Watch George Lucas and Star Wars characters in 1987 Japanese Panasonic TV commercials

Every Sith Lord has his price.

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How not to get stuck in traffic

Of course, the best way to not get stuck in traffic is not to drive anywhere. But if you must, see the above.

And if the topic of traffic piques your interest, BB pal Tom Vanderbilt wrote the book on the matter: Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us)

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Why are these children "sieg heiling" the American flag?

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In this 1915 photo, the children appear to be raising their arms in a siege heil salute of the American flag. Actually, this gesture was part of the Pledge of Allegiance ritual for decades. Then, um, Hitler happened. From Smithsonian:

Originally known as the Bellamy Salute, the gesture came to be in the 1890s, when the Pledge of Allegiance was written by Francis J. Bellamy. The Christian socialist minister was recruited to write a patriotic pledge to the American flag as part of magazine mogul Daniel Sharp Ford’s quest to get the flag into public schools.

At the time... Bellamy and his boss both agreed that the Civil War had divided American loyalties and that the flag might be able to bridge those gaps. His campaign centered around the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ arrival in the new world. He published his new Pledge as part of a unified Columbus Day ceremony program in September 1892 in the pages of the Youth’s Companion, a popular children’s magazine with a circulation of 500,000.

“At a signal from the Principal,” Bellamy wrote, “the pupils, in ordered ranks, hands to the side, face the Flag. Another signal is given; every pupil gives the flag the military salute—right hand lifted, palm downward, to a line with the forehead and close to it. Standing thus, all repeat together, slowly, 'I pledge allegiance to my Flag…'”

Then in the 1930s, Hitler reportedly saw Italian Fascists doing a similar gesture, likely based on an ancient Roman custom, and adopted it for the Nazi party. Read the rest

Man celebrated Oakland A's World Series win with a baseball in the rectum

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According to a medical report published in the January 1977 issue of Diseases of the Colon & Rectum (great bathroom reading! - ed.), a 49-year-old man was admitted to a San Francisco hospital complaining of severe pain. A "firm, fixed, round object" was found to be lodged high in his rectum. The man then admitted that he and his sexual partner had celebrated the Oakland A's World Series win by having a baseball inserted into his ass.

After the physicians tried various techniques to remove it, the baseball was finally "skewered with a corkscrew instrument" and pushed through an incision in the fellow's colon.

According to the medical report, "Follow-up examination a year later revealed normal bladder and rectal functions."

(Weird Universe)

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Watch the (very weird) first USSR television commercial

This surreal advertisement for corn from 1964 is reportedly the USSR's first TV commercial.

Over at r/ObscureMedia, amer_amer kindly offers this translation:

If you would like to be healthy, fed for a hundred years, ask with a kind word at restaurants and cafeterias (and) recieve dinner wait, sit down, don't rush wait... (and) recieve dinner. Chef: where are you from? Corn: (unintelligible)... We were grown in azerbaijan, in a southern warm country, in the virgin lands of kasakhstan. Chef: understood. so what do you want? Corn: we want to get on the menu. Chef: i'm sorry, and i'm not kicking you out, but i'm not changing the menu. (The dishes start sliding) And the salads, and the soups, and (dishes) made from maize groats, and with sugar: porridge, pudding and cakes, and appetizers and garnish. Peace for all (i think). What a dish, absolutely spectacular! Every day will be prepared! Chef: and let me tell you something, all these dished can be made easily by any hostess (as in housewife).

(Thanks, UPSO!)

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Play Morissey and PETA's new anti-meat mobile game

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PETA and Morissey released This Beautiful Creature Must Die, an anti-meat game where the goal is to save animals from slaughter. Play it below. The soundtrack is a chiptune version of, you guessed it, The Smith's "Meat is Murder."

"This game is the biggest social crusade of all, as we safeguard the weak and helpless from violent human aggression," Moz said. "You don't get that from Pokémon Go."

(Rolling Stone)

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Twin Peaks soundtrack reissued on vinyl

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Angelo Badalamenti gorgeous original score for David Lynch's Twin Peaks television show is available once again on vinyl! Along with the lovely instrumentals, the score includes Julee Cruise's three vocal tracks with lyrics by Lynch himself. (Above, "The Nightingale.") Reissued by the damn fine people at the Mondo/Death Waltz label, this remastered edition is pressed on 180 gram "coffee color" vinyl, packaged in a gatefold sleeve with obi strip, and includes liner notes by Badalamenti.

Twin Peaks - Original Score LP (Mondo)

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Creepy clown thought to be wandering in Wisconsin was indie film marketing stunt

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Last week, freaky photos appeared online of a strange person dressed in a filthy clown costume and carrying black balloons wandering the night streets of Green Bay, Wisconsin. Turns out, "Gags the Clown," as the character was known, turned out to be a hoax by indie filmmaker Adam Krause. He hoped the online freak-out would help market a new short horror film that he plans to complete in the next few months. It worked. From the Green Bay Press-Gazette:

Krause and his film crew had wanted to keep Gags' secret for a little longer and include four more Gags sightings in Green Bay to promote the film. However, according to Krause's post, some actors who did not get parts in the film "felt it was their civic duty to inform the media of what was really going on."

"Green Bay's creepy clown was marketing ploy"

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Another Olympic pool turned green

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On Tuesday, the Maria Lenk Aquatics Centre's diving pool turned green. Yesterday, the water polo pool followed suit. Various reasons have been, er, floated, depending on who is doing the blaming, I mean explaining:

• It's a change in alkalinity, says Mario Andrada of the Rio 2016 local organizing committee. "We expect the color to be back to blue soon," he said. "...There is absolutely no risk to the athletes or anybody."

• No, actually heat and still air caused an algae bloom, according to the Olympic organizing committee.

• More likely, says FINA, the International Swimming Federation, is that the water tanks "ran out some of the chemicals used in the water treatment process."

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What is fencing all about?

My first exposure to fencing was on Happy Days. (Video evidence below.) This Vox video above explains the sport much better.

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See a coffee maker rebuilt into a "bionic" hand

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Maker Evan Booth transformed a Keurig K350 coffeemaker into a "bionic" hand. As William Gibson once wrote, "the street finds its own uses for things."

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Freight train goes off tracks and hits perfectly-named bar

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Last night in Charles City, Iowa, a freight train car separated from the track as it was changing connections and tipped right into the back of a bar. The name of the trackside tavern? DeRailed.

Nobody was injured.

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New brand empowers teen fashion designers through creativity and business

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My wife Kelly Sparks is design director at Epic Sky, a new fashion brand that's all about empowering young teen and tween girls. Rather than just trying to guess what young people want in clothes, Epic Sky is working with hypertalented teenage designers to develop the collections, and a wide network of teens and tweens to vet the products and contribute content to their site. This past Sunday, the San Francisco Chronicle ran a big spread about the company. Congrats to co-founders Monika Rose and Marian Kown, Kelly, and all the badass women at Epic Sky! From the SF Chronicle:

“We’re all about empowerment and positivity,” says Kwon. “There are a lot of media messages about girls being perfect — that they’re not smart or pretty enough, while our mission is to inspire the epic in every girl. You don’t have to have a perfect body or be the most athletic, which is the pressure a lot of middle school girls face. Snapchat and Instagram put a lot of pressure on girls, too.”

“We offer clothes that fit girls and go beyond stereotypes,” says Rose. “As a mom, I want a brand I can say yes to — clothes that are appropriate for girls’ changing bodies and don’t promote early sexualization. On the market now, you go from a one-piece Speedo to a Brazilian thong, and there’s no option in-between for these girls.” Whereas Epic Sky bikinis, designed by Sausalito 17-year-old Antje Worring, actually look like they’d be comfortable and fun to swim in, not just lie around and look glamorous...

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World's longest aircraft looks like ass, literally

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The Airlander 10 hybrid airplane-airship, the world's longest aircraft at 302 feet long, has emerged from its hangar at Cardington Airfield, Bedfordshire, England.

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Meth lab found underneath a Walmart parking lot

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We've heard countless stories about people brewing up meth in Walmart bathrooms, but now police have found a meth lab underneath a Walmart in Amherst, New York! They discovered the underground lab inside a culvert below the store's parking lot and a crew in hazmat gear is now clearing out the tunnel. From WIVB:

“We’ll talk to the proper authorities to figure out what we need to do to make sure that’s not accessible anymore,” said Captain Scott Chamberlin.

He said they did not receive any tips. The culvert was checked during a random preventative patrol.

“Routine patrol, that’s what we do every day,” said Captain Chamberlin.

We asked him if it’s routine to check underground.

He said, “We check in various areas that people who might be up to no good, might be using for no good.”

Members of the NYSP Contaminated Crime Scene Emergency Response Team passed buckets of evidence up from the manhole.

“Spray paint can, some various chemicals, a liquid we believe is methamphetamine,” said Captain Chamberlin.

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UC Berkeley chancellor installs office "escape door" as security measure against protesters

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UC Berkeley, birthplace of the Free Speech Movement, installed an emergency exit door between Chancellor Nicholas Dirks’ office and his conference room so he can escape if protestors violently storm his suite. From the Daily Californian:

Construction of the door was requested about a year ago in response to a protest in April 2015 when protesters stormed the chancellor’s suite (photo above).

During the protest, students staged a sit-in outside Dirks’ office where they banged on desks and chanted loudly. They were eventually escorted out of the building, some in handcuffs, by UCPD officers.

Later that day, protesters marched from Sproul Hall to the area in front of University House, the chancellor’s residence.

ASUC Senator-elect Chris Yamas said there have been many protests on campus throughout the tenure of several different chancellors, but no instances when a chancellor was physically harmed.

“There has to be other ways to handle student concerns and protests than simply building ways to avoid them,” Yamas said. “The chancellor seems elitist and out of touch and inaccessible to the students.”

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Tiny business card sculptures of the profession on the card

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Paper engineer Petrina Case creates miniature sculptures from business cards that, if so desired, may depict the profession listed on the card. She accepts commissions via her Etsy shop: Petrina Case Studio (via Neatorama)

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