Baby's First Baby

"Baby's First Baby," by Darren Cullen (2012). via BB Flickr Pool.

The Nobel Prize in Quackpottery

At The Guardian, blogger GrrlScientist is passing out Nobel Prizes for Quackpottery in the fields of physiology, physics, and chemistry. The prizes are awarded to actual Nobel Laureates who have made deep and long-lasting contributions to undermining their own credibility by latching onto hypotheses they can't back up with evidence and then continuing to promote those hypotheses despite the lack of evidence. It's a nice reminder that scientists are human, and that even very, very smart people are not always rational people.

Andy Rooney x Chief Keef: "I Don't Like"

[Video Link, by @mrlaszlototh]

Set theory, Christians, and parody

Last week, I wrote a piece for BoingBoing about fundamentalist Christian objections to the mathematical idea of set theory. Those objections are, apparently, real—sourced to math textbooks produced by publisher A Beka. And, if you understand the cultural mindset, it even makes a weird sort of sense. But it's also ripe for parody. Read the first comment to this story at The New York Times. At first, it looks like a real world example of the stuff we were talking about last week. But it's not. The commenter is Stephenson Billings, a pseudonymous contributor to the parody site Christwire. I fell for this myself. Thankfully, Twitter user UCSD_Nanomed pointed out what was really going on.

Bob Dylan’s “Titanic” by Tim Heidecker (music video)

[Video Link]

Comic genius Tim Heidecker, who is roughly 50% of Tim and Eric (also behind "Tim & Eric's Billion Dollar Movie," and "Check it Out! with Dr. Steve Brule"), has yet again created something I find very funny.

"Recently, I read that Bob Dylan’s new album Tempest will feature a 14 minute song about the Titanic," he writes, "So I wrote this song to see if I could beat the Master to it. I can’t wait to see how close I got to the real thing!"

Above, a preview. The entire opus is fifteen minutes long, and you can purchase it here.

Generate your own Malcolm Gladwell best-seller with this handy website

Malcolmgladwellbookgenerator.com is a source of high LOLs. (via @onthemedia)

Otters Who Look Like Benedict Cumberbatch

Link. (Red Scharlach Points At Interesting Things, via Andrea James)

The Kickstarter to end all Kickstarters

Oh, this is rich: I Would Like to Buy Kickstarter, by Eric Moneypenny. (via Joe Sabia)

Leave Kony Alone

Video Link. For those who are unfamiliar, this is a riff on a classic internet meme. Well played. (via Oxblood)

Stuff scientists say

Finally, a science-themed entry in the "Shit ______ say" meme. Science journalist Ferris Jabr and friends put this together and it's pretty funny. Reminds me a conversation I had earlier this week with a friend about her brother's social insect research. Another thing scientists say, "The hissing cockroach experiment is not going according to plan."

Bonus: Watch for a slide that references a previous scienceLOL you may remember.

Video Link

How To: Make America strong again

Perhaps you've seen Rick Perry's homophobic pean to the establishment of religion. It's the most hated video on YouTube right now. Naturally, there are parodies.

First: You don't have to sleep in every Sunday to know there's something wrong with this country.

Next: Finally, someone who will fight for the rights of dinosaurs.

My name is Maggie Koerth-Baker, and I approve the posting of other fabulous Rick Parodies in the comments section. EDIT: Cory already found a great one!

Thanks to Christopher Baker!

Video Links:

Atheist parody

Dinosaur parody

Occupy News Bins: miniature Lego OWS, complete with pepper-spraying cop

"No property was harmed during this installation," DocPop tells us about this hilarious teeny-tiny Lego Occupy. "From what I understand the piece has already been removed though I don't know by whom."

The Gun Snuggler: from parody video to actual holiday gift

The Gun Snuggler. "Because happiness is a warm gun." Comes in sizes to fit everything from handguns to assault rifles! This began as a funny internet joke, but so many people took it seriously that it is now being offered as an actual thing that you can really buy for real. (Thanks, Marque Cornblatt!)

EXCLUSIVE: photos of BofA's new #OWS-themed ad campaign

I have no idea who shot these, or who is responsible. Update: here are some daytime shots, from the San Francisco Mission district.

Read the rest

Post-modern, paleontological art

One a recent art crawl in St. Paul, Minnesota, I ran across the work of Michael Bahl.

Dressed in a white lab coat, Bahl bills his work as "post-osteological interpretation." Basically, he's built both skeletal monsters, and an ostensibly real research history to go with them. This creature, for instance, is a Chalicotherium laurentian. She is an adult female, part of a trio of fossil animals that includes an adult male and a juvenile. Here's Bahl's statement on the C. laurentian family.

Discovered in 1887 by Harold Vanselow, a maverick dinosaur hunter and at one time a member of the Othniel Charles Marsh team from the Yale Peabody Museum, this Chalacothere was named appropriately enough after the Laurentian Divide in Northern Minnesota where tributaries of the St. Lawrence River divide and flow in two directions.

Dating from the Miocene era, the bones of these creatures retain the rich, deep color of the Iron Range where they once roamed in large herds. The purpose of the male's secondary head has been much debated, some experts believing it to be fully functional while others maintain it was most probably used in the mating ritual.

Research indicates that the family grouping seen here was first exhibited in the late 19th Century at a private museum in London and assembled by Walter Vernon, the well-known enfant terrible of those early years of prehistoric osteological display. Vernon's philosophy was explained in a lengthy article which appeared in 1901. He stated that he felt his specimens acknowledged not only the accurate presentation of a skeleton, but the millions of years that the bones had been part of the earth itself and the impact the internment had on them. "Tribute must be paid to the beauty given to these beasts by the greatest of artists -- time."

The exhibit caused a furor in scientific circles largely because no other specimens or even fragments had been unearthed. It was both hailed as a work of art and villified as "expressionistic". Matters were complicated further by the disappearance of Vanselow's notebooks and meticulously detailed maps. The exhibit vanished in 1904 after fire destroyed the hall in which it was housed, and as if by unspoken agreement it was quietly forgotten.

Then, in 1994, the bones were rediscovered embedded in the foundation of a home in South St. Paul, Minnesota. They had been packed in crates originating in Prague circa 1914 and, since the house had been built in 1939, it is not known where the remains of this might species had been kept. Although some structural repairs were necessary, the specimens are otherwise presented here in the splendidly ancient condition in which they were found.