1. Follow Up: More Toynbee Tiles / House of Hades Stuff

    hoh_LA

    Flickr user rtype17 passes along a House of Hades tile he found in LA’s Pershing Square

    Our post on the history of the Toynbee Tiles and their various homages (House of Hades, that little mummy guy you see in crosswalks everywhere) still gets a good amount of traffic and comment activity so I thought I’d follow up with a few more notes on the subject:

    + Netflix is streaming Resurrect Dead, the excellent documentary on the search for who is behind the Toynbee Tiles. (Filmmaker’s page)

    + There’s a Google Map showing the location of Toynbee Tiles around Philadelphia, ground zero for the Toynbee Phenomenon

    + The perennially badass Becky Stern over at Makesine brings an excellent how-to video on making your own Toynbee-style linoleum tiles. From back in 2009 (yeah, I totally slept on that one)

    + Oh and in your wanderings, ignore links to toynbee.net. It’s dead an gone, now linking to a site that has something to do with toys, not tiles.

     


  2. Gnome stalking residents of Argentina

    Northern Argentina residents of Suncho Corral are reporting a series of gnome attacks, according to a translation to an article on Rosario3 done by UFO blog Inexplicata.

    Inexplicata’s translation says:

    Local residents state that the small creature appears in dark places and pummels people. Police has issued a statement asking people not to walk alone in the dark.

    Those who follow the wide world of weird may recall that this isn’t the first time Travelocity’s mascot has stalked Argentina: in 2008, according toThe Sun, a gnome was spotted and video recorded (see below). A group of lads returning from a fishing trip shrieked in horror at seeing a little guy in a pointed hat shuffled across the road. This 2008 incident happened in General Guemes just 500km/311mi from the garden statue staple’s most recent spotting.



  3. VisitBritain.org Knows How to Make You Foreigners Comfortable

    Britain’s tourism agency, VisitBritain, has come through with a list of handy stereo… I mean, tips, on how to handle the strange  foreign visitors that may stumble onto the shores of Airstrip One.  Choice cuts:

    Do not be alarmed if South Africans announce that they were held up by robots.
    To a South African the word robot means traffic lights. ‘’Takkies’’ means trainers, a barbecue is a ‘braai’, and ‘’howzit’’ is an informal way of saying hello. When in a social situation with a South African do not place your thumb between your forefinger and your second finger – it is an obscene gesture.

    Avoid physical contact when first meeting someone from India.

    Avoid saying ‘’thank you’’ to a Chinese compliment.
    Instead, politely deny a compliment to show humility. If you compliment a Chinese person, expect a denial in reply. The Chinese are famous for communicating by “Saying it without saying it.” You will have to learn to read between the lines. Use only black and white materials for presentations, as colours have significant meanings in Chinese culture.

    Never imply Poles drink excessively.
    Despite stereotypes, Poles are not large consumers of alcohol and excessive drinking is frowned upon.

    What, no “Americans are heavily armed at all times”?  Nothing about the Germans having a strip of LEDs running down their shinbone?  What are we learning here, really?


  4. Muammar Qaddafi and Michael Jackson: the Oneness

    Muammar Qaddafi and Michael JacksonAm I the only one that thinks Muammar al-Qaddafi and Michael Jackson look like the same person?  I mean, add 20 pounds and a limp and you’re basically there.  Oh and a pulse.  And a crack team of lady bodyguards.

    Really.  MQ? Sleeps in a tent.  MJ? Slept in a tent.  Face like wood putty? Check.  Rambling conspiracy theories, a love for costumes and radical decisions prompted by financial troubles?  Check, check and check.  Two men, two vast reservoirs of ego and paranoia swirling around in big piles of money, leaking weird gibberish across the land.

    Only natural that they’d have the same tailor, eh?

    But what if it was more than that?  What if Michael Jackson, hounded by his debts and public reputation, entered in a secret pact with mysterious Libyan nationals to support a clandestine coup, a neat little switch that whisked the real Qaddafi off the pedestal and slid the ersatz dictator in his place as smooth as Indy swaps idols for sand?  A plausible Michael Jackson corpse wouldn’t be the hardest thing in the world to fabricate and Qaddafi’s strange reputation could be cited to cover up any unaccounted for behavioral changes.

    Now, I’m not saying this did happen.  I’m just saying for a man as weird and famous as Michael Jackson, there aren’t nearly enough rumors and conspiracy theories surrounding his death.  We can do better, people.  Give the King of Pop his Elvis treatment.  Let’s start reporting Michael skulking around the dumpsters behind Costco at 4 am, breaking open expired boxes of over the counter allergy medicine.  Let’s convince each other he ascended into heaven astride a chimpasus, an immortal hoofed and winged primate developed by freakiest of Soviet science in a Kazakhstan lab.  WE CAN DO BETTER.


  5. 12 Lies Every Douche in a Bar Insists Are True

    There are many, many lies we all believe. Every douche at a bar will swear these 12 fictoids are true despite science– As everyone know these things to be ‘true’. Here are twelve of the most common that I have heard recently.

    Ostriches put their head in sand.

    If you have seen it, it’s called “Photoshop” as in the case of a recent Newsweek cover. We can all blame Pliny the Elder (23-79 CE) who attempted to catalog all knowledge of the Roman Empire. In Book 10, Chapter 1, he wrote “…they imagine, when they have thrust their head and neck into a bush, that the whole of their body is concealed.” Thanks, Pliny. In fairness animals are hard to categorize; for some time it was thought a kangaroo had two heads due to the young baby in tow.

    Disney is frozen

    Disney maintained an extremely private life leading to rumors that he was a harsh anti-Semite, a puppet of Zionists, a Communist and a Fascist. One confirmed fact is his remains were cremated at Forest Lawn cemetery in Glendale, California– much more prosaic than cryogenic suspension. Very few have taken the leap to become a cryonaut, most notably baseball legend Ted Williams, Williams’ son John Henry Williams, and futurist FM-2030.

    Sugar causes hyperactivity

    Sugar is called empty calories for a clear reason: its just calories without vitamins, proteins, or lipids. Our bodies need calories for energy, but we can find them in every food we consume. Sugar is no different than any food with calories and does not provide any excess energy. Excess amounts of oranges, pork, or even burgers provides the same if not more for bouts of energy.

    Every seven years your cells regenerate

    Do you remember any event from seven or more years ago? Good, as that means a neuron in your head has survived  seven years. Brain cells– among other cells– last longer than seven years. It’s nice to think that every seven year your body gets a refresh but unfortunately that’s not the case. We just get seven years older.

    You only use 10% of your brain

    The origin of this myth is dubious but perhaps stems from upstate New Yorker Orson Squire Fowler a proponent of the pseudoscience phrenology, life-style pundit, and inventor of the octagon house. Phrenology claimed the brain was divided into neat platonic sections controlling “friendship,” “love,” and “ailments.” It’s a soothing idea to think that 90% of your brain remains untapped of potential. Perhaps one we could utilize that, and realize our dream as a 6 year old of being the greatest person, ever. CAT scans and logic tells us we use that 90% all the time– and you don’t want to part with that 90%.

    We lose 90% of heat through our head

    So what does that 90% of your brain do? According to suburban mom wisdom it is where 90% of the heat in your body escapes. The ancient Greeks among others thought of the brain as simply a cooling mechanism for the body. For 90% of the heat in your body to escape from your body, 90% would need to be in your head. If you want to do an experiment, walk around with a hat but completely naked in the dead of winter. Chances are you will be arrested and pretty damn cold.

    Drink 8 glasses of water a day; coffee causes you to lose hydration

    Though not recommended, you can get daily requirements for liquid from daily food intake. Many will insist though that water is a cure-all, able to solve any and all problems. They will also insist that beverages such as coffee, soda, or tea are a diuretic meaning a net-loss of water. Though coffee and soda are not as efficient as water, they do not cause a loss of water.  While drinking eight glasses might not be necessary, it is not a requirement.

    Lemmings jump off a cliff

    Uncle Walt may not wait in cryogenic suspension. His company did force numerous lemmings to die and create the myth of lemming suicide. Lemmings do on occasion fall into the ocean from cliffs, as do people on occasion. However, it is not a habit and not the norm. While filming the nature documentary White Wilderness the set staff pushed the poor critters off a cliff dramatically. Killing the lemmings but a myth was born. [Edit: Let's go to tape on this one: lemmings getting White and Wild]

    Tequila worms

    Tequila does not have a worm in it. Mezcal, however, does. Tequila, by definition, is made exclusively from blue agave. According to liquor standards in the US and Mexico tequila cannot contain insects or larvae.

    More importantly though eating the worm will not provide any additional inebriate, aphrodisiac, or any effects. It’s just a gimmick.

    Cow tipping

    Cows do not sleep standing up. Period. Nor do they lock their legs. Period. Approaching a field for cow-tipping has simply become a faux right-of-passage for hick high school students in the US. While cows are docile, tipping them is physically impossible.

    Purple cloud in a pool when you pee

    Many even recall seeing a cloud of purple or red around someone in a public pool indicating that person was urinating. There is no such chemical. Though this discouraged youths from peeing in the pool, this chemical cannot be purchased and does not exist. How often urination in pools happens would require constant draining and refilling of every public pool which is beyond budgets or feasibility. Discouraged from swimming yet?

    Water spins in a different direction in the southern hemisphere

    The Coriolis effect does have a weak force on objects on Earth. That force is too weak to effect water or any other liquid. Water spins both clockwise and counterclockwise on both sides of the equator. Movement in water from origin will dictate its direction regardless of hemisphere. Try it in your sink by pushing water one way or another. This will not even require a trip across the hemisphere to Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, etc.


  6. Disney on Mars

    Disney cartoon from 1957 shortly after Sputnik orbited Earth. The cartoon speculates on life on Mars. You know, before NASA messed everything up and made Mars boring and full of useless rocks. I remember seeing this as a child, well after Mars was established boring and free from horny Mars princesses.


  7. Tin Foil Hats are Sexy: New Lifeform in Sewer?

    Supposedly this is video from a snakecam in a North Carolina sewer that shows a new (or undiscovered) lifeform.

    The video shows what appear to be blobs pulsating and moving. Though many questions remain. Holy crap. At least that’s what I hope it isn’t.

    I may not have received my Cryptozoology merit badge in Boy Scouts but I am skeptical. Who took this video? Why was the camera in the sewer? Where is this in North Carolina?

    Extraordinary calims require extraordinary evidence. But I do have one more question: what the hell is it?

    Update:

    Actually its a “bag of worms” or bryozoans according to the News & Observer newspaper. These animals live in colonies so what we see in the video is actually many of them finding food and going on with daily business. They develop an external shell known as a cystid to protect them which we see in the video. Perhaps they have found a new ecological niche in the Raliegh, North Carolina sewer— instead of us finding a new species. Wikipedia has more on these bryozan creatures also known as ‘moss animal’ which do look like they come from outerspace.


  8. NATO Makes Raves Happen

    Did you know the North Atlantic Treaty Organization loves ravers? Neither did I, but for 60 years they have been making them happen. What the hell?

    So next time you pop so ecstasy, thank NATO. There are more equally surreal attempts at viral marketing by our forced military alliance overlords on their 60 Years of NATO propaganda public relations site.


  9. The Internet is Pictures of Cats: Superbad

    superbad

    The granddaddy of internet weirdness, the digital id of the late-90s, the reason we all got excited about JavaScript in the first place… I present to you, gentlemen, Superbad.

    This has been the homepage on at least one of my browsers since 1998.  I remember plumbing its depths on a dial-up, making animated GIF-laden homages with AOLPress in the wee hours of the night through high school.  I basically spent my college career as ‘guy in the dorm who knows computers’ stealing code off this thing and turning it to woefully conventional purposes for skinny blondes and pointless presentations.  For such a sin, I owe penance.

    Apparently, this is the work of a fella named Ben Benjamin, a decomissioned code ammunition dump and something that could be tagged with that dusty, decrepit tag of ‘net art’. (Hey, are any of you old enough to remember when the infowebhighwaysurfnet had Artist(e)s?)

    No, there’s no point.  But that’s the point.  Remember possibility?  Remember when pointless was simple?  Remember back when the web was slow enough where we all felt alone and no one talked about building their own personal brand?  Here’s the zen garden for your ADD.

    Mee(a)t /your /master.