Drug smuggler busted with half a kilo of cocaine under his bad toupée

At Barcelona's international airport, police arrested a Colombian gentleman who arrived from Bogota with half a kilogram of cocaine under his toupée. According to a Reuters report, "The man attracted police attention as he looked nervous and had a disproportionately large hairpiece under his hat. They found a package stuck to his head with about €30,000 (£27,000) of cocaine."

No word whether the unnamed man is a drug bigwig.

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Watch CBS News coverage of the Apollo 11 moon launch from 50 years ago today

Fifty years ago today, a Saturn V rocket launched with Neil Armstrong, Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin and Michael Collins on board. On July 19, Armstrong became the first human to step onto the moon. Above is almost five hours of CBS News's coverage of the historic Apollo 11 mission to the moon. And that's the way it was.

More: "Apollo 11 launch: Watch the most memorable moments from CBS News' coverage" Read the rest

Turn your drone into a flying flamethrower

Throwflame, the Ohio-based supplier of flamethrowers, announced the TF-19 WASP Flamethrower Drone Attachment designed for the DJI S1000 drone. The WASP contains a one gallon fuel tank for 100 seconds of flame with a 25-foot range. Why would you need a flamethrower, much less one that flies? According to Throwflame, here are some worthy applications:

Prescribed agricultural burns Ground clearing Snow and ice removal Incinerating weeds and pesky insect hives Pyrotechnic events and movie props Firefighting and training Grassland management

What could possibly go wrong? Read the rest

Florida homes invaded by scurrying onslaught of land crabs

Endless casts of land crabs have invaded a neighborhood in Port St. Lucie, Florida. Apparently heavy rains have driven the crustaceans to seek shelter in people's homes. Groceries have reported a run on butter. (OK, that last part isn't true.)

“My wife stands out here with a broom when I’m trying to back the car out to keep them from running into the garage because once they get in there there’s a million places they can hide and you only find them once they die,” Bill Paterson told WPBF. Read the rest

Did the US try to weaponize ticks?

The US House passed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that orders the Inspector General of the Department of Defense to "conduct a review of whether the Department of Defense experimented with ticks and other insects regarding use as a biological weapon between the years of 1950 and 1975." The amendment was spearheaded by New Jersey Republican Rep. Chris Smith. From CBS News:

The theory, which sounds like something straight out of a science fiction novel, contends that bioweapon specialists packed ticks with pathogens that could cause severe disabilities, disease and death among potential enemies to the homeland. Smith said he was inspired to add the amendment to the annual defense bill by "a number of books and articles suggesting that significant research had been done at U.S. government facilities including Fort Detrick, Maryland and Plum Island, New York to turn ticks and other insects into bioweapons."

Those books, however, have been questioned by some experts who dismiss long-held conspiracy theories that the federal government aided the spread of tick-borne diseases, and federal agencies, including the CDC, may have participated in a cover-up of sorts to conceal findings about the spread of Lyme disease.

Here's the amendment.

image: "Chelicera of the sheep tick" by Richard Bartz (CC) Read the rest

Kevin Smith to do a theatrical reading of his Clerks III script

Director Kevin Smith wrote Clerks III more than a decade ago but it was never made, the director has said, because Jeff Anderson, who plays Randal, wasn't game. Today, Smith announced that he and some unnamed "friends" will do a reading of the script at the First Avenue Playhouse in Atlantic Highlands, NJ. It's a benefit for the playhouse which is where Smith held open auditions for the first Clerks film 25 years ago. There were only 80 seats available (at $100/each) and, yes, it sold out instantly.

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Astonishing encounter with a nearly human-size jellyfish

UK TV host and wildlife biologist Lizzie Daly and her crew were diving off the southwestern coast of England as part of their Wild Ocean Week initiative when they met this magnificent and massive barrel jellyfish. Typically, barrel jellyfish aren't bigger than meter long but this one was closer to 1.5 meters. From The Guardian:

Daly and an underwater camera operator, Dan Abbott... stayed with the abnormally large, translucent bell-mushroom-shaped animal for about an hour before it swam away.

The pair said they were not surprised by the animal’s behaviour. “It has got a very mild sting and poses no threat to humans – some people don’t even feel it,” Daly said. “Many people would be immediately worried, but it is not dangerous. Its a majestic creature.”

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SO THIS JUST HAPPENED😱💙 Diving with a giant barrel jellyfish! I could not think of a better way to celebrate the end of #WildOceanWeek. The full video of the dive is LIVE right now! I'll put the link in my stories if anybody wants to spend just two minutes watching this breathtaking moment coming face to face with a barrel jellyfish THE SAME SIZE AS ME while diving off of the coast of Falmouth 💙 What an unforgettable experience, I know barrel jellyfish get really big in size but I have never seen anything like it before! For anybody who is in Cornwall do come on down to Maenporth tomorrow at 12pm for a beach clean. There should be a good crowd of us rounded up now so it will be fun - and it will be followed by a small talk about the trip!

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See a python devouring a whole crocodile

At Queensland, Australia’s Mount Isa, kayaker Martin Muller spotted a python devouring a whole crocodile. The nonprofit GG Wildlife Rescue posted Muller's evidence of the impressive feast to its Facebook page. From LiveScience:

The olive python... is native to Australia and is found only there. This species can grow to up to 13 feet (4 m) long. Clashes with Australia's "freshies" (the local nickname for freshwater crocodiles) are common.

Pythons are able to perform amazing feats of swallowing thanks to their elastic jaws. The snakes' lower jawbones are divided into two parts, connected by an elastic ligament, which allows the bones to spread apart. When a python has a prey animal subdued, the snake first "walks" over it, a process called the pterygoid walk. Then, the snake uses its jaw to hang onto the prey while compressing its muscles and slithering around the subdued animal until the meal is engulfed.

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Stranger Things spin-off: Hopper, P.I.

Title sequence for "Hopper, P.I." by Eddie Spuhghetti.

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Entrancing interactive Gregorian Chant generator

Signal processing engineer Stéphane Pigeon created this captivating Gregorian chant generator. It enables you to simply "conduct," mix, and process the sacred a cappella songs heard in the monasteries of the Roman Catholic Church since the 9th century.

Gregorian Voices: Early Roman Catholic Church Song Generator

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Mattel announces "David Bowie" Barbie doll

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of David Bowie's "Space Oddity," Mattel has announced a "David Bowie" Barbie doll. On Amazon, it's priced at $50. From the New York Times:

It’s a notably androgynous look for a doll that epitomized the stereotypes of feminine appearance in its earlier iterations. In more recent years, however, male celebrity depictions have not just been reserved for Ken. Over the past decade, Barbie has dressed like Andy Warhol, Elvis and Frank Sinatra.

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For rent on Airbnb: Hunter S. Thompson's Woody Creek guest cabin

Now on Airbnb: gonzo journalism master Hunter S. Thompson's guest cabin on his infamous Owl Farm compound in Woody Creek, Colorado. Eventually, the late writer's wife Anita intends to turn the property, including their living quarters, into a museum and writer's retreat. For now, you can rent the two-bedroom guest cabin for $550/night. According to the listing, Anita Thompson "will try to be available at least once per visit depending on circumstances." HST fan Kevin EG Perry spent a night at the cabin and wrote about it for The Guardian:

It is 4.30 on a Thursday morning and I am writing these words on the big red IBM Selectric III that once belonged to Hunter S Thompson. Owl Farm, Thompson’s “fortified compound” in Woody Creek, Colorado, is dark and silent outside. Even the peacocks he raised are sleeping. The only sound anywhere is the warm hum of this electric typewriter and the mechanical rhythm of its key strikes, as clear and certain as gunfire.

In April, Thompson’s widow, Anita, began renting out the writer’s cabin to help support the Hunter S Thompson scholarship for veterans at Columbia University, where both she and Hunter studied. It sits beside the main Thompson home on a 17-hectare estate marked with hoof prints and elk droppings that gradually rises towards a mountain range. A short walk uphill is the spot where Thompson’s ashes were fired into the sky from a 153ft tower in the shape of a “Gonzo fist”, a logo he first adopted during his unsuccessful 1970 campaign to be sheriff of nearby Aspen...

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Denise Nickerson, "Violet Beauregarde," RIP

"Well, I'm a gum chewer, normally. But when I heard about these ticket things of Wonka's, I laid off the gum and switched to candy bars, instead. Now, of course, I'm right back on gum. I chew it all day, except at mealtimes when I stick it behind my ear." - Violet Beauregarde

Denise Nickerson, who at age 13 played the wonderfully sassy Violet Beauregarde in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971), has died. She was 62 and hadn't fully recovered from a severe stroke last year. From Vanity Fair:

Nickerson’s first onscreen gig was an appearance in the series Flipper in 1965. She joined the cast of Dark Shadows in 1968, going on to play three characters in the series—Amy Jennings, Nora Collins, and Amy Collins. One year after her run on the ABC show, Nickerson made her big screen debut in Willy Wonka, playing one of the ill-fated children touring the factory in a clandestine competition to inherit the eccentric chocolatier’s fortune.

After Willy Wonka, Nickerson also joined the educational program The Electric Company as a member of the Short Circus—a five-member singing group aimed to boost viewers’ reading skills. After that, Nickerson took a handful of television and film roles before she retired from acting in 1978. Although many reports have said Nickerson retired to pursue nursing, her family clarified that she worked in doctors’ offices in a career they’d most closely identify as “accountant.

"Support for the family of Denise Nickerson" (GoFundMe) Read the rest

Video about woman who fell 33,000 feet and survived

On January 26, 1972, a suspected bomb exploded on board a Yugoslav Airlines DC-9 and the debris of the plane rained down on mountains in the former Czechoslovakia. Everyone died except flight attendant Vesna Vulovic. After a long but full recovery, she returned to work for the airlines until she was fired in 1990 for protesting against President Slobodan Milošević's nationalism. Vulovic died in 2016. Watch her story above.

More in this BBC News obituary.

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The treadmill was commonly used to punish prisoners with hard labor

Well, it's not the Iron Maiden or the Brazen Bull, but the treadmill of today's fitness centers does have a "tortuous history" as Dan Kopell writes at Wirecutter:

Inventor William Cubitt subscribed to the “no pain, no gain” philosophy. His “Tread-Wheel,” which was described in the 1822 edition of Rules for the Government of Gaols, Houses of Correction, and Penitentiaries (published by the British Society for the Improvement of Prison Discipline and for the Reformation of Juvenile Offenders), was presented as a way for prisoners to put in an honest day’s labor. Prisoners used treadmills in groups, with up to two dozen convicts working a single machine, usually grinding grain or pumping water, sometimes for as long as eight hours at a stretch. They’d do so “by means of steps … the gang of prisoners ascend[ing] at one end … their combined weight acting upon every successive stepping board, precisely as a stream upon the float-boards of a water wheel.”...

This was considered to be more humane, at least compared with earlier methods of punishment, which centered on hanging or exile to British colonies. Hard labor on a treadmill for a fixed term, the theory went, could rehabilitate an offender, who could then return to society and family. Never mind that the prisoner was often left shattered by the experience. Oscar Wilde spent two years on the treadmill as punishment for “gross indecency with certain male persons.” In a poem about his incarceration, he wrote: “We banged the tins, and bawled the hymns, /And sweated on the mill: /But in the heart of every man /Terror was lying still.”

"The Torturous History of the Treadmill" (Wirecutter) Read the rest

The real reason people in old photos are almost never smiling

I always thought that the reason people look so grim in antique photos is because it would have been exhausting to hold a smile for long exposures that I imagined were required by ye olde cameras. Nope! From the always-informative Smithsonian magazine:

...Exposures from the early days of commercial photography only lasted about 5 to 15 seconds. The real reason is that, in the mid-19th century, photography was so expensive and uncommon that people knew this photograph might be the only one they’d ever have made. Rather than flash a grin, they often opted to look thoughtful and serious, a carry-over from the more formal conventions of painted portraiture, explains Ann Shumard, senior curator of photographs at the National Portrait Gallery.

According to Shumard, it wasn't until Eastman-Kodak founder George Eastman's 1888 invention of the mass market portable camera that informal snapshots of smiling people became common.

"Why Don’t People Smile in Old Photographs? And More Questions From Our Readers" (Smithsonian)

image: Eugene Pelletan portrait c.1855 by Gaspard-Félix Tournachon Read the rest

Watch this fantastic 1994 Pizza Hut TV commercial that's entirely in Klingon

In 1994, Pizza Hut aired this TV commercial in the UK that was reportedly the first completely non-English advertisement on British television. The entire thing is in Klingon.

(via r/ObscureMedia) Read the rest

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