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A Father Daughter Debate

(YouTube link)

A Russian father and his baby daughter are having a seriously heated discussion. The little girl most likely only understands a few of the words, and she can’t reproduce them coherently, because she’s a baby. She can, however, reproduce the cadence, emphasis, and body language to an amazing degree, which is adorable. If I understood what she was arguing about, she’d have me convinced. According to the comments at reddit, he is chastising her for throwing her pancakes on the floor. That means that her side of the argument is a vigorous defense. -via Daily Picks and Flicks

25 Things You Didn’t Know About The Godfather

On this date in 1972, Francis Ford Coppola introduced audiences to The Godfather. The film shocked viewers and became the biggest box-office draw of the year, or of any year up to that point. It won three Oscars, and is ranked by the American Film Institute as the #2 greatest movie ever, behind only Citizen Kane. But the film went through a lot of changes during production, and it wasn’t an easy project.

Mob boss Joseph Colombo Sr., who felt he was being harassed by the feds, founded the Italian-American Civil Rights League, which led to the picketing of the New York City FBI headquarters in 1970 (a quarter of a million people showed up). The organization also attacked The Godfather and rallied to stop production. “It became clear very quickly that the Mafia — and they did not call themselves the Mafia — did not want our film made. We started getting threats,” a production assistant said in a 2009 interview. Colombo did manage to get the words “Mafia” and “Cosa Nostra” struck from the script. Eventually, mob members became a fixture on set (several were extras) and showed their support.

That’s just one of the 25 things you can learn about The Godfather at Flavorwire.

Chernobyl Trees Don’t Rot Right

Almost three decades after the nuclear meltdown at the Chernobyl plant in Ukraine, animals and plants display significant changes in structure and physiology and high levels of radiation. And another effect of the disaster may spell trouble in the future.  

According to a new study published in Oecologia, decomposers—organisms such as microbes, fungi and some types of insects that drive the process of decay—have also suffered from the contamination. These creatures are responsible for an essential component of any ecosystem: recycling organic matter back into the soil. Issues with such a basic-level process, the authors of the study think, could have compounding effects for the entire ecosystem.

The team decided to investigate this question in part because of a peculiar field observation. “We have conducted research in Chernobyl since 1991 and have noticed a significant accumulation of litter over time,” the write. Moreover, trees in the infamous Red Forest—an area where all of the pine trees turned a reddish color and then died shortly after the accident—did not seem to be decaying, even 15 to 20 years after the meltdown.

“Apart from a few ants, the dead tree trunks were largely unscathed when we first encountered them,” says Timothy Mousseau, a biologist at the University of South Carolina, Columbia, and lead author of the study. “It was striking, given that in the forests where I live, a fallen tree is mostly sawdust after a decade of lying on the ground.”

They conducted an experiment by bringing in leaves from non-contaminated areas to see how they decayed. After a year, the level of decay corresponded with the amount of radiation in the area in which they were placed (shown on map). This inhibition of a natural process has several implications. Nutrients are not being returned to the soil, which affects future plant growth. But more importantly, forest litter is a fire hazard.

Fires can potentially redistribute radioactive contaminants to places outside of the exclusion zone, Mousseau says. “There is growing concern that there could be a catastrophic fire in the coming years,” he says.

Who knows what other effects the lack of microbial species could have? Read more about the research at Smithsonian.

(Image credit: Mousseau et al., Oecologia)

What Do People around the World Eat for Breakfast?

(Video Link)

What are some typical--or at least stereotypical--breakfasts eaten across the globe? BuzzFeed shows us breakfasts from 17 nations. They include the United States, though with some missing elements.

I've long wanted to try an English full breakfast. The Brazilian breakfast shown in the video looks tasty, too. What would you like to try?

-via That's Nerdalicious!

The DIY Weapons Of The Ukranian Revolution

The riots in Kiev, Ukraine, which subsequently turned into a full blown revolution, weren't started by soldiers or police officers, they were started by average people willing to fight for their rights against a corrupt government.

DIY weaponry is the norm among the freedom fighting citizen soldiers that form the front lines, and these weapons look like something straight out of a post apocalyptic movie.

Photographer Tom Jamieson has chosen to document the DIY weapons of the Ukranian Revolution in a totally artsy way, taking them out of the fray and simply showcasing the brutal ingenuity and crude beauty of each weapon.

And even though you can't see the wielders in these photos you can somehow get a sense about them simply by looking at their choice of arms.

This Isn't Snow. It's Sea Foam.

(Photo: Laurent Laveder--Photographer's Gallery)

If you're in the United States, you may have seen snow this deep in recent weeks. But this photo is from Saint-Guénolé, France. On March 3, a terrible storm blew in from the Atlantic and swamped the town with bubbly seawater. You can see another photo here.

(Video Link)

A Close Look at Popcorn

(YouTube link)

This video is from NPR’s series Click to Enlarge, but in this case, you must heat to enlarge, because we’re popping popcorn! Get an up close look inside to see what makes a popcorn kernel pop, and afterward, we examine what the edible stuff looks like under a microscope. After watching this, you might want to get out the big kettle and pop some yourself. You know you want some. Oh right, nowadays you do it in the microwave. How to pop corn properly in a heavy kettle is a lesson for another day. -via Daily of the Day

War Drags You Out: World Political Figures Made into Drag Queens

Vladdy Pushin' (1952)

Inspired after attending a drag show for the first time, Saint Hoax decided to deconstruct the "recipe" of making an iconic queen and came up with the following:

1- Flamboyant name
2- Fierce persona
3- Defining outfits
4- Personalized hairdo 
5- A trademark feature
6- One hell of a PR team

Noting the similarity between that and what it takes to craft a political image, Saint Hoax decided to apply the techniques to do make-overs of some of the world's most famous (and infamous) political figures in the art series War Drags You Out:

I then realized that it takes that same exact effort to make a leader. 
A rush of images containing Hitler's mustache, Bin laden's headgear, Obama's campaigns, Saddam's narcism crossed through my mind. It got me thinking that behind every "great" man, there's a queen. 

Like drag queens, political/religious leaders are expected to entertain, perform and occasionally lip-sync a public speech.  But unlike drag queens, the fame hungry leaders don't know when to take their costumes off.

Hitleria Hysteria (1889 - 1945)

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Epic Spelling Bee Ends Two Weeks Later

Saturday, the Jackson County, Missouri, Spelling Bee finally came to an end -after two weeks and more than 90 rounds of elimination. Or actually, attempts at elimination. The final two contenders, fifth-grader Sophia Hoffman and seventh-grader Kush Sharma, went 66 rounds and spelled their way through the entire list of available words during the initial spelling bee in February. Officials called a delay while they gathered more words. Two weeks later, the two students went another 30 rounds to decide a winner.

"It took us an hour to find more words," head judge Kaite Stover, a librarian at the Kansas City Public Library Central Branch, told Carter of the competition's first day, on Feb. 22. "And we were looking for words that were not completely archaic and uncommon."

But Hoffman, 11, and Sharma, 13, answered the challenge each time, relying on their knowledge of word origins and prefixes to see them through. After more than five hours, organizers threw up their hands to set up today's event.

The judges brought a fresh batch of 200 words to bear Saturday, from a list provided by the Scripps National Spelling Bee. They also had around 60 backup words just in case they're needed, the library says.

In the end, Hoffman was eliminated by the word "stifling," and Sharma correctly spelled "definition" and will advance to the national bee. But officials should start preparing now because both students will still be eligible to compete next year. -via Digg

(Image credit: Jackson County Spelling Bee)

Snake Ate Crocodile After an Epic Battle to the Death

(Photo: Marvin Muller)

In a battle of snake versus crocodile, who'd win*?

Witness Tiffany Corlis observed a 10-foot snake (probably a python) and a crocodile's fight to the death at Lake Moondarra, near Mount Isa, Queensland, Australia, and took these amazing snapshots of the battle.

(Photo: Tiffany Corlis)

Corlis told the BBC, "We saw the snake fighting with the crocodile - it would roll the crocodile around to get a better grip, and coil its body around the crocodile's legs to hold it tight. The fight began in the water - the crocodile was trying to hold its head out of the water at one time, and the snake was constricting it. After the crocodile had died, the snake uncoiled itself, came around to the front, and started to eat the crocodile, face-first."

(Photo: Tiffany Corlis)

The fight, according to snake expert Bryan Fry of University of Queensland's School of Biological Science, is actually not unusual. Water pythons, Fry said, usually target smaller animals and rodents and have been known to attack small fresh water crocodiles. "Crocs are more dangerous to catch but easier to sneak up on, "Fry mentioned to Brisbane Time, "The problem is they are risking being injured or killed, so they have to be judicious."

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Guess What She's Working On

The caption is a bit small, so let me spell it out for you:

Gordon College student Brenda [lastname] settles down to work in her dorm in Lynn, where she takes part in the Wenham school's outreach program.

Guess what kind of work she's settled down to do - Via Bad Newspaper

Give Me Compliments

(YouTube link)

From the Norwegian TV show Kollektivet, we get a music video that parodies the desire for appreciation, even for everyday things that everyone should do. Bitte Schnell! But if your demand for a compliment is ever fulfilled, would you even know what to do with it? -via Metafilter

Previously from Kollektivet: Hit Song and ÆØÅ (Size Matters).

"Hazardous Materials" is an Understatement

(YouTube link)

A truck in Russia carrying “insecure high pressure cylinders” has a little accident. The crash is just the beginning, though, as the cylinders keep going off, like, forever. Is it propane? Don’t ever take chances around those things. The driver escapes from the left side of the truck in the first 30 seconds, and after that no one wants to get anywhere near until the fireworks are completely over. Michael Bay would be proud. -via reddit

Russian Sense of Humor at the Sochi Closing Ceremonies

The most delightful moment from the Olympic Closing  ceremonies at Sochi involved the Russians poking fun at their own Opening Ceremonies. In case you are in the U.S. and haven’t seen the show yet, I have refrained from posting the picture here because someone will call it a spoiler. However, if you are American and have decided to watch The Walking Dead tonight instead, check out the gif at Uproxx. Pictured here is ceremony director Konstantin Ernst, who should be proud.

(Image credit: NickdMiller)

The Day He Found Luna

Imgur user hiblue fed a stray kitten and wasn’t prepared for her response. She flirted and grabbed him and begged to be taken home. And her scheming wiles worked wonders. He named her Luna.

It was a long day and she slept hard. I've never rescued an animal before and all of this was new to me. I can't even begin to explain how rewarding and fulfilling it all was. It was a huge highlight of the year.

The series of pictures that tells the story is from Imgur. -via The Chive

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