Artist/programmer Lauren McCarthy has undertaken an interesting experiment in networked romance called Social Turkers. McCarthy sets up dates with men using OK Cupid, and uses her phone to stream a live video feed of the outings to Amazon's Mechanical Turk crowdsourcing platform. The turkers observe the interaction and text realtime suggestions on what McCarthy should do in order to have an optimal date.
She's documented each date, and published the log of the turkers' commentary.
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When Anna Schumacher married Tim in 2012, their Burning Man friends Kat Green and Erik Rivas McGregor built them a special wedding-party gift: a giant carousel-horse unicorn that sneezed clouds of enfabulousing glitter on passers by and dispensed lemonade from a tap set into its crotch. At night, its horn jetted guest-controlled gouts of pink fire, to the delight of all.
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This amazing Haunted Mansion wedding-cake (complete with Doom Buggie cake-topper) featured at the wedding of a redditor called TheSharkFromJaws.
The Cute Girl Network, a hilarious and sweet rom-com graphic novel by Greg Means, MK Reed and Joe Flood hits stores today. It recounts the adventures of Jane, a smart, no-BS young woman who is the sole woman on her local skate scene; and Jack, a gawky, gormless slacker-dude who is completely smitten by her.
Jane and Jack meet cute one morning when Jane falls off her board in front of Jack's soup cart, and Jack gives her a bottle of iced tea to put on her butt to take down the swelling. As their romance blooms, Jane's friends reveal that they know Jack of old. He has dated several of them, with disastrous results, and has been added to the dossiers of the cute girls' network, a semi-secret organization of cute girls who keep tabs on dirtbag dudes and bros in order to keep one-another from repeating old mistakes.
An attendee at the GaymerX convention in San Francisco got Ellen McLain, who voices GLaDOS in the game Portal, to sing a modified version of the games' themesong, "Still Alive," as part of a marriage proposal. If this doesn't melt your heart, you are a murderous AI.
Tonight a woman pushed her hubby as a joke from the front of the balcony. He fell and caught the upper circle on the way down, and was...— Derren Brown (@DerrenBrown) August 3, 2013
Mentalist and conjurer Derren Brown got a hell of a shock during his Saturday night show: a woman pushed her husband off a 45' balcony "for a joke," sending him over the edge. He caught hold of a light-rig about halfway down and was pulled to safety.
Derren Brown describes man's 'terrifying' fall from theatre balcony [Press Association/The Guardian]
(via Dan Hon)
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Back in 2010, Jason and Melissa -- a pair of haunters who got engaged in their Hallowe'en front-yard haunt -- had an amazing Haunted Mansion-themed wedding, with elaborate props and keepsakes and centerpieces, each finer than the last. Naturally, they held the wedding at the Forest Lawn Cemetery chapel, a Gothic confection; and they served a 3D Haunted Mansion wedding-cake.
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A redditor called EquinnoxX wanted to propose to his girlfriend, so he hacked an NES console-game cartridge called Contra so that it delivered the proposal in the course of the gameplay. He changed the character names' to his and his girlfriend's, and then modded the end text to be a marriage proposal (she said yes).
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Randall Munroe has finally finished Time, his 3,000+ frame slow-motion animation that began life as wordless, enigmatic single-panel XKCD installment. Since then, the panel has been slowly, slowly updating itself, running out its course over several months. Geekwagon has collected the whole series in an easy-to-control window, and the story, taken as a whole, is a beautiful and odd existentialist parable touching on the discovery of geographic knowledge; cultural first contacts; environmental disaster, friendship and ingenuity. (Thanks, @dexitroboper!)
Deanne Smith recorded this lovely little nerdy and rude and sexy lovesong, accompanied by her kitten, who adds rather a lot. She's available for live performances at "your town/school/bed/wedding." She's provided a handy lyrics guide:
I wanna be your abacus baby
you can count on me
and I won't say that I love you or I heart you,
but I will say less than 3, I less than 3 you
Your molecules must be moving really quickly
'cause girl, you're hot.
Are you igneous, metamorphic or sedimentary?
All I know is, baby, you rock.
These grave markers -- pressed up against either side of an imposing wall, with a pair of clasped hands reaching over the wall's top -- date to a time in Dutch history when Catholic and Protestant graves were strictly segregated. A Catholic and a Protestant married couple, separated in death, arranged for this unique workaround in order to rejoin one another:
In 1842, a colonel in the Dutch cavalry, JWC van Gorkum, married a woman known as JCPH van Aefferden. The union was controversial — van Gorkum was Protestant and van Aefferden was Catholic. Despite the prevailing culture at the time, the two remained married for decades, only separating when van Gorkum died in 1880. He was buried in a cemetery near the Dutch town of Roermond called Begraafplaats Nabij de Kapel in ‘t Zand (“the cemetery near the chapel in ‘t Zand”). Pillarisation was taken very seriously — each community had its own schools, media, and graveyards — and Begraafplaats was no different. It took this segregation literally, with each religion having its own section. Van Gorkum was buried in the Protestant section, as would any other Protestant during that era.
But when van Aefferden passed away eight years later, she couldn’t be buried with her late husband; even in death, Catholics needed to stay with their own. While alive, she made her wishes clear — she did not want to be buried in her family tomb, and, instead, wished to be as close to her husband as possible. The solution, seen above, is her grave site. (Here’s a bigger version of her tombstone, and here’s his.) The two tombstones, separated by a wall and by religions, feature a pair of hands connecting over the brick divider.
Until Death Do Us Reunite [Now I Know]
(via Super Punch)
Lisa Wade and Gwen Sharp, two sociologists (who also work on the excellent Sociological Images blog) have advice for this year's college grads that goes beyond "find your passion, follow your dreams" (something that actually doesn't work for most college grads, statistically). Instead, they offer research-grounded advice in how to lead a happy, full life:
2. Make Friends
Americans put far too much emphasis on finding Mr. or Ms. Right and getting married. We think this will bring us happiness. In fact, however, both psychological well-being and health are more strongly related to friendship. If you have good friends, you’ll be less likely to get the common cold, less likely to die from cancer, recover better from the loss of a spouse, and keep your mental acuity as you age. You’ll also feel more capable of facing life’s challenges, be less likely to feed depressed or commit suicide, and be happier in old age. Having happy friends increases your chance of being happy as much as an extra $145,500 a year does. So, make friends!
4. Don’t Take Your Ideas about Gender and Marriage Too Seriously
If you do get married, keep going with the flow. Relationship satisfaction, financial security, and happy kids are more strongly related to flexibility in the face of life’s challenges than any particular way of organizing families. The most functional families are ones that can bend. So partnering with someone who thinks that one partner should support their families and the other should take responsibility for the house and children is a recipe for disaster. So is being equally rigid about non-traditional divisions of labor. It’s okay to have ideas about how to organize your family – and, for the love of god, please talk about both your ideals and fallback positions on this – but your best bet for happiness is to be flexible.
Laura sez, "My sister, who works for how about we & is an avid gaming fan, got an amazing proposal from her now-fiance. Pete, with the help of a crafty friend, created a new development card and sat playing for 2 hours until he could purchase the 'proposal' development card and play it! (fyi, they were playing the 2 person version so there was no chance that someone other than the future bride or groom could accidentally play that card!)"
“He said, ‘I hate playing two-player Catan because I feel like I’m being really aggressive and attacking you.’ So I assumed he had a monopoly card and was going to steal my brick (a crucial game-winning resource) from me. So of course I called him an asshole and literally said ‘I can’t believe you’re about to do this.’ And then he laid down the proposal card – which I really didn’t believe he was going to do. I then dove across the board to kiss him, he managed to get the ring out, and eventually I remembered to say yes (many kisses and tears later).”
How to Propose to a ‘Settlers of Catan’ Fan [Chiara Atik/The Date Report]
Ben Kokes wanted to give a ring to his sweetheart, and to make it interesting, he decided to create a ring with an inductive loop that would cause the stones to light up when they were close to a power-source. He documented the tricky technical problems that cropped up during the build, and it sounds like the romance part came out well, too:
The final idea was to embed a LED and copper coil assembly inside the titanium ring, illuminating it from under the stones when it was in close proximity to an induced alternating magnetic field (henceforth called 'the transmitter'). Autodesk Inventor helped me develop all of the dimensions and constraints for the design. Having some help, I was able to obtain her ring size and the rest of the measurements were based from there (15.72mm if anyone was wondering)...
... Of all the challenges presented in making the ring, affixing the stone is the most difficult. Traditionally, stones are affixed by mechanical means -- prongs, groves or snaps. Epoxies will delaminate from the attachment surfaces due to microstresses, thermal cycling, and other unmentioned movements. The stone may be attached now, but eventually it will fall out. It's just a matter of time.
With that in mind, I had 4 initial ideas for affixing the stone: thermally expanding the hole, hole deformation, point expansion deformation, and epoxy. Ultimately, I went with the epoxy method for attaching the stones.
The first test was to try and heat the ring, expand the hold and drop in the stone. When the hole cooled and contracted, it would hold the stone in place. Not only does the hole not expand enough, if I was lucky enough for it to happen (it did once), the stone would fracture along pre-existing crack lines.