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Audio Illusions

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The latest video offering from AsapSCIENCE asks viewers "Can you trust your ears?" The video provides examples of illusions such as the McGurk effect, which occurs when visual cues alter and "trick" the brain's processing of auditory input, leading to misconceptions about what was heard. The Tritone Paradox and the Shepard Tone Illusions are other auditory phenomena discussed. Watch the video and test your ears to see how trustworthy they are.  

What Language Does Your State Speak?

The most common language in every U.S. state is English, and the second-most common language in all but seven states is Spanish. But what comes next? The results tell us something about each state’s history of immigration. Ben Blatt put together quite a few maps exploring the languages spoken in the different states.

One of the most interesting data sets for aspiring mapmakers is the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. Among other things, that survey includes a detailed look at the languages spoken in American homes. All the maps below are based on the responses to this survey. For instance, Mandarin, Cantonese, and Chinese are separated as different responses in the data, so were treated as different languages when constructing these maps. If those languages had been grouped together, the marking of many states would change.

Besides the most common languages, the maps are broken down into the most common Native American languages, most common Scandinavian languages, and more.  

Baby Elephant Rescued from River

(YouTube link)

The Ewaso Nyiro River was running high after heavy rain, as an elephant herd crossed it in the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya. The force of the water was just too much for a baby elephant and it began to wash downstream. A juvenile caught it, and held the baby in place until its mother came, and the two bigger elephants helped the baby to the bank. Sandy Gelderman caught the sequence on video.

Notice the elephants’ habit is to stand on the upstream side of the youngsters in order to break the force of the river’s flow. It doesn’t always work, but with teamwork, they all got across. -via 22 Words

12 Things You Probably Don’t Know About Field Of Dreams

Twenty-five years ago today, the movie Field of Dreams opened in theaters across the country. When we later heard the movie line “There’s no crying in baseball,” we knew that there was, because Field of Dreams made so many fathers and sons tear up at least a little inside. For the anniversary, FilmDrunk gives us 12 Things You Probably Don’t Know About ‘Field Of Dreams’ On Its 25th Anniversary. For example, do you think there would be no crying in baseball if Tom Hanks played the lead?

1. Kevin Costner wasn’t the studio’s initial choice for Ray Kinsella. Tom Hanks was offered the role, but decided to pass. Producers didn’t initially approach Kevin Costner about the film because they thought he wouldn’t be interested in another baseball movie, having just finished Bull Durham.

6. Ben Affleck and Matt Damon were extras in the movie. When Ben Affleck started working on The Sum of All Fears he said to director Phil Alden Robinson, “nice working with you again.” When Robinson asked Affleck what he meant by the compliment, Affleck explained that he and Matt Damon were among the thousands of extras in Field of Dreams’ Fenway Park scene.

You’ll find out even more about the movie in an article from W.P. Kinsella, the author who wrote the original novel Shoeless Joe. He tells about the tale went from a short story to a novel to a movie, how it affected him, and why J.D. Salinger wasn’t in the movie.

As a bonus, here’s what’s happening these days at the Field of Dreams. -via Metafilter

Tokyoflash Treasure Hunt #26

It's been a great while since our last Tokyoflash Treasure Hunt, so it's with great pleasure that we announce that it's time we run another one!

For those of you who haven't played before, the Tokyoflash Treasure Hunt is an online scavenger hunt with neat prizes. You can win a Tokyoflash watch of your choice as well as neat T-shirts from the NeatoShop.

Here's how to play. Solve the clues, for example:

1. What's the name of Neatorama's kid and baby blog?

2. What is 2+1?

3. What is the name of the top grill in our Top 10 Coolest BBQ Grills post?

Put the answers together to form this link:

Go ahead and copy and paste that URL to your browser to get to the answer page. Easy, right? I think you're ready for the real contest, then!

Here are the clues to the Tokyoflash Treasure Hunt #26:

1. Visit and look for the new watch featured above. Fill in the blank: "Made from durable ______ with a clean matte finish"

2. Visit the NeatoShop's Funny T-shirt category. Find the shirt you'd wear when you want bust some ghosts (there are a few of them, but any of them will do.) Fill in the blank: "Who are you ____ to call?"

3. Visit our pal Dumpaday's very funny post: attack of the funny animals. Fill in the blank: "Mah sleep number is _____"

4. Back to Tokyoflash. Find one of their watches that can stop you from driving drunk. Fill in the blank: "When _____, a line on the screen moves from left to right."

Visit Tokyoflash, the NeatoShop and Dumpaday to find answers to these clues. Then string them together to form the URL: (all one-word, lower case, separated by dash).

This contest will end soon, so hurry! Have fun, guys!

An 8-Year-Old Boy's Incredible Act of Kindness Begins with a Note that Reads "Dear Soldier - My Dad Was a Soldier. He's in Heaven Now"

It's your lucky day: you've just found a $20 bill. What would you spend it on? Would you get yourself a hot lunch? Maybe a video game?

Eight-year-old Myles Eckert was so excited when he found a $20 bill in the parking lot of his neighborhood Cracker Barrel restaurant. "I kind of wanted to get a video game," the young boy told CBS news, "but I decided not to."

Myles changed his mind when he saw Lt. Col. Frank Dailey in uniform, having an early lunch at the same restaurant. The soldier reminded Myles of his late father.

"Because he was a soldier, and soldiers remind me of my dad," Myles explained why he wrapped the $20 he found with a green note that said:

Dear Soldier -- my dad was a soldier. He's in heaven now. I found this 20 dollars in the parking lot when we got here. We like to pay it forward in my family. It's your lucky day! Thank you for your service. Myles Eckert, a gold star kid.

After lunch, Myles asked his mom to make one more stop. "He wanted to see his dad," the boy's mom Tiffany said, "And he wanted to go by himself that day."

Steve Hartman of CBS Evening News has the story:

Bad British NFL Commentary

(YouTube link)

They've done baseball and basketball, and now the Exploding Heads are giving the bad British commentary treatment to American football. They call it the NFL, but for some reason, Alabama is going to the Super Bowl. Figure that one out! And when it's all over ands their hard hats come off, they have a crystal to use in the next game. -Thanks, Anthony Richardson!

Downhill Through the Woods

(YouTube link)

There's a reason they say to stay on the trail when skiing downhill. French pro skier Candide Thovex and Aziz Benkrich bring us GoPro footage as they shuss through the woods and miss the trees. Mostly. Remember, these are professionals -do not try this at home. Watching this video may cause disorientation and vertigo. -via Daily Picks and Flicks

The Road Home

(YouTube link)

We have a new tale from StoryCorps, animated by the Rauch Brothers. Eddie Lanier struggled with alcoholism for most of his life, but when he decided to turn that life around, David Wright stepped in to do what he could. Lanier tells his story with Wright by his side. Lanier's story is included in StoryCorps' first animated TV special called "Listening is an Act of Love." -Thanks, Krisi!

Young Man with Down Syndrome Accepted into College, Reacts Joyfully

(Video Link)

Leaving home to go to college can be a great opportunity to develop a measure of independence. College life can be a maturing and liberating experience. But people with intellectual disabilities don’t often get to enjoy that opportunity. ClemsonLIFE at Clemson University in South Carolina is a program that attempts to extend that opportunity to them. It provides a college life experience that is customized to the individual needs of each participant.

Rion Holcome, 20, of Roebuck, South Carolina applied to the program. Clemson mailed him an acceptance letter. His parents recorded his response as he opened it.

-via 22 Words

The Pug Puppy Version of Elf

(Video Link)

We recently showed you what happens when a few adorable pug puppies take on the starring roles in Home Alone, but for all the youngsters out there (and Macaulay Culkin haters), this movie parody is a lot more relatable. 

Plus, in this pug-filled take on Elf, we get to see the baby pug playing the adopted father of Buddy the elf, which is pretty much the cutest thing in the whole world -even if that scene is actually relatively short. And, Zooey Deschanel haters will be relieved to see her replacement is far, far cuter -and I'm sure even many of her fans will agree.

Via Thought Catalog

Chicken Ad Parody

(YouTube link)

Mercedes-Benz used a chicken to demonstrate their Intelligent Drive stability control feature in a TV ad a few months ago. Now another high-end car brand responds to that ad with a parody that highlights their own reputation. Who needs stability when you're an apex predator? -via Viral Viral Videos

He was Only Three Days from Retirement!

Cleanup in aisle three! A spilled bottle of ketchup is a grand opportunity for drama. A couple of Trader Joe's employee took advantage of the situation just to give you a laugh! My theory is that it was Colonel Mustard in the condiment aisle with a ketchup bottle, used just to throw us off. You got any better ideas?

The reddit thread that accompanied this picture is full of Trader Joe's employees talking about how great it is to work there, and customers who tell how great it is to shop there. There are no Trader Joe's where I live -are they really that nice?

Pentatonix: Angels We Have Heard On High

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The a cappella group Pentatonix sing like angels together in the song "Angels We have Heard On High." The group will be performing two shows in Mobile, Alabama, this weekend with the Mobile Symphony Orchestra, which may be the last opportunity to hear them sing Christmas songs live -at least this year. You can sample their Christmas album at iTunes. -via Viral Viral Videos

The Simpsons Christmas Couch Gag

(YouTube link)

This new holiday-themed couch gag puts The Simpsons at the North Pole, getting ready for Santa's Christmas toy delivery. Watch for the Festivus Pole and Edna Krabappel as an angel. The sequence will be shown this weekend in the new episode "White Christmas Blues." -via Tastefully Offensive

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