It Doesn't Get Any Cuter than This: Guinea Pig Reviews Halloween Costumes & Other Neat Posts

Halloween is almost here, and so here's a cute post over at Supa Fluffy to whet your appetite: Meet a guinea pig named Lord Cesario, a "highly-opinionated four-legged potato," who loves ❤️ to review Halloween costumes.

🕺 This is mesmerizing: watch the captivating dance routine for the Paralympians as choreographed by Sadeck Waff.

🦿 This prosthetic leg doubles as a fold-out skateboard.

🪑 Pokemon-inspired furniture line for grownups. Gotta catch 'em all (especially the Snorlax rug!)

🎨 Arist Naci Caba creates impressionism-style Star Wars paintings

🎈 Viral TikTok video of siblings playing "Don't Let the Balloon Touch the Ground" Inspired an International Tournament with $11,000 in Prize Money.

🎤 ... and lastly, woman interviews rescue animals with a tiny mic.

We bring your more neat posts over at our new network of sites: Supa Fluffy, Pictojam, Homes & Hues, Pop Culturista - please check 'em out!

Image: Bernadette Banner/YouTube

A Data Scientist Crunches the Numbers on the Lifespans of Roman Emperors

Hadrian (r. 117-138) lived to the ripe old age of 62 before he died of natural causes. He was an outlier on that count. Only 25% of Roman Emperors died of peacefully. That's if you count from Augustus all the way to Constantine XI Palaeologus, who died during the fall of Constantinope in 1453. That is a total of 175 emperors. Data scientists in Brazil examined statisical trends in the lifespans of these rulers and published their findings with the Royal Society.

The researchers that found that the likelihood that an emperor would be killed early in his reign was very high. Consider the infamously named Year of the Four Emperors. But once an emperor was able to establish himself and get past these early trials, he tended to live for the next 13 years. Thereafter, his reign became unstable again and the likelihood of assassination increased.

This 13 year rule, the scholars note, confirms a study of 106 modern dictators who ruled between 1875 and 2004. Their power, once they survived initial turbulences, tended to become unstable after 12.3 years.

-via Instapundit | Photo: Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin

Explaining Why an Orchestra Is What It Is

Orchestras vary from place to place, but they all have a basic organization. Who decided this? Why are certain instruments included and others not? British composer David Bruce brings us a history of the orchestra, in a style inspired by Bill Wurtz, but with a lot of solid historical information.

I was a bit surprised to learns there really weren't any orchestras until the 1600s. They early ones were somewhat experimental, but success breeds standardization, and competition breeds excess, but composers needed to know what instruments to write for. While the orchestral form is still quite standardized, it continues to evolve in new ways. Altogether, this video is way more interesting than you'd expect. -via Laughing Squid

What's Wrong with This Picture?

Redditor uncle_stink shows us a water bill he received this summer. What in the world could have caused him to run up a $47,542 bill? He was accused of installing a water park in his backyard, but that's not it. There has to be an error here. Can you figure out what it is?

First, notice the dates. He was billed from July to April, which made the number of days negative. We don't think there is any time travel involved here, so either there was a typo or else someone entered the data in the wrong field. The machinery saw the dates were reversed and therefore reversed the meter readings. This didn't help, as now the present reading is less than the previous reading. When that happens, the system assumes that the meter rolled over, so a million units were automatically added.

It doesn't help that the right side of the bill should be read from the top down chronologically, while the left side should be read up chronologically. This is counterintuitive. The dates and the meter numbers as they were read on those dates should be lined up on a well-designed bill.

Let's hope that the bean counters at the water department can see that it's an error. In so many of these cases, they first offer to help set up a payment plan for you.

The Shooting Range that Crosses a Highway

At the Brünnlisau shooting range in Switzerland, the shooters are on this side of the road, and the targets are on the other side. Meanwhile, traffic is passing along in between. What could possibly go wrong? What might surprise you is that this shooting range has been in operation for twenty years with no incidents involving the vehicles passing by!

The explanation lies in the design of the shooting range and the rules that govern it. These rules are bolstered by the gun culture of Switzerland, in which shooters are numerous, but also highly trained and regulated. Also noted: this range has some very cool technology for scoring your shots.   

Europeans who saw this video tell us that Brünnlisau is far from the only shooting range in Switzerland that ranges across a road like this. They also had a laugh at Tom mentioning that it's about two hours from Zurich. The response was that every place in Switzerland is about two hours from Zurich, including parts of Zurich during rush hour.  

How to Thwart an Armed Robot

You may have seen the "robot gun dog" on the internet in the last few days. Ghost Robotics, a company that makes quadruped robots for the military, attached a "special purpose unmanned rifle" to the robot to show off at an army conference last week. Its appearance is frightening, and so are your thoughts about what it can do.  

Crop scientist and industrial safety expert Dr. Sarah Taber is here to reassure you that there's no need to fear the latest lethal robot just yet. In a Twitter thread, she explains the troubleshooting challenges that await any new technology, particularly if it is designed to be used outdoors or in any unfamiliar environment. Her knowledge comes from working with hi-tech farm equipment, which is designed by very smart robotics engineers who have never worked on a farm. Taber lays out a list of problems these robots will face, which she admits is far from a complete list.

See the original thread with replies at Twitter or at Threadreader if you prefer. -via Metafilter

Andrew Clemens's Sand Art

These bottles of sand aren't decorated with colorful labels. The entire artwork is made of sand inside the glass bottle! This is the work of Andrew Clemens, who made these primarily between 1880 and 1886. Clemens was rendered deaf by a case of encephalitis in his infancy. During his summers away from the Iowa State School for the Deaf, he collected naturally colored sand from Sand Cave at Pikes Peak State Park and sorted the grains into various tints. Then he carefully layered the sand inside a medicine bottle, using tools he designed himself, with no glue or foreign substances to hold the design together.

While the most complex designs could take up to a year to produce, most of Clemens' bottles were completed somewhat faster. He suffered from poor health all his life, and died at 37. Of the hundred or so sand bottles Clemens completed, only a few survive today and sell for a pretty penny when they are put on the market. One of them went up for auction on September 30th. It was estimated to be worth $100,000, but eventually sold for $956,000! -via TYWKIWDBI

(Image credit: Wikifreaking)

Should We Bring Jaguars Back to the US?

When we think of jaguars, we picture them in the Central and South American rainforests, which is where 99% of them live. But at one time, jaguars roamed through the southern US, from California to Louisiana and even beyond. A government-backed campaign of eradication wiped them out in the first half of the 20th century. There are some jaguars in Mexico, where a preserve has been set aside for them, and occasionally one of the cats moves into the US. Solitary male jaguars wander a large territory, and there are two of them suspected of living north of the US border as of now.

Some conservationists believe the US should welcome jaguars back. We know from our experience with wolves that re-introducing apex predators will improve an ecosystem from the top down. Expanding the range of jaguars will also improve the species' chances of survival in the long run. One plan is to bring jaguars in from Mexico and Argentina to live in the Central Arizona/New Mexico Recovery Area (CANRA), a 20-million-acre area owned by Native American tribes and the federal government. Other conservationists believe it would be better to support the jaguar population in the Mexican preserve and encourage them to cross into US territory on their own.

There are people opposed to both plans. Some are concerned for livestock and other wildlife. Some believe it to be a waste of money and resources. And some jaguar fans believe that the US is just too dangerous for the cats in the 21st century, between fences, highways, hunters, and poorly-managed habitats. Read about the controversial plans for re-introducing jaguars to the US at Vox.

(Image credit: Leonardo Ramos)

Gamer Sends Cake To Store To Celebrate His One Year Pre-Order Wait

Don’t worry, he was able to receive his order afterward! 

A Polish bakery was commissioned to make a cake that has a RTX 3080 FE print with the message, “one year together” in Polish with the pre-order number. The cake was sent to X-kom, a store that sells NVIDIA RTX 30s, as a light-hearted jab by a customer who preordered the graphics card and has been waiting for it for a year. 

Maybe next time you just have to send a special cake to the store you preordered from in order to get the item you reserved! 

Image credit: back2gaming

Brazilian Pop Culture Shines In These Vibrant Murals In Jerusalem

Bicicleta Sem Freio is a duo that paints large-scale murals that feature colorful plants and animals, alongside different cartoon characters. Their artworks can be found all over the globe, from New Delhi to Jerusalem to Fortaleza. 

Brazilian artists Douglas de Castro and Renato Reno, the people behind the brand, were influenced by the ‘80s and ‘90s global and Brazilian pop culture. Both artists enjoyed watching cartoons and television shows when they were younger. The artists immerse themselves in a community’s contemporary and historical aspects in order to create a custom mural for the area. Check more photos on their projects on Instagram!

Image credit: Bicicleta Sam Freio

Drone Footage Captures The Beautiful Colors Of Fall In Northern Vermont

Watching this footage is like taking a relaxing ride over Newark Pond in Vermont. Since I can’t really go outside and explore the different tourist spots around the world, living vicariously through content posted online will have to do. For now.

Photographer John Rowe captured the different trees near the water through his drone, showing the different colors of foliage due to the changing of the season. Check the full video here! 

-via Flipboard 

Image screenshot via Storyful 

The World’s First Pro Acrobats In The Middle East

It’s like the ancient Cirque du Soleil! 

The huppû is a term used to refer to professional acrobats in the Middle East, specifically, in Syria around 4,000 years ago. According to accounting records and letters unveiled from a royal archive, the troupes of huppû usually performed several times per month for special events, such as the arrival of visitors, religious festivals, and the celebrations made when the king safely returned to the city. The productions pulled together by these acrobats included music, dancing, and feats of acrobatic prowess, and they were admired enough to accompany the king during his diplomatic journeys to other kingdoms. 

Learn more about the huppû here!

Image credit: J. Álvarez-Mon via Alvarez-Mon 

Harry Potter-Inspired Airbnb

The “Wizards Hollow” is a Harry Potter-inspired treehouse that serves as an Airbnb. Located in the North Carolina Blue Ridge Mountains, the treehouse is close to 600 square feet, and has one bedroom with “a spiral staircase that leads to a loft with an additional bed”. 

The treehouse, which resembles a magical castle from the outside, has velvet wall hangings, colorful flags, Hogwarts-style pillows, and other Harry Potter decorations that will completely capture the senses of every fan. Wizards Hollow is unfortunately booked until October 2024, so if you want to get a chance to stay in the Airbnb, you need to wait for quite some time.

Image via Centre Daily Times

Tales from the Autopsy Table

A recent post at AskReddit said, "Autopsy Doctors of Reddit, what was strangest discovery you’ve made while preforming an autopsy?" (sic) Responses came in from medical examiners, autopsy techs, EMTs, pathologists, embalmers, med students, and plenty of other folks who have seen. Some. Stuff. Here is one example.

6. "When I was in my intro to EMS class, my teacher brought in a death investigator and former autopsy examiner to speak to our class. She told us while she worked as an autopsy examiner, she got this woman who, at the time, mysteriously suffocated after a car accident. Apparently, while she was driving, she grabbed her lighter from her purse and was holding it in her mouth while she fumbled through her bag for her cigarettes. While doing this, she got T-boned."

"The airbag went off and on the way to the hospital, they kept trying to put tubes down her throat to open her airway cause she was having trouble breathing. But no luck. She said when they cut open her throat during the autopsy they found her lighter jammed down there. Apparently, when the airbag went off, it got jammed down her throat and no one knew."


You can read more weird causes of death in the original thread, or the 13 best stories at Buzzfeed.  Some of them may be disturbing.

What Happened to the Red Delicious Apple?

When the red delicious apple was developed a hundred years ago, it was supposedly the best-tasting apple around. But the variety became a victim of its own popularity, as the apple was altered to suit the industry. By the time you and I came along, we were unimpressed and made jokes about the use of the word "delicious." Oh yeah, the red declicious apple stayed popular for a long time after it lost its taste, mainly because it was all you could find at the grocery store. Then just in the last few decades, better apples were developed to replace it.

What we have in this video is really a history of apples that leads up to the rise and fall of the red delicious. A neat story altogether, but it bothers me that the host cites Charles Darwin to explain crossbreeding of plants to develop new varieties when it should have been Gregor Mendel. -via reddit

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