Giant Spirograph

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Redditor HaHaBird built an 8-foot wide spirograph. It’s big enough to take out into the streets and make chalk drawings on pavement. He says,

I built this giant version of the classic Spirograph drawing toy in my spare time over the last six months. The diameter is just under eight feet (2.4 meters). It uses sidewalk chalk to draw the lines.

I didn't keep track of the total time or the total cost, but I would estimate the latter at around $150 not including the new tools I had to buy.

Why? Because I wanted to see if I could, and because I love making things that surprise and delight people when they see them. Mission accomplished on both fronts.

Wouldn’t you just love to see a giant spirograph pattern on the road as you’re driving or walking by? Or even better, if you were to get a chance to draw one! -via Metafilter

Mosques of Iran

Lisa Marcus 0

 At age 23, after only five years of practicing photography, physics student Mohammad Reza Domiri Ganji has an amazing mastery of the subject. He is particularly interested in architectural and panoramic photography, as shown here in these stunning photographs of mosques in northern Iran. Mohammad said in an interview,

"In Iran, we have many historical sites - but some of the greatest are places of worship like mosques. As we have a grand mosque in every big city there are many historical buildings with lots of beautiful mosaics to capture.

I like looking for the symmetry, mosaics and artworks in these temples. I like how they let the light come inside and columns are special too as they divide interior space and give some depth.

Maybe some of these historical sites will not exist in 20 years or change a lot during that time. When I am capturing these pictures, I think about how they will be recorded and in future I hope pople will be able to see their beauty."

As an enthusiast of photography, I'd be willing to bet that this won't be the last time I see the work of this photographer in the press. Visit his website, Facebook page or 500px site to see more. 

Cocoa Farmers Taste Chocolate

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(YouTube link)

Small farmers in Ivory Coast find out what their cocoa beans are used for when they taste a chocolate bar for the first time. Chocolate is out of their reach economically, and cocoa beans aren’t much without the sugar, milk, and other ingredients. But how could it be possible that these farmers don’t even know about chocolate? A commenter explained that chocolate is not part of the tradition of West Africa.

I know its weird, but in West Africa a bunch of the stuff we produce is for export only. It wasn't part of the traditional food, thus people never cared to eat it, or even knew how to finish production of it. The raw materials are just sent off.

It's not just cocoa. We produce coffee but don't roast it or drink it. We produce mangos, but not mango shakes. Chicken, but the variety for export is considered 'too soft' for the local palette.

It’s touching that the first thing the farmer does is to gather his friends and show them what chocolate tastes like. However, the kids will only get to see the wrapper. The video is a clip from the Dutch show Metropolis. You can see the whole chocolate episode here. Oh, and if you begin listening to the video because you know French, be aware that most of it is in Dutch. You may still need subtitles.  -via reddit

The Ten Commandments Rewitten by BuzzFeed

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(Image: Paramount Pictures)

David Tate of McSweeney's rewrote the Ten Commandments to make them more clickable. Here are the first five new BuzzFeed headlines:


  • What You Need to Know Now About the Lord Totally Being God
  • At the Beginning He Had Me Confused, But by Minute Two I Knew That I Shouldn’t Have Other Gods.
  • Are You Making This Common Mistake with Graven Images?
  • How I Work: Read This Life Hack from God Your Only Creator.
  • She Admitted to Doing What Every Sunday?

Moses, rewrite everything. You've got to get those traffic stats up! Remember that there's a dozen 23-year old journalism majors who would part the Hudson River to get at your job.

(Video Link)

Here's a bonus video from Mel Brooks's History of the World, Part I.

-via Ace of Spades HQ

Big Hair Pageant

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Poor Steve, he put so much effort in his coiffure. But when you’re born with one big hair, there’s no competition. I can’t put my finger on why, but as I scanned through the internet’s webcomics, I keep coming back to this particular scenario by John McNamee of Pie Comic.

Silverware Solo Rocks the House

Lisa Marcus 0

YouTube Link

In a video he calls "I'm starving, man," the reason being "this happens every time I go to eat," YouTube user Aslam Hossein reminds viewers that music can be made with almost any ordinary item. I'd love to see this man let loose on a drum kit. Via 22 Words. 

Beauty as Duty

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In England during World War II, clothing and fabric was rationed, woman had to register for wartime jobs, and money was scarce. Everyone was expected to do their part. But Winston Churchill was concerned with what such privations would do to morale, and companies still wanted to sell beauty aids. To encourage women to keep their appearances up, the Beauty as Duty campaign was born. It was supposed to make women feel okay about indulging in beauty regimens made that them feel normal, but it was dressed up as part of the war effort so they wouldn’t feel guilty about such self-indulgence.   

The Beauty as Duty concept first appeared in popular advertising. In December of 1939, an advertisement for Evan Williams Shampoo was accompanied by the caption “Hair Beauty — is a duty, too!” It was already a woman’s job to serve her country and her family; cosmetics ads began to promote maintaining one’s personal appearance as another responsibility women had to fulfill. It was an idea that made a lot of marketing sense. Manufacturers wanted to continue selling their products during a time of international crisis, and like everyone else, they shared the desire for the Allies to win the war. It was natural to connect their products to patriotism, and mainstream media’s encouragement of consumption helped validate an activity that may have otherwise been considered frivolous or unnecessary.

Lipsticks, soaps, and other cosmetics came with slogans such as “Beauty Is Your Duty” or emphasized the message that it was a woman’s “duty to stay beautiful.” These ideas were so strongly discursively linked that beauty and resisting the enemy seemed two sides of the same coin. British cosmetics company Yardley ran advertisements in 1942 with the heading “No Surrender,” which claimed that ideal women honored “the subtle bonds between good looks and good morale.”

Churchill latched onto the idea and made it official government propaganda. An article from WORN Fashion Journal looks at the campaign from both the 1940s point of view and how it would be received today, which you can read at Buzzfeed.   

Adam Savage's 'Alien' Spacesuit Lets Him Go Incognito At Comic-Con

Zeon Santos 0

Cosplayers put a lot of time, energy and skilled effort into constructing their costumes, often spending weeks if not months putting their outfit together, building accessories and getting the overall look just right before hitting the Comic-Con floor.

However, one very famous geek named Adam Savage went above and beyond when he constructed his Alien themed spacesuit for Comic-Con, a classic costume ten years in the making.

Clearly Adam didn’t spend ten whole years making the suit, and the last decade has been a rather busy part of his life, but his incredible patience finally paid off when Mr. Savage became Adam Incognito on the Con floor:

(Video Link)

Here’s why Adam chose this particular sci-fi spacesuit as a decade long cosplay project:

  "The Alien spacesuit, which was designed by Moebius, is one of my favorite spacesuit designs ever, and I'm a spacesuit fanatic," Savage revealed. "I've got a bunch of replicas of real ones and fake ones. I've been working on this this particular suit over the last 10 years. It's the final culmination of a decade of obsession — it was worth every minute of labor put into it to see the responses from all the cosplayers out on the floor."

I must admit I had no idea that Adam Savage was in the suit when I passed him on the Con floor, and his costume was so well made and intricately detailed that it looked just as good up close as it does in photos, as you would expect from something built by that talented buster of myths.

-Via Yahoo

50 Words That Sound Rude But Actually Aren't

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Once while giving a driving lesson, I told my daughter to quit pussyfooting around. She became highly offended that I would use such language, and didn’t learn a thing that day besides that her mother has a vulgar vocabulary. Oh, the things she has yet to learn. Anyway, “pussyfooting” wasn’t even rude enough to make this list of rude-sounding words that mean something completely different from what they sound like. Here’s a snippet:    


A dreamhole is a small slit or opening made in the wall of a building to let in sunlight or fresh air. It was also once used to refer to holes in watchtowers used by lookouts and guards, or to openings left in the walls of church towers to amplify the sounds of the bells.


According to one 19th century glossary of industrial slang, a fanny-blower or fanner was "used in the scissor-grinding industry," and comprised "a wheel with vanes, fixed onto a rotating shaft, enclosed in a case or chamber to create a blast of air." In other words, it’s a fan.


Fartlek is a form of athletic training in which intervals of intensive and much less strenuous exercise are alternated in one long continuous workout. It literally means "speed-play" in Swedish.

And those are just some of the more innocuous words from the list of 50 at mental_floss.

(Image credit: Dashaundamon)

Ninja Warrior Phenom Tackles Assassin's Creed Experience At SDCC

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People were lining up under the hot California sun all weekend long just to take a crack at Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed Experience obstacle course, but something tells me nobody tackled the course quite like Kacy Catanzaro.

She recently became the first woman to beat the brutal American Ninja Warrior course, so this incredible athlete couldn't help but make this fun Assassin’s Creed themed course outside San Diego Comic-Con look like a walk in the park:

If these obstacle courses are any indication Kacy is physically well prepared for the life of an assassin, and maybe she can change Ubisoft's mind about having a female assassin in the series.

-Via Nerd Approved

Reverse Dog Shaming

John Farrier 3

(Image: redditor: drain65)

We've seen dog shaming--where humans place signs in front of their dogs, calling out their disgraceful behavior in the first person. Now man's best friend is turning the tables on us, forcing us to admit how we cheat them.

I will confess that sometimes I just pretend to throw the ball. And sometimes I act like a piece of ordinary dog kibble is a treat. I'm a bad human.

-via Tastefully Offensive

Wholock: The Musical

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(YouTube link)

If you were going to mashup Doctor Who and Sherlock, you may as well make it a musical. It would have to start with a little number about one-upmanship before they can join forces. After all, neither one wants to be the sidekick! The lyrics are at the YouTube page. -via Viral Viral Videos

Hide Your Conditioner Like A Pro -Literally

Jill Harness 1

Central air conditioning is pretty much amazing -but the compressor units are one of the biggest eyesores on the backside of your house. That's why, over at Homes and Hues, we compiled two new solutions to hide those ugly units while still providing them with enough air flow to keep them running at maximum capacity.

While these are both professional designs, the top one looks easy enough for a particularly handy person to replicate, while the lower design could be great inspiration for a professional back yard redesign.

Check out more pictures over at Homes and Hues: Two More Alternatives For Hiding Your Air Conditioner

The Holy Grail Redux

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The following is an article from The Annals of Improbable Research.

by Steve Nadis
Cambridge, Massachusetts

In an earlier paper ("In Search of the Holy Grail," AIR 2:2), I presented the first rigorous analysis of the meaning of the "holy grail" -- a term that is ubiquitous in science journalism and academic prose, ascribed, at one time or another, to just about every "big" scientific question in virtually every major discipline. Though inconclusive, that landmark study reached the definitive conclusion that the phrase holy grail is more or less impossible to define, having been used in so many different settings as to have been rendered almost meaningless. This latest effort carries my previous work to the next level, proceeding -- in the usual scientific fashion--one step forward and two back.

One of the best ways of determining what scholars mean by the holy grail, or variations thereof, is through "context." The basic strategy employed here was to apply my keen powers of perception to the body of evidence accumulated to date in the hopes that some kernels of meaning might emerge, if not leap off the page outright.

My investigation began where all good investigation begins -- at our nation's "jewel in the crown," the public library system. Like many a seasoned investigator, I called the reference desk at the New York Public Library to see if its knowledgeable staff could solve the riddle of the grail once and for all. Unfortunately, they offered nothing more than a textbook definition.

Next, I returned to the site of my previous triumph, my local branch library, where some years ago I first cracked the case of the grail. To my dismay, the card catalog upon which I had leaned so heavily over the decades was no longer in service. In fact, it no longer existed, having been removed and recycled for kindling years ago.

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Walmart: Home of Faux Ice Cream

Lisa Marcus 1

YouTube Link

Dan Collins, a disc jockey at KIKN Radio in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, got a tip that Walmart Great Value Ice Cream Sandwiches don't melt. Sitting outside on a sunny, 80-degree summer day, Collins watched the ice cream sandwich sit on a plate. Next to the sandwich was a scoop of Blue Bunny ice cream on another plate. After over an hour, Collins recorded the sickening results.

All of a sudden, I feel like hijacking an ice cream truck and seeing what other "delicious frozen treats" are suspect. Via Viral Viral Videos.

The Garbage Dress

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Robin Barcus Slonina is an artist who creates novel items of clothing from unusual materials, such as a bikini made out of poker chips and a dress made of wiffle balls. For a while, she was composing "a site-specific, interactive 'dress' sculpture in each state of the union." This dress made of garbage bags represents New York.

Slonina is a native of Chicago. Her first visit to New York City was during a sanitation workers' strike. There were huge piles of uncollected garbage everywhere. They left a lasting impression. In her mind, "the sanitation workers that mange these tiny mountains every week are the true heroes of the city."

Slonina made her dress out of garbage bags filled with newspapers--specifically, The New York Times. The entire dress is thus recyclable. You can see more photos of it on her Facebook page.

-via Recyclart

Dog Plays Waltz on Piano

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(YouTube link)

Bella the German Shepherd plays piano, with the help of Dani Rosenoer. The ridiculousness of the piano playing dog is enough to make me laugh, but wait until Bella has a treat and then has to make sure every little crumb is found and consumed! -via Tastefully Offensive

Magic Numbers

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(YouTube link)

Check out this amazing method for learning how to multiply! Well, it’s an amazing story for learning, specifically, what 4 x 9 is. Or maybe it’s not so much amazing as it is baffling.

Darren Michalczuk’s YouTube channel The Brick School has several videos along this line. They are a few years old, but Michalczuk continues to push his learning method at his website Brain Magic. You can even buy apps to teach your child this method! Michalczuk has written quite a few education articles about the magic of learning that are as incomprehensible as the Magic Numbers series.

Of course it’s satire, but it’s played so straight across the web for so many years that it’s a masterful feat. You have to wonder if anyone ever took it seriously. My guess is that it would be easy to take it seriously if you just read the ads for the apps. The articles, well, someone with less-than-stellar critical thinking skills might swallow them whole, but the videos area real WTF moment. -via Digg

Thrift Store Paintings With Added Touches

Lisa Marcus 0

Toronto, Ontario-based artist David Irvine thinks green in his life and in his art. In fact, his art, which is sold under the name "The Gnarled Branch," is based on the idea of repurposing and transformiing objects that might otherwise end up in landfills.  

The paintings shown here are flea market and thrift shop finds, to which Irvine has added humorous pop culture characters and references. That these augmentations are so strategically placed in the paintings only increases the fun. Irvine says via his Etsy profile,

"Taking cast off items and transforming them into something 'cool' that people love and want is a big thrill. Generally I like creating works of art that are creepy or edgy since I have a passion for scary stuff and Halloween. I do a lot of artworks that would be described as low brow contemporary but have worked on many commissioned pieces that were more traditional in nature. When I'm not creating I enjoy gardening, scary movies and anything Halloween."

In other words, he couldn't be more up our alley. See more of David Irvine's work on Etsy, Facebook and bookmark his website for future visits, as it's currently under construction. Via Twisted Sifter.

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Brilliant Pediatrician Knows How to Make a Toddler Laugh While Getting Shots

John Farrier 1

(Video Link)

Dr. Michael Darden is a highly trained pediatrician and allergist. But he's more than just a man of science. He also has a gifted bedside manner. Here he is in his D.C.-area clinic giving two shots to a toddler. This would normally cause a young child to howl in pain. But Dr. Darden is so entertaining that instead the little boy laughs.

(Video Link)

Here's another interesting video. It's an interview with Dr. Darden. At the 5:10 mark, he shares a fascinating story. When he was still in high school, he worked in a hospital. At the age of about 16 or 17, he had the opportunity to observe an autopsy. The body was that of someone that he knew well. It was, for Dr. Darden, an early encounter with the mysterious boundary between life and death.

-via Huffington Post

Why Are Cans Shaped That Way?

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The metal can is an amazing work of food packaging. They are tough, long-lasting, and convenient. But how did we come to agree on the cylindrical shape of food cans? Nick Berry at Datagenetics (previously at Neatorama) takes a look at the many aspects of a simple design.

* The ratio of packaging materials to the volume of food.
* Structural integrity and strength.
* The ease of packing, stacking, shipping, and storing quantities of containers.
* Minimizing wasted space.
* The ease of manufacture.
* Usability for the consumer.
* Aesthetics.

Each of these aspects is studied, and since it is Datagenetics, there is some math involved. Who knew so much thought went into a can of soup? Still, everyone has something to complain about. My pet peeve is using my 1972 cook book that calls for 16-ounce cans of some ingredient and finding they are sold in 13- and 14-ounce sizes now. You’ll learn more than you ever thought you needed to know about food cans in this article. -Thanks, Nick!

Watch This Dog Faint from Excitement after Reuniting with Her Owner

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(Video Link)

Rebecca Ehalt moved to Slovenia. For two years, her dog, Casey, lived with her parents in Pennsylvania. Their reunion was unexpected but joyful for the nine-year old schnauzer. He got so excited that he fainted.

Don't worry! Casey recovered. It was just an overwhelming emotion. Ehalt concedes that although it was only a two-year separation for her, "in fairness [that] is 14 years in dog years."

-Thanks, Wifey!

Next Level Cosplay

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Look who showed up at Comic Con! Or are they just the best cosplayers ever?

Underneath the clothing of Jules Winfield and Vincent Vega are actors Elliot Branch and Dave Cobert, who both appeared in the short Killing Tarantino (NSFW) as the characters who inspired Pulp Fiction. They occasionally do this act on the streets of Hollywood as well. -via reddit

Trailer for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Lisa Marcus 3

YouTube Link

Another day, another movie trailer screened at Comic Con Los Angeles. Featured on Sunday, the final day of Comic Con, was The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. The film is again directed by Peter Jackson, who made a comment to the press stating that this is merely a teaser trailer of the film, adding that the full trailer won't be released until October.

Jackson also said that this film is darker than those in the franchise that preceeded it. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Lee Pace, Luke Evans and Evangline Lilly, is scheduled to be released on December 17, 2014.


McGroarty Achieves Room Temperature!

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No, you didn’t know Kevin J. McGroarty, unless you are lucky enough to live in West Pittston, Pennsylvania. But you might get to know him a little now, thanks to an extraordinary obituary he probably wrote himself. It begins with a headline: “McGroarty Achieves Room Temperature!” and covers his life from birth. An excerpt:

He enjoyed elaborate practical jokes, over-tipping in restaurants, sushi and Marx Brother's movies. He led a crusade to promote area midget wrestling, and in his youth was noted for his many unsanctioned daredevil stunts.

He was preceded in death by brother, Airborne Ranger Lt. Michael F. McGroarty, and many beloved pets, Chainsaw, an English Mastiff in Spring 2009, Baron, an Irish Setter in August 1982, Peter Max, a turtle, Summer 1968; along with numerous house flies and bees, but they were only acquaintances.

McGroarty leaves behind no children (that he knows of), but if he did their names would be son, "Almighty Thor" McGroarty; and daughter, "Butter Cup Patchouli."

You can read the rest at the Times-Leader. -Thanks, Kim Paladino!

Gentle Brain

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“It’s a good thing you don’t have a brain, or you’d just take it out and play with it.” That’s a memorable line from a radio skit, but it applies well to Gentle Brain, an interactive web toy where you can play around with your brain. If you drop it, and you will, that’s okay, because there’s another one where that one came from, and it’s just as good. Gentle Brain was commissioned for MUDA, Museum for Digital Art, opening later this year in Zurich, Switzerland. -via the Presurfer

Wheels of a Car Go Round and Round

Lisa Marcus 1

Vimeo Link

Ryan Fox, a student at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, attached a GoPro camera to a tire of his car for his Video Sketchbook course. The result is hypnotic and kaleidoscopic. (Warning: As you would imagine with a video of rapid rotation, the footage is dizzying.) Via Colossal. 

Cat Stuck in Bird Feeder

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We make jokes about how cats look at bird feeders as food traps, but this bird feeder trapped the cat instead of the bird. A cat named Butterscotch in Brandon, Manitoba, got his head stuck inside a bird feeder. The stray is wandering the neighborhood and evades attempts to catch him.

“He was meowing a little bit as if he wanted somebody to help him, but he’s a stray and he’s obviously afraid of people, so I wasn’t able to get near him,” said Colleen Gareau, who first spotted the distressed cat Wednesday morning.

Staff with the city’s pound have tried to catch Butterscotch. So have volunteers from a local animal group, who have been baiting traps with tuna, sardines and cat food.

The traps are ones used for larger animals because the cat wouldn’t fit into a regular cat trap because of the feeder.

So far, Butterscotch has given everyone the slip.

The cat can see around the feeder with one eye, and can even leap fences. No one has yet stepped forward to claim ownership of Butterscotch. It is hoped that he will enter a trap when he is hungry enough. -via Arbroath

(Image credit: Colleen Gareau/The Canadian Press)

Brandon & Area Lost Animals has a Facebook thread with updates on Butterscotch’s predicament.

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