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Sleepy Skunk's 2019 Movie Trailer Mashup

The annual Sleepy Skunk movie trailer mashup is here! Clips from boatloads of movies from 2019 have been artfully edited for maximum impact. It starts out lively, kinetic, and goofy, then slides into an epic action section, followed by a tense and dramatic emotional section. If any of these clips pique your curiosity about a movie you haven't yet seen, there's a timeline listing them here. -Thanks, Louis!


Quick Tips on How to Tell Whether a Photo is Good or Bad

2 days left to vote

"Good photos come from experience; experience comes from bad photos," says Nigel Danson, a landscape photographer with over 150k subscribers on his YouTube channel where he gives tips and techniques for landscape photography. 

In his recent video, he analyzes some of his “bad” photos and gives 5 points to consider in order to tell whether a shot is good or bad (I have added explanatory questions to go along with them): 

Balance - Do the various elements in your photo complement one another? 
Flow - Is there a simple and easy-to-follow direction for the viewer’s eyes? 
Attention - Which details stand-out and are being emphasized? 
Simplicity - Can your viewer understand what’s going on in the photo?
Distractions - Is there too much going on at one time in the photo?

Danson discusses what makes a photo a good one at 8:11

These tips are just a guide and he cautions that, 

It’s a good idea to get other people’s feedback, but then you’ve got to treat it with care; if you just take everyone’s feedback, then everyone’s gonna have something different and you’ll end up with nothing.

So, get feedback from other people but remember to stay true to your vision for each image because it’s easy to get lost in the woods. 

-via Shutterbug

Photo: Kaique Rocha / Pexels


$120,000 Banana Eaten

Artist Maurizio Cattelan duct-taped a banana to a wall at Art Basel Miami Beach and sold the artwork for a tidy sum. But that's just the beginning of the story. Next, performance artist David Datuna came along and ate the banana!

Gallery owner Emmanuel Perrotin was about to head to the airport when he heard that the banana was eaten. He darted to the space, clearly upset. A fair goer tried to cheer him up and handed him his own banana.

Perrotin and a gallery assistant re-adhered the borrowed banana to the wall just after 2 p.m.

Those involved offered a convoluted explanation of why eating the banana did not diminish the value of the artwork. Read about the incident, and see videos, at the Miami Herald. -via Metafilter

(Image source: David Datuna)


Can’t Seem to Stop Checking Your Phone? Try These Useful Tips

2 days left to vote

Psychologist Dr. Logan Jones says that while social media ‘detoxes’ can be helpful in some cases, it’s more important to explore why you need to take a break in the first place. 

"On a deeper level, these social media companies know exactly what they are doing [from] a neurological perspective. What they're doing is called intermittent reinforcement -- it's what casinos do too with slot machines. And it's the same with swiping on Tinder or checking your Instagram. The addiction is the reward pathway, it's a dopamine hit," Jones said. 

So, instead of quitting Facebook or Instagram cold-turkey, try lessening your social media intake bit-by-bit. For example, Jones suggests “turning off notifications, turning off vibrate, and using a feature on your phone that monitors how much time you spend on social apps.”

"Addiction is anything you do to escape a feeling that has a life-damaging consequence. So a lot of people will turn to social media to escape a feeling of boredom, loneliness, wasting time -- whatever feeling they want to escape. The life-damaging consequences of social media addiction are that you are not present and as engaged with life," Jones said.

These evaluation questions can guide you in your self-assessment.

It’s also helpful to replace your social media addiction with positive habits, like reading, exercising, or meeting up with friends in real life. But don’t be discouraged and give up if you feel the urge to check your phone for Facebook updates 3 seconds after you pick up a book. It takes at least 3 weeks or 21 days for new habits to fully form, according to Jones. 

In summary, social media is like a drug, so it’s best to take your recovery efforts one step at a time. Understand where the problem of your social media addiction comes from by assessing your own motives and then find new healthy habits to replace your addiction. But don’t forget to be patient with yourself, we are all a work in progress. 

Finally, always consult a health professional first regarding any questions or issues you have, these tips are no substitute for medical advice. 

You can find out more about positive reinforcement and building better social media habits here.

Photo: ROBIN WORRALL / Unsplash


Electric Eel Brightens Christmas

Every time an eel farts, a Christmas tree grows brighter. Well, not exactly. The sound is generated from the setup at the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga. Any time the aquarium's star electric eel Miguel Wattson produces an electric current, the nearby Christmas tree gets a boost that brightens the Christmas lights. The aquarium named the project "Shocking Around the Christmas Tree."

“Whenever Miguel discharges electricity, sensors in the water deliver the charge to a set of speakers,” explains Joey Turnipseed, the Aquarium’s audio visual production specialist. Turnipseed is responsible for tackling the unique engineering challenge of translating Miguel’s electric pulses into a glimmering yuletide display. “The speakers convert the discharge into the sound you hear and the festively flashing lights.”

You can almost imagine the discussion on this. Can't we convert the sound into bells instead of fart noises? Sure, but the kids will like the fart sounds better. Okay, then. -via UPI


Who Invented the Emoticon and Emoji?

Emoticons and emoji are used to bring nuance to short text passages that might be misunderstood otherwise. Of course, some folks use it for decoration, emphasis, and humor, but that wasn't the original idea. Written language was first used to convey information, but as time passed and technology enabled communication over distances, humanity has struggled to imbue text communication with implied emotion that can get lost when you can't see the speaker's facial expressions and body language. At their core, such symbols are a form of punctuation, which was an early innovation in writing -even before spaces between words. Emoticons and emoji were not so much invented but instead evolved from the long process of refining written text. To understand this evolution, it helps to have a timeline of punctuation. The digital revolution ramped up the need for shortcuts in passing along in idea in text.

This all inspired the users of, for example, the PLATO IV system in 1972 to actually use a facility of that system to solve the problem, creating a whole slew of the first emojis and emoticons in the process.

And if you’re wondering about the distinction here, “emoji” derives from the Japanese for “picture” and “character”, so “picture character”. In contrast, “emoticon” derives from the English “emotion icon”. Thus, while you might think given the two words’ similarity and what they represent also being similar that one came from the other, this is actually purely coincidental.

In any event, going back to the PLATO IV system, with this system, users could press SHIFT-space and then a character to have that character plotted over the previous character without overwriting it. Particularly clever users used this fact to come up with all sorts of little images to represent various emotions and otherwise add context and meaning to a given bit of text, or sometimes to just have the thing stand alone to communicate something, like some sort of modern hieroglyphic. Eventually there were many hundreds of such symbols being used on this system.

There are other important moments in the development of emoticons, such as the time a theoretical discussion about a pigeon, a candle, and some mercury inside a falling elevator leaked outside of the chat forum at Carnegie Mellon University and almost caused a panic. Discussion of the incident emphasized the need for a way to denote something as a joke, which led to the sideways smiley face being widely adopted. Read a fairly in-depth history of punctuation that gave rise to emoticons and emoji at Today I Found Out.


The Best-Selling Single of Every Decade

Archie Henderson teamed up with Adrian Gray to determine and present the top song of every decade,  going way back. Although I do believe he skipped some decades, all of the entries have a music clip.

Somewhere along the line, you begin to get the idea that this is going somewhere you didn't expect.

It gets weirder as it goes. Continue reading to see the rest.

Continue reading


Google Assistant Brings Frozen Characters to Life with Bedtime Story Voice Feature

2 days left to vote

Kids love Frozen. It’s obvious from the animated feature film’s box-office success to the seemingly endless sale of books, video games, dolls, Broadway shows, and even cereal! Now Princesses Elsa and Anna, two fictional but larger-than-life characters, have made it to Google.

Google is bringing the leading ladies even closer to fans with a skill available by default on all Google Assistant devices. Just say, “Hey Google, tell me a Frozen story” and...

When you do, you’ll launch the skill (there’s some music and an intro), which takes you to a campfire with some of the film’s main characters. After the intro has finished playing, you or your child can select a character you’d like to tell you a story.
It’s a fun trick, and a free one, and is bound to impress younger kids.

Check out LifeHacker for more details. 

Video: YouTube


Cats Hate This Guy!

2 days left to vote

This Christmas season, we could all use some practical tips to minimize stress in our homes. Cat owners know how difficult it is to keep a cat off a Christmas tree. And thanks to the Internet, life-changing remedies to mundane challenges are just a click away. Nick Douglas, seeing this problem, compiled answers from various Reddit users about how we can best manage cats on Christmas. Douglas, writing for LifeHacker, says,

Cats love Christmas trees. A lot of them love messing with the tree, even climbing it. They’ll knock off the ornaments, make needles fall, and even topple the tree. I looked through Reddit, where every user owns two hundred cats, digging through years of posts for the best advice on keeping cats from ruining Christmas trees or hurting themselves.

Discover those Holiday Hacks here.

Photo: Valentina Sotnikova / Unsplash


NASA Features Photo of Lightning Strike Underneath the Milky Way

2 days left to vote

“Electric Night” photographed by Ivan Pedretti was featured on Wednesday’s ‘Astronomy Picture of the Day’ on the National Aeronautics and Space Administration website with the caption: 

It may appear, at first, like the Galaxy is producing the lightning, but really it's the Earth. The featured nighttime landscape was taken from a southern tip of the Italian Island of Sardinia in early June. The foreground rocks and shrubs are near the famous Capo Spartivento Lighthouse, and the camera is pointed south toward Algeria in Africa. 
In the distance, across the Mediterranean Sea, a thunderstorm is threatening, with several electric lightning strokes caught together during this 25-second wide-angle exposure. 
Much farther in the distance, strewn about the sky, are hundreds of stars in the neighborhood of our Sun in the Milky Way Galaxy. Farthest away, and slanting down from the upper left, are billions of stars that together compose the central band of our Milky Way.

NASA selects a different photo of the cosmos each day. Here's the latest one!

-via News18

Photo: Ivan Pedretti

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