Google's aborted Ara phone was supposed to launch with an aquarium module full of wriggling tardigrades

Back in 2014, Google announced Project Ara, a click-in/click-out modular concept-phone that you could customize by adding or removing modules as you saw fit. Read the rest

Finally, a mime for the rest of us

Billy the Mime is working through some things. What they are, exactly, I don't want to guess.

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'Hefty fellow does amazing dive' meme, the 'Shooting Stars' remix

Song: Bag Raiders, 'Shooting Stars.' One Hour Version is here, and below. It's making me happy. Read the rest

UFO found in Google Earth image of Antarctica

A flying saucer was spotted on a Google Earth image near the South Pole in Antarctica. You can see it right here. Mysterious Universe claims that "melting ice could have formed a round depression as it sank into the surrounding snow, or wind could have created a small whirlwind effect as it blew into alcoves in the rock wall." Screw that though. I want to believe.

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Weasel electrocuted at CERN to go on museum display

Last April, a weasel-like stone marten jumped a substation fence at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) near Geneva, Switzerland and was promptly electrocuted. Now, that same poor creature's corpse is going on display at the Rotterdam Natural History Museum in an exhibition titled Dead Animal Tales. From The Guardian:

The stone marten is the latest dead animal to go on display at the museum. It joins a sparrow that was shot after it sabotaged a world record attempt by knocking over 23,000 dominoes; a hedgehog that got fatally stuck in a McDonalds McFlurry pot, and a catfish that fell victim to a group of men in the Netherlands who developed a tradition for drinking vast amounts of beer and swallowing fish from their aquarium. The catfish turned out to be armoured, and on being swallowed raised its spines. The defence did not save the fish, but it put the 28-year-old man who tried to swallow it in intensive care for a week....

“We want to show that no matter what we do to the environment, to the natural world, the impact of nature will always be there,” (museum director Kees) Moeliker said. “We try to put a magnifying glass on some fine examples. This poor (stone marten) literally collided with the largest machine in the world, where physicists collide particles every day. It’s poetic, in my opinion, what happened there.”

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Blooms are strobe-animated sculptures

Blooms are sculptures that animate when a camera captures them in motion at a certain frame rate—a common accidental example is the illusion of car hubcaps spinning "backwards" on video. John Edmark's designs embody the mesmerizing precision of objects one would assume were computer-generated if we didn't know better: reality itself seeming to simulate our simulation.

Unlike a 3D zoetrope, which animates a sequence of small changes to objects, a bloom animates as a single self-contained sculpture. The bloom’s animation effect is achieved by progressive rotations of the golden ratio, phi (ϕ), the same ratio that nature employs to generate the spiral patterns we see in pinecones and sunflowers. The rotational speed and strobe rate of the bloom are synchronized so that one flash occurs every time the bloom turns 137.5º (the angular version of phi).* Each bloom’s particular form and behavior is determined by a unique parametric seed I call a phi-nome (/fī nōm/). -John Edmark

Update: Previously! Read the rest

Guide to weird movies

366 Weird Movies is a selection of the best (for various definitions of "best"), each reviewed with a clear eye on its weirdness. The descriptions are complete with bullet-point lists of oddities and trivia and an "indelible image" for each flick. [via MeFi]

It gets them right, too. For example, it selects Dean Stockwell lip-sync "Candy Colored Clown" for Blue Velvet instead of Frank Booth inhaling rage through an oxygen mask.

Ben is a homosexual stereotype, but ultra-macho Frank, who we would expect to be a raging homophobe, doesn’t notice; instead, he’s overwhelmed and impressed by Ben’s “suaveness.” Frank’s hoodlums menace Jeffrey, but we are unprepared for the most horrific event: Ben serenades Frank with Roy Orbison’s “In Dreams,” swaying his hips, staring into his eyes, and using a light-up microphone. While nothing happens in this scene that we could put our finger on and say “that’s impossible!,” the effect is undoubtedly weird—and frightening. It is one thing to be captured by gangsters who you know are going to beat, maim or even kill you; but when they stop along the way to perform karaoke, you realize that all rules of normal human behavior are off, and there is no possible way to predict your fate.

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Astronaut: watch YouTube videos with no views

Most YouTube videos have at least a few views: the uploader making sure it works and applying basic edits. But zero views? That's a special class of film: automated, forgotten, mistaken, baffling, beautiful. Astronaut will show them to you. [via MeFi]

Today, you are an Astronaut. You are floating in inner space 100 miles above the surface of Earth. You peer through your window and this is what you see. You are people watching. These are fleeting moments.

These videos come from YouTube. They were uploaded in the last week and have titles like DSC 1234 and IMG 4321. They have almost zero previous views. They are unnamed, unedited, and unseen by anyone but YOU.

I can't stop watching. It seems almost too perfect, like a montage in a movie about the wonderful, unbeknownst things humans were doing before the Orange Death held sway. Read the rest

This 1958 TV western predicted Trump with a character named... Trump

A 1958 episode of the television western Trackdown features a con artist named Trump who wants to build a wall to protect a town from destruction. From the Classic TV Archive:

Walter Trump, a confidence man, puts on a long robe and holds a tent meeting in the town of Talpa. He tells the townspeople that a cosmic explosion will rain fire on the town and that he is the only one that can save them from death. Ranger Hoby Gilman attempts to prove Trump is a fraud.

And a bit of dialog from the episode:

Narrator: Hoby had checked the town. The people were ready to believe. Like sheep they ran to the slaughterhouse. And waiting for them was the high priest of fraud.

Trump: I am the only one. Trust me. I can build a wall around your homes that nothing can penetrate.

Townperson: What do we do? How can we save ourselves?

Trump: You ask how do you build that wall. You ask, and I'm here to tell you.

"Trackdown Shakedown" (Snopes, thanks David Steinberg!)

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Short film on Barney Smith’s Toilet Seat Art Museum

San Antonio, Texas has what is probably the world's largest collection of toilet seat art under one roof: Barney Smith’s Toilet Seat Art Museum. Take a couple of minutes to enjoy Wes Plate's profile of a charming old guy's lifelong hobby. Read the rest

Hundreds of blackbirds mysteriously fell from New Jersey sky

Last month, more than 200 red-winged blackbirds dropped from the sky above Cumberland County in New Jersey. It's the second time in less than a month, and the third this year. From Philly.com:

"They just fell from the sky," said Larry Hajna, a spokesman for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection...

After county agricultural agents had been notified by homeowners, the DEP's Division of Fish and Wildlife arrived in Stow Creek and removed the birds, collecting some of them to be sent to a state lab for necropsy, toxicology, and histopathology tests.

But the results of all the tests were inconclusive, Hajna said last week.

"We did ascertain that the birds suffered trauma and internal bleeding from hitting the ground," Hajna said. "But what made them fall from the sky in the first place . . . we can't say for certain."

Even wheat seed from a nearby farmer's field was collected and tested for chemical compounds by the University of Pennsylvania... None of those compounds (found) is considered harmful to birds and none of the chemicals was found to be among those that are sometimes used by farmers to control "nuisance" species like blackbirds, Hajna said.

"Why are these birds falling from the sky in South Jersey?" (Philly.com) Read the rest

Strange object dropped from sky and smashed man's van

This strange object fell from the sky over Milwaukee, Wisconsin last week and smashed the roof of a van. (Image below). According to the van's owner, Michael Robinson, the large, heavy object "looked like a barbecue grill in the snow" but smelled of diesel. Police hauled the thing away and the FAA didn't respond to inquiries from a local TV station. From Mysterious Universe:

Fortunately, there are sites that track the re-entry paths of old satellites, rocket parts and space debris and it looks like Robinson’s space barbecue may have been a part from a Russian military “communications” satellite that was predicted to re-enter the atmosphere on December 19th on a path that would take it directly over – you guessed it – Mike Robinson’s van.

What is that?!” Unidentified, unexplained large object damages man’s van on Milwaukee’s north side (Fox6Now)

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Watch The Procedure, a NSFW 2016 Sundance short film winner

"The Procedure: A Parking Lot Kidnapping with Unexpected Consequences" is indeed unexpected. Note: you won't be able to unsee one of the more unexpected aspects of the kidnapping. Read the rest

Mysterious trumpets of the apocalypse heard in Spokane, Washington

Numerous residents of a Spokane, Washington suburb reported hearing unsettling trumpet sounds overnight on December 14. Listen to a recording of the noise below. Non-believers suggest that it may have been the sound of many snowplows scraping the concrete roads or train rails creaking in the cold. One news outlet's "science expert" commented that "temperature does affect the speed of sound, which can make certain things sounds different than what we are used to hearing."

Of course, we all know the truth: It is the seven trumpets as described in the Book of Revelation. The apocalypse is nigh, and it's starting in Spokane.

"Strange sound in Spokane Valley has thousands of people talking" (KHQ via Mysterious Universe) Read the rest

Mama in Her 'Kerchief and I in My Madness: a Cthulhoid Christmas book

Back in 2010, John Holbo created a beautiful, illustrated cthuhoid version of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas called "Mama in Her 'Kerchief and I in My Madness," and this curiousity has lurked on Flickr ever since -- until now, when it has emerged as an actual book that you can actually own and cower from -- with guaranteed delivery by Christmas. Read the rest

Watch: 'Best Volleyball Blocks Ever' is weirdo dark comedy

This video from the sketch comedy show Studio C images a world in which a man’s face is the best possible volleyball block. Read the rest

Real photograph of the horrible Muriwai Monster!

Behold the Muriwai Monster, a horrifying beast that washed up last weekend on Muriwai Beach in Auckland, New Zealand. It's thought that the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that hit New Zealand’s South Island, raising the sea bed by two meters, spurred this evil behemoth to surface.

Unfortunately, some non-believers are insisting that the Muriwai Monster is actually a hunk of driftwood covered in gooseneck barnacles. They'll learn, as soon as the Muriwai Monster awakens.

(via News.com.au)

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