Neighbors dislike "terroristic threat" Christmas display in man's front yard

The display in Bill Ansell's yard features a beheaded choir and a urinating Santa Claus that lights up at night. Image: ABC News

The display in Bill Ansell's yard features a beheaded choir and a urinating Santa Claus that lights up at night. Image: ABC News

Bill Ansell's neighbors do not like his holiday display.

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Algorithmically evolved masks that appear as faces to facial-recognition software

Sterling Crispin uses evolutionary algorithms to produce masks that satisfy facial recognition algorithms: "my goal is to show the machine what it’s looking for, to hold a mirror up to the all-seeing eye of the digital-panopticon we live in and let it stare back into its own mind."

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Anthropology news: ‘lightly’ built skeletons of modern humans have a recent origin


Researchers studying changes in bone density in humans over the millennia believe that changes in our skeletons have to do with our evolutionary shift from foraging lifestyle to a more sedentary way of life. That's the focus of discoveries written up today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, and shared with Boing Boing by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History:

Recent modern humans have a relatively ‘lightly’ built skeleton compared to chimpanzees and extinct human species, and it is still unknown when during human evolution this unique feature first appeared. Habiba Chirchir et al. examined the density of trabecular, or ‘spongy’, bone throughout the skeleton of modern humans and chimpanzees, as well as in fossils of extinct human species spanning several million years. They found that the upper and lower limbs of recent modern humans are ‘lightly’ built compared to those of modern nonhuman primates, pre-Holocene modern humans, and extinct human species. Rather than representing a consistent gradual shift towards ‘lighter’ skeletons, bone density remained high throughout human evolution until it decreased significantly in recent modern humans. The ‘lightly’ built skeletons of modern humans evolved late in our evolutionary history, and the decrease in bone density was more marked in lower limbs than in upper limbs, suggesting that it might have been driven by changes in mobility. The decrease in bone density in recent modern humans is consistent with a reduction in mobility in recent human populations, which may have been linked to a shift from a foraging lifestyle to a more sedentary one, the authors suggest.

Read the paper: "Recent origin of low trabecular bone density in modern humans" [Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, PNAS; image: Reuters]

Terror plumber truck of doom spotted in Syria

What the truck?

What the truck?

Back in November, Mark Oberholzer traded in one of his company's pickup trucks. Shortly thereafter, Oberholzer and his company began receiving death threats.

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An amazing first image of the sun from NASA's NuSTAR, Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array


Via NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, this amazing image is one of the first shot by the Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR.

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This 1987 roguelike game is still great

If you had a Mac in the late 80s or early 90s, you might remember the excellent roguelike maze adventure Scarab of Ra. It still holds up very well today, the core tenets of its design more en vogue than ever.

If you can't be bothered fussing around with emulation, there's an in-browser version you need to know about -- check it out here.

Captain America shirt with giant shield on the back

Thinkgeek's new Captain America Winter Soldier shirt has Cap's armor on the front, and the Captain America shield across the back; the front's pretty cool, but the back's just inspired.

Make wooden pliers with 10 cuts from a single block of wood

David Warther shows how he makes working wooden pliers with a single piece of basswood. "There's nothing to it. It's just trial and error. It took me a few packages of bandaids to learn. And it might you, too."


12v 2 port USB smart charger

Anker® 24W 2-Port Rapid USB Car Charger with PowerIQ Technology (Black)

Keeping multiple USB devices charged on longer trips is made easier with this Anker 12v 2 port USB smart charger.

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A fox, chirping

Hanya the fox makes its position clear. [via]

Injured parrot turns out to be Christmas hat

Screen Shot 2014-12-22 at 9.45.11 AM A woman in Aberdeen, Scotland, was mortified by what appeared to be a hurt parrot lying in the road. Animal rescue officer Karen Hogg was pleased to find a wet hat: "the lady was driving at the time she wasn't able to stop and get a good look."

Hypnotise yourself with these GIFs

Expansion A nice set today from Erik Söderberg at Wired.

Lance Armstrong says he would never cheat at golf

The disgraced cyclist, who admitted using performance-enhancing drugs on his way to seven Tour de France wins, says he is drawn to Golf because of its deep code of honor. Golf Digest:

GOLF IS DIFFERENT from the culture of cycling when I was competing, and that's putting it mildly. Cycling, it was the Wild West. Nobody considered doping cheating. It was an arms race where absolutely anything went, and it was every man for himself. You might consider me the last guy to have anything to say about cheating, but golf is different. I love adhering to a code of honor that we in cycling didn't have. If I moved my ball in the rough and got caught, I wouldn't just regret it, I'd be heartbroken forever. When I think about reform in cycling, I think about golf.

"and got caught."

Rubber chicken-wielding man sought after cannibal threat

Residents of Street, England, have been urged not to panic after a man, holding a rubber chicken, threatened to eat a local woman. The Central Somerset Gazette reports that the man is still at large.

A woman was putting her bins out at Brookleigh, around 8.30pm, when she was allegedly approached by a man waving what appeared to be ‘a long-barrelled weapon’ and a ‘fake chicken’.He pointed the weapon at the woman and told her he was going to eat her alive and he was going to eat her flesh, according to police.She ran inside and he chased after her.He started banging on the front door and broke a window as he tried to enter the property. He failed to get into the property and made off.

The man "is believed to be intoxicated," say police.

[h/t Abroath]

What is the worst Christmas song?


You are not alone.