Marriage proposal by way of a modded vintage console game


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 finishes "Time," the 3,099-panel XKCD serial


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!)

Wired Love: a novel from 1880 that could have been written last week


On the subject of book-scanning bringing the 19th century to life, Clive Thompson reviews "Wired Love," a novel from 1880 about telegraphic romance that features some amazingly contemporary themes. As Clive says, "This book is 130 years old, but it could have been written last week."

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Nerdy, sexy, dirty, funny lovesong on a uke

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.

Nerdy Love Song with Added Kitten Bonus!

Segregated headstones reach over the cemetery wall


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)

Excellent advice for grads


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.

Advice for College Grads from Two Sociologists

(Image: Graduation, a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from ajschwegler's photostream)

Settlers of Catan proposal


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]

Titanium ring whose jewels glow through induction


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.

Project Longhaul (via Hacker News)

Ne plus ultra of retrogamer wedding cakes


This amazing retro-gamer wedding cake was made by Wedding Cakes By Nicole of Bunbury, Australia. The cake pays homage to many of the arcade greats:

I created a 3 tier square cake, with each of the sides representing a popular retro platform game. Topped off with a game off Pong, with the score depicting Stephen's "30" years. The board had a joystick, buttons and coin slot. Pacman (my favourite), Donkey Kong, Frogger & Tetris

Dimity asked me to create a cake for her Fiance, Stephen, who loves "old school" computer games. (via Geeks are Sexy)

HOWTO bake anatomical heart-bread


Here's a fun set of instructions for baking anatomical heart-shaped bread that you rip apart and gorge upon:

Nothing says romance like ritual cannibalism. Use this anatomical heart pull apart loaf to pretend you’re vampires feasting on the heart of that asshole in HR who gave a promotion to Brad. Alternately, you could engage in a little Indiana Jones cosplay where the sexy archaeologist in your life can rescue you from having your heart ripped out by any other man. Gentlemen bakers, you could show up at your vegetarian girlfriend’s house triumphantly holding this and declaring you were successful in the hunt, so tonight you feast. There are so many ways to express your doughy love.

Bitchin’ Bread Battle Day 13: Valentine’s Day Anatomical Heart Pull Apart Bread (via Neatorama)

Skull wedding cake


Baker Anna at Eat Your Heart Out Bakers made this astounding skull wedding-cake.

Food artist Annabel de Vetten, also known as Conjurer’s Kitchen, created this incredible skull wedding cake for the Eclectic Wedding Extravaganza in Birmingham this weekend. Her theme being ” ‘Til Death Do Us Part”.

It features solid chocolate skulls of 16 carrion crows, 12 domestic kittens, 3 Vervet monkeys, and 4 barn owls, all of which the artist sculpted by hand. Made from White Chocolate Mudcake, the cake took her over 100 hours to complete in total. There are two options of toppers: a chocolate conjoined kitten skull, or dried flowers from an actual wedding bouquet (ones shown here from her own).

The Ultimate Skull Wedding Cake (Thanks, Emma!)

Have yourself 3D-scanned and turned into a human gummi


FabCafe, a 3D printed confectioner in Shibuya, Tokyo, is offering nine lucky blokes the chance to have their bodies 3D scanned and rendered in gummi, the most wondrously magical of all the edible substances. It's in honor of White Day, the Japanese give-your-female-lover-a-present holiday on March 14 (they also did custom chocolate-lollies of one's 3D scanned head for V-Day). These are so amazingly amazing and they point the way to a future where cheap scanners will render entire rooms as voxels to be output in gummi, wherein you can pay to be encased while you slowly, deliciously eat your way out. Coming soon to a Shibuya Love Hotel near you (maybe).

Chew on this: FabCafe lets you create a gummy replica of yourself for White Day (via OhGizmo)

Marriage proposal in the form of a physics paper


Redditor bogus_wheel is a physicist in Sydney, Australia. Her boyfriend of seven years submitted a marriage proposal in the form of a physics paper that tracks their relationship (with a graph!). It is a beautiful piece of physics romance!

My boyfriend of 7 years and I are both physicists. Here's how he proposed to me. (imgur.com) (Thanks, Mark M!)

Skele-Gore, now with fluorescent colors!


Scarecrowoven has revisited his "Skele Gore" image, and just in time for St Valentine's Day! Of the new version, Mr Scarecrowoven sez, "It's pretty insane. In person, the colors are so bright and fluorescent they actually work under a black light."

Skelegore "TRIP AT THE BRAIN EDITION" giclee print

Disney's "Paperman," a romantic short film

Disney's posted the short feature "Paperman" to YouTube. It's an utterly charming and stylishly drawn animated film about love at first sight, and the perverse uncooperativeness of inanimate objects. We saw this as the short before "Wreck It Ralph" (another great one), and loved it.

Paperman - Full Animated Short Film