Street artist David Zinn (previously at Neatorama) of Ann Arbor, Michigan, often decorates public spaces with temporary chalk and charcoal art, incorporating the landscape itself.
Cracks in the sidewalk, plants, and architectural features become the inspiration for, and part of the art. Imagine happening upon any of these images while walking through town, and you just have to smile.
See more of Zinn's creations at Instagram. You can purchase his artwork and books through his online store. -via Laughing Squid
The new DC superhero movie Aquaman premiered Wednesday night in Los Angeles. No red carpet, but a blue one this time. Aquaman star Jason Momoa did more than interviews; he performed the traditional Maori haka “Ka Mate,” accompanied by his children and co-stars. Aquaman opens nationwide today. -via the A.V. Club
Nobody wants to hear from their doctors that they have detected some form of growth in their bodies especially because they would most likely be a prelude to cancer.
If ever somebody does get cancer, in order to remedy it, they obviously need the best possible treatment even if it requires them to undergo chemotherapy and other painful, aggressive treatments, so that their chances of remission would become higher.
But it is actually a different story for singles out there than for married adults. John DelFattore from the Washington Post writes:
We’ve often heard about studies showing that married adults are more likely to survive cancer than singles. But buried in those same studies is another finding that hasn’t made the headlines. When surgery or radiotherapy is the treatment of choice, patients with spouses are more likely to get it.
I had no idea that marital status might affect medical care until an oncologist, talking about what treatment to give me, asked if I have a spouse or children. When I said no to both, he looked genuinely concerned. “But how will you manage?” he asked.
He then proposed to give me only one mild drug, although the standard of care was a much harsher — and more effective — combination chemotherapy. When I tried to describe my strong network of friends and extended family, he talked right over me.
So why do singles get treated differently from married individuals?
(Image credit: Michael Woloschinow/The Washington Post)
In a photo of a crowd, trying to find a particular person is like looking for a needle in a haystack. Nowadays, facial recognition has become a very useful tool at finding people without having to look through the haystack yourself.
It has other uses too in medicine and even in agriculture. But as with any new technology, it comes with some risks, particularly its applications can easily be weaponized.
David Owen explores the various uses of computerized facial recognition as well as the potential dangers that it poses.
(Image credit: US CBP)
Dan Hubbert of Cottingham, UK, strung lots of flashing Christmas light in his yard. Apparently one neighbor did not appreciate the display. She came in the middle of the night and cut the lights with a knife! Hubbert posted the security footage on Facebook, and asked readers whether he should contact the police. Hubbert said she could have come around and asked him to turn off the lights at night.
“Everyone wants me to ring the police on her,” he said. “She should pay for them. If it was youths I would’ve been straight on the blower to the police but she’s old. You can’t start going across the road and chopping down lights.”
While Mr Hubbert said he was thinking about contacting the police to ask them to speak to the woman, he admitted he and his children saw the funny side of the incident.
Read the story at the Independent. Article contains autoplay ads.
There are still various parts of the world where women's rights aren't being recognized or if they were, they are only secondary to tribal customs and laws that govern the society, and most of the time those laws trump the inherent rights of women.
This is the story of an Afghan woman who had enough and decided it was time to end her life.
(Illustration by: Anke Gladnick)
Some folks consider "luck" to be the result of supernatural forces that work for us or against us, while others look at luck as random occurrences that have nothing to do with who we are. The former can either guide our decisions or cause us to rebel against the very idea. The latter robs us of agency, as people are loathe to believe that randomness in the universe has anything to do with our lives. A previous post pointed to research about the role of luck in our successes and failures. This video from The School of Life looks at why we are not likely to accept the findings that random luck plays a big part in how our lives turn out. -via Laughing Squid
Sometimes, when you touch a pregnant lady's belly, you might feel a small thud, a sign that the baby is kicking inside the womb. Researchers reveal that this happens as a way for babies to understand their bodies while in the womb.
Researchers measuring the brainwaves of newborn babies have discovered that a baby's kicks are likely a way for the infant to map and begin to understand its body. The study could help doctors develop better techniques for looking after premature babies.
Anthony Wood has more on these research findings on New Atlas.
(Image credit: Carlo Navarro/Unsplash)
One of the first successful female racers, Joan Newton Cuneo had fallen in love with racing when her husband Andrew bought her a steam car which she traded in for a more powerful car and took to the race track.
She had competed in various races starting with the Glidden Tour and she continued to set speed records, attracting attention in the racing scene and even from media outlets.
Things were looking good. In 1908, Cuneo had completed the Glidden Tour with a perfect score, set even more speed records, and was on her way to the New Orleans Fair Grounds in early 1909 for the Mardi Gras races—intended to be a perfect way for Cuneo to grow her celebrity.
And she kicked ass. The Mardi Gras races were three jam-packed days of speed, and Cuneo was defeating a long list of popular drivers, like Ralph de Palma, Bob Burman, and George Robertson. The media went wild. A tiny woman behind the wheel of a powerful car seemed absurd—but the fact that she could absolutely demolish the top talents of the day? Joan Cuneo was a force to be reckoned with.
All was well and good except for one thing. She was banned by the AAA from participating in any sanctioned races:
That is, until the Contest Board of the American Automobile Association decided to ban women from any of their sanctioned competitions. Including Cuneo.
(Image credit: Bain News Service/Wikimedia Commons)
You know how family traditions start: you do something fun one year, and the kids want to do it again next year. Before you know it, they think it's important to do it every year. Some of these traditions evolve into strange and weird things your family does that no one else does- and you may not have known it until you were an adult.
You might not even realize how strange your family traditions are until someone new confronts them for the first time. Or maybe you were the outsider, dumbfounded at what was normal in that family.
Read all 18 pictofacts about weird family holiday traditions at Cracked. And feel free to tell us your stories about what your family does for the holidays.
The Miss Universe parade of national costumes, sometimes called "the cosplay of the nations," happened in Bangkok on Sunday. Many of the costumes would make a Vegas showgirl tired, but there were quite a few that were clever, surprising, or just beautiful. Above, Miss Puerto Rico pays homage to those who helped the island after hurricane Maria.
Instead of a traditional kimono, Miss Japan represented her country as Sailor Moon. Miss India carried her own throne. Miss United Kingdom illustrated women's suffrage, while Miss Vietnam pretended to eat part of her costume. Miss Laos was accompanied by a couple of life-size puppets, a display that could have doubled as a performance in the talent competition, but Miss Universe doesn't have one.
See all the costumes from 94 nations in alphabetical order at ONTD. You can see a video of the entire parade as well. The Miss Universe pageant will be held Sunday night. -via Metafilter
National Geographic has announced the winners in their 2018 photo contest. The Grand Prize went to Jassen Todorov for an aerial image of thousands of recalled Volkswagens and Audis retired to the Mojave desert after the company was caught cheating on emissions tests.
This photograph by Pim Volkers won first place in the wildlife category.
It was early morning when I saw the wildebeests crossing Tanzania’s Mara River. The layering of dust, shade, and sun over the chaos of wildebeests kicking up water gives this picture a sense of mystique and allure. It’s almost like an old painting—I’m still compelled to search the detail of the image to absorb the unreal scene.
You can see the winners in all the categories at National Geographic.
With the discovery of electricity, Benjamin Franklin experimented on it to understand its different uses and practical applications.
Franklin’s fascination with electricity spilled over to more elaborate parlor tricks. In the summer of 1749 he hosted an electrical feast, which began with Franklin electrocuting a turkey and then roasting it on a spit that was turned by an electrically powered jack.
Franklin’s experiments occasionally went awry. In some of his first attempts at turkey electrocution, the birds were merely stunned, arising a few minutes later after regaining consciousness.
On one memorable occasion, he electrocuted himself instead of the bird.
Despite the mishaps he faced while experimenting with electricity, Franklin never gave up.
Despite this blunder, Franklin continued his explorations in pursuit of a practical use for electricity. In particular, he theorized that electricity could be used to tenderize meat. By 1773 Franklin had not only a hypothesis but specific instructions.
(Image credit: American Philosophical Society)
The theremin was the first all-electronic musical instrument, played by moving one's hand through the electromagnetic field generated by two oscillators. It was invented by Leon Theremin (Lev Sergeyevich Termen) in 1920. That "accidental" invention set Theremin on a profoundly peculiar life journey.
Leon was a young physicist under the Soviet regime when he accidentally invented his instrument while working on government-sponsored research into proximity sensors. As a Bolshevik, he was honoured when he discovered that Lenin was impressed by the instrument. The Soviet leader actually took lessons from him, and is believed to have had quite a knack for it. Leon was thus sent around the world to showcase the finest of Soviet technology.
Theremin settled in the US, where he patented his theremin, married a prima ballerina from the American Negro Ballet Company, and was suspected of sending American scientific intelligence back to Russia. But Theremin suddenly and mysteriously disappeared in 1938. Read what happened to Theremin and the impact of his later inventions at Messy Messy Chic.
For his Christmas greeting, The Flippist (previously at Neatorama) made a flip book of all the booby traps that Kevin sprung on the home invaders in the movie Home Alone. It will remind you of how ridiculously violent that film was- like the Three Stooges on steroids.
The booby trap scene from Home Alone already feels like a cartoon, so turning it into a flipbook was natural! It especially works great with the amazing sound effects. This took over a month to draw/color, but has always been one of my favorite movies so I had a lot of fun making it. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you all! Thanks for watching :)
-via Boing Boing
What caused the global panic at the turn of the new millennia turned out to be a false alarm. No, computers didn't malfunction as a result of changing the year from 1999 to 2000. But there is an important lesson that the world probably missed in the wake of the misunderstanding.
The two narratives explaining the Y2K incident are somewhat in contrast with one another. Either it was simply a non-issue, that we had nothing to worry about with the machines that we built or it was because of the skilled programmers who averted the problem.
The two, combined, narratives of what transpired on Y2K — that it was strictly a non-event, or, that it was a non-event because of programmers were skilled enough to predict and avert it — actually bred something else: confidence.
Armed with this confidence, in the years since Y2K, we have created more and more complex networks and systems to enhance, guide, or even take over many facets of our daily lives.
Now, we’re discovering what a false sense of security we’ve created. Along with it should come the realization of just how little we understand about the programs that permeate our lives and the networks that link them. Unlike 20 years ago, we appear less and less capable of predicting what will go wrong, or of stopping it before it does.
(Image credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Finding life on other planets or celestial bodies may be a little bit far off but recently, a NASA probe has detected evidence that water was on a distant asteroid. One might think asteroids are just hunks of rock floating in space so this new discovery would come as a surprise to many.
In a conference today, scientists announced that OSIRIS-REx has found evidence of hydrated minerals on the surface of Bennu using its on-board spectrometers — tools used to determine the exact chemical composition of a specific spot. That means “evidence of liquid water” in Bennu’s past, according to Amy Simon, the scientist overseeing OSIRIS-REx’s spectral analysis.
“To get hydrated minerals in the first place, to get clays, you have to have water interacting with regular minerals,” says Simon. “This is a great surprise.”
(Image credit: Goddard Space Flight Center/NASA)
Women have always been left out of history, not because they didn't have anything to say, do, or contribute but mostly because they are being pushed into the traditional role of being a domestic shut-in.
But no more. The women's movement and all other efforts being made to ensure that women are able to contribute and be credited in their chosen fields have been gaining a lot of attention in recent times. Though there is still a long way to go.
At the very least, we could recognize the women who have made big contributions in the field of science in history. Other than Marie Curie and Ada Lovelace, other female scientists like Caroline Herschel, Lisa Meitner, and Hertha Ayrton deserve the commendation for their works.
(Image credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Kids can be cold and calculating. Most children who are disappointed in not getting a pony just stop believing in Santa. One kid not only got revenge, but he's on to extortion now. Jim Benton drew this comic some time ago. This year, he pulled it out, added more color, and printed it on his Christmas cards. -via reddit
As with most headlines that pose a question, the answer is "no." The story of the African princess refers to Sarah Forbes Bonetta, who was brought to England from the kingdom of Dahomey (now Benin) by Captain Frederick E. Forbes. King Ghezo welcomed Forbes as a diplomat in 1850, and they exchanged gifts as was the custom. One of the gifts was a seven-year-old girl.
Forbes was part of the Royal Navy's antislavery squadron that patrolled and captured slave ships off West Africa. Though Great Britain had been a prominent force in the transatlantic slave trade, by 1838, under Queen Victoria, parliament had abolished slavery throughout the empire.
It may seem ironic that a man opposed to slavery would accept a human as a gift, which Walter Dean Myers, in his young reader book At Her Majesty's Request: An African Princess in Victorian England, calls “a present from the King of the blacks to the Queen of the whites.” But as Forbes wrote in his journals, to refuse her would be to sign "her death-warrant.” He believed that, "in consideration of the nature of the service I had performed, the government would consider her as the property of the Crown," so the government would take responsibility for her care. And, he was immediately impressed by her brightness and charm, calling her "a perfect genius.” He renamed and baptized the young girl after himself and his ship, the HMS Bonetta. From that moment forward, she was known as Sarah Forbes Bonetta.
Sarah was not a princess, and she was not raised by Queen Victoria. But she was the property of the Queen, who felt a special fondness for the girl. Read about the unique life of Sarah Forbes Bonetta at Mental Floss.
Screen Junkies takes a left turn back to Japan of the 1970s, when Spider-Man was on television. The bargain basement production values, the practical effects, the overacting, and the recurring tropes all make this a delightful romp into unintentional comedy. My favorite part is the montage of dummies being thrown off cliffs. -via Geeks Are Sexy
The 2018 movie mashup that you've been waiting for is here! Sleepy Skunk has been working all year to produce a seamless music video made of clips from the biggest films of 2018. It starts out as a thrill ride, morphs into an ethereal dream, then into action sequences, and ends with uplifting dramatic clips. Contains NSFW language at 2:50 only. You'll find a list of the movies used, with timestamps and quotes, here. -Thanks, Louis!
See also: Sleepy Skunk's mix of movies from 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017.
Made by Jacob O'Neal, Animagraffs is an informative website that shows you how most things work. You can see in detail how a jet engine works, or a car engine, how speakers make sound, how to do the moonwalk, or the technology behind a LED flat screen display.
Image credit: link
Although 'lost' films (films for which no known copy exists, e.g., London After Midnight) are numerous, they are usually not a complete loss since still photographs may yet exist, and often some sequenced continuities survive as well. Not so for lost film sequences, however, as many have been lost forever.
The most famous of all lost film sequences is that of the Spider Pit (or Bug Pit) of 1933's King Kong. As stated in the IMDb: It was a graphic scene following Kong shaking four sailors off the log bridge, causing them to fall into a ravine where they were eaten alive by giant spiders. At the preview screening, audience members screamed, and either left the theater or talked about the grisly sequence throughout the subsequent scenes, disrupting the film. Merian C. Cooper said, "It stopped the picture cold, so the next day back at the studio, I took it out myself." What wasn't stated is that Merian Cooper apparently tossed the cut sequence in the trash since it has not been seen since.
Fortunately, still photographs survived, as did the original script. Filmmaker Peter Jackson, having made his own version of the film in 2005, went so far as to use these surviving materials as guides to recreate what the lost sequence might have been.
Following are YouTube videos of the Spider/Bug Pit sequence, the first being as seen in the 1933 theatrical release, the second being the corresponding sequence from the 2005 remake, and the third being Peter Jackson's imagined recreation. All I can say is that film audiences of 1933 would have keeled over dead had they seen the 2005 version. What do you think?
The Bug Pit Scene (w/o the bugs) from King Kong, 1933.
The Bug Pit Sequence from Peter Jackson's 2005 remake of King Kong. (Graphic)
The Lost Spider Pit Sequence, as recreated by Peter Jackson in the style of the original 1933 film.
Matt Daniels presents a heat map of population density around New York. But as you scroll down, it changes to a different angle and shows you what the population of the cities look like stacked as a 3D graph. That's a population mountain. Every city has a differently-shaped "mountain" that gives you a feel for how dense it is. Daniels goes on to compare some of the mega-cities around the world. Above you see London, England, on the left. It is an old city with nine million people, surrounded by suburbs and other nearby cities. On the right is Kinshasa, DRC, with 13.1 million people. It is a fast-growing city surrounded by empty space and few suburbs. Both are impressive, but do not compare at all with the mega-cities of Asia. Read about Daniels' population mountains around the world, and then you can explore on your own with his interactive world map. -via Metafilter
Everyone is familiar with the many voices of Mel Blanc (seen above with Director Chuck Jones (left) and fellow voice actress June Foray), who gave life to most of the Warner Brothers cartoon characters, and you may be familiar with other voice actors such as Dan Castellaneta and those found on The Simpsons. Many prolific voice actors such as Don Messick and Bill Thompson lived and died in obscurity, but their ranks are swelling with the infusion of A-list actors such as Cameron Diaz, whom producers seem to think are worth paying $5 million for two weeks' work, and many B- and C-list actors such as Mark Hamill, who now cannot get any type of acting work other than voice.
Typically, voice actors record their lines without other voice actors present, as they are often coached one-on-one by the director as to the specific pronunciation, nuance, emotion, and emphasis desired. But, if the voice actors have worked together before and know each others' characters well, they often record together, playing off of each other to maximum effect. A good example of this is the combination of John C. Reilly and Sarah Silverman in Wreck-it Ralph 2.
There's a lot more to voice acting than meets the eye, and, if a voice actor is established, he or she often is allowed to contribute to the scripting ("my character wouldn't say that") or even ad-lib, as Robin Williams often did in the Disney animated film Aladdin. Voice actors can have amazing longevity compared to screen actors; Mae Questal voiced Betty Boop from 1930 to 1989, and Mel Blanc voiced Bugs Bunny and others during the same extended time frame.
Following are some select voice acting videos found on YouTube, to give one a better flavor of what voice acting is all about. These are just samples; dozens are available, so why not look for your own favorites?
Mel Blanc voicing live radio in 1944.
Voicing Wreck-it Ralph.
Recording in the Toy Story franchise.
We have always had this irrational fear of the unknown, a fear of progress or innovation, that something wrong will happen because of the new technologies that we develop.
Some look back to bygone times when things were much simpler and fewer problems affected humans as well as the environment.
But progress has positive effects of making our lives easier and helping us understand more of our world which in turn, we can use to improve and maintain the resources that we already have.
Back in the Victorian era, people feared that technological advancements would adversely affect their health, particularly their eyesight.
In the 1800s, the rise of mass print was both blamed for an increase in eye problems and was responsible for dramatising the fallibility of vision too. As the amount of known eye problems increased, the Victorians predicted that without appropriate care and attention Britain’s population would become blind.
Now, that's a curious thought to ponder. Sure, the effects of modern technology goes both ways but being able to identify the negatives would surely help us find ways to minimize the impact.
Well, no matter what the issues may be, humans will continue to progress into further improvements in living conditions to make life more convenient. Perhaps, we can just keep in mind these concerns and try to live in a way that is sustainable and beneficial even to future generations.
(Image credit: Wellcome Library)
If you are looking to visit South America any time soon, there must be a few places in your itinerary that you would want to visit. Apart from famous tourist sites in Brazil or Peru, perhaps you should check out the other "Easter Island" of South America.
South America’s largest trove of religious monuments and megalithic sculptures isn’t on Easter Island, nor even in Peru or Chile, as most travellers might assume. It’s Tierradentro’s 162 underground tombs carved into solid volcanic bedrock, and the more than 500 monolithic stone statues and tumuli (ancient burial mounds) surrounding the nearby town of San Agustín, sprinkled throughout 2,000 sq km of the serried mountains and highland plateaus of the Upper Magdalena Valley in southern Colombia.
Christopher P. Baker shares his travels to these wonderful sites on The BBC.
(Image credit: Christopher P. Baker)
This video from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory featuring the sound of Martian wind captured by the InSight lander, and it's pretty amazing - even if it sounds a lot like the wind here on earth.
The NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory included the following information to explain what you're hearing, & how to listen to the sounds best as the are extremely low frequency.
Listen to Martian wind blow across NASA’s InSight lander. The spacecraft’s seismometer and air pressure sensor picked up vibrations from 10-15 mph (16-24 kph) winds as they blew across Mars’ Elysium Planitia on Dec. 1, 2018.
The seismometer readings are in the range of human hearing, but are nearly all bass and difficult to hear on laptop speakers and mobile devices. We provide the original audio and a version pitched up by two octaves to make them audible on mobile devices. Playback is suggested on a sound system with a subwoofer or through headphones. Readings from the air pressure sensor have been sped up by a factor of 100 times to make them audible. For full-length uncompressed .wav files, visit NASA.gov/sounds.
For more about the InSight mission, visit mars.nasa.gov/insight.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/CNES/IPGP/Imperial College/Cornell
As an enthusiast of languages, I find it fascinating to learn a new language but even more interesting is the process of decoding an old language and understanding how they communicated back in their time.
Broken and scorched black by fire, the dense, wedge-shaped marks etched into the ancient clay tablets are only just visible under the soft light at the British Museum. These tiny signs are the remains of the world’s oldest writing system: cuneiform.
Developed more than 5,000 years ago in Mesopotamia, the land between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers where modern-day Iraq now lies, cuneiform captured life in a complex and fascinating civilisation for some three millennia. From furious letters between warring royal siblings to rituals for soothing a fractious baby, the tablets offer a unique insight into a society at the dawn of history.
Read on to find out how experts are using AI in order to figure out what these symbols mean.
(Image credit: Jacob Dahl)