Listen to the original, slower, better (!) version of Men at Work's "Down Under"

This is Men at Work's "Down Under" as it was originally released in 1980 as the B-side to the band's self-released "Keypunch Operator" 7". A year later, the band re-recorded it for their Columbia Records debut Business As Usual. The track flew up the Australian charts and hit number one in the US a few years later as the video (below) became an early MTV staple. I remember it spurring me to look up the meaning of vegemite.

Then in 2010, the band lost a controversial copyright infringement suit brought by record company Larrikin Music who argued that the song's flute riff is copied from the traditional children's song Kookaburra that most people thought to be in the public domain but, apparently, wasn't. (Comparison video at the bottom of this post.)

Anyhoo, while the band was arguably oversharing their reggae inspirations on the original version, I prefer it to the later recording. It has a nice swing to it.

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Photo proof: Greta Thunberg is a time traveler who has come here to save us from ourselves

Found in the the University of Washington Libraries's Special Collections, this c.1898 photo of badass climate activist Greta Thunberg proves that she is a time traveler who is here to save us from ourselves. Or, perhaps Twitter user @bucketofmoney is correct: "The Greta Thunberg time-travel conspiracy theorists have got it wrong: the photo is from the future."

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Bartender behind the infamous cocktail containing a human toe died and donated his toes to the bar

Over the years, we've posted about (but sadly never had the opportunity to try) the Sourtoe Cocktail, the infamous drink containing preserved human toes that's served at the Downtown Hotel in Canada's Yukon territory. Now we must report that "Captain" Dick Stevenson, the bartender who first served the Sourtoe Cocktail, has died at age of 89. It turns out though that Stevenson, truly a generous soul, had bequeathed all ten of his toes to the bar for future use in the curious cocktail. From The Guardian:

“Dad is a publicity hound and he just said he was going to be more famous after he’s dead,” Dixie Stevenson told the Canadian Press as she prepared to take her father’s ashes – and toes – to the Downtown Hotel in Dawson City, where the infamous drink was first served.

The drink consists of a mummified human toe at the bottom of a whiskey shot, and patrons at the hotel must let the tip of the toe touch their lips in order to qualify as having successfully consumed the cocktail.

While Stevenson initially believed no more than a few people would try his concoction, the Sourtoe Cocktail Club now has nearly 100,000 inductees.

A toe-shaped urn, containing Stevenson’s ashes, will go on display at the hotel.

Previously:

Man mails amputated toes to saloon for use in their Sourtoe Cocktail

• Human toe used in "sourtoe cocktail" stolen from Canadian bar Read the rest

"Forgotten" African-American cemetery discovered under Florida high school

At least 145 coffins have been discovered underneath King High School in Tampa, Florida. Apparently a citizen researching area cemeteries advised the school district that in the first half of the 20th century, there was an African-American graveyard on the site. So far, ground-penetrating radar revealed 145 coffins just a few feet below the surface. From Bay News 9:

The pattern of the findings matches historical records for a "potter's field," or pauper's field, called Ridgewood Cemetery, the district said.

"Hillsborough County Public Schools remains committed to respecting the individuals who are buried there, and their families," officials said.

This is just the latest of several "forgotten" African-American cemeteries found in Tampa in the past year.

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People with half a brain. Literally.

For some children with severe epilepsy, the best treatment may be a very rare surgical procedure in which a large portion -- even half -- of the child's brain is removed or disconnected. Amazingly, many of these individuals can relearn motor, language, and cognitive skills. How? The brain reorganizes itself and builds new connections. To better understand this incredible process, and hopefully inform new interventions and rehabilitation, Caltech neuroscientists conducted brain scans on six adults "all of whom received the surgeries as children and now have relatively normal cognitive abilities." From Caltech:

"Despite missing an entire brain hemisphere, we found all the same major brain networks that you find in healthy brains with two hemispheres," says Dorit Kliemann, lead author of the new report and a postdoctoral scholar who works in the laboratory of Ralph Adolphs (PhD '93), the Bren Professor of Psychology, Neuroscience, and Biology, and the director of the Caltech Brain Imaging Center.

The brain scans also revealed an increased number of connections between the brain networks in the patients compared to healthy individuals. For example, the regions in the patients' brains that control the function of walking appeared to be communicating more with the regions that control talking than what is typically observed.

"It appears that the networks are collaborating more," says Kliemann. "The networks themselves do not look abnormal in these patients, but the level of connections between the networks is increased in all six patients...."

Says Kliemann, "It's truly amazing what these patients can do.

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Teenager arrested for allegedly using RC car to smuggle meth from Mexico

On Sunday, a 16-year-old boy was arrested for allegedly using a remote control car to smuggle meth from Mexico. According to the US Border Patrol, the RC car likely made several trips back and forth to haul more than 50 pounds of meth near the Otay Mesa Port of Entry in the San Diego-Tijuana region. From the San Diego Union-Tribune:

Border Patrol agents believe someone on the south side of the U.S.-Mexico border was able to slip the drug-laden car through a gap in the bollard-style fencing and then drive it to the teen waiting on the north side of the fence, said Border Patrol spokesman Theron Francisco.

An agent spotted the boy hiding in thick brush near the border, about a mile north of the Otay Mesa Port of Entry, around 12:30 a.m. Sunday. The teen had two large duffel bags and a remote-controlled car with him, and agents found 50 packages of methamphetamine weighing more than 55 pounds in his bags.

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The hand-farting farmer who found newsreel fame in 1933

This is Cecil H. Dill, a farmer from Traverse Coty, Michigan, who discovered his unique, er, talent for making music with his hands. In the year of 1914. In the month of February.

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What to do if a bug gets stuck in your ear

Hint: Don't dig around in there with a cotton swab. Read the rest

Hilarious decal "fixes" a dented vehicle

From Hussy Horse Designs, this delightful Wile E. Coyote decal.

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Mysterious rolls of cash randomly appearing on sidewalks in tiny English village

Mysterious rolls of cash keep showing up on sidewalks in the small English village of Blackhall Colliery, on the North Sea coast of County Durham. In the last 5 years, around US$30,000 has been found in twelve rolls. Well, twelve rolls that the finders turned in to police anyway. From 9News:

"These bundles are always left in plain sight such as on pavements and discovered by random members of the public who have handed them in," Detective Constable John Forster said.

"I have looked into it and I am not thinking crime, drug dealing or money laundering. Drug dealers are not known for being reckless with their money."

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Music that inspired 1980s Japanese environmental music composer Yukata Hirose

Yutaka Hirose is a Japanese composer who was a key figure in that country's ambient/environmental music scene of the 1980s that in recent years has been rediscovered by crate-diggers around the world. Hirose's "NOVA" (1986) is a classic of the genre, a soundscape that Misawa Home Corporation commissioned as a "soundtrack" for the prefabricated houses. While original LPs have sold for hundreds of dollars, WRWTFWW Records have recently reissued the record as an expanded double LP and double CD. (For a further exploration of Japanese environmental music of the 1980s, Light in the Attic Records' "Kankyō Ongaku: Japanese Ambient, Environmental & New Age Music 1980-1990" is a perfect portal.)

To celebrate the NOVA reissue, The Vinyl Factory asked Hirose to create a mix of music he was listening to and inspired by in the 1980s Listen above. It's a beautiful, sometimes-jarring, and totally compelling journey through avant-garde sounds of the time. Here's the tracklist:

1. Jan Steele – All Day 2. David Toop – Do The Bathosphere 3. Gavin Bryars – 1, 2, 1-2-3-4 4. Joan La Barbara – Poems 43, 44, 45 5. Meredith Monk – Waltz 6. Karlheinz Stockhausen – Stimmung 7. John Cage – Seven Haiku 8. Throbbing Gristle – Almost A Kiss 9. Robert Ashley – Yellow Man With Heart With Wings 10. The Flying Lizards – The Window 11. Henry Cow Little Red Riding Hood Hit The Road 12. Faust – Faust 13. CAN – Future Days 14. Tangerine Dream:Rubycon 15. Michael Nyman – Decay Music 16.

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Revisiting Operation Mindfuck

Over at Medium, BB pal Douglas Rushkoff explores how today's propaganda -- born in the 17th century to propagate the Catholic faith and reborn in the 20th century as "public relations" -- is no longer about convincing people to believe in whatever story the source happens to be selling. Today, Doug writes, "the primary goal of government propaganda is to undermine our faith in everything. Not just our belief in particular stories in the news, but our trust in the people who are telling the stories, the platforms, and fact-based reality itself." Interestingly, he traces this kind of systematic reality disruption to the counterculture. From Medium:

Before Watergate anyway, it felt as if the press and the government were on the same side, telling the same story to us all. There was no way for the underfunded counterculture to compete with mainstream reality programming—except by undermining its premises. The flower children couldn’t overwhelm Richard Nixon’s National Guard troops, but they could put daisies in the barrels of their rifles.

Taken to the extreme, this sort of activist satire became Operation Mindfuck, first announced in 1975 by Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea in their Illuminatus Trilogy!. The idea was to undermine people’s faith in government, authority, and the sanctity of consensus reality itself by pranking everything, all the time.

The idea of Operation Mindfuck was to break the trance that kept America at war, blindly consuming, and oblivious to its impact on the rest of the world. Destabilize the dominant cultural narrative through pranks and confusion.

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Watch this kind fellow help an overburdened beaver

Last month in Deggendorf, Germany, Alexander Oswald, 19, and his friends encountered a beaver on the road in the middle of the night. Afraid that a a driver might hit the animal, they stopped their car but the beaver had already disappeared. Moments later, it emerged again carrying a huge branch but was visibly struggling to drag it across the road. So Oswald lent a hand. What a nice boy.

(PNP.de) Read the rest

Inside Alan Moore's Head

With The Watchmen now on teevee, I hope that many more people will dive into the magickal brilliance of Alan Moore who co-created the original comic in 1987 along with other seminal works like V for Vendetta and Batman: The Killing Joke. Over at the Daily Grail, Greg points us to a fantastic web video series of 5-minute mind grenades with Moore. Below are two of my favorite segments in the 8-part series, titled "Inside Alan Moore's Head." You can also view them on YouTube.

image: Fimb (CC BY 2.0) Read the rest

Young woman invents ingenious bioplastic made from fish scales and red algae

According to the Ellen Macarthur Foundation, if current trends in single-use plastic continue, "there could be more plastic than fish (by weight) in the ocean by 2050." Having spent countless family vacations at the beach since she was a child, product design student Lucy Hughes, now 24, was distraught by the amount of single-use plastic she saw littering the shore and water. So she invented a bioplastic made from fish scales and skin collected at a fish processing plant. The scales and skin are bound together with red algae. For her product, called MarinaTex, Hughes just won a James Dyson Award recognizing ingenious design. From Smithsonian:

The resulting product is strong, flexible and translucent, with a feel similar to plastic sheeting. It biodegrades on its own in four to six weeks, which gives it a major sustainability advantage over traditional bioplastics, most of which require industrial composters to break down. In addition to utilizing materials that would otherwise be thrown away, the production process itself uses little energy, since it doesn’t require hot temperatures. One single Atlantic cod fish produces enough waste for 1,400 MarinaTex bags.

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Vegans sue Burger King over meat contamination of Impossible Burger Whopper

Some vegans have filed a lawsuit against Burger King because they cook the Impossible Burger Whoppers on the same grill as their meat burgers. According to the suit, the Impossible Whopper is not a vegan option and the restaurant doesn't disclose the meat contamination on their menu. Of course, vegans and vegetarians have been quite vocal about this issue since the Impossible Whopper's introduction.

According to TMZ, plaintiff Philip Williams "not only wants damages ... he wants the judge to order Burger King to stop cooking Impossible Burgers and the OG burgers on the same grill. Read the rest

Don't blink or you'll miss this record-setting 1.82 second Formula 1 pit stop

This is the third time this season that Red Bull Racing broke the pit stop record, this time with a 1.82 second servicing of Max Verstappen's car during yesterday's Formula 1 Brazilian Grand Prix. I hope robots never take their jobs.

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