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Neutral Bridges Are Now Dutch

In 2002, new European banknotes were introduced, in different denominations of the Euro. The currency was designed so that no nation was favored over others. They contain architectural images, including seven different bridges representing different historical eras in Europe. The illustrations are all fictional, in order to remain geographically neutral. Or, they were. Dutch designer Robin Stam admired the currency illustrations and mentioned that it would be funny if someone built those bridges, all in one country.

The local council responsible for constructing a new housing development in Spijkenisse, a suburb of Rotterdam, heard about the idea and approached Stam about using his designs.

"My bridges were slightly more expensive but [the council] saw it as a good promotional opportunity so they allocated some extra budget to produce them," says Stam.

The bridges are exact copies of those shown on the banknotes, down to the shape, crop and colour.

Dezeen talked to Stam about his project and posted pictures of the bridges, which are now in use by pedestrians and cyclists. -via Metafilter

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Faces of Fright: Scary Halloween Makeup

  "Creepy Monster" | Image: The Painting Lady

Killer makeup jobs like these can take an average costume to the next level. Bored Panda asked for creepy makeup user submissions; these are a few of the 117 submissions thus far. From oozing flesh wounds to evil, toothy clowns to pierced and punctured zombies, these makeup masks are a wide range of nightmare fodder. See more unnerving makeup art here. 

  "Terrifying Zombie" |  Image: Imgur

"Ripped Flesh Wound" | Image: redeyedemon

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Timelapse Video of Amish Barnraising

YouTube Link 

YouTube user Penny Miller filmed an Amish barnraising in Ohio, which was completed start-to-finish in a mere ten hours. This impressive group effort took place on May 13th of this year. The resulting video is a testament to what people are capable of if they cooperate and work together with a common goal in mind. (It also makes me wonder if I can hire this crew to remodel my kitchen.) Via The Presurfer.

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The Inside Stories of Six I Love Lucy Episodes

Neatorama presents a guest post from actor, comedian, and voiceover artist Eddie Deezen. Visit Eddie at his website or at Facebook.

August 6 is the 103rd birthday of the great Lucille Ball (Lucy was born in Jamestown, New York on August 6, 1911). Who doesn't love Lucy? A brilliantly talented comedienne, we followed and laughed at Lucy's crazy adventures through 179 episodes of her classic TV show I Love Lucy.

Originally airing in 1951, the show has been generating laughs around the world for over six decades. I Love Lucy has reputedly been seen by more people than any television series in history. Almost everyone has their particular favorite episode of the show. Let's take a look at six of the greatest episodes of I Love Lucy and their "inside stories".

1. “Lucy Thinks Ricky is Trying to Murder Her"

This was actually the first episode filmed of I Love Lucy, although it aired fourth. Filmed on September 8, 1951, the show ran into a few post production snags and “The Girls Want to Go to a Nightclub,” the second episode filmed, aired first- on October 15, 1951. This episode was based on a episode of Lucy's radio show she had done previous to I Love Lucy called “My Favorite Husband" (that episode was called “The Wills”).

A terrible backstage incident occurred during rehearsals of this episode, an unfortunate one which set the tone for the the next six years of filming the show. During rehearsals, Lucy and actress Vivian Vance (who had been hired to play Lucy's neighbor and best friend Ethel Mertz) were confiding in each other and engaging in some backstage girl talk. Vivian confided to Lucy about actor William Frawley, who was playing her husband in the show, Fred Mertz.

“No one will ever believe i'm actually married to that old goat,” she told Lucy. Vivian was surprised a man so much older- Frawley was 24 years her senior- had been cast as her mate.

Unfortunately, Frawley was hovering nearby and heard the crack. He never forgave Vance for her comment and the two spent all the future episodes of the show hating each other with a passion. The rift between Frawley and Vance never healed, even after the show ended in 1957. She regularly referred to him as "that old goat,” while he referred to her as "that miserable (expletive deleted).”

It is perhaps an urban legend, but after she heard the news of Frawley's death in 1966, Vance, sitting in a restaurant, cheerily said "champagne for the house!"

2. “Lucy does a TV Commercial" (the Vitameatavegamin episode)

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Student Poses As Teenager From Every Decade In The Last Hundred Years

There’s a common misconception that young folks don’t care much about the past these days, since they’re too caught up in tech gadgets and social media, but teenager Annalisa Hartlaub aims to change that misconception with a school photography project where she imagines herself as a teenager from every decade over the last hundred years.

Her era specific photos find her as a mainstream teen on the left and a counter-culture teen on the right, and in addition to being a project about self exploration the photos also do a great job of showing how little styles have changed over the last hundred years.

-Via 22 Words

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The Curious Case of the American Accent

THe following is an article from Uncle John's Fully Loaded Bathroom Reader.

(Image credit: DrRandomFactor)

Hey youz! Whah do ‘Mericans have all different aks-ay-ents? It’s, like, totally confusing and somewhat bizzah, dontcha know.


An accent is “a manner of pronunciation peculiar to a particular individual, location, or nation.” That’s not to be confused with dialect, which is a specific form of a language that has its own unique lexicon (words), grammatical structures, and phonology (a fancy word for accent). So an accent can be a part of a dialect, but not vice versa. Because dialects can be traced to geographical regions, they give linguists important clues to the origin of accents. And discovering where accents came from can explain why an American says “ta-may-to” and a Brit says “ta-mah-toe,” or why Bostonians say “park the cah” and a Nebraskan says “park the car.”


The United States began as colonies of Great Britain, but the settlers didn’t trickle across the Atlantic at random. According to Brandeis University Professor David Hackett Fischer in his book Albion’s Seed, there are four primary American accents, which derive from the major migrations from England to the New World in the 17th and 18th centuries.

1. East Anglia to Massachusetts (1620-40). Puritans who fled to the New World to escape religious persecution were, by and large, from the eastern counties of England. To this day, in remote parts of East Anglia, there are rural folk who speak in what is sometimes referred to as the “Norfolk whine.” When they came to New England, that accent came along with them. You may recall the TV commercials where an old fellow says “Pepperidge Fahm remembers…” That’s the Norfolk whine.

2. South and West of England to Virginia (1642-75). Immigrants who settled in the colony of Virginia tended to be wealthy Cavaliers (that is, loyal to the King) who came to the New World to become planters. Many elements of their accent can still be heard in rural Virginia, such as their penchant for elongated vowels -stretching “you” into “yeew,” and shortened consonants- “ax” for ask, and “dis” and “dat” for this and that.

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Kayden's First Rain

(vimeo link)

Isn’t it wonderful when you see children react to something they’ve never experienced before with joy instead of fear? Nicole Byon captured her 15-month-old daughter sister Kayden discovering the feel of rain for the first time, which she found delightful and fascinating -and went back out in over and over. May you always look at the world with that sense of wonder, kid. The accompanying song is "In My Arms" by Jon Foreman. -via Laughing Squid

See more about baby and kids at NeatoBambino

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Illustrations of Utterly Strange Google Searches

Remember the days before Google instant search, where you still had to speculate about what strange searches people performed? These days, we all have experience typing in the beginning of a Google search only to get a suggestion popping up that makes us wonder "what the heck?"

And that is precisely what makes these hilarious illustrations of odd auto-searches so darned hilarious. They not only feature some seriously strange searches, but also help visualize how hilarious the ideas behind these searches are.

Via Geeks Are Sexy

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The Street Art of Mark Jenkins

Mark Jenkins is a street and installation artist in the Washington, D.C. area. He’s most popularly known for this human-shaped street art sculptures. They’re so realistic that one (with a polar bear head) inspired a bomb scare in 2008.

Mr. Jenkins often creates casts using tape, a medium that he first explored as a child. In an interview with the Huffington Post, he explained:

I first made tape casts as a child, wrapping the tape over pencils in reverse and then back over to seal it. I made them for fun, but I was scolded by my teacher not to "waste tape." In 2003, I got interested in art and started experimenting with mediums and re-discovered this casting process, applying it to larger objects and on myself. But my interest in art wasn’t so much the sculpture itself but, rather, installation sculpture, using the object to affect the space around it.

From the samples pictured above, you can see how Mr. Jenkins impacts the space around his sculptures. A sewer grate becomes a toaster with just a few slices of toast. A parking space becomes napping zone—provided that you’ve paid for the time.

-via Hi Fructose Magazine

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IBM's New Computer is Powered by "Electronic Blood"

A supercomputer that is fueled with blood? It's coming! IBM scientists have created a new supercomputer inspired by the human brain and is powered by what they call "electronic blood."

Patrick Ruch and Bruno Michel of IBM Research lab in Zurich, Switzerland, wanted to "fit a supercomputer inside a sugarcube." But in order to do that, they'd have to model it after the human brain, which is 10,000 times more dense and efficient than any computer today. "The brain uses 40% of its volume for functional performance - and only 10% for energy and cooling," said Michel to the BBC. Compare that to the world's fastest current supercomputer, which uses 99% of its volume devoted to cooling and powering, and only 1% for processing information. The human brain is made possible, Michel added, "because it uses only one - extremely efficient - network of capillaries and blood vessels to transport heat and energy - all at the same time."

So, the pair have created a "bionic" computing architecture, which uses "electronic blood" of charged electrolytes to provide fuel and cooling to computer chips.

Read more over at this intriguing article by James Morgan over at the BBC.

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10 Fascinating Facts About Costco

Photo: Rosa Say/Flickr

"I really wish I had worn a condom."
- Sol Price, the founder of Price Club (and later Costco),
when some discount retail executive told him that he's
the father of the warehouse discount retail concept.

Do you love Costco? I love Costco ... maybe a little too much. I've been a member of Costco since the Price Club days (Costco merged with Price Club in 1993 and became PriceCostco. In 1997, the company changed its name to the Costco Wholesale you know and love - more on that below).

Back in those days, Price Club didn't use barcodes - instead, the checkout process consisted of an unloader and a cashier. The unloader took your items out of your shopping cart and yelled out the item numbers to the cashier. The cashier typed in the item numbers one by one into the cash register. Oh, and back then, it was still possible to get parking on a Saturday morning.

If there's one thing I know about Costco today is that it's impossible to leave the store without spending at least $100. Once, I was on a mission: to get that one thing I need at $50. I went straight to the item, grabbed one, and went to the checkout line without looking at anything else or (gasp) even sampling their food. I thought I had outsmarted them. When I got to the cashier, she informed me that I had to renew my membership at $55. Total spent (before taxes): $105! Hah!

Anyways, here are 10 most fascinating facts about Costco:

1. The concept for Costco was drawn up on a napkin

Like I mentioned above, the Costco we knew and love today started out as Price Club, which was founded by legendary businessman Sol Price*. In 1975, Price was forced out of a chain of discount department store company he founded called FedMart**. Shortly after, he drew up the concept of a "warehouse store" retail model on a napkin.

A few of Price's friends and associates put together $2.5 million seed money for the first Price Club, which opened in 1976 (more below). Their first week's sale was downright disappointing. Price said, "It was terribly slow. Our sales were only about $32,000 in our first week, and it got worse from there."

To make it seemed that the store was busy with customers inside, Price made his employees park their cars near the warehouse entrance. Luckily, sales improved and Price Club was off and running.

*What a perfect name for retail, huh? Legend has it that when his parents Samuel and Bella, immigrated from Minsk, Russia, the clerk at Ellis Island misheard "Press" or "Preuss" and wrote down "Price."

**Another neat trivia: In the 1960s American businessman Samuel Moore "Sam" Walton opened his own retail store and decided that he liked the "Mart" in Price's "FedMart" name so much that he decided to name his store after it. That store? Wal-Mart.

2. Costco's first store: A converted airplane hangar

The first Price Club store we mentioned above was located in a converted airplane hangar once owned by Howard Hughes on Morena Boulevard in San Diego. The store only sold to small businesses, who could "invite" non-business members. That created a "secret club" mentality that appealed to many people.

This store is still in operation today.

3. Costco's main layout is called "The Race Track"

Costco purposely put fresh food at the back in the store, to make sure that their customers pass by every category of items - electronics, clothing, jewelry, amongst others - as they wind their way down "The Race Track" to the food section.

This strategy obviously works because, as I mentioned above, it's impossible to get out of Costco for less than $100.

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The Perfect Record: 19-0

How did Harriet Tubman lead so many slaves to freedom on the Underground Railroad? With careful planning, plenty of luck, and a little opium.

“I never run my train off the track, and I never lost a passenger” -so boasted Harriet Tubman, the most successful conductor on the Underground Railroad. Tubman ran up her unblemished record while leading groups of runaways on a 650-mile odyssey from eastern Maryland to St. Catharines, Ontario. Starting in 1850, Tubman made a total of 19 journeys, personally freeing more than 300 slaves. The rewards offered for her capture totaled an astronomical $40,000 (just over $1 million in today’s money), but the bounties went unpaid.

So how exactly did she score that perfect record? Here are some tips based on her harrowing adventures—call it the Tubman Technique.

KNOW THE TERRAIN; MOVE BY NIGHT: Many slaves had never ventured far from their owners’ property. Slave owners deliberately kept them close so they wouldn’t know how to escape. As a result, runaways needed Tubman to do the navigating. She led groups along dirt roads and paths by night. If no safe house was available during the day, Tubman hid her passengers in dense forests, swamps, or other places no one would think to look. When it was safer to split up—a decision she sometimes made when she knew the group was being hunted—Tubman gave simple, easy-to-follow advice for reaching a meeting point, like “follow the drinking gourd” (the Big Dipper, which points north).


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The Forbidden Island

The following is an article from Uncle John's 24-Karat Gold Bathroom Reader.

Ever heard of North Sentinel Island? Probably not …even thought's one of the most unusual places on Earth. What makes it so odd? The people -they've been there a long time, completely cut off from the rest of the world.


Late on the night of August 2, 1981, a Hong Kong freighter navigating the choppy waters of the Bay of Bengal ran aground on a submerged coral reef. The ship, called the Primrose, was hopelessly stuck. But there was no danger of it sinking, so after radioing for assistance, the captain and crew settled in for a few days' wait until help arrived.

The following morning, as it became light, the sailors saw an island a few hundred yards beyond the reef. It was uninhabited, as far as anyone could tell: There were no buildings, roads, or other signs of civilization there -just a pristine, sandy beach and behind it, dense jungle. The beach must have seemed like an ideal spot to wait for a rescue, but the captain ordered the crew to remain aboard the Primrose. It was monsoon season, and he may have concerned about lowering the men into the rough sea in tiny lifeboats. Or perhaps he'd figured out just which tiny island lay beyond the reef: It was North Sentinel -the deadliest of the 200 islands in the Andaman Island chain.


A few days later, a lookout aboard the Primrose spotted a group of dark-skinned men emerging from the jungle, making their way toward the ship. Was it the rescue party? It seemed possible …until the men came a little closer and the lookout could see that every one of them was naked.

Naked …and armed, but not with guns. Each man carried either a spear, a bow and arrows, or some other primitive weapon. The captain made another radio distress call, this one much more urgent: "Wild men! Estimate more than 50, carrying various homemade weapons, are making two or three wooden boats. Worrying they will board us at sunset."


(Image credit: Captain Robert Fore)

After a tense standoff lasting a few more days, the crew of the Primrose were evacuated by helicopter to safety. They were lucky to get away: It was their misfortune to have run aground just offshore of one of the strangest islands on Earth, and probably the very last of its kind. Anthropologists believe the men who appeared on the beach that morning in 1981 are members of a hunter-gatherer tribe that has lived on the island for 65,000 years. That's 35,000 years before the last ice age, 55,000 years before the great woolly mammoths disappeared from North America, and 62,000 years before the ancient Egyptians built the pyramids at Giza. These people are believed to be the direct descendants of the first humans out of Africa.

The outside world has known about North Sentinel Island for centuries, but the islanders have been almost completely cut off from the rest of the world all that time, and they fiercely maintain their isolation to this day. No one knows what language they speak or what they call themselves -they have never allowed anyone to get close enough to find out. The outside world calls them the "Sentineli" or the "Sentinelese," after the island. It's estimated the the 28-square-mile island (slightly larger than Manhattan) is capable of supporting as many as 400 hunter-gatherers, but no one knows how many people live there.

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Chemical Reaction Caught in the Act!

Researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory got a neat surprise when they were trying to develop a new method of making graphene. They managed to capture a chemical reaction in the act, atom by atom, bond by bond:

“We weren’t thinking about making beautiful images; the reactions themselves were the goal,” says Fischer, a staff scientist in Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division (MSD) and a professor of chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley. “But to really see what was happening at the single-atom level we had to use a uniquely sensitive atomic force microscope in Michael Crommie’s laboratory.” Crommie is an MSD scientist and a professor of physics at UC Berkeley.

What the microscope showed the researchers, says Fischer, “was amazing.” The specific outcomes of the reaction were themselves unexpected, but the visual evidence was even more so. “Nobody has ever taken direct, single-bond-resolved images of individual molecules, right before and immediately after a complex organic reaction,” Fischer says.


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World's First Bird

Image: Masato Hattori

Move over, Archaeopteryx - there's a new (well, actually older) dino in town that claims to be the world's first bird:

An archaic bird known as Aurornis xui, described this week in the journal Nature by paleontologist Pascal Godefroit and colleagues, is the latest entry in the debate over which animal qualifies as the first bird and how birds evolved.

The delicately preserved specimen, which includes fossil remnants of feathers, was discovered in the roughly 160-million-year-old rock of China's Tiaojishan Formation. While Aurornis lived about ten million years earlier thanArchaeopteryx, and very far from the prehistoric European archipelago thatArchaeopteryx inhabited, the new study found that the two plumage-covered creatures were close relatives at the very base of bird evolution.

Brian Switek of National Geographic explains: Link

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Street Fighter II Triptych

Maya Pixelskaya's triptych in honor of the 1991 video game Street Fighter II isn't a digital rendering. In 800 hours of work, she hand painted each pixel on three canvases, each a foot wide. You can see process photos on her Facebook page.

Artist's Website and Facebook Gallery -via it8bit

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Three Exotic Necktie Knots to Try: The Eldredge Knot, The Trinity Knot, and The Cape Knot

Forget the Double Windsor! Stylish gentlemen who fancy the kind of necktie knots that turn heads prefer these three exotic knots: The Eldredge Knot, The Trinity Knot, and the Cape Knot. Alex Krasny of Agree or Die explains how you can impress the ladies with these extraordinary necktie knots:

The Eldredge Knot

How to Tie the Eldredge Knot

The Trinity Knot

How to Tie the Trinity Knot

The Cape Knot

How to Tie The Cape Knot

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Dolphins Have Names

They may not call each other "Flipper," but dolphins do have names. A new study by biologist Stephanie King of Scotland's University of St. Andrews and colleagues revealed that dolphins call each other by their names:

... King and Janik’s team analyzed recordings made over several decades by the Sarasota Dolphin Research Program, a Florida-based monitoring project in which pairs of dolphins are captured and held in separate nets for a few hours as researchers photograph and study them.

During the captures, the dolphins can’t see each other, but can hear each other and continue to communicate. In their analysis, King and Janik showed that some of the communications are copies of captured compatriots’ signature whistles — and, crucially, that the dolphins most likely to make these were mothers and calves or closely allied males.

They seemed to be using the whistles to keep in touch with the dolphins they knew best, just as two friends might if suddenly and unexpectedly separated while walking down a street. Moreover, copying wasn’t exact, but involved modulations at the beginning and end of each call, perhaps allowing dolphins to communicate additional information, such as the copier’s own identity.

Brandon Keim of Wired has the story: Link

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In Nicholas Delille's "Oppression" series, the voices that tell you to live according to the values and priorities of other people--instead of your own--are portrayed as a horde of ravenous zombies. Don't let them eat you.

Link -via Lustik

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Heart Bike Route

You've probably seen the Verizon ad of a guy riding his bike in San Francisco along a route that looks like a big heart. The guy was actually real and he did actually ride his bike all over the city like that.

Robert Krulwich of NPR tells the story of Payam Rajabi and how he landed a spot in the ad:

Last year, Payam Rajabi got a new job and had to leave Toronto and his girlfriend Clare and move to San Francisco. All that left him feeling a little down — until he came up with his upsy, downsy Valentine idea.

He jumped on his bike, opened his iPhone to a map of San Francisco, and tracking himself with a GPS, he rode 27 miles around the city, taking two and a half hours, burning 1,135 calories and carefully etching a heart shape onto a city map ...

[...] Payam's map got picked up by Cyclelicious, a geeky bike equipment site, by Uptown Almanac, a local blog, by Health 2.0, a health news site, by, a Persian-American site. Payam was named "Iranian of the Day," and within the year, ka-ching! An ad agency called.

It was Verizon. They asked Payam if he would get back on the bike and do the whole thing over again, this time tracked by a rigged out truck with a giraffe-like hi-cam

But there's a twist at the end ... Read the rest over at Krulwich Wonders: Link

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Baby Pictures for a 13-year-old Son

Kelli Higgins and her husband have eight children, including 13-year-old Latrell and his younger sister, who were adopted from foster care at age 10 and 5.

The family was sitting around the dinner table last month, when Higgins – a professional photographer – mentioned that she was preparing for an upcoming baby photo session. Latrell mentioned that he wished he had baby photos of himself.

Higgins’ 12-year-old daughter asked, why not “recreate” a newborn photo shoot just for Latrell? The family had a good laugh thinking about him in all the newborn poses.

“I thought it was funny and that it would be a good idea,” Latrell told His mom found the notion bittersweet.

“I was very sad too because I didn’t have any photos of him either," Higgins said. "I think it’s really hard to have children and not know what they looked like when they were younger.”

Higgins and Latrell went into her studio the next day, both laughing hysterically the whole time, she recalled.

Latrell's photo shoot created a sensation when she posted it on her Facebook page. Latrell is cool with it, and the photos have brought attention to the many older children available for adoption. Link -via Metafilter

(Image credit: Kelli Higgins Photography)

See more about baby and kids at NeatoBambino

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Stuck at 125mph for an Hour

In a real-life version of the movie Speed, Frank Lecerf was forced to drive at top speed when his Renault Laguna, which was adapted for disabled drivers, went out of control. While running an errand in his home town of Pont-de-Metz, France, Lecerf found that any tap on his brakes made the car speed up -up to 125 mph!

While uncontrollably speeding through the fast lane as other cars swerved out of his way, he managed to call emergency services who immediately dispatched a platoon of police cars.

Realising Lecerf had no choice but to keep racing along until his petrol ran out, they escorted him at high speed across almost 125 miles of French motorway, past Calais and Dunkirk, and over the Belgian border.

Puzzled motorists gave way as the high-speed convoy approached. Three toll stations were warned to raise their barriers as Lecerf ploughed through. After about an hour, his petrol tank spluttered empty and he managed to swerve into a ditch in Alveringem in Belgium, about 125 miles from his home, in Pont-de-Metz, near the northern French city of Amiens.

"My life flashed before me," he told Le Courrier picard. "I just wanted it to stop." He was unhurt but had two epileptic seizures.

Lecerf was connected to a Renault engineer during the ordeal, but nothing they tried slowed the vehicle. There is no word yet on why the car accelerated out of control. Link

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Disabled Not Allowed in Disability Court

This may be the weirdest story of British bureaucracy gone wild yet. Occasionally, disabled people must go to court to prove their disabilities or face losing benefits. However, someone decided to put the disability tribunal on the fourth floor of the Acorn House building in Basildon, England. Therefore, health and safety officials barred people in wheelchairs from attending because exit would be difficult in the event of a fire.

Sylvia Middleton, from Wickford Place in Pitsea, was turned away last Wednesday.

She said: “They said they couldn’t guarantee my safety and they didn’t let wheelchairs upstairs.

“Why are they holding disability tribunals in a building disabled people aren’t allowed in?”

The 65-year-old has been told she has to wait two months for a new hearing 12 miles away at Southend.

Officials had originally ordered she attend the court or risk losing her disability benefits.

Court officials claim the ruling is in error and are trying to work out a policy in which no one will be turned away. Link -via Arbroath

(Image credit: Mark Cleveland)  

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Found: Largest Prime Number with Over 17 Million Digits

Quick: what's the larest prime number that you know? Well, computer science professor Curtis Cooper (that's him on the left) of the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg has just found one that has 17,425,170 digits.

All he had to do was run 1,000 computers non-stop for 39 days:

On January 25th at 23:30:26 UTC, the largest known prime number, 257,885,161-1, was discovered on Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search (GIMPS) volunteer Curtis Cooper's computer. The new prime number, 2 multiplied by itself 57,885,161 times, less one, has 17,425,170 digits. With 360,000 CPUs peaking at 150 trillion calculations per second, 17th-year GIMPS is the longest continuously-running global "grassroots supercomputing"[1] project in Internet history.

Link | Want to learn more about the largest prime numbers? Here you go.

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Shark Sushi Plate

Aviceramics's shark sushi plate looks cute, but use it with care. Watch your fingers while dipping pieces in the soy sauce cup.


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40 Years in Isolation

Talk about living off the grid! In 1936, Karp Lykov, a Russian of the Old Believers sect, escaped Soviet religious persecution by moving his family deep into the rugged Siberian taiga, near the border of Mongolia. They settled in a spot 150 miles from the nearest village and lived alone, cut off from the outside world until 1978. That's when a group of geologists, looking for a spot to land their helicopter, noticed what they believed to be a farm. Curious, they went to the cabin and found Lykov and his four adult children. The youngest two had never seen any person outside their own family. Over time, the geologists learned how the Lykov family survived all those years.

Isolation made survival in the wilderness close to impossible. Dependent solely on their own resources, the Lykovs struggled to replace the few things they had brought into the taiga with them. They fashioned birch-bark galoshes in place of shoes. Clothes were patched and repatched until they fell apart, then replaced with hemp cloth grown from seed.

The Lykovs had carried a crude spinning wheel and, incredibly, the components of a loom into the taiga with them—moving these from place to place as they gradually went further into the wilderness must have required many long and arduous journeys—but they had no technology for replacing metal. A couple of kettles served them well for many years, but when rust finally overcame them, the only replacements they could fashion came from birch bark. Since these could not be placed in a fire, it became far harder to cook. By the time the Lykovs were discovered, their staple diet was potato patties mixed with ground rye and hemp seeds.

Karp Lykov, then in his 80s, knew nothing of World War II or the moon landing. But he believed the news of satellites, because he had noticed that in the 1950s, “the stars began to go quickly across the sky.” The family was amazed by television, but tried to adhere to their religious beliefs about living simply. They were very grateful for salt, however, as they had none for decades. Read the astonishing tale of the Lykov family at Past Imperfect. Link -via Metafilter

A postscript to the story appeared in the news just last week. Link

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Photograph of a Revolutionary War Soldier

The first photographic portraits were taken in 1839, but it took decades for the custom to become common. This is a portrait of Conrad Heyer, taken around 1852. Heyer may be earliest-born person ever photographed, as he was born in 1749!

He was approximately 103 when photographed, having been born in 1749. He was reportedly the first white child born in Waldoboro, Maine, then a German immigrant community. He served in the Continental Army under George Washington during the Revolutionary War, crossing the Delaware with him and fighting in other major battles. He eventually bought a farm and retired to Waldoboro, where he happily regaled visitors with tales of his Revolutionary War exploits until his dying day.

The article at Doug's Darkworld goes on to describe how different the world was at the beginning of Heyer's life from the modern world in which he had his portrait made. Link -via reddit

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Breaking Into Mecca

More than a century before Indiana Jones first cracked his whip, Sir Richard Francis Burton had already mastered the daring art of scholarly adventure.

Richard Francis Burton was a hard-living combination of Thomas Jefferson and Teddy Roosevelt. By 1853, he'd already swashbuckled his way through enough adventures for several lifetimes. The British explorer, writer, ethnologist, polyglot, and spy had spent his youth traveling Europe and drinking in its culture, learning as much about history and poetry as he did about sword fighting and bordellos. He'd worked undercover investigating his fellow English officers' behavior in Indian brothels. And he'd penned travelogues and anthropological studies detailing his adventures.

But Burton craved more. During an extended leave from the military, he began devising one of the greatest adventures of the Victorian era. Burton wanted to be the first Englishman to walk into the forbidden city of Mecca.

Other Englishmen had caught glimpses of Mecca, but only as prisoners. Burton wanted to waltz in on his own. Only then would he be able to see the holy city as Muslims saw it during the hajj, the sacred pilgrimage Islam requires of every adult. The stakes were high. Any infidel caught sneaking in faced immediate execution. "A blunder, a hasty action, a misjudged word, a prayer or bow, not strictly the right shibboleth, and my bones would have whitened the desert sand," Burton later wrote.

Burton had a few aces up his sleeve. Although his father was Irish, Burton's dark hair and complexion helped him pass as a Muslim. His linguistic wizardry was unrivaled -he'd mastered at least five languages before turning 18 and added many more throughout his life. His obsessive reading and previous travels had taught him the Islamic customs he would need to avoid critical errors.

Even with these gifts, the Royal Geographical Society was skeptical about funding Burton's expedition. But a glimpse inside the forbidden city was too tantalizing for geographers to refuse. They agreed to bankroll the journey, with a catch: Burton had to survive the trip before he received the funds.

Provisional cash in hand, Burton began preparing for his hajj. Even if he played his assumed character -an Indian-born Afghan named Abdullah- flawlessly, a glimpse of his uncircumcised penis during a roadside pit stop would have blown his cover. So Burton took method acting to a whole new level; at the age of 32, he was circumcised.


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Rare Animated Stereoviews of Geishas in the 1800s

Japanese photographer Nobukuni Enami took stereoscopic photographs of 19th-century Geisha, which were hand-colored and shown by viewing a different photo with the left and right eye.  

Because it’s unlikely that you’ve got your own vintage stereoscopic viewer lying around, many of these images are animated GIFS that photographer Guy Thiophene has created to give you an idea of what they would have looked like in 3D. Thiophene converted the images into GIFS from stereo images found in the extensive collection of Rob Oechsle (known on Flickr as Okinawa Soba), who has been collecting the photographs since 1973.

See a collection of these pictures, and learn more about Geisha at Environmental Graffiti. Link

(Image credit: T. Enami/Guy Thiophene)

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12 Things You Might Not Know About Wyatt Earp

Neatorama presents a guest post from actor, comedian, and voiceover artist Eddie Deezen. Visit Eddie at his website.

One of my all-time favorite films is Tombstone (1993), the greatest Western ever made -in my opinion (and with all due respect to the great John Wayne, who I love and am a major fan of). Tombstone being my favorite Western, I developed an interest in the film's central character, Wyatt Earp. I have recently read my first proper biographies of Earp, and man, this guy just blows my socks off! What a fascinating, bigger-than-life character, right out of a great Western novel. I have read hundreds and hundreds of biographies and autobiographies of men and women of every possible stripe, but this guy is, without a doubt, one of the most incredible characters I have ever read about.

Okay, let me tell you twelve things you may not have known about that legendary lawman from the Old West, Mr. Wyatt Earp.

1. Wyatt Berry Stapp Earp (yep, that's his full name) ran away from home several times and tried to enlist in the Union Army in the Civil War. He was unsuccessful and was sent back home every time, as he was only 13 years old.

2. He loved ice cream. He wasn't a hard drinker. In fact, he wasn't a drinker at all. No, the great Wyatt Earp, as macho as they come, never let liquor touch his lips. But he did have a vice: his love of ice cream. Every day in Tombstone, he would stop into the local ice cream parlor and indulge in a scoop.

3. He was arrested for horse theft along with two other men. Wyatt and the other men were accused of stealing two horses (each worth $100) and jailed. Instead of waiting for his trial, Wyatt broke out of jail and escaped through the jail roof.

4. He never was hit or injured during a gun fight. No, not in any gunfight he was ever involved in, which contributed to his legend.

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Profile for Rommel Santor

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