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Friday, June 13, 2014

Friday links

Paraskavedekatriaphobia: Why is Friday the 13th Considered Unlucky?

22 Stunning Examples Of People Painted To Look Like Animals.

All The Horrible Ways Animals Can Kill You With Venom.

Tomorrow (June 14) is Flag Day and the birthday of the U.S. Army.

Gallery: The Strange History of the Sunflower, and the History Of Light. (including how much light, historically, you could get for a day's work:

Antiquity: 10 minutes (candle)
1800s: 5 hours (kerosene)
Today: 20,000 hours (electricity))


ICYMI, Wednesday's links are here, and include vintage tech, turning paper airplanes into drones, richest superheros, and PSAs for dogs.

Tomorrow (June 14) is Flag Day and the birthday of the U.S. Army

It commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States, which happened on June 14, 1777 by resolution of the Second Continental Congress:
That the flag of the United States shall be of thirteen stripes of alternate red and white, with a union of thirteen stars of white in a blue field, representing the new constellation.
This was the resolution adopted by the Continental Congress on June 14, 1777. The resolution was made following the report of a special committee which had been assigned to suggest the flag’s design.

A flag of this design was first carried into battle on September 11, 1777, in the Battle of the Brandywine. The American flag was first saluted by foreign naval vessels on February 14, 1778, when the Ranger, bearing the Stars and Stripes and under the command of Captain Paul Jones, arrived in a French port. The flag first flew over a foreign territory in early 1778 at Nassau, Bahama Islands, where Americans captured a British fort.




Lest you think it's lost it's power, remember what the flag can still accomplish:
Smoke from burning US flag kills Islamic "rally participant".

Two years earlier, on June 14, 1775, Congress adopted "the American continental army", so today is also the Birthday of the U.S. Army.

13 Fun Facts About the U.S. Flag.

John Philip Sousa's The Stars and Stripes Forever:

One of my favorite Father's Day stories (NSFW- language)

This is from Justin Halpern, author of Sh*t My Dad Says, and is funny and weirdly touching. NSFW.

You Take What You Need From Your Father
Father’s Day has never been a big deal at my house. My dad hates celebrations. He goes through the motions for Christmas because it means a lot to my mom. He’ll put up with Easter because it means he gets to eat ham. “You can pretty much get to do whatever you want if you give me ham,” he’s said many times in my life. But Father’s Day is technically his holiday, and therefore he feels he has the right to squash it in our house. 
“Anyone can fucking procreate, and most eventually do. I refuse to celebrate a statistical probability,” he announced on Father’s Day when I was seventeen.
I was about to graduate from high school, and my relationship with my dad during the last year had been rocky. Everything we did seemed to annoy one another. I dealt with the friction by avoiding being in the house while he was there, and he dealt with it by repeating the phrase, “You mind? I’m watching the fucking Nature Channel.” 
So when he told me on the morning of Father’s Day that year that he would not partake in a celebration, frankly, I was fine with it. But my mother was not. That night I sat on my bed reading a brochure from San Diego State University, where I was heading in the fall, when the door to my room opened and my father entered.
“Sorry to interrupt whatever it is you’re doing,” he said.
“I’m just looking at some of the classes they have at State,” I said. 
“Oh yeah? Like what?” 
“You want to know?” 
“Ah, fuck it, not really. Listen, your mother thinks you’re going to go off to college and hate me and then we’re not going to be friends again until I’m dying and I got a wad of shit in my pants. That’s bullshit right?” 
“Ah – “ 
“So, look, I’m not an easy guy to get along with. I know that. But you know I would murder another human being for you if it came down to it. Murder. Fucking homicide. If it came down to it.” 
“Why would you need to do that for me?” I said. 
“I don’t know. Maybe you get mixed up in some gambling shit or you screw some guy’s wife or – don’t matter. Not my point. My point is: I may seem like an asshole, but I mean well. And I want to tell you a story,” he said, taking a seat on the foot of my bed before quickly jumping up.
“Your bed smells like shit. Where can I sit that doesn’t smell like shit?” 
I pointed to my desk chair, which was covered with dirty clothes. He brushed the clothes onto the ground and collapsed in the chair. 
“Just for your information, this chair also smells like shit. This isn’t a non-­‐shit-­‐smelling option. In case a girl comes over or something.” 
“What’s your story, Dad?” I snapped. 
“I ever tell you how I mangled my arm?” he asked, pointing to the large, white crescent-­‐shaped scar that practically circled his entire elbow.
“Yeah, lots of times. You were, like, ten and you were on the farm and you fell off a tobacco wagon, then the wagon rolled over it.” 
“Right. But I ever tell you what happened after the wagon rolled over it?”
“Maybe.” 
He leaned back in the chair. “I was laying on the ground, bones poking through my skin. Your Aunt Debbie is just going ape-­‐shit. They pop me in our car, and we drive forty-­‐five minutes to Lexington to the doctor’s. This is 1946 Kentucky, and my town was a shit stain on a map so we had to drive to the city. So the doc sees me, dresses the wounds best he can, and puts me up in the hospital bed. At this point I’m about to pass out on account of the pain.” 
“I almost had that happen once,” I interrupted. 
No you didn’t. So anyway, I’m lying in my hospital bed when your Grandpa gets there. And your Grandpa was a tough son of a bitch. He wasn’t like how you knew him; he softened up in his nineties. So Grandpa grabs the doc, and your Aunt Debbie and the two of them go outside my room. I can hear them talking, but they don’t know that. The doc tells your Grandpa that they think there’s a good chance that an infection has already taken hold in my arm. And Grandpa, in that scratchy voice he’s got, asks what that means. And the doc tells him it means they have some medicine they can give me that might kill the infection, but it might not, and if it doesn’t, I’ll die.” 
“You heard the doctor say that?” 
“Yep.” 
“What’d you do?”
“What do you mean? I had fucking bones coming out of my elbow. I didn’t do shit. So the doc tells Grandpa that there’s a 50/50 chance the medicine works. But then he says there’s another option. He tells Grandpa if they amputate my arm at the elbow, there’s a 100 percent chance that I’ll live.” 
“What did Grandpa say?” I asked, inching toward the edge of the bed. 
“He said, ‘Give him the medicine.’ And the doc says, ‘But there’s a 50 percent chance he’ll die.’ Then it’s quiet for a bit. Nobody making a fucking peep. Then I hear Grandpa clear his throat and say, ‘Then let him die. There ain’t no room in this world for a one-­‐armed farmer.”
My dad fell silent and leaned back in the chair, stretching his legs out.
My dad hadn’t told me many stories about his father at this point, and I wasn’t quite sure how he felt about the man. This was the first time I had gotten a glimpse.       
“Man, I’m really sorry, Dad.” 
“Sorry for what?” he asked, his face morphing into a look of confusion as he sat up straight in the chair. 
“Well, that’s, I don’t know, that’s really… messed up. I can’t believe Grandpa did that.” 
“What in the fuck are you talking about? The man saved my arm! They were going to cut off my arm and he saved it. That’s my point: Grandpa could be an asshole sometimes but when it came down to it he was there for me.” 
“That’s what you took from that?” 
“Hell yes. I don’t know what else you were expecting me to take. Imagine me with one goddamned arm. Be a fucking disaster. Anyway, just like Grandpa cared about me, I care about you and I don’t want you out there hating me, cause I don’t hate you. I love the shit out of you.” 
He stood up, ironing his pants’ front with his hands. 
“Jesus H. Christ, do something about the fucking smell in this room.” 
Fourteen years later, on this Father’s Day, despite his reluctance to celebrate the holiday, I’d like to thank my dad for everything he’s done for me and advise him: If a wagon ever crushes me, let’s not roll the dice. Cut off my arm, Dad. There’s more than enough room in this world for a one-­‐armed writer. 
~Justin Halpern June 2011

Paraskavedekatriaphobia: Why is Friday the 13th Considered Unlucky?

In case you were trying to work it out for yourself, the name of this phobia in Pig Latin is araskavedekatriaphobiapay.

Superstition, bigotry, and prejudice, ghosts though they are, cling tenaciously to life: they are shades armed with tooth and claw. They must be grappled with unceasingly, for it is a fateful part of human destiny that it is condemned to wage perpetual war against ghosts. A shade is not easily taken by the throat and destroyed. 

~Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

Today is Friday, the 13th, which superstition holds is a day for bad luck. According to folklorists, there is no written reference to this belief before the 19th century. The earliest known reference in English occurred in an 1869 biography of composer Gioacchino Rossini, which described the irony of his dying on an "unlucky" Friday, the 13th. 

The basis for the superstition may lie in the fact that 13 has long been held to be an unlucky number and Friday an unlucky day - hence the combination. It has been estimated that something like 20 million people are affected by this belief in the United States, many of them changing their normal routines on this day to avoid "the curse." The Dutch Centre for Insurance Statistics claims that "fewer accidents and reports of fire and theft occur when the 13th of a month falls on a Friday than on other Fridays, because people are preventatively more careful or just stay home." This seems to be confirmed by Dutch auto accident data.

This Nat Geo article discusses the phobia with Donald Dossey, founder of a Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in North Carolina (and also a folklore historian and author of Holiday Folklore, Phobias and Fun): he says that fear of Friday the 13th is rooted in ancient, separate bad-luck associations with the number 13 and the day Friday. The two unlucky entities ultimately combined to make one super unlucky day.

Dossey traces the fear of 13 to a Norse myth about 12 gods having a dinner party at Valhalla, their heaven. In walked the uninvited 13th guest, the mischievous Loki. Once there, Loki arranged for Hoder, the blind god of darkness, to shoot Balder the Beautiful, the god of joy and gladness, with a mistletoe-tipped arrow.

"Balder died and the whole Earth got dark. The whole Earth mourned. It was a bad, unlucky day," said Dossey. From that moment on, the number 13 has been considered ominous and foreboding.

There is also a biblical reference to the unlucky number 13. Judas, the apostle who betrayed Jesus, was the 13th guest to the Last Supper.

Meanwhile, in ancient Rome, witches reportedly gathered in groups of 12. The 13th was believed to be the devil.

Thomas Fernsler, an associate policy scientist in the Mathematics and Science Education Resource Center at the University of Delaware in Newark, said the number 13 suffers because of its position after 12.

According to Fernsler, numerologists consider 12 a "complete" number. There are 12 months in a year, 12 signs of the zodiac, 12 gods of Olympus, 12 labors of Hercules, 12 tribes of Israel, and 12 apostles of Jesus.

In exceeding 12 by 1, Fernsler said 13's association with bad luck "has to do with just being a little beyond completeness. The number becomes restless or squirmy."

This fear of 13 is strong in today's world. According to Dossey, more than 80 percent of high-rises lack a 13th floor. Many airports skip the 13th gate. Hospitals and hotels regularly have no room number 13.

On streets in Florence, Italy, the house between number 12 and 14 is addressed as 12 and a half. In France socialites known as the quatorziens (fourteeners) once made themselves available as 14th guests to keep a dinner party from an unlucky fate.

As for Friday, it is well known among Christians as the day Jesus was crucified. Some biblical scholars believe Eve tempted Adam with the forbidden fruit on Friday. Perhaps most significant is a belief that Abel was slain by Cain on Friday the 13th.

Related: 13 Reasons People Think the Number 13 is Unlucky

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Check out these excellent Iron Throne shoes

Get ready for this Sunday’s Game of Thrones season four finale by wearing appropriate footwear: Iron Throne shoes!

Of all the things I regret about my arthritic knees, the inability to wear high heals is generally rather low on the list. Not today, though. These are by artist Nixxi Rose; although I see no indication that she's selling them, it's easy to see how you could make your own version with heels or flats, cocktail picks shaped like swords, and some paint.


Via Fashionably Geek

Previous posts:

For $20K, Game of Thrones Author Will Write You Into Future Novel Then Kill You Off

Valyrian steel, length of the seasons, dragon biology: The Science of Game of Thrones, bonus geological map.

If Game Of Thrones Characters Were Drawn By Disney

Game of Thrones infographic chronology: 4 seasons of the 4 main families and the Night’s Watch.

Video: Hodor (Kristian Nairn) Describes His Awkward Game of Thrones Nude Scene.

Game of Thrones Wine Map: The Wines of Westeros.

Supercut of pithy quotes from Game of Thrones, Seasons 1-3.

Fallen behind on Game of Thrones, or want a refresher before Season 4? All 3 seasons recapped in 9 minutes.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Wednesday links

Important Public Service Announcements for Dogs.

Paper Planes Transform Into Tiny Drones.

Infographic: The World’s Richest Superheroes (and Supervillians). (Iron Man and Batman are numbers 2 and 3, respectively)

The Forgotten Firsts: 10 Vintage Versions of Modern Technology.

Did our male ancestors evolve facial features specifically designed to take a punch?

ICYMI, Monday's links are here, and include facial reconstructions of famous historical people (and the Neanderthal reconstruction that looks just like Chuck Norris), killing mammoths with dogs, and a table-flipping supercut.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Infographic: The World’s Richest Superheroes (and Supervillians)

I've heard of Black Panther before, but only vaguely. Wikipedia's description of him and a video of his meeting with The Avengers is below the infographic.:


Black Panther, per Wikipedia:
The Black Panther (T'Challa) is a fictional character appearing in publications by Marvel Comics. Created by writer-editor Stan Lee and penciller-co-plotter Jack Kirby, he first appeared in Fantastic Four #52 (July 1966). 
Black Panther was ranked the 71st greatest comic book character of all time by Wizard magazine. IGN also ranked the Black Panther as the 51st greatest comic book hero stating that Black Panther could be called Marvel's Batman.
The Black Panther is the ceremonial title given to the chief of the Panther Tribe of the advanced African nation of Wakanda. In addition to ruling the country, he is also chief of its various tribes (collectively referred to as the Wakandas). The Panther habit is a symbol of office (head of state) and is used even during diplomatic missions. The Panther is a hereditary title, but one still must earn it.
Black Panther vs The Avengers - apparently this is when he meets them and fights to see how good they are:



Previous posts: 

The Price of Being a Superhero in Real Life: Then & Now.

The 1960s Superhero Who Powered Up By Smoking (and other dubious superheros, including the girl with super PMS and the guy with super vomit)

This Comic Reveals Why Female Superheroes Wear Skimpy Armor.

For some reason I've never seen this before: Lawrence Welk does "One Toke Over The Line"

Sweet Jesus.

From the Wikipedia entry on Lawrence Welk:
In one of his most infamous incidents, he asked singers Gail Farrell and Dick Dale to perform Brewer & Shipley's hit song "One Toke Over the Line" (a mock gospel tune riddled with drug references) as a modern spiritual, apparently oblivious to the meaning of the word "toke." Brewer responded that although it was "absurd," the duo "got more publicity than we could pay for" from the out-of-place performance. Despite other stations having banned the original song from the broadcast airwaves, neither Welk nor anyone else received any sort of punishment from the FCC for performing the song.

Monday links

Cool - Calvin and Hobbes Creator Bill Watterson Returns to the Comics Page (briefly - he actually sort of snuck in and back out)

How Do You Kill 86 Mammoths? With Dogs.

Getting angry and flipping over a table: the supercut.

10 facial reconstructions, using scans of skeletal remains, of famous historical figures. Richard III looks kind of like Jim Carrey, although not as much as this reconstruction of a Neanderthal looks like Chuck Norris.

ICYMI, Friday's links are here, and include squirrel CPR, testing your knowledge of fictional planets, and paying the Game of Thrones author to write you into a future novel then kill you off.

Hugh Jackman, LL Cool J, and TI perform the train song from “The Music Man” as rap

I have no use for rap, but this totally works - the Rock Island song, which involved 8 salesmen on a train (original below). Last night at the Tony Awards:



By the way, in a recent post from Mark Steyn's excellent Song Of The Week series, he provides a lot of background information on The Music Man.

Here's the original:


via 22 Words.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

From Dante's Divine Comedy: The Nine Circles Of Hell, Done In Lego

Dante (wiki) would probably be rolling over in his grave:

Click here to embiggen and/or see additional views.

Click here to embiggen and/or see additional views.

Click here to embiggen and/or see additional views.

Click here to embiggen and/or see additional views.
Personally, I find it difficult to imagine that anyone would find this objectionable, but Lust comes with an explicit content warning due to the Lego version of particular body parts, blurred out in the image below but visible if you click on the link in the caption.

Consider yourself warned.

Click here to embiggen and/or see additional views.
See the whole set here, via BoingBoing.


Getting angry and flipping over a table: the supercut

Has film brought us a better short hand for "uncontrollable anger" than the table flip? 



The films used in this table flipping montage:

00:05 - Angel's In The Outfield (1994)
00:12 - A Clockwork Orange (1971)
00:13 - Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (1984)
00:15 - Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)
00:16 - Once Upon A Time In Mexico (2003)
00:17 - Taken (2008)
00:18 - Pulp Fiction (1994)
00:20 - Die Hard (1988)
00:21 - Citizen Kane (1941)
00:22 - Magnolia (1999)
00:24 - The King Of Kings (1927)
00:25 - Jesus Christ Superstar (1973)
00:31 - Jesus (1999)
00:38 - Happily Ever After (2007)
00:46 - Thor (2011)
00:51 - Moneyball (2011)
00:56 - Moonstruck (1987)
00:58 - The Sea Hawk (1940)
01:00 - The Gospel Of John (2003)
01:01 - Pollock (2000)
01:03 - Jesus Of Montreal (1989)
01:04 - P.S. Your Cat Is Dead! (2002)
01:06 - The Artist (2011)
01:07 - Raging Bull (1980)
01:08 - Son Of Frankenstein (1939)
01:10 - The Adventures Of Robin Hood (1938)
01:11 - Peter Pan (1953)
01:13 - Titanic (1997)
01:14 - Splice (2009)
01:15 - The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965)
01:17 - Red Lights (2012)
01:18 - Being John Malkovich (1999)
01:21 - Scum (1979)
01:27 - Take Shelter (2011)

Music: Carmen Overture - Georges Bizet

via io9.