely rare today, an argument against the casualization of labor and against the “responsibilization” of consumers to be self-sufficient.

Shannon Mattern, who grew up in a hardware story family, tells us how these stores evolved from general stores, how they changed with the times, and how they survive in an era of big box home improvement stores.  -Thanks, Deborah!  


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Come Take It Away

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Photo editors get some strange requests. James Fridman (previously at Neatorama) explains, while showing off his editing skills in epic fashion. Yeah, she should have worded that a little differently. He "improves" photos for those who request (as time allows) and the results are always gratifying.    


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100 Years Ago: The Romanov Assassination

This week marks the 100th anniversary of the assassination of Tsar Nicholas II, his wife, five children, family doctor, and three servants during the Russian revolution. The tsar was deposed in March of 1918, and the family was held in St. Petersburg until being moved to Yekaterinburg in April. They were held in secrecy there while different factions of the revolution competed for control of  Russia.  

The fate of the Romanovs was seemingly undecided until July, when the White Guard – still loyal to the tsar – began to move in on Yekaterinburg and looked certain to capture it.

The Bolsheviks could not afford to have the Romanovs fall into the hands of the Whites, lest they became symbols around which anti-communists could rally or provide foreign governments with an alternative head of state to recognise.

Goloshchekin travelled to Moscow to obtain the order for the assassination and is thought to have secured it from Vladimir Lenin himself, although no paper trail exists to confirm the fact, no doubt deliberate on the part of the Bolshevik leader.

“Revolutions are meaningless without firing squads,” he famously said.

The killings were a messy affair, as the soldiers were inept and somewhat drunk. The Independent has a blow-by-blow description of the night of July 16-17 that you'll find quite gruesome. For a lighter take, the Russian state archives has released some new photographs of the Romanov family, which you can see at Quartz.


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An Honest Trailer for A Quiet Place

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A Quiet Place was a horror film about blind monsters that attack if they hear any sound. You can imagine how scary that would be, especially for a family with children. The movie made a big splash this spring. It quietly took in $331 million and a sequel is in the works. Now that it's out on home video, Screen Junkies has examined A Quiet Place thoroughly but quietly to bring us an Honest Trailer.


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This Is Your Brain on Fatherhood

In only around 10% of mammal species do males spend quality time with their young. The species that developed paternal care have some advantages over species that don't. One of them is the bat-eared fox.   

Pops in this species are so dedicated that males spend even more time than females near the dens that house their offspring. These furry fathers play a role in nearly every aspect of child-rearing: grooming cubs’ silky fur, engaging them in play and teaching them to stalk terrestrial insects with their bat-wing-shaped ears (which can grow up to five inches long—nearly 30 percent of their total height).

And this commitment pays off: The amount of time bat-eared fox fathers spend monitoring their young is an even bigger predictor of pup survival than maternal investment or food availability. Dads, at least in this species, matter.

It's not just mammals. Among the 20% of fish species that take care of their hatchlings, most of them are raised mainly by their fathers. Scientists have been studying the reasons for paternal care, the chemical mechanisms that contribute to the behavior, and the outcomes for various species. Read about that research at Smithsonian.

(Image credit: Derek Keats)


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Bohemian Rhapsody Trailer

(YouTube link)

We saw an impressive teaser a couple of months ago, and now here's the first full trailer for Bohemian Rhapsody, the story of Queen. The film, starring Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury, focuses on the band's music more than anything else.

The film traces the meteoric rise of the band through their iconic songs and revolutionary sound, their near-implosion as Mercury’s lifestyle spirals out of control, and their triumphant reunion on the eve of Live Aid, where Mercury, facing a life-threatening illness, leads the band in one of the greatest performances in the history of rock music.

Bohemian Rhapsody will open nationwide November 2.  


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Hospital Food: Unappetizing Meals for Sick People

Anyone who has spent time in a hospital knows that the food is standardized, bland, overcooked and under-spiced. Kate Washington became deeply interested in the subject when her husband spent several weeks unable to eat and then was charged with gradually getting back to regular meals. He didn't feel good, and hospital meals did not entice him to make an effort to eat. There are reasons behind the way food is in hospitals: the need to deliver scientific nutrition without doing harm, and the industrial scale of feeding all those patients.  

In the move from individual at-home care and feeding for sick patients to mass institutions, medical science shifted to a big-picture, data-driven set of prescriptions and practices. Doing so undeniably saved lives, thanks to astonishing medical advances. But in the midst of institutionalizing and standardizing care, the medical establishment may have lost sight of the function of appetites and individual taste.

Food — for many patients one of the few sensory pleasures they can enjoy — can be an important, healing part of that corrective shift. Catering to patients’ tastes and preferences can certainly be more expensive, yet as Brad and I both learned, it can make a huge difference to the very sick, who may have lost almost all sense of themselves. Eating, among the most basic of human acts, can help reawaken that sense.

Washington turned to cookbooks from hundreds of years ago to find food that would appeal to a patient who didn't want to eat, in recipes from a time when the sick were cared for at home. And she researched the switch from home convalescence to the business of feeding modern hospital patients to find out why hospital food is so bad. The good news is that some institutions are trying new methods to make it better. Read about how hospital food got that way at Eater. -via Digg

(Image credit: Allegra Lockstadt)

We dish up more neat food posts at the Neatolicious blog

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Crazy Russian Dog Wash

(YouTube link)

Taras Kulakov, known as The Crazy Russian Hacker, has three dogs: Luke, Gus, and Hugo. With that many dogs, he decided to purchase a machine to clean them- a dog spa. In this video, he tries it out and gives us a review. Listening to Kulakov is always a treat, but the real draw in this video is watching Luke enjoying his bath. Hugo wasn't quite as enthusiastic.  -via Laughing Squid

See more videos from the Crazy Russian Hacker.

Love cute animals? View more at Lifestyles of the Cute and Cuddly blog

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50 Things to Know about Aquaman

One thing to know about the new Aquaman movie is that a new poster debuted today. So of course people had to have some fun with it.

But there's a lot more to learn. Aquaman, directed by horror master James Wan, will be a DC superhero movie that's an origin story, a battle against evil forces, and a quest movie as well, with a bit of romantic comedy thrown in. Two-thirds of the film takes place underwater, and the story is set after Justice League, but we won't see the other superheroes. That's just the beginning of what you'll learn about Aquaman in an article at Collider, which is full of background but doesn't spoil the plot. Aquaman will hit theaters on December 21st. -via Uproxx


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Pachelbel's Chicken

(YouTube link)

Brett Yang and Eddy Chen are a two-man group called TwoSet Violin. They aren't limited to violin music, as you can see from their performance of Pachelbel's Canon in D played on rubber chickens. I'm not sure that there wasn't some electronic magic going on here, since, while you can tuna fish, you can't tune a chicken. -via Metafilter

Check out more amazing talents over at our Mad Skills blog

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