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Canadian Tire Store Stalls When Every Item Scans as Mr. Potato Head

You want a set of new whitewalls? That'll come up as four Mr. Potato Heads.

This was the experience of customers at five Canadian Tire stores in Ontario this week. Every time an employee scanned a product--any product in the store--the computers said it was a Mr. Potato Head toy. My Kawartha reports:

Five stores in Lindsay and Whitby were impacted in the bizarre computer system fritz that started around 7 a.m. Monday (June 29). A staff member from Lindsay Canadian Tire who wished to remain anonymous said any item the team scanned showed the same product number and information as the popular toy.
Cathy Kurzbock, manager of external communications for the Canadian Tire Corporation, clarified the glitch only made the names of products appear the same, not the prices or the item numbers. She said the anomaly didn't effect stores outside of Lindsay or Whitby. 

-via Dave Barry | Photo: Google Maps


Attending Professional Auctioneer School

Do you have what it takes to excite buyers without scaring them off while communicating clearly and following complex regulations? Then you might have the chops to make it as an auctioneer.

Mike "McGravel" Jones of America's Auctioneer Academy in Dallas, Texas teaches week-long class in the vocal techniques -- known as "the chant" -- and the procedures of a successful auctioneer. Katy Vine of Texas Monthly attended the course. She writes:

Live bid-calling is like a series of contracts, and when an auctioneer says “Sold,” accepting the bid, the highest bidder is on the hook. Therefore, each part of the chant is crucial. “A chant is made of three components: a statement, a question, and a suggestion,” Jones began. The jumbles of syllables between the numbers are called filler words. The class scribbled. The basic chant Jones proposed—the one we would employ for the remainder of the class and that would provide a soundtrack for all our dreams and nightmares—was “One dollar bid, now two, now two, will you give me two?”

-via Marginal Revolution | Photo: Drew Anthony Smith


A British Man Encounters American Summers

Hot enough for ya? Laurence Brown moved from Britain to the US and found out what summer heat really is. He explains the difference between the two nations in his series Lost in the Pond. The US is very hot in the summer. Or at least most of it is. Where I live, it's not only ferociously hot, but also humid as any swamp. In other words, British heat waves ain't got nothing on America. In this video, he tells how he discovered the things Americans use to cool down. Europeans think they are crazy, but when you actually encounter the summer heat, they are lifesavers.


The Long Prank

BugsyShort is renovating his home. He said he "decided to put this in the wall before its boarded up so I can give the next person who renovates the house a heart attack." The two main reactions were suggestions for what the skeleton's t-shirt should say, and laments about the wasted space. BugsyShort was ready with an explanation.  

And that, my friends, is how you internet.


The Ways Star Wars Is Way Crazier Than You Realize

I dunno, maybe if you saw the original Star Wars trilogy as a child, you could be surprised to learn in this century that there's no internal consistency in the Skywalker saga. Those of us who were adults in 1977 were already used to space movies that made no sense at all, but we went nuts for the humor and special effects anyway. Suspension of disbelief and all that.

However, most of the pictofacts in this list at Cracked have to do with even weirder facts from the Expanded Universe of novels and comic books. After reading them, you'll no longer be puzzled at Disney's decision to declare all that alternate media non-canon.


Ewoks Trailer

First off, I'm a big fan of your site. To say that I'm addicted is an understatement. 

A few years ago John Farrier posted a link to my Empire Strikes Back Trailer.

I’m reaching out because I have crafted another trailer. This time I’ve chosen to update “Ewoks: The Battle for Endor”. It’s a lot more tongue-in-cheek than my last trailer. The Ewok movies have become strangely relevant recently with their mention on “Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian” and with the Lauren Lapkus / Nicole Byer podcast “Newcomers” devoting an entire episode to them. 

Anyway I hope you enjoy the link above and MTFBWY!

A Big Fan,

-Dan Flesher


Whale Sharks Have Eyeballs Covered in Tiny Teeth

Whale sharks are fish that can grow as long as 59 feet (18 meters), so there's not much in the ocean that's going to mess with them. However, they are vulnerable in their own ways, and have developed adaptations to protect themselves from the friction of swimming, namely, teeth that grow all over their bodies, including their eyeballs! These modified teeth are called dermal denticles.   

Whale sharks, unlike some other shark species, don’t have eyelids. Also, their tiny eyes are located at the corners of their square heads, exposing their peepers to potential damage. That’s where the protective eye denticles come in.

Sharks have dermal denticles elsewhere on their bodies. These marine animals don’t have scales like other fish, but they do have placoid scales, which are made of dermal denticles. These modified teeth, with their hard enamel, provide sharks with armor-like protection, but they also work to reduce friction in the water, helping sharks swim with speed and stealth.

A study of whale sharks from Japanese aquariums, both living and dead specimens, show the denticles comes in all sorts of shapes. One shark eyeball had nearly 3,000 denticles! Read more about this research at Gizmodo.

(Image credit: istolethetv)


Words And Memories

Throughout the course of a lifetime, a person learns thousands of words. But of these many words stored in his tiny brain, some are withdrawn by his brain more frequently than other words. The question is, why? Turns out that it has something to do with that person’s memories of past experiences.

In a recent study of epilepsy patients and healthy volunteers, National Institutes of Health researchers found that our brains may withdraw some common words, like "pig," "tank," and "door," much more often than others, including "cat," "street," and "stair." By combining memory tests, brain wave recordings, and surveys of billions of words published in books, news articles and internet encyclopedia pages, the researchers not only showed how our brains may recall words but also memories of our past experiences.
"We found that some words are much more memorable than others. Our results support the idea that our memories are wired into neural networks and that our brains search for these memories, just the way search engines track down information on the internet," said Weizhen (Zane) Xie, Ph.D., a cognitive psychologist and post-doctoral fellow at the NIH's National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), who led the study published in Nature Human Behaviour. "We hope that these results can be used as a roadmap to evaluate the health of a person's memory and brain."

More details about this interesting study over at MedicalXpress.

(Image Credit: geralt/ Pixabay)


This Glove Can Translate Sign Language In Real-Time

Living in this world is a challenge for the mute and the deaf. There are only a few places that can be considered as friendly to them. Human interaction is also difficult, as many do not know sign language. Thankfully, there are people who are committed to making the world a better place. Bioengineers from UCLA have developed a wearable glove that can translate American Sign Language (ASL) into English in real time via a smartphone app.

"Our hope is that this opens up an easy way for people who use sign language to communicate directly with non-signers without needing someone else to translate for them," said Jun Chen, an assistant professor of bioengineering at the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering and the principal investigator on the research. "In addition, we hope it can help more people learn sign language themselves."
UCLA has filed for a patent on the technology. A commercial model based on this technology would require added vocabulary and an even faster translation time, Chen said.

More details about this over at TechXplore.

(Image Credit: Jun Chen Lab/UCLA/ TechXplore)


This Nanofiber Could Protect A Person From Explosions

Soldiers who go into the battlefield have, at the very least, two things to consider: bullets and explosives. Both could kill a person. Soldiers wear thick and heavy armor to protect their bodies from these things. However,...

... much of their body remains exposed to the indiscriminate aim of explosive fragments and shrapnel.

Not only that, but this heavy armor greatly restricts a soldier’s mobility.

Designing equipment to protect extremities against the extreme temperatures and deadly projectiles that accompany an explosion has been difficult because of a fundamental property of materials. Materials that are strong enough to protect against ballistic threats can't protect against extreme temperatures and vice versa. As a result, much of today's protective equipment is composed of multiple layers of different materials, leading to bulky, heavy gear that, if worn on the arms and legs, would severely limit a soldier's mobility.
Now, Harvard University researchers, in collaboration with the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Soldier Center (CCDC SC) and West Point, have developed a lightweight, multifunctional nanofiber material that can protect wearers from both extreme temperatures and ballistic threats.

More details about this over at

What are your thoughts about this one?

(Image Credit: Grant Gonzalez/Harvard SEAS/


How Many Notes Does It Take Before These Guys Play One Out Of Tune?

The violin is a difficult instrument to learn. Unlike other common stringed instruments such as the guitar, the violin doesn’t have frets, and so the violin player has to be precise as to where he puts his finger on the fingerboard. Note that precision, or the musical term “intonation”, is one of the keys to good violin-playing.

With this thing in mind, how many notes does it take before these guys play one note that is considered out of tune by a digital tuner?

Watch this video to find out.

(Image Credit: TwoSet Violin/ YouTube)


Surviving Unscathed From A Duck’s Belly: A Fish Egg Story

Fish eggs that unfortunately get into a duck’s mouth and into its stomach may just one be one of the saddest moments on Earth. These eggs get pummeled by the duck’s gizzard and then burned up by the stomach acids, and by the time that they exit the duck’s body, most of these eggs can no longer hatch. They don’t get to hatch and have a chance at life. With these great odds stacked against these eggs, you wouldn’t expect that some will survive unscathed… but some surprisingly do survive.

…a few eggs can exit unscathed in a duck’s excrement, possibly helping to spread those fish, including invasive species, to different places, a new study finds.
It’s been an “open question for centuries how these isolated water bodies can be populated by fish,” says fish biologist Patricia Burkhardt-Holm of the University of Basel in Switzerland, who was not involved with the work. This study shows one way that water birds may disperse fish, she says.

More details about this over at ScienceNews.

(Image Credit: ArtTower/ Pixabay)


Fat Bear Transformation

Katmai National Park and Preserve's Fat Bear tournament last fall was won by a fabulously rotund female brown bear named Holly. You can see her at her chonkiest here. But soon after winning the competition, Holly went into hibernation, and now she has emerged a changed bear.

After online voters crowned Holly the fattest of the fat bears in October 2019, she went into hibernation during the long winter famine, subsisting on her ample fat reserves. What's more, Holly also gave birth and nursed a cub during hibernation (female bears are the only animals known to give birth and lactate while hibernating, noted Fitz).

"All that fat paid off," Naomi Boak, the media ranger at Katmai National Park and Preserve, told Mashable. "She’s one-third the bear she was," Boak, who's currently stationed at the Brooks River in Katmai, added.

Giving birth to a cub is all the more remarkable because Holly is 20 years old, which is the expected lifespan of a brown bear. She probably won't be in the running this fall, because this summer she is fishing for two. Read more about Holly at Mashable. You can follow the bears of Katmai on a webcam through the summer.

(Image credit: National Park Service)


An Honest Trailer For The NeverEnding Story

I have never seen The NeverEnding Story, but according to this Honest Trailer, it was full of doom, gloom, misery, and sadness. In other words, it was a German kids' movie. It was a big hit in West Germany, which was still a country in 1984, and managed to make money in the US, although it was not what we'd normally think of as a blockbuster. However, people who were children in 1984 now run the internet, so The NeverEnding Story is a fondly remembered shared experience among them.


Why a Single Little Spot Makes Driving Across "America" Impossible

You might look at a map and think about how wonderful a road trip it would be to drive from the top of North America down to the bottom of South America (or vice-versa) on the Pan-American Highway. The problem is that the Pan-American Highway doesn't go all the way- there's a relatively short route that connects the two continents that has never been paved -and might never be. It's called the Darién Gap, and RealLifeLore explains why it's so difficult to build a road through it. -via Digg

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