Photo of a freaky human-sized bat

OK, this bat, said to have been photographed in the Philippines, may very well be "human sized" as it's been described, but a more specific description is likely "human child sized." In any case, it's pretty damn huge, with a reported wingspan of 5.58 feet. The freaky photo went viral (again) this week but Snopes first addressed it last year. From Snopes:

We have not been able to positively identify the species of bat shown in this image, but it is frequently circulated with captions naming it as a “Golden Crowned Flying Fox” (Acerodon jubatus), also known as the golden-capped fruit bat — although the animal in this picture doesn’t appear to have the golden fur around its head that species is known for. It’s possible this image actually shows another species of megabat, called fruit bats or old world fruit bats, such as the Large flying fox (Pteropus vampyrus).

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US silver dollar coin design commemorating astronaut/schoolteacher Christa McAuliffe

Next year, the United States Mint will release a silver dollar coin commemorating astronaut and elementary school teacher Christa McAuliffe who died with her six crewmates when the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded after liftoff on January 28, 1986. The candidate coin designs (below) were presented to the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) and the group's majority vote aligned with the preferences of the McAuliffe family. The US Treasury will make the final decision. From Space.com:

The heads-side design focuses on McAuliffe's profile, in a way reminiscent of the U.S. Mint's more traditional commemorative coins. The black and white NASA photograph on which it was based was taken on Sept. 12, 1985, while McAuliffe, NASA's "Teacher in Space" participant, received a briefing on the flight suit and personal hygiene equipment that she would use on Challenger's STS-51L mission. "With respect to the coin and the purpose of the coin, I think what strikes me is the gaze is to the future, as it should be," said [Christa McAuliffe's widower U.S. District Court judge Steven McAuliffe]. "It is the look of quiet, committed courageousness[...]"

The family's preferred tails-side design depicts McAuliffe in her role as a New Hampshire social studies teacher, prior to her being selected for NASA's Teacher in Space program from a nationwide pool of more than 11,000 applicants. She is shown standing alongside three children while pointing upwards to the sky[...]

Surcharges from the sale of the McAuliffe silver dollar will benefit Kamen's FIRST organization and its student robotics competitions for "the purpose of engaging and inspiring young people through mentor-based programs to become leaders in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics," [director of the U.S.

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Excellent absurd video of Boston Dynamics SPOT robot wearing a horse head

Someone outfitted a Boston Dynamics SPOT mobile robot with a silly fake horse head and suddenly the future of robotics looks a lot less scary.

As esteemed futurist Jim Dator once said, "Any useful statement about the future should at first seem ridiculous." Read the rest

Fun and rare 1939 color footage of Boris Karloff goofing as Frankenstein's monster

This rare color test footage of Boris Karloff goofing around during the 1939 filming of Son of Frankenstein is even more fun than the classic creature feature!

(via r/ObscureMedia) Read the rest

Beautiful film of plates and glasses smashing to a Bach soundtrack

"The film is an exploration on the nature of time, the relentless violence of entropy and creative energy and its relationship to music itself," write the filmmakers at Optical Arts, a London creative studio.

While it has the feel of digital trickery, this is the real deal, shot on high-speed video. Watch the making-of video below.

Toccata (via Kottke)

Toccata
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The original Star Trek crew visits Earth during COVID-19

"He's dead, Jim."

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Inside Edition report: Trump International Hotel and other NYC hotels aren't changing bedsheets between guests

Pegged on the reopening of many hotels, Inside Edition investigated whether New York City hotels including the Hyatt Place Times Square, the Hampton Inn Times Square Central, and yes, the Trump International Hotel & Tower are consistently changing bed sheets between guests. The answer appears to be (gulp) no. A spokesperson for the Trump International Hotel and Tower responded that "the claims made by Inside Edition are categorically false." Watch the video and decide for yourself. Meanwhile, Hyatt and Hampton Inns report that they are investigating to make sure appropriate cleaning protocols are followed. Read the rest

What it's like at America's school for auctioneers

Live auctioneers are literally fast talkers but the skill is much more nuanced than just speed speaking. You want to build excitement and keep the bidders engaged without putting them into such a trance that they stop raising their paddles. What does it really take to be a master auctioneer? Writer Katy Vine attended an eight day America’s Auction Academy training held at the Addison Radisson hotel near Dallas. From Texas Monthly:

“You have to sound melodic, but you don’t have to do a lot. If you roll it out right, it sounds like you’re doing a lot of work, but you’re not, really,” he said. He stressed that the chant needed to fit the situation. “If you’re doing a charity auction and you go too fast, you’ll lose your crowd. In real estate, you’ll scare them to death.” [...]

That morning, like we did every day, we warmed up with tongue twisters and number drills, our forearms outstretched like a droning choir of capitalists. “You need to have hands out, asking for money,” Jones said on the first day. “That’s your number one job. No lazy arms. Put your hands out.” We needed to appear natural, moving one hand out in the direction of a possible bidder. Where is the bidder? What’s your current bid? What’s the bid you want after that and the one after that? Where are your hands? How’s your rhythm? Are you projecting from the diaphragm? Is your chant melodic? Quit swaying from side to side!

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Philip K. Dick: "If You Find This World Bad, You Should See Some of the Others"

In September 1977 at the 4eme Festival de la Science Fiction in Metz, France, surrealist author Philip K. Dick delivered an astounding address with the title, "If You Find This World Bad, You Should See Some of the Others." He wasn't joking. The speech spanned the themes that define Dick's work and also his life: visionary experiences, déjà vu, the simulation hypothesis, and the nature of reality. Far fucking out. Here are a few choice bits:

The subject of this speech is a topic which has been discovered recently, and which may not exist all. I may be talking about something that does not exist. Therefore I’m free to say everything and nothing. I in my stories and novels sometimes write about counterfeit worlds. Semi-real worlds as well as deranged private worlds, inhabited often by just one person…. At no time did I have a theoretical or conscious explanation for my preoccupation with these pluriform pseudo-worlds, but now I think I understand. What I was sensing was the manifold of partially actualized realities lying tangent to what evidently is the most actualized one—the one that the majority of us, by consensus gentium, agree on.

We are living in a computer-programmed reality, and the only clue we have to it is when some variable is changed, and some alteration in our reality occurs. We would have the overwhelming impression that we were re-living the present - déjà vu - perhaps in precisely the same way: hearing the same words, saying the same words.

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Cannabis dispensary giving free CBD dog treats to reduce fireworks anxiety

The Toledo Hemp Dispensary in Ohio is offering free CBD dog treats this week to help reduce animal anxiety triggered by fireworks. Every treat contains 10 milligrams of CBD. Good for the dogs and for the business, it seems.

"Most people come back every year and tell their friends so they come and try it," dispensary manager Payton De Moe told 13ABC. "Most people if they try it on the first, come back and get a bag for the next few days because with it on the weekend people are going to be doing (fireworks) the whole weekend."

Ooooh. Ahhhh.

image: modified version of "Kintamani dog white" by lmk0278 (public domain) Read the rest

Trailer for new documentary about The Go-Go's

In 1981, The Go-Go's blew up with "We Got the Beat" and "Our Lips Our Sealed," two tracks from their IRS records debut Beauty and the Beat that hit number one on the Billboard charts and went double platinum. What many don't realize though is that the band, who notably wrote and played all their own music, had been a mainstay in the Los Angeles punk underground since 1978, making the scene with The Germs, X, and Fear. I can't wait for this new Showtime documentary about The Go-Go's pegged on the release of their first album in two decades, titled "Club Zero."

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Beavis and Butt-head are coming back

Mike Judge will revive Beavis and Butt-head for two seasons of the seminal cartoon-cum-cultural criticism. (Heh heh, I wrote "cum," heh heh.) The original TV series aired on MTV from 1993 to 1997 and featured the two teens hilariously deconstructing the very music videos that MTV played at the time. A feature film followed in 1996 and then another MTV season in 2011. Also, I need TP for my bunghole. From the New York Times:

Comedy Central said in a news release that its latest “Beavis and Butt-Head” series will find the characters “entering a whole new Gen Z world” and dealing with “meta-themes relatable to both new and old fans — Gen X parents and their Gen Z kids.”

Judge said in a statement, “It seemed like the time was right to get stupid again.”

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Watch "Zen for Film" (1965), a film about nothing, and everything

Video artist Nam June Paik's "Zen for Film" (1964) is a projection of clear film leader. The image changes over time as dust and imperfections become visible. From the Bard Graduate Center gallery:

Inherent in the work’s material and conceptual aspects are notions of chance, trace, changeability, boredom, silence, and nothingness. With Zen for Film, the projection of a film leader creates an image of apparent nothingness that oscillates between the immateriality of projected light and the material traces, which slowly obliterate the leader’s transparent surface. Zen for Film shares meaningful aspects of chance, silence, and nothingness with such works as composer John Cage’s 4”33” (1952) and artist Robert Rauschenberg’s White Painting (1951).

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2001: A Space Odyssey original space suit is up for auction

Place a higher bid, Dave. This "nearly complete" spacesuit from Stanley Kubrick's seminal space opera 2001: A Space Odyssey is currently up for auction. Starting bid is $50,000 and it's expected to go as high as $300,000. From the Julien's Auctions description:

The spacesuit is an amalgamation of components worn by different actors and in many scenes throughout the film. This is highlighted by a helmet featuring four distinct layers of paint (a base of color of white, then green, then yellow, and lastly in its present color of white), indicating that it was used in different scenes by multiple actors and representing a number of characters . This nearly complete costume is of the lunar type in its present state (silver body suit, blue back pack, white helmet). This suit appears to be original in silver (never repainted). However, due to the layering of paint, the helmet appears to have been employed as a lunar type, then two of the four Discovery types (green and then yellow; the other colors/types being red and blue), then as a lunar type again. This helmet has a textured strip of tape inside with "HELMET A" written across in red.

Most notably, the base green layer of paint seen in chips, cracks, and green overspray throughout the helmet surface suggest that it may have been the very helmet worn by Keir Dullea, who portrayed Dr. Dave Bowman (the lead astronaut on the film’s Discovery mission to Jupiter) in the sequence in which he reenters antechamber of the Discovery surrounded by banks of circuit breakers leading to the "brain room" and logic center to “kill” HAL in one of the most famous science fiction scenes of all time.

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Police just made history's biggest drug seizure: 15 tons worth US$1.12 billion

Police in Salerno, Italy made the largest drug seizure in history: 15.4 tons of amphetamines valued at US$1.12 billion. The Guardia di Finanza say that the pills—found inside three shipping containers at the port—were produced by ISIS in Syria. Scanners didn't detect the haul but police knew to expect them. From CNN:

"We weren't able to see them but we knew it was arriving because of our ongoing investigations we have with the Camorra (Italian organized crime group)," [Commander Domenico Napolitano] said[...]

The Camorra bring the drugs to Italy and take a cut for helping to distribute them, Napolitano added.

The pills carried the "Captagon" logo, which "distinguishes the 'drug of Jihad,'" according to the statement.[...] "The hypothesis is that during the lockdown, due to the global epidemiological emergency, the production and distribution of synthetic drugs in Europe has practically stopped and therefore many traffickers with different organized crime groups have turned to Syria, where it does not seem to have slowed down," police said.[...]

Captagon was originally the brand name for a medicinal product containing the synthetic stimulant fenethylline. It is no longer produced or used, but drugs carrying the Captagon name are regularly seized in the Middle East, according to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA).

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"Old rubber boots": Fetish video or performance art?

"Have fun at home with my old rubber boots," the creator writes.

Avant-garde performance art or fetish video? You decide.

One commenter's rave review: "Nice boots. Rubber seems to be very soft."

(via r/DeepIntoYouTube) Read the rest

Every item scanned as "Mr Potato Head" in glitch at department stores

Yesterday, five large department stores in the towns of Lindsay and Whitby, Ontario, Canada had to temporarily stop ringing up customers because every item scanned at the register showed up as Mr. Potato Head.

"A point of sale downloading error caused item names to appear incorrectly," said Cathy Kurzbock, manager of external communications for department store chain Canadian Tire. "It has since been corrected and the stores are operating normally."

Apparently, they don't suspect this was a prank but, well, I wouldn't be so sure.

(MyKwartha.com) Read the rest

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