"The Gingershred Man," a creation of Boing Boing reader Brock Davis of Minneapolis, MN, shared in the Boing Boing Flickr Pool.
Smithsonian's Food and Think blog has a (Northern-hemispherically biased) list of ideal Christmas/wintertime drinks
— along with some cool history about where those drinks come from and how they're made. For example, Imperial Stout beer was invented in the late 1690s as a way to help delicious English stout beer survive frigidly cold Russian winters. Raise the alcohol content — and bam! — beer fit for a czar. — Maggie
It's true! Science proves it!
And it's more than just an effect of infrared imaging. If you duck over to Joseph Stromberg's post at the Surprising Science blog, you'll see a photo of a real, live reindeer with an adorably red nose (and upper lip).
Turns out, it's the result of an evolutionary adaptation. Some (but not all) reindeer have noses full of densely packed blood vessels — a difference that makes those reindeer better at regulating their own body temperatures.
To come to the findings, the scientists examined the noses of two reindeer and five human volunteers with a hand-held video microscope that allowed them to see individual blood vessels and the flow of blood in real time. They discovered that the reindeer had a 25% higher concentration of blood vessels in their noses, on average.
They also put the reindeer on a treadmill and used infrared imaging to measure what parts of their bodies shed the most heat after exercise. The nose, along with the hind legs, reached temperatures as high as 75°F—relatively hot for a reindeer—indicating that one of the main functions of all this blood flow is to help regulate temperature, bringing large volumes of blood close to the surface when the animals are overheated, so its heat can radiate out into the air.
Also: red-nosed reindeer on treadmills, you guys. This is clearly the most adorable science of the holiday season.
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Via Bart King
Breokz uploaded a photo of "Xmas at the lab of Avans University of Applied Science." Chemistry may all be "pretty colors and things that go bang," but it sure makes for a festive tree.
True Chemistree (imgur.com)
Photographer, animal-lover, and Boing Boing reader heiney
shares this photograph
in our Boing Boing Flickr pool, and explains that this was a shot from the Animal Network
Holiday Adoption Low Cost Vaccination/chip Photo Event at Ann Road Animal Hospital
, Las Vegas NV.
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. Dylan Mitchell-Funk
remix a Wham! holiday classic
, with a woman dancing erotically on cubes of melting butter or lard or something. Merry Chrimbus
Update: the source video is Indonesian artist Melati Suryodarmo's "EXERGIE - butter dance," a performance she first gave in 2000. Material used: 20 blocks of butter.
Darryl Pickett, the Walt Disney Imagineering contract show writer whose videos about life in the trenches at Disney World I blogged in Jan 2011 has written a fun-sounding Christmas novel called The Secret Feast of Father Christmas. He writes,
The story seeks to reinvent the traditional Christmas gift giver. No toy-making elves or flying reindeer here. Father Christmas lives in a secret palace called Very North, and is married to Mother Solstice, a pantheistic demigoddess. (I suspect Father Christmas is Unitarian Universalist.) My hero is a 13 year-old New Zealander named Mannie, who has lost his beloved Aunt Audra, a free-spirited atheist. He struggles with the idea propounded by his Anglican family, that his aunt may have been relegated to Hell. The story has its bittersweet moments, and it's certainly heartfelt. Though it has no direct connection to anything Disney, I believe my Imagineering roots will become clear to anyone who reads through to the end.
The Secret Feast of Father Christmas
Artist's statement: This wasn't really a tree... I just twisted the wires and moves around the components to make it look like a tree. The parts are just LEDs, resistors (i used 100 ohms) and a 9v battery. Wire structures are just the leads from the LEDs and resistors.
This is how I decorated my cubicle (imgur.com)
Sara sez, "The British Humanist Association is stocking Christmas cards featuring naturalist Charles Darwin getting into the festive spirit."
I'm a lifetime member of the BHA -- they do good work (and make nice Christmas cards).
While you still won't be able to buy that Slayer Christmas sweater you've been wanting ever since you knew it existed, there is another equally hardcore option if you're still in need of something ugly and holiday-themed: the Home Alone sweater. Complete with prancing reindeer on the wearer's biceps and a healthy portion of snowflakes, no one will dare mess with a person wearing an ugly Christmas sweater that says, "Merry Christmas, ya filthy animal" on it. Especially if that person has been drinking all of the buttered rum. So, if you find yourself wearing this masterpiece of a garment at a gathering and someone tells you, "You know, that quote isn't technically from Home Alone -- it's from Angels With Filthy Souls," feel free to go Black Bart on them and treat them to a holiday mashup.
I'm kidding. Please do not start a fight in this sweater. Wear it in good health, and in the name of peace on Earth, good will towards men. It's available on the appropriately-named site, UglyChristmasSweater.com for $49.99. God bless us, everyone! (via I Heart Chaos)
Patrick sez, "Lord Buckley was a comedian/storyteller who performed in the '50s. His version of A Christmas Carol is an utter delight."
Damned straight. Lord Buckley's a hero of mine, and this is him at his best. If this has you intrigued, try his version of The Raven, and Dig Infinity!, the indispensable biography of Lord Buckley.
Cards Against Humanity
, the snarky, funny card game, has done a name-your-price Xmas expansion pack
, just in time to blunt the edge on your holiday cheer.
A hundred year ago, Santa Claus didn't bother with keeping track of bad children who deserved coal lumps in their stockings. He had a devilish pal named Krampus who took care of the kids on the naughty list. With his red skin, shaggy black coat of fur, obscene pointed tongue, cloven hooves, pointed tail, and sharp horns emanating from his forehead, Krampus carried a switch to beat young miscreants senseless, after which he'd toss them in his backpack and drag them to his uncomfortably warm subterranean lair.
In the late 19th century and early 20th century, “Grüß Vom Krampus” (Greetings from Krampus) cards were popular in Europe. The evening of December 5th was Krampusnacht, when Krampus would descend upon villages to terrorize youngsters who wondered with horror whether their transgressions over the past year warranted a one way trip to hell in a hand basket.
By the mid-1930s the legend of the Krampus was on its way out. What remained of Krampus was sanitized and santa-ized (think of The Grinch, who undergoes a Fonzie-like metamorphosis from a misanthropic menace into a lover of humankind). But Krampus has been making a comeback. Check out this video of a Krampus attack in an Italian village, where drunk young men in costume are given free reign to beat the heck out of townspeople with long sticks.
What better to way to celebrate the return of the Krampus with this set of Krampus greeting cards from Last Gasp? With art selected from Monte Beauchamp's historical postcard book, Krampus: The Devil of Christmas, the set comes with 20 cards (two each of ten designs) in a metal tin. My daughter Jane was fascinated by the cards, and she had a great time sorting them in order of scariness.
Amazon pre-order: Krampus Greeting Cards: Gruss vom Krampus! (Available now directly from Last Gasp.)
See more Krampus cards
Starting tomorrow, you can visit the Hubble Space Telescope Advent Calendar
for daily pictures of the cosmos. — Maggie