Why Dragons Were the #1 Medieval Monster

While medieval tales had ghosts and werewolves and other assorted monsters, the dragon dominated the stories of good vs. evil. We know how St. George slew a dragon. Dragons factored in quite a few Arthurian legends, and Arthur's surname was Pendragon. Quite a few of the fairy tales passed down from medieval Europe involved dragons in one way or another. It was a monster understood by everyone, even though no one had ever seen one in the flesh.

But stories of dragons in the medieval era were not concocted just for thrills. They were fables, intended to drive home moral absolutes. Dragons were a threat, but virtuous and heroic man could defeat them. More often, though, it was a religious and devout hero who was required to slay the dragon. Dragons were metaphors for devils, demons, and sin itself. Read about the proliferation of dragons in medieval Europe, or in the literature at least, at Smithsonian. The article does not address the preponderance of dragons in Asian legends.

A Uniquely Surprising Purchase

Normally I avoid posting an unboxing video because they tend to all look the same, and most are pure promotion for the product or the person opening it. It's different when someone buys used items, and especially when they get way more than they expected.  

Laura Kampf looked online for storage containers, but what she ended up with was so much cooler. First, this set of crates shows high quality workmanship. Then we get to see the features inside them (holy cow!). Then we find out their purpose, which is cooler still. Since Kampf bought these crates for her workshop, I am sure she will find a totally cool purpose for each of them. -via Metafilter

The Best Horror Movies of All Time

How can one rank all the horror movies of the last 100 years of cinema? It's easier when you can crunch the numbers with a computer. And that's exactly what Rotten Tomatoes did. The site is all about collecting critics reviews and moviegoers opinions, which all come with a certain number of stars. Rotten Tomatoes took horror films that had received at least 20 reviews each and ranked the top 200 according to the statistics. Therefore, if you have a problem with the ranking, well, you can leave a few reviews yourself. They update this list every once in a while.

That said, you have to keep in mind that younger horror film buffs are more liable to use any kind of internet review system than older viewers, and honestly, there are few left who saw the original Frankenstein in a theater. So there's no getting around the fact that newer movies will rank higher. Jordan Peele has two films in the top ten. Then again, you might say that movies just got better over time.

The list of the top 200 best horror films starts at #200 and you'll have to scroll a bit to get to the very best ones. Each comes with a synopsis. You may find something new to watch this Halloween! There are also links to lists of the top horror films of each decade. -via Mental Floss

Man Walks Slackline with Barbell above His Head

I have not, unfortunately, been able to find the name of this amazing athlete. He should be famous, given the extraordinary feats he demonstrates in this video. 

It's not just being able to lift the barbell and a pair of 45-pound plates over his head. Such athletes would be thick on the ground in any gym. But that he can do so on a slackline shows phenomenal core strength and balance.

Who is he? Perhaps the uniquely shaped spire in the background could clue us into at least where he is located.

A suggestion: watch the video with the sound muted.

-via Born in Space

Pigeon Hoards Poppies Given At A War Memorial

Staff at the Australian War Memorial noticed that some poppies were disappearing from the Tomb of the Unknown Australian Soldier. Poppies were laid on a monument because they are a symbol of the endurance and perseverance of wounded soldiers. These flowers were used to remember and honor those who were brave and fought on the battlefield. Upon inspection, the staff found out that a stray pigeon has been grabbing the flowers to create a nest on the ledge of a window. 

Oddly enough, the staff finding out about the identity of the poppy thief gives a whole new meaning to the ‘missing flowers situation.’ Before the rise of communication technology, pigeons were used to send messages at times of war. So one can assume that the pigeon was merely paying homage to the service of its ancestors and soldiers in its own way. 

Image credit: Australian War Memorial

The Missing Sixth Caryatid Statue

The Caryatids are a set of six statues that held up Erechtheion, an ancient temple dedicated to Athena and Poseidon. The statues, which depicted maidens, were created around  421 BC – 406 BC. There is a mystery surrounding the location of a missing maiden statue, thanks to the efforts of Thomas Bruce, the seventh Lord Elgin, who served as Great Britain’s ambassador to the Ottoman Empire at the beginning of the nineteenth century. Today, the remaining original caryatids are stored and preserved in the Acropolis Museum for their protection, conservation, and restoration.

Image credit: Harrieta171 /CC BY-SA 3.0

FBI Discovers A Real-Life Indiana Jones ...In Indiana

An FBI agent was sent an anonymous tip about a real-life Indiana Jones. The man in question was Don Miller, an amateur archaeologist who’d amassed a vast collection of artifacts. According to the tip, the Indiana resident (what a coincidence, huh?) had skeletons in his home. Spooky. 

To confirm the validity of the tip, an FBI agent named Tim Carpenter was sent to investigate. He was assigned to the organization’s Art Theft Program, typically known for investigating fine art. Learn more about this mysterious Indiana Jones at Vanity Fair! 

Image credit: Audrey Amaro

What’s Up With Disney’s New Pay To Skip Lines System?

Pay an extra $15 for a chance to skip the long lines in Walt Disney World! Formerly known as FastPass, the Lightning Lane is an unlockable feature in the Disney World app that lets users get into a shorter queue for rides. 

If you think that this paid function will let you ride the most popular rides at Disney World with ease, think again. According to Frommers, you need to cough up another $15 (yikes) to access the Individual Lightning Lane, a separate queueing system for these rides. Check out Frommers’ full article on these systems and how visitors are currently enjoying them.   

Image credit: Disney Parks

Hidden Message In The Twix Logo

At first glance, the Twix logo looks like fancy lettering made to stand out from the chocolate’s shiny gold wrapping. The 3D rendering of the letters that spell Twix in red and white with brown shadows looks simple. 

However, upon a closer inspection, fans noticed a few interesting details! The dot on the letter ‘i’ actually has two lines on it, which is believed to represent the two candies within. Learn more about it here! 

Image credit: Midas Hofstra

An Honest Trailer for Halloween Kills

Can you believe it? The movie Halloween Kills has been in theaters for eleven days now, and we've already got an Honest Trailer. I guess Screen Junkies wanted to give us a thrill in time for Halloween. This is only possible now that paid streaming and theatrical runs are simultaneous. Let me guess- it's about Jamie Lee Curtis being menaced by and ultimately defeating a masked serial killer named Michael Myers. Since this is the 12th Halloween movie, that's a safe bet. The Honest Trailer finds all the plot holes and stupidity in Halloween Kills, but can't decide if this is an intentional parody or just a lazy retread of a 40-year-old story that worked once upon a time.

How the Cessna Hacienda Set a World Record

Warren Bayley owned the Hacienda, a family-style resort in las Vegas, that had a hard time competing with the big casinos with flashy shows. He needed a promotion. Slot machine repairman Bob Timm, who was also a pilot, suggested they break a world record. Pilots had been setting endurance records for decades by the 1950s, and the longest time a plane had stayed in flight was 46 days. Even approaching that limit could fill a lot of room-nights and make the Hacienda a household name.

So Timm bought a used Cessna and altered it for an endurance flight, which began on December 4, 1958, with Timm and John Wayne Cook piloting. Now, a small plane flying for days would need to refuel without landing, and they did not have the Air Force to fly in with a hose. So the fuel came from a truck going as fast as it could while the plane flew low and as slow as it possibly could without stalling. Filling the plane's tanks took about three miles of synchronized travel, and they had to do it every 12 hours. And the world record was 50 days by then.

A lot can go wrong in 50 days. The autopilot feature saved their lives once when Cook fell asleep, but then quit working a few days later. Then the electrical generator quit, making nighttime refueling more hazardous without lights. Other parts of the plane failed as they reached their maintenance limit, and there were quite a few close calls. When the specially-designed fuel truck broke down, they used a T-bird with gas cans to refuel.

Despite all the problems, the Cessna broke the record and added another two weeks! Read about the amazing small plane that finally landed on a wing and a prayer at Damn Interesting. You can also listen to the story in podcast form.

The Canadian Confederate Con Man Bomber

Alexander Keith Jr. of Halifax, Nova Scotia, led a short but eventful life that shortened the lives of many others. Keith started his criminal career by selling gunpowder for his uncle, but making an extra profit by cutting it with lesser material. His first bombing is assumed to have been an attempt to destroy the evidence. This appeared to be the inspiration for several different later crimes. When the US Civil War broke out, Keith fell in with Confederate spies who operated out of Canada.

Keith's crimes included spying, firebombing, arms smuggling, counterfeiting, hijacking, murder, attempted germ warfare, theft, arson, and insurance fraud. Some these crimes were committed against the Union, others against the Confederacy. It didn't matter as long as Keith could profit somehow. His final bombing was well after the war, in which between 40 and 80 people were killed in Germany, all so that Keith could collect an insurance settlement. In doing so, he became a pioneer of what would come to known as the time bomb. Read the story of Alexander Keith Jr. at Cracked.

This Guy Spends $150 a Year to Eat All His Meals at a Theme Park

In 2014, Dylan got an internship at an engineering firm in Santa Clarita, California. The view from his office included Six Flags Magic Mountain. He looked up the price of admission, and found a deal for a year-round unlimited pass for just $150. The kicker is that the deal included free parking and two meals a day! He jumped on that. Since his office was so close, he would pop into the park for lunch every day, and then again for supper on his way home. He would also occasionally enjoy one of the thrill rides. He did this every day for a year, which puts his cost per meal at less than 25 cents.

Dylan did the same thing the next year, and the next. You might think that someone would get fat or put their health at risk by eating that much theme park food, but you can't argue with saving money. Dylan was able to pay off his student loans, get married, and buy a house! He's still eating at the park by purchasing the year-round pass, which is still available even though the menu has expanded greatly. He doesn't eat there twice every day anymore, so he figures he's spent around 50 cents a meal over the years. What did he eat in all that time? Dylan explains his gastronomic adventures at Six Flags at Mel magazine.  -via Digg

(Image credit: Jeremy Thompson)

Mr. Blue Sky by Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem

Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem perform the 1977 hit song by Electric Light Orchestra for the Dear Earth special that premiered Saturday. In this video, Zoot gets the vocal honors, and even uses a talk box to recreate the original sound. The band is joined by a field of flowers, which would sound weird if this were anyone else but the Muppets. -via Boing Boing 

This Tapping Machine Taps Constantly to Test Acoustics

*slaps fender*

Yessir, this here is a top-of-the-line tapping machine. Barely any taps on it. The previous owner would just use it to tap a few beats on Sunday. You’ve picked the best bargain on the lot.

Why do you need a tapping machine? And, specifically, why do you need the Nor277 tapping machine? Because you need to test the acoustics of an area using a realistic simulation of footfalls with hard-soled shoes. It’s equipped with 5 tapping hammers tapping up to 10 taps per second. It weighs only 22 pounds and can be run from a battery for the off-road adventures that you’re so fond of.

The price? Step into my office. Let’s make a deal.

-via @lazerwalker

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