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Delightful Lego Aquarium

Turn the crank and the mechanical delight comes to life. The fish swim, the crab jumps, and the starfish spins. This is all packed into a detailed and ornate Aquarium made entirely out of Legos.


This project is hoping to gain 10,000 free supporters/votes over on Lego Ideas. If it gets the 10K supporters, Lego will take it to their review board and decide on making it an official Lego set.


The Good News Project

Tired of bad news? Take a look at South African artist Jaco Haasbroek's project "The Good News" where he puts a punny spin on the good things in life.

The South African artist was driving home one day when he noticed a poster for a lost dog stamped with the word "STOLEN."
"It's quite sad when someone loses a pet," Haasbroek told Mashable. "The idea popped into my head that by simply adding 'Our Hearts' at the bottom of the poster, it would completely change its meaning and turn into something positive."

The Cheetahpult

(YouTube link)

We knew cheetahs were born to run, but who knew that liked to play fetch? The Oregon Zoo throws balls for their cheetahs to chase for exercise and enrichment, and in order to fling them fast and far enough, they built a huge slingshot they call the Cheetahpult. Imagine getting to shoot that contraption and play ball with large cats ...and getting paid for it. -via Laughing Squid

Meet Beau Tox

This is Beau Tox, a Labrador who was born with facial deformities. His first Instagram photo explains:

Before I was born, I was so squished in the womb by my puppy siblings that my skull didn’t form as it should have. Although my face may look different, it doesn’t cause any issues with brain function. I was adopted after my previous owner had kept me outside and uncared for. I was so infested with heartworms and ear mites that it wasn’t likely I would survive very long. However, a group of amazing doctors did whatever it took to get me healthy again. Because of my ear mite infestation, I lost hearing in my left ear. I am also partially blind, due to my facial deformity. However, these issues don’t bring me down. I am one of the happiest and most loving dogs you’ll ever meet!

Jamie Hulit adopted Beau and makes the many ties you'll see him wearing. Beau now works to promote the adoption of shelter animals. Some have noticed his resemblance to Dug from the movie Up.

The first picture of Beau Tox that I saw reminded me of something else. Remember the Lion of Gripsholm Castle? You can see more of Beau at his Instagram feed. After you look at his many pictures, he starts to look completely normal.  -via reddit

Biddy Mason Went from Slave to Real Estate Tycoon

Biddy Mason was born into slavery in Georgia. A Mormon family named Smith took her along when they moved to Salt Lake City, then San Bernardino, then Los Angeles. Mason was technically free when she crossed into California in 1851, but was probably not informed of her rights, and kept working for the Smiths. Five years later, the Smiths intended to move to Texas, where Mason would again be a slave. California law only allowed such a move for adults who volunteered to return to slavery. Mason's free friends came to her rescue.

To keep them safe, Mason and the other Smith “slaves” were taken to the city jail in Los Angeles. In January, 1856, all eyes were on the courtroom of U.S. District Judge Benjamin Hays as the trial began. Smith claimed that Mason and the 14 other people he had kept in the canyon were “members of his family” who voluntarily offered to go with him to Texas. Although Mason was not allowed to testify against a white person in court, Judge Hays invited her into his chambers, where she gave an entirely different account of what had happened.

“I have always done what I have been told to do,” Mason told the judge. “I always feared this trip to Texas since I first heard of it. Mr. Smith told me I would be just as free in Texas as here.” When the judge explained that, due to a state law, her minor children could not be taken to a state where they could become enslaved, Mason replied, “I do not want to be separated from my children, and do not in such case wish to go.”

On January 19, Judge Hays ruled in favor of Mason and confirmed she was free. “All of the said persons of color are entitled to their freedom and are free forever,” he wrote. He hoped they would “become settled and go to work for themselves—in peace and without fear.”

Mason went to work for a doctor as a nurse and midwife, and eventually saved enough money to buy a piece of land. And then another. This was at a time when Los Angeles had around 2,000 people, so she got in on the ground floor of a business that boomed, and Mason eventually became one of the richest women in California, and certainly the richest black woman. But Aunt Biddy was about more than real estate.

Mason’s small wood frame house at 311 Spring Street was not just a family home, it became a “refuge for stranded and needy settlers.” She also apparently ran a daycare on the property for working women and allowed civic meetings to be held there. In 1872, a group of black Angelenos founded the First African Methodist Episcopal Church at her house; the church met at the Mason home until they were able to move to their own building.

Read the story of Biddy Mason, who became "Aunt Biddy" and then "Grandma Mason," and her influence on L. A. at Curbed Los Angeles. -via Strange Company

City to Repair Sink Hole After Residents Planted Tomatoes

The pavement fell into a sinkhole on Poplar Plains Road in Toronto. City workers placed cones around it, but months went by with no repairs in sight. Then someone planted tomatoes in it! The neighbors began taking care of the garden, providing tomato cages and water for the plants. The plants grew and began producing tomatoes. The city continued to ignore the hole, until pictures were posted at reddit. Then CBC got hold of the story. The publicity got the attention of city officials. Last week, one day after the story hit the news, city officials were out repairing the hole. The tomato plants will be transferred to a community garden. -via Mashable

(Image credit: I-am-doggo)

Crowbox: Build Your Own Crow Vending Machine

(YouTube link)

Last year, we posted about a plan to train crows to pick up litter, specifically, cigarette butts. Here's a way that can happen. The Crowbox is a vending machine for crows. It's set up in stages, to train birds how to use it, and crows are pretty smart and learn quickly. This demonstration video uses quarters, but there's no reason you can't use cigarette butts or something else that crows can easily find. If you'd like to make your own Crowbox, the plans and instructions are here. -via Metafilter  

Creative Dog Plays Ball with Himself

(YouTube link)

There's no doubt this is a much-loved dog. But humans can't be there all the time, school and all. Bear has figured out how to harness the power of the trampoline to toss a ball for him to catch! Yes, Bear is pretty smart. -via Tastefully Offensive

How Do You Tell a Thirsty Elephant Not to Take a Drink?

When there's a problem with a municipal water system, the utility agency issues an advisory to the public, usually telling us to boil our water for safety or to use only bottled water. People do that, and when the danger is passed, go back to business as usual. But when Washington, DC, had a boil water advisory last month, the National Zoo had a problem. Some of their rare and exotic animals require hundreds of gallons of clean water daily, and others live in water. It was time to get creative.

The Amazonia exhibition at the Zoo replicates a rainforest habitat and staff quickly realized that the exhibition’s 28,000-gallon reservoir was the key to getting the entire park through the event, which lasted about 48 hours, says Nick Little, Aquatic Life Support Systems (LSS) operator. He and dozens of other staff hustled behind the scenes while few, if any, Zoo visitors had any inkling of trouble afoot, the Zoo operated on a normal schedule through the duration of the incident.

“As Rick Quintero, curator of LSS, was talking with other curators Zoo-wide], we recognized that Amazonia’s huge reservoir was full of water drawn before the crisis and perfectly safe for animal consumption,” says Little. “Our only concern was how to get it out” to any part of the Zoo that needed it.

The entire zoo staff went to work. Read about how a zoo handles a water crisis at Smithsonian Torch.  -via Metafilter

(Image credit: Flickr user Blossom Vydrina)

Open the Dryer Door!

(YouTube link)

Teddy the Dobby Cat (previously at Neatorama) loves doing the laundry. Specifically, he and his sibling oriental shorthair cats enjoy sitting in the dryer with the warm laundry. In this video, he beeps while waiting for the dryer door to open. Here he is with Stache, Bindi, and Dexter.

Dexter is the black cat, and you can guess which ones are Stache and Bindi. See more of these cats at Instagram and Facebook. -via Laughing Squid

Sharp Dressed Man

It's been said that hiring decisions are made within the first 90 seconds of meeting a prospective employee. It's more likely that people who don't make a good first impression are just eliminated from the pool at the outset. That's where Sharp Dressed Man comes in. The Baltimore organization provides suits and styling for men going to job interviews. It was founded by Christopher Schafer.  

The goal of the group is to support men re-entering the workforce from prison or rehab. Schafer is a custom tailor in downtown Baltimore, who designs suits with a starting price tag of $3,000. The idea for 'Sharp Dressed Man' came to Schafer when he was looking for a way to dispose of his high-end suits his clients were no longer in need of. During the week he collects donations from clients and locals and then on Wednesday's men can come in for a free suit fitting, haircut, and hot meal.

The organization uses a network of partner agencies for donations and referrals. While you don't know anything about the men in these pictures, nor the job they are interviewing for, you can imagine the guy at the top going from busker to college professor, and the guy above going from lawn maintenance to banker. Read about Sharp Dressed Man at their website, and see 72 ranked pictures of clothing transformations at Bored Panda.

Vote for the 2018 Shed of the Year

The Mushroom Shed - Cabin/Summerhouse from Garden #shedoftheyear

The British take their sheds seriously, and once again it's time to prove it with the 2018 Shed of the Year competition. The thousands of entries have been winnowed down to 24 finalists in the categories of Pub/Entertainment, Eco, Cabin, Unique, Workshops, Budget, Historic, and Unexpected. The overall winner will receive £1,000 plus various trophies and products from sponsors. Vote online until August 28, and the winners will be announced in September. Cast your vote, see all the entries, and peruse winners from previous years at the Shed of the Year website. Pictured here is the 2017 winner. -via Fark

Panda Doesn't Realize She's Had Twins

(YouTube link)

Pandas often give birth to twins, but only nurse one of them, which is a tragic waste of pandas. Scientists have found a workaround that relies on their innate obliviousness, as you can see in this clip from BBC Earth. One may argue that this only perpetuates the survival of less-intelligent pandas, but that's akin to closing the barn door after the horse has escaped. But is it possible that they're smarter than we know?

Oh she knows. She's just milking it for more of that sweet sweet honey water.

 -via reddit

Artificial Intelligence Image Generator

Okay, here's something to suck up your entire weekend. Enter some text, and let an online algorithm generate an image for you via artificial intelligence! Cris Valenzuela's online text-to-image generator makes it really simple for non-geeks. The image on the left was my first attempt, when I entered "flying bat." The right image was "flower garden." I'll be generating a lot more today. Read more about it at Digg.

Family Tree House

This is a lovely way to visualize the relationships in a family! Redditor OrbDeluxxxe posted this photo of his family reunion, mentioning that the couple at the top have been married 60 years. Their children and spouses are below, and the third and fourth generation are at the bottom -five of them babes-in-arms. You know who came from who by the color-coordinated shirts. If you look closely (enlarge the image here), you'd guess that they are arranged in order of age from the left. A lot of planning went into this picture, and the results are stunning, even though four people are missing from the bottom row. OrbDeluxxxe added:

Nearly everyone on the bottom row at least has a BA or BS, there’s a PhD, an MD, an MBA, and a masters in social work on that row, and two who are hoping to get MDs in the near future. There is also a handful of engineers and 2 teachers.

Also: What a neat cabin to have a reunion in! -via reddit 

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