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Kittenwatch with Eve

The folks at Tiny Kittens have set up a webcam for a cat named Eve. She gave birth to a litter of five two days ago.  

Abandoned and pregnant, Eve took refuge under someone's porch until a kind neighbor brought her to us. Her babies were born in safety and will be raised with love, making Eve one of the lucky ones! She and her babies will be spayed/neutered and adopted into loving homes when they are old enough.

You can watch the family streaming live here, but if they aren’t doing anything, there are also a couple of videos you can enjoy. Squee! -via Metafilter

Teletubbies are Horrifying in Black and White

This terrifying photograph has gone viral on the internet over the past 24 hours. Once upon a time, when almost every TV was in black and white, shows were lit in a way that made them look normal. But the Teletubbies are pretty much defined by their colors, and the bright cheerful colors of their surroundings. Without that palette, they are plastic soulless aliens.

Vanyaland mentioned that the picture reminded them of the creepy Joy Division video for their song “Atmosphere.” Within hours, Christopher G. Brown had the mashup ready for YouTube.

(YouTube link)

If anything can be creepier than the still picture, it’s the moving pictures of the colorless Teletubbies.

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

(Photo: unknown)

Have we learned nothing from Spider-Man? When humanity’s knowledge outstrips its wisdom, we end up with superheroes or supervillains, both of which are trouble. Move the spider farm someplace else. Here, there’s a vacant lot next to the old chemical weapons dump. That'll be fine.

-via reddit

William Shatner Hints That He's a Brony

(Photos: US Army Europe/Ellis Arts)

In a recent Twitter exchange with a fan, William Shatner, who played Captain Kirk on Star Trek, hinted that he's a fan of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic.

He even has a favorite pony:

Shatner pushed back against a bronyphobe who showed up:

Welcome to The Herd, Captain.

Incredible Turquoise Ice

Siberian photographer Alexey Trofimov captured extraordinary scenes of sunshine and ice on Lake Baikal. The turquoise blue ice shimmers like gemstones. Massive Lake Baikal is the oldest and deepest lake on earth, and the ice that appears this way every March draws tourists from all around to see it.

These unique frozen formations are in fact called ice hummocks. The knolls are created in part by pressure that develops gradually and unevenly in the layer of ice that covers Lake Baikal in winter. The physical make-up and temperature of the ice sheet then also become imbalanced, and hence the hummocks form and rise above the frozen surface.

This is Siberia, so the ice will be there until May. See many more pictures of the Baikal ice hummocks at Scribol.

(Image credit: Alexey Trofimov)

Why are Calico Cats Almost Always Female?

Only one in about 3,000 calico cats are male. You knew that, but the explanation of how sex and cat fur color are so intertwined is a new one for me. The explanation starts with a refresher on X and Y chromosomes. Females have two X, and males have an X and a Y. In cats, the X chromosome determines fur color. Unless that color is white. A cat with two X chromosomes (female) only uses one of them, while the other will go dormant.

The important thing here is that the same X-chromosome does not inactivate for each cell. One cell may shut off the X-chromosome from the mother while leaving the chromosome from the father. That cell then creates more cells, each of which will use the father’s X-chromosome to determine the fur color. Likewise, another cell may silence the X-chromosome from the father and instead use the chromosome from the mother.

So, for instance, if the female offspring receives the chromosome for black fur from both of its parents, she will have black fur. In the case of calico cats, the same process occurs. However, the offspring receives the chromosome for, for instance, black fur from one parent and orange fur from the other. One cell inactivates the chromosome for black fur resulting in orange fur. Other cells use the chromosome for black fur instead. In both cases, these cells are replicated and the inactivated chromosome will always stay inactive. Those two colors then combine on the cat’s fur to create the orange and black patches of fur. If the cat only has these two colors, it is known as a tortoiseshell cat.

But what about white? That’s a different story, because white cat fur isn’t dependent on sex chromosomes. Any cat can have white fur, or patches of white fur. And then there are the rare male calico cats. Read how that happens in the full post at Today I Found Out.

(Image credit: Flickr user Erica Zabowski)

How to Be Socially Awkward

(Books of Adam/Adam Ellis)

Are you struggling to find the right thing to say? Despite the outcome of this scenario, you should still go with "say something weird." If he sticks around, then you've found a keeper. Think of your awkwardness as a sorting device.

-via reddit

The Secret

As my children prepare to go out on their own, I find myself going over the lessons I’ve tried to teach them and see if I’ve missed anything important, or what needs to be emphasized more. This lovely walk around the neighborhood from Grant Snider at Incidental Comics is a great reminder that many of the important lessons can be distilled into very short pieces of advice- if you learn to apply them to all phases of your life. 

Ferret Builds a Nest

(YouTube link)

A ferret finds a place to hide, and then proceeds to take everything he/she finds of value inside to make him/herself a perfect little nest. First the pee pad, then the sponges, then lots of nice laundry to sleep on. I love the way the ferret goes in butt first in order to drag the precious items through the small opening. Yes, that’s perfect now! -via Daily of the Day

Weird Al Performs Yoda With Talented Autistic Teens, and It's Beyond Awesome

Jodi DiPiazza
, diagnosed as autistic at age two, is a talented musician. At fourteen she is a student at the Mannes College of Music, where she studies classical and jazz piano, voice, music theory, composition, guitar and songwriting. When Jodi was only nine years of age, she wrote a song called “Heroes of Autism” for Toys R Us, which helped raise over three million dollars to support research and assistance for children with autism.

At the 2012 Night of Too Many Stars, then 11-year-old Jodi did a rendition of “Firework” in a duet with Katy Perry and got a standing ovation. In this video, Jodi returns to sing "Yoda” with Weird Al, and it's fantastic! Toward the end of the song, a group called Actionplay Chorus, made up of teens with autism, joined Jodi and Al. Don't miss it.  -Via Uproxx

I Can't Enter That (No Sandman)

Need a nice soothing song to help you go to sleep early now that you’ve set your clocks ahead an hour for Daylight Saving Time? How about a nice mashup of “I Can’t Go For That” by Hall and Oates and “Enter Sandman” by Metallica? Mashup artist Neil Cicierga seamlessly blends the tune of the former with the vocals of the latter, leaving us delighted at how melodic the Metallica vocals really are. The A.V. Club says:

Cicierga is able to turn the song of childhood fears and torments into a melodic quasi-lullaby thanks to the soft rock stylings of the ’80s duo. It’s a pleasing yet pungent mixture that elevates both songs while pleasing neither set of fans, a notion that seems to be what makes Cicierga’s creations so entertaining.

I dunno, I quite like it. Maybe it helps that I was never a really big fan of either group.

Rock Band Meets Young Fan with Down Syndrome, Responds Perfectly to Him

(Photo: The Kane Show)

10-year old Christopher Warner of West Friendship, Maryland loves the rock band Maroon 5. He absolutely adores their work, especially that of frontman Adam Levine. His teacher, Avery Stanert, made a video of Christopher raving about Maroon 5. That video went viral and eventually came to Adam Levine's attention.

Maroon 5 invited Christopher, his mother, and his teachers to attend one of their concerts. They got backstage passes and the chance to meet the band.

When it came time to meet them, Christopher had a panic attack. He lay down on the floor and wouldn't get up. That wasn't a problem for Levine and his bandmates, who lay down on the floor with Christopher

-via 22 Words

I Made This Ninja High School Lamp

I make things. This is a practice that I have maintained over the past few years. I like the idea of being a maker--a person who learns new skills by creating objects. In the past, I have made a deacon's bench for my children, a bookcase, a small cabinet with drawers and doors that replaced an old end table, and a hanging My Little Pony cupboard. Each project concept intentionally required that I learn new skills. As a result, I've become a reasonably good carpenter.

(Asrial, Ichi, and Jeremy from Ninja High School by Ben Dunn)

In the past 2 years, I have also deliberately embraced and nourished my own geeky interests, recovering so many of the joys of my lost youth. Among them is collecting and reading the entire run of my favorite comic book franchise, Ninja High School.

This project was my most daunting yet. Since each one of my projects must be functional in some way, I decided to build a lamp. This required that I learn electrical wiring, which I found confusing and non-intuitive. Thankfully, my father, who is brilliant in all things technical, very patiently taught me the rudiments of electrical wiring.

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The price of college textbooks in America can give you a heart attack. Students aren’t buying new books as much as they used to, which in a normal market would mean the publishers would have to lower prices- you know, supply and demand. However, with textbooks, very first book printed cost the company a lot of money to produce, and every copy thereafter is just the price of paper and printing. Sell 10,000 books at $50 each, and your initial costs will certainly be covered; the rest is profit -until students start buying the books used. However, all a publisher has to do is tweak it slightly, call it a new edition, and the cycle of profit begins anew. This comic is from Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal. -via Daily of the Day

Hypnotic Murmuration of Starlings

YouTube Link

This murmuration (flock) of starlings makes rolling waves in the sky over Utrecht, The Netherlands. The video footage, made by Alpacamedia and set to music by MTT, makes for quite a mesmerizing two minutes and seventeen seconds. -Via Gizmodo

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