Blog Posts John S. Likes

Quick, Mom’s Coming!

Facebook member Itsjudytime has twin girls. They like to talk and play with each other in their cribs, and Mom keeps an eye on them through a baby monitor. Babies don’t understand remote monitoring yet. Watch what happens when Mom talks to them through the monitor!

(Facebook link)

They already think they can fool Mom at this age. Mom has a few tricks up her sleeve, too, like a viral video she can show for years to come. -via Buzzfeed

Monet Worth $12 Million is Repaired After Man Punches a Hole Through It

A man named Andrew Shannon visited The National Gallery of Ireland in Dublin on June 29, 2012. Once inside, Shannon walked up to a Monet painting worth $12 million and punched a hole clean through the canvas. Immediately afterward, Shannon screamed at those in the museum who witnessed the incident, telling them to stay away from him because he had a heart condition. Shannon claimed later that he "felt faint" and had fallen into the painting.

A museum security guard restrained Shannon immediately after the incident, finding a can of paint stripper on him in the process. Security cameras caught the crime on video; after a jury viewed the footage last month, they deliberated for only 90 minutes before returning with a guilty verdict. Shannon was sentenced to five years in jail for defacing the painting, entitled Argenteuil Basin with a Single Sailboat and created in 1874. 

When Andrew Shannon's home was raided by police, they found other stolen art pieces worth nearly $150,000. Some of the thefts dated back to the 1980s. A source at the Dublin Crown Court told the Irish Mirror,

“Shannon was a big threat to society, He has a corrupt perversion of the mind, [he is] a complete sociopath."

Restoration experts set to work on the process of repairing the painting, a complicated operation that took 18 months. The lengthy reconstruction began with laying the painting flat, paint side down on a layer of tissue to protect it. The canvas was removed from the frame and the torn section had to be aligned and rejoined in a painstaking, multi-step procedure involving a high-powered microscope.  

Read about the repair in detail and see photos of each step, as well as the finished restoration, here.

Images: The National Gallery of Ireland 

And You Thought Your Family Was Hard to Deal With

Thanksgiving dinner can be stressful for those with frustrating family members, but whatever drama exploded at your family's holiday dinner, this letter featured on Awkward Family Photos might just make you feel better about your own flesh and blood.

(Video Link)

It's pretty easy to start hating Marney just from her family letter, but when you see this interview with her, you might become a little more sympathetic, not necessarily because she defends herself well, but because she comes off looking more than a little bit cuckoo -just like some of your beloved family members.

The Horrifying Sound of an Aztec Death Whistle

(Photo: Oregon Flute Store)

Many years ago, archaeologists discovered skull-shaped whistles at Aztec sites. They believe that priests used these instruments during human sacrifice ceremonies. Quijas Yxayotl, a musician who specializes in pre-Columbian Mesoamerican traditions, developed a modern version. It produces a sound just like that of people screaming in terror. The whistle is like something out of a horror movie!

You can hear Yxayotl perform the Aztec death whistle in this video. Skip to the 0:49 mark to hear the screaming.

(Video Link)

I'm envious. Those of us with Scottish heritage have no instrument comparable to the Aztec death whistle.

-via Oddity Central

Star Trek's Geordi La Forge, Played by LeVar Purrton

(Photo: shadowcatt)

Lt. Comm. Geordi La Forge, chief engineer on board the USS Enterprise, would be glad to reroute warp power through the phase inducers. But, first, he's going to take a nap on the impulse drive manifold because it's so warm right now.

-via Fashionably Geek

President of Belarus Declares His Nation's Sausage Free of Toilet Paper

(Photo: government of Belarus)

Comrades, our moment of liberation is at hand! Alyaksandr Lukashenka, the President of Belarus, has declared that toilet paper is completely absent from the sausage that his nation produces. This, he says, is in sharp contrast to the sausage of neighboring Russia. The dictator, referring to himself in the third person, told reporters that Belarus has kept the food standards that it maintained while it was in the Soviet Union. Radio Free Europe reports:

He told Russian reporters on October 17 that Russia had lowered its food-quality standards after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union "while we, thanks to Lukashenka, retained state standards."

"Belarusian [food] is of substantially higher in quality. There is no toilet paper in the salami and never was," he said.

He added that "such facts have been discovered at Russian enterprises -- toilet paper, soy, all kinds of additives."

-via Popehat

The Best 3 Seconds of Your Day Will Be Watching This Lemur Bounce off the Walls

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This is how William Toomey's ring-tailed lemur, Koko, traverses a hallway. There's no need for him to touch the floor.

Can you do this? Please record your efforts and post the videos in the comments. 

-via 22 Words

Horse Wanders into a Police Station

And the policeman said, "Why the long face?"

Monday was a quiet night at the headquarters of the Cheshire Constabulary in Winsford, Cheshire, UK. Then a horse, obviously in need of police assistance, walked in. The officers did not make him feel welcome and shooed him out.

(Video Link)

-via Boing Boing

Why Does Star Trek's Dr. McCoy Wear a Pinky Ring?

Lately, I have been watching the original Star Trek series--something I have not regularly done since about 1988. I'm watching the show from start to finish. I noticed that on one early episode entitled "Mudd's Women," Dr. Leonard McCoy wears on his left pinky finger a gold ring with a blue stone.

It struck me as an unusual costuming choice, so I did some googling. Terry Lee Rioux's From Sawdust to Stardust: The Biography of DeForest Kelley's, Star Trek's Dr. McCoy explains why Kelley wears a pinky ring.

DeForest Kelly dearly loved his mother, Clora Kelley. Clora owned a ring that her brother had won in a card game while he was in France. When Clora died of cancer in 1957, her son was consumed with grief. But he was private about the depth of his feelings. He asked for only one item from her possessions: the ring. He wore it from then on in remembrance of her.

When Kelley was recruited for Star Trek, Gene Roddenberry was firm: the actors would not wear jewelry. But Kelley was firmer: if he wasn't allowed to wear his ring, he wouldn't be on the show. Roddenberry conceded. You can see Kelley's ring throughout the series, though the stone is often turned into the palm to make it less noticeable.

In the movie Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, Sybok forces McCoy to relive his euthanasia of his own father. DeForest Kelley's ring gleams in the faint light during the scene of mourning and loss. It is a fitting accent to a story of the loss of parents. Kelley would continue to wear it until his own death in 1999.

When Star Trek was rebooted in 2009, Karl Urban took up the role of Dr. McCoy. As you can see in this screenshot, he wears a ring on the pinkie finger of his left hand. According to an internet rumor, he did so to honor his predecessor, DeForest Kelley.

Archaeologists Discover Dungeon That May Have Held "Dracula"

  Excavation area at Tokat Castle

During a recent renovation of Tokat Castle in Turkey, archaeologists made a series of finds as they conducted excavation work. A team led by archaeologist İbrahim Çetin found two secret tunnels, a military shelter, storage rooms and two dungeons; they believe Vlad the Imapaler was held captive there in the early fifteenth century. 

Prince Vlad, on whom Bram Stoker based the character of Dracula, is thought by the team to have been held in one of the newly discovered dungeons by the Ottoman Turks in the year 1442. The Ottoman empire took power in 1392 after conquering the city of Tokate.  Çetin said, 

"The castle is completely surrounded by secret tunnels. It is very mysterious. It is hard to estimate in which room Dracula was kept, but he was around here."

Vlad the Impaler, as he came to be known posthumously, had the reputation while he was alive as being extremely cruel and sadistic. His favorite method of torture and execution was impalement, although he killed those he deemed enemies in almost every way possible. Methods of torture and execution  other than the impalement for which he was famous  included mutilation, amputation, burning, blinding, strangulation, scalping, skinning, exposure to wild animals and the elements and boiling alive. Reportedly in 1462, one of his enemies from Constantinople who was preparing to attack actually turned around and made a hasty retreat at the sight of 20,000 of Vlad's impaled corpses outside the capital city.

Restoration of Tokat Castle began in 2009 and is ongoing. Given the size of the area, it is likely that more discoveries will be made as the excavation continues.  

Read more on the archaeological discovery here. Via The Week. 

The Internet's Greatest Supervillain

The supervillain known as The Troll is now locked up and unable to harm anyone. But there's always one more person succumbing to the allure of internet courage and anonymity, as illustrated by Farley Kitz in The New Yorker.

Web Commenter Man didn't start out bad. He was just an average person who, to his shock, found someone wrong on the internet. He responded. Then he kept arguing with this mysterious enemy. Thus belong a long, dark slide into textual depravity.

-via Meg Gardiner

The Squeaking Caterpillar

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This is Rhodinia fugax, an animal sometimes called the Squeaking Silkmoth. That's because when you give it a gentle squeeze, it will sqeak adorably.

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It's a sign that the larvae will emit whenever they're agitated. Here's one squeaking while spinning its cocoon.

-via Nothing to Do with Aborath

The Physics of Space Battles

YouTube Link

PBS' It's OK to be Smart produced this interesting video informing us what is and isn't physically realistic or possible in the space battles we've watched in media presentations. These are not just opinion statements; they are all deductions made according to the laws of physics. It turns out pretty much everything we've seen on screen in terms of space battles are "as wrong as Jar Jar Binks." Hollywood creating unreaslistic expectations? Unbelievable! -Via Geeks are Sexy.

The Parasite and the Parrot: A Love Story

Two bizarre New Zealand species are on the brink of extinction. Can they save each other?

(Image credit: Dieter Braun)

When it comes to parasites, few are as diabolically elegant as the Hades flower. The rootless, leafless plant lurks beneath the thick undergrowth of New Zealand forests, attaching itself to trees and pilfering nutrients. As it drains its host, the Hades leaves beautiful scars—fluted burls that remain in the wood. It’s these so-called flowers that give the plant its nickname, the wood rose.

Collectors used to bag the once ubiquitous bark roses, varnishing them for home decoration. But environmental threats such as deforestation and invasive species have landed the Hades flower on the endangered-species list. By the end of the last decade, the plant’s span had shrunk to four percent of its original range. Scientists guessed that just a few thousand plants remained, but they couldn’t be sure. And while the flowers do sprout shoots and bloom for two months a year, possums and pigs make such quick snacks of the buds that the underground Hades plant is impossible to track.

(Image credit: Nga Manu Images)

Unsure of how many Hades flowers are left, the New Zealand Department of Conservation has been desperate to protect the species. As part of a recovery plan in the 1990s, it considered transplanting populations of the plant but couldn’t find an area with enough bats or other creatures to pollinate it. Of course, protecting the Hades flower isn’t the only conservation issue on the island.

New Zealand is a hotbed of endangered species. Because the archipelago’s flora and fauna were isolated for so much of human history, its native species were ill equipped to protect themselves when settlers arrived. In the last few years, conservationists have been stumped about how to save the Hades flower. Then, in a lucky coincidence, they hit upon a possible solution. What if they recruited another endangered species—the hapless kakapo bird—to help?

(Image credit: Mnolf)

The kakapo is unquestionably cute—the bird looks like a parakeet crossed with an owl crossed with a Muppet—but it’s impossible to underscore how useless it is.

Continue reading

Klingon Stormtrooper Ballerina Princesses

Today is a good day . . . to dance! Feel the music course through your veins, for the blood of Kahless moves like a happy bumblebee or a graceful swan. Ashley Eckstein snapped this photo at what Amy Ratcliffe suspects to be Dragon Con.

-via Fashionably Geek

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Profile for John S.

  • Member Since 2014/02/16



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