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Andrea James

Andrea James is a writer, director, producer and activist based in Los Angeles. Her work often focuses on consumer activism, the free culture movement, exogenous mysticism, humor, and LGBT rights.

1871 plans map out the first circuit of the globe by telegraph

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The Library of Congress site contains gems like this map showing the proposed final link of the original world wide web: the proposed trans-Pacific telegraph line, envisioned with Civil War-era technology.

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Watch two-legged kitten destroy a village while chasing a laser

Mercury is a two-legged kitten who lost his front legs in a weed whacker accident. Thanks to The Community Cat Coalition of Edmond, Mercury has a home, but not before they made some very cute videos.

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Meet Daniel Reeve, calligrapher for The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings

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Artist Daniel Reeve created and re-created calligraphy and maps for Peter Jackson's films of the Tolkein adventures in Middle-earth. His gallery of images includes maps and illustrations as well as calligraphy and lettering. Some examples below:

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Daniel Reeve website (h/t TMarizzle)

Watch a drone's-eye view of sending a candy bar across Hong Kong

If you've wondered about what life will be like when drones deliver stuff to our houses, this video of a candy bar delivery across Hong Kong gives a tantalizing hint.

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The clip uploaded by YouTuber Sky Frog includes helpful graphics indicating major landmarks for those of us who know little about Hong Kong. Below is a very rough map of the route I whipped up.

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Watch Beachbot make large-scale sand drawings

Disney Research teamed with ETH Zürich students to create Beachbot, a robot that creates pre-programmed sand drawing.

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"When arts die, they turn into hobbies."

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Author Michael Lind weighs in with this thought-provoking essay about what happens when an art form shrinks to a niche market. Using literature and architecture as examples, he organizes major and minor arts horizontally, based on audience size:

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What Should I Read Next? Suggestions based on books you enjoyed

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What Should I Read Next? suggests books, similar to the algorithm used on sites like Netflix and Amazon based on your use patterns and ratings.

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Watch ibex herds use a near-vertical dam as a salt lick

Lake Cingino in the Italian Alps has a near-vertical dam that attracts ibex herds, who climb out on the dam hundred of feet up to lick minerals from the rocks. More acrophobia-inducing footage below:

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Relax! Calm app and website are here to reduce your stress

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Negativity-reducing website calm.com offers guided relaxation breaks of 2 to 20 minutes. They also have a free smartphone app to help you meditate, sleep, or relax wherever you are.

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Watch this next-gen thermal camera attachment for smartphones

Looking at the world in Predator-vision will get easier later this year thanks to consumer-grade forward-looking infrared (FLIR). The same tech used to find the Boston bombing suspect can be used to find a lost dog at night or to check your house for thermal leaks.

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Beautiful black and red variegated 78 records from the 1920s

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Portland area archivist Cliff Bolling has curated and digitized thousands of 78 records. One prized addition is this variegated series from Pathé's Chanticleer line. Bolling says this was an attempt by the French company to gain market share in the US. The series featured popular American songs, like this version of "Bye Bye Blackbird." by The Virginia Creepers.

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Watch a gentleman ride his craptacular gas-powered horse

Is this the worst mechanical horse of all time? Chinese farmer Su Daocheng built it to plow his fields and also says he built a homemade helicopter. Probably best to decline rides in both vehicles. At least the head looks nice. He also makes cool mechanical sculptures in his spare time, like this:

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Watch this mesmerizing rock balancing highlight reel

Since Mark first reported on Gravity Glue in 2011, artist Michael Grab has traveled extensively as he balanced rocks, and his beautifully-shot footage only improves with time. Just a few highlights below.

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Watch 23 of the best dolly zooms in cinematic history

Vashi Nedomansky compiled this terrific collection of famous dolly zoom shots. Cinematographer Irmin Roberts used it to great effect in Hitchcock's Vertigo, and it quickly entered the language of cinema to convey a moment of revelation, usually an unpleasant one.

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Fantastic anthology of offensive political cartoons and comix

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Cartoonist Mr. Fish's amazing anthology WARNING! Graphic Content feels especially relevant this month.

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Watch DARPA unveil untethered ATLAS for 2015 robotic challenge

The 2015 DARPA Robotic Challenge (DRC) is upping the ante, making the ATLAS robot used in competition self-contained and redesigned from the knees up. The robot that best completes a series of difficult physical tasks wins $2 million for the team.

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Stream Season 1 of Transparent FREE today only (24 January)

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If you have not seen it yet, you can enjoy the first season of Amazon's hit series Transparent for free today, Saturday 24 January. A great way to spend your Saturday afternoon or evening!

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Watch the northern lights captured in real time in 4K

Ronn Murray braved knee-deep snow and bitter Alaska cold to capture this pulsating green-hued aurora in 4K definition. Crank the resolution way up to 4K and enjoy a beautiful wintry nighttime hike with Ronn, Marketa, their dog Angus, and the universe unfolding above, then check out his highlight reel below.

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Watch "Do Try This At Home," science series using common items

At-Bristol's Live Science Team has a wonderful video series of experiments that can be done with inexpensive materials available at typical hardware, kitchenware, and grocery stores, like turning water into instant ice.

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Watch alt-J perform "Left Hand Free" live in studio

This Is All Yours made many best album lists last year for its moody art rock vibe, and the guys from alt-J strip down their studio version to its roots in this live performance of "Left Hand Free" for SiriusXM.

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If you haven't seen them, treat yourself to the two videos for the studio version, below.

Mermaid convention photographs by Arthur Drooker

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Cool Hunting continues its wonderful Conventional Wisdom series by following photographer Arthur Drooker to Merfest, a mermaid convention in North Carolina.

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Beautiful short documentary on the art of letterpress

The Folio Society interviewed master printer Stan Lane about the classic craft of letterpress printing. "Feeling print in paper... you know someone's actually been there."

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California officials warn anti-vaxxers to avoid Disneyland

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Unvaccinated people are being officially warned by California epidemiologists to avoid Disneyland in the wake of a measles outbreak. In some counties in California, more than 1 in 5 kindergartners are unvaccinated due to "personal belief exemptions."

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Watch a drone buzz a French lemon party

The annual Fête du citron in Menton, France is like America's Rose Parade, but with citrus. BirdeyeCam was on hand to give a drone's eye view of this year's artistry.

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WATCH: time-lapse origami turns a dollar bill into a koi fish

YouTuber TheOrigamiVoyueur filmed himself as he transformed a dollar bill into a koi, based on a instructions by expert Won Park.

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Watch hours of intricate kaleidoscopic color in HD

If you're looking for something to have on screen while relaxing with friends or by yourself, these hypnotic kaleidoscopes by HDCOLORS are sure to make your day a little more chill.

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Oh, super! Mario is slowly becoming self-aware via AI

A front-runner for People’s Choice Award at this year's AI Video Competition is Mario Lives! The University of Tübingen project is working to make video game character Mario self-aware. He's not there yet, but they are taking tiny steps.

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PSAs for movie theatre jerks from a century ago

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These lantern slides on silent movie theatre etiquette from the 1910s show that inconsiderate audience members have existed since the dawn of cinema. They're collected in Silent Movies: The Birth of Film and the Triumph of Movie Culture.

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WATCH: heart-pounding first free ascent of El Capitan's Dawn Wall

Earlier this month, Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson made the first free ascent of El Capitan's 3,000-foot Dawn Wall at Yosemite. This dizzying footage is sure to have your palms sweating.

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Videoshopping still photos of Putin creates an uncanny valley effect

Bennie Melwin shares this clip of how they videoshopped photos of Vladimir Putin for the making of a hilarious commentary on Putin's anti-gay policies.

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