Lovely watercolor illustrations of The Silmarillion's first chapter

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Evan Palmer's reverent watercolors capture the verbal harmonies and surprising glories of J.R.R. Tolkien's origin story for the universe he created. Read the rest

Chicago reporter's three grim years of covering overnight crime

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What happens to a journalist assigned to cover Chicago's overnight violent crime? Chicago Tribune reporter Peter Nickeas describes in harrowing detail how three years of covering endless violence and misery changed him: Read the rest

Rare red sprites dancing in the skies, above thunderstorms

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Graduate student Jason Ahrns captured a stunning image of red sprites over Nebraska while aboard a plane chartered by the National Center for Atmospheric Research. And behold Scott McPartland's rare video of the phenomenon in May. Read the rest

NSFW rotoscoping meets stippling in "Hiding Love"

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What looks like ferromagnetic liquid takes erotic forms in the "Hiding Love" video effects by denial.of.service. About as NSFW as scrambled cable porn back in the day. Read the rest

2015 was deadliest year on record for environmental activists

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UK-based NGO Global Witness reports that at least 185 environmental activists were murdered last year around the globe, and two-thirds of those were in Latin America. According to the report: Read the rest

7 great anecdotes from a photographer of vanishing cultures

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Jimmy Nelson is a legendary photographer of humanity. He shares seven insights gleaned from his 48-year career, each one backed up with an interesting anecdote about how he got better at his craft. Read the rest

Jeepneys: souped-up rides from the Philippines

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Jeepneys are the unofficial national vehicle of the Philippines. Originally made from modified surplus US jeeps after World War II by companies like Sarao, they developed into a colorful and stylized form of public transportation. Read the rest

Watch an object levitating atop another levitating object

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YouTuber Latheman666 takes maglev to the next level by adding nine neodymium magnet cubes to a levitating magnet and then floating a pyrolytic graphite disc about 1mm above the neodymium. Hypnotic! Read the rest

Precious decay: photographs of abandoned Orient Express train

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Dutch photographer Brian Romeijn takes haunting shots of abandoned buildings, but his striking shots of the famed Orient Express train capture the sense of a lost era. Read the rest

Classic album covers mashed up with Star Wars characters

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Steven Lear mashes up beloved albums with beloved Star Wars characters to delightful effect. Some highlights below:

See the whole collection here.

whythelongplayface (via Taxi) Read the rest

Paralympian archer with no arms demonstrates technique

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Matt Stutzman was born without arms, but that has not stopped him from becoming an excellent archer. It's amazing to watch him do everyday tasks like drive and answer his smartphone, too. Read the rest

Fun retro-future space posters

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Lynx Art Collection has some fun retro-future space posters in their collection, like this one titled Astronaut Hang Time. They also have a bunch of cool travel posters, like this one for Mars: Read the rest

Amy Schumer: "we aren't making the show anymore" (Updated)

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Amy Schumer got drawn into a complex controversy over comments made by a friend who has written for her Comedy Central show. Her response Wednesday night suggests she's ready to pull the plug on the whole show. Read the rest

Holy f***balls! (NSFW)

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Swearballs let out a tirade of curses when you throw them at something. The fine family of products includes F-Bomb (demonstrated above), a Magic S Ball with foul-mouthed Magic 8 Ball options, and Swearball Classic, which lets you add your own recorded swears and rants: Read the rest

Jumping into a pool of 25 million water beads

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Mark Rober teamed up with The Backyard Scientist to see what happens when you fill a pool with 25 million water balls then try to jump in. Read the rest

Albino bat photos come in three categories

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1. Cute. Read the rest

How to make an origami dollar bill guitar

This nifty tutorial from JustOrigami shows how to make a dollar origami guitar, a fun way to present a cash gift to someone, especially if they enjoy or play music. Read the rest

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