Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Hilarious Humor Article in Generally Serious Magazine

Former Colbert Report EP Allison Silverman wrote this super duper (super NY) article for The New Yorker. Read it and laugh your batooties off. And then buy a super fancy bamboo stirrer for your translucent organic coffee oxygen.

Baby Otter Swimming Lesson!

I forgot to post this earlier this month when it went viral, so in case you missed it (or just want to watch it again), here are a couple of too-super-adorable baby otters getting their first swimming lesson.

Watch it and swoon.

[Thanks to Jezebel for being the first place I saw this posted, and thanks to Zoo Borns for putting this up at all!]

Cookie Monster Auditions for SNL

Speaking of Jim Henson, this is too, too cute. If I didn't think the logistics of having a live Muppet host a live show were insanely challenging I'd be all for this... wait, that might be just the kick in the butts to make SNL super awesome again, so I AM all for this. You can do it, Mr. Monster!

Making Muppets with the Master

Jim Henson teaches us all how to be home-schooled puppeteers in this awesome little video. Check it out!

Labradoodle Lookalike!

To celebrate how ingenious our furry friends are, I'd like to highlight the adorableness of The Daily Puppy's featured puppy of the day, Benni the Labradoodle. Not only is he adorable, but he also looks strikingly similar to one of the lovable mutts in my office, Frankie. Frankie lacks that signature white patch on the tummy, though, so Benni may just win in cuteness (just don't tell that to Frankie's owner!).

Sidenote: Benni also does a great job of highlighting the one similarity between dogs and cars: both black dogs and black cars have the odd habit of showing dirt much more than their lighter furred and painted brethren.

Dogs: Smarter than Cats (Duh)

I've known this for ages, but it's always good to get scientific evidence on your side.

The aloofness and general un-niceties of cats have led them to become far less socially adept and therefore less intelligent in this wild animal kingdom of ours. Dogs, on the other hand, are some of the most socially in-tune and (therefore) intelligent creatures out there.

A fun take on the study is here at HowStuffWorks. A slightly less dog-biased article is from WebMD, though should not be taken as seriously because anyone trying to be biased in favor cats clearly has a brain the size of one. Snap!

My one quibble with Josh Clark's analysis over at HowStuffWorks? That he says that Harry Potter fans are in favor of cats when one of my favorite characters, Sirius Black, could (SPOILER ALERT!) transform himself into a great, black, shaggy dog. How can one possibly honor such a noble beast more than that?

Food: Safer

Good news, Food Safety Advocates - which, you think, would be everyone - the Senate just passed a new food safety bill that's got a lot of good stuff in it!

Since it's the Senate, naturally there's a lot of good stuff missing, too, but this is better than nothing. My favorite aspect of the bill is that it requires a lot more inspections of food manufacturers and big farms. This will be a huge step in combating all the grossness that goes on in big food plants.

Although the Senate passed the bill, they'll still have to negotiate with the House, and quickly, too, before this Congress' session ends.

Can they do it? They better, because this bill's too good to pass up, and too good not to pass.

Happiness: A Study

Yet another reason why the internet makes us happy and unhappy at the same time. The constant distractions make us unhappy. The unlimited amount of interesting games, articles, videos, and how-to's for just about everything you could ever dream of make us happy - as long as we can concentrate on each of them one at a time. A very challenging task indeed.

Soon We Will All Be Frankensteins

Clearly, I'm already a Frankenstein because I have an extra body part in me. However, pretty soon we're all going to be telomerased-switched Frankensteins who live forever. At least, that's what I'm taking away from this study wherein researchers partially reversed the again process in mice.

This is almost too creepy to be cool, am I right? I think we may soon be crossing the uncanny valley of vampire-ism, zombie-ism, or humanoid-robot-ism very soon.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Spoiler Alert: Rich People Aren't Great at Empathy

Actually, it's all about context. If you think you're in an economically upper-class position, then you can't read people's emotions as well as if you think you're in an economically lower-class position. It's all in this study. Weird, huh? The authors posit that it's because if you're wealthy, you don't necessarily need to look for help in others, and therefore don't have to care or depend on relationships with others as much. Therefore, you wouldn't need to recognize their facial expressions. The really weird thing was that if the people in the study were tricked into thinking they were one status or another, their ability to recognize facial expression improved or got worse accordingly. Nuts!

Anyway, I just finished watched Season Three of "Veronica Mars," and that show's all about class warfare, so I thought it was interesting.

Also, the show (Veronica Mars) is great (though the third season was definitely not as good as the first two), and I really hope that Rob Thomas (the creator) and Kristen Bell (the star) get a chance to make a movie out of it. The finale of the third season was definitely not satisfying enough. Heck, it wasn't even a real ending. The show deserves better. If you're a fan and think so, too, email VeronicaMarsMovie@warnerbros.com and tell them that! The more emails they get, the higher a chance there is that we'll get to see the movie someday!

Happy Thanksgiving!

I know I'm a little late on the Thanksgiving bandwagon, but I wanted to wish all you Readers a Happy Thanksgiving! I really appreciate all the support you've given me over the years in and outside of this blog. It's fun to write, and I couldn't do it without you, my dedicated (albeit small and therefore adorable) audience.

And if you want to spread some Thanksgiving cheer - don't forget that there are people in other countries as well as our own who can always use your help. Maybe you could donate $10 to a school through DonorsChoose or $25 to a struggling goat herder through Kiva? Just a couple of suggestions...

There's Gold in Them Thar Trees!

Apparently, we could turn trees into bioluminescent street lamps by using gold nanoparticles. That sounds pretty incredible, but the one problem is - how would you turn them off? Also, how could you stop them from turning any nighttime scene or moment into a really creepy scifi horror movie about alien trees from outer space bent on destroying and/or enslaving the human race?

An Informative HowStuffWorks Article on Exercise

Spoiler alert! It's good for you.

Thanks, Marshall Brain! It seems both obvious and still surprising how good exercise is for you. The only problem is that I really love lying around in bed all day...

More Harry Potter Fun!

Ok, so in case you haven't gotten you fill of ol' Harry Potter yet (I always get this way when one of the movies comes out - I feel like I need to re-read the books, watch a bunch of behind-the-scenes stuff, I get kind of crazy), here's an interview with David Yates, the director of Deathly Hallows.

I'd embed the video here, but it's by /Film, and I think they wanted to direct more traffic to their site since it's not embeddable. No worries, though, you can just watch it at the link above.


PFD Reality?

Let's not kid around, I invented a Personal Flying Device (PFD) in 6th grade that looked almost exactly like this one. You can ask my dad. I wanted to make a prototype, but it would have cost around $20,000, and no one makes that much in babysitting. Also, I didn't have any babysitting jobs, so that was a problem, as well.

I'm torn. Part of me is glad that my old PFD is finally a reality. The other part is pissed that I didn't go into mechanical engineering so I could make it myself. Oh well, think I could bum a test ride off of them if I show them my 11 year old sketches?

If WiFi can make trees sick...

... Couldn't it make other plants and animals sick, as well?

Here's the story from Gawker. It reminds me of the study about the little Scandinavian village where everyone got really sick after having one of those superconductor cell phone towers installed a few miles from their town. Not a good sign...

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 was Awesome!

I saw it last weekend - amazing! The cinematography was by far the best of any of the films, and I really appreciated all the character work they put in there. Even the weird dance sequence made sense... in a weird and pretty ridiculous way.

Anyone up for seeing it again? What did you all think?

In the meantime, for those in New York, you can take the subway to Hogwarts from the Union Square Station. Thanks, dedicated fan who stuck that sticker!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

New Post on Puppies at Hyperbole and a Half!

New post up at Hyperbole and a Half! In which Allie finds herself and her boyfriend moving to Oregon, and their two dogs acting like insaneoids. And yes, that's a new word I just made up and it's awesome. Insaneoids - start spreading it, sixth graders who need a new word with which to insult your younger siblings!

The post is here.

I like all the drawings of dogs (I really need to learn how to draw dogs this well). The story's cute, too, but, I have to be honest, if I picked up and moved my life across the country, I'd be asking like a puppy who's gone all insaneoid, as well.

Are You Seeing Harry Potter 7: Part 1 This Weekend?

I know I am! I've got my ticket for Saturday afternoon and I cannot wait!

Plus, I have a sneaking suspicion that certain family members will want to see it over Thanksgiving, as well, so I should have plenty of chances to see Harry and the gang in action.

So far, it's gotten pretty awesome reviews, so that's a bonus, too.

What do you guys think? Are you excited?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

My Life VS The Internet: A Blog Post

Lately, I’ve realized that the internet is out to destroy my life. And not in the way that I’m popular or rich enough to get destroyed by someone stealing my identity. Frankly, I think if a hacker got into my checking account, he’d be insulted. It would be a waste of his time - the little money I have in there would be way under his hourly rate. No, the internet is destroying my life because I cannot stop checking it. It’s like my child is having surgery and I keep checking in with the doctor to see if he’s ok or not - except I’m never going to have time to have a child because I can’t have unprotected sex with my computer - YET.

My former roommate is great with the internet. She and the internet are in the perfect relationship. They hang out all the time, sure, but they’ve also got mutual friends they hang out with, too. She’ll tweet and facebook about some hip new trend, but then all that tweeting and facebooking will get her invited to some shmancy event and then she’ll tweet all about it and then those tweets will lead to more events and so on and so forth. Whereas I’ll have plans to hang out with a friend I haven’t seen in years, but my uber-controlling boyfriend the internet is all, “No, you’re staying home to watch these tigers eating pumpkins. That’s what we’re doing tonight.” A stronger woman would walk out on it, but I’m weak and lazy, so I reply, “Fine, but you better still love me when I’m fat.” And that’s when it starts pushing free online pilates videos on me. The bastard.

We’re in one of those relationships where I cannot function without it for more than twenty minutes. The last time I was on a job interview, the interviewer asked, “So, what news stories are you interesed in right now?” I stared at her for over a minute, mouth agape. I couldn’t think of a single thing. I had forgotten everything I just read! It’s like I hadn’t been checking Google News in days instead of minutes. It’s even worse with my friends. There’s no pressure to know political theory with your friends, but you do have to have a basic knowledge of what’s going on in the world. They’ll all be laughing about the hilarious thing some idiot politician said, and I’ll pretend to go along with it, but I’m really just thinking, “What’s going on?” When I get back to my computer, I look it up and finally get the joke. But my computer can’t laugh with me. I’m so inundated with information that I can’t actually remember any of it. The internet has turned my brain into mush, and someday it will turn it into liquid. I'm hoping for Kool-Aid, preferably cherry-flavored.

But at the same time, like in any bad relationship, there are things about it I love. My main obsession: Google Reader. It’s a website that conglomerates all the blogs I follow into one uber-website. A number on the sidebar of the site states how many unread articles I have. Basically, it’s a game I can never win. The goal: to read the entire internet, even the boring parts I don’t like - like “Tom Selleck Sandwich Waterfall,” which hasn’t been cool for months, or “Men Staring at Bricks,” which is just plain boring - just so I can see the Google Reader number tick down from 1000+ to 500 to 5 to 0. But just when I think I’ve hit zero, Gawker’s all “Snooky just had a threeway with Tiger Woods and a pineapple! You’ll never guess who’s the better the lover? Spoiler alert: it’s the pineapple!” And then the game begins anew.

Plus, GReader (or “greader”) has these folders which you can file articles you like into. So when I come across something called “10 Best Financial Tips for 23 year olds,” I can just put that article in my “financial tips” file and then never read it, but think that I’m super smart for thinking I should read it. I’ve got book folders, gift folders, vacation folders - folders for safety tips, home tips, green tips, health tips, self improvement tips, waiter tips. I think if someone who doesn’t know me just learned about me by reading what I have saved on my GReader, they’d think I was really smart, talented, well rounded, and handy with a monkey wrench. But they’d also be really jealous of me because I’d be super perfect. When they found out I’ve never even read most of those articles, they’d think, “Yeah, that’s about right.” Not disappointed, just a little relieved. I’m like one of those old ladies who cuts out coupons from thousands of catalogues but never buys anything. And I always thought those ladies were super crazy. But it just turns out they were testing the waters for the internet generation. Now we’re all those crazy coupon ladies. And I say, let’s embrace it.

Because that’s how we are - we want to know more and do more and be more, but that takes a lot of effort. And you know what doesn’t take effort? Clicking on the “things I want at my wedding” tab when I see that recipe for sour apple cream cupcakes. Because I’m not going to set up a savings CD anytime soon (is that a thing? I think that's a thing), but I sure as shit want to make sure I remind myself to try those sour apple cream cupcakes when I start planning for my wedding at some indeterminate point in the future (I'm not even engaged). The internet may be this fun-fact spouting boyfriend who’s only pleasure in life is giving me just enough instant gratification so that I forget that there’s a real world out there I could be contributing to, but isn’t it a little hubristic of me to think that I could actually contribute something meaningful to society anyway? Then I think about posting something meaningful like this on my blog, but I forget about it and post that video of tigers eating pumpkins. Because that’s super cute and super fun and what else am I doing anyway?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

So Many More Harry Potter Clips!

Making Of is jam-packed with clips to get us all hyped for the premiere of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1" next week. I know I've already posted what feels like a million (but was actually only about six). Here are three more and they're well worth your time if you have any interest in filmmaking. They each comprise a series of short behind-the-scenes clips with no explanation or narrative and no clear beginning or end. I know that sounds weird, but it's a fascinating look into how they shoot each scene. If you're familiar with the books and interested in seeing how you can possibly film them, these are videos to watch.

On-Set 3 of HP7: Part 1

[Posted as links instead of embeds because of the, rather silly, automatic start]

Read this Article

It's about dialysis care in America and it's really interesting. I know it's a long article, but it's worth it to know how we are failing patients and how we can help.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Big Cat Halloween

I know it's past Halloween, but pumpkins are in season all Fall, so enjoy!

Just remember that as adorable as they are while playing with pumpkins, big cats will eat your face if you give them the chance. So respect them, protect them, and stay the heck away from them!

Animation of the Gettysburg Address

This animated version of the Gettysburg Address is pretty darn cool.

Created by Adam Gault, Stephanie Augustine, and Carlo Vega.

[Thanks to Neatorama for finding this gem!]

Mountaintop Removal Mining can Take a Hike

Despite serious opposition (and lawsuits!) by the mining industry, it looks like the EPA is actually going to start flexing its muscles and begin to put an end to the horribly destructive mountaintop removal mining system. Then again, how anyone thought that something involving the removal of a mountaintop could not be destructive to the environment boggles my mind.

Now if we could just get rid of fracking and dirty coal power plants, we'd really be in business!

Rally Feedback

Good to know that HowStuffWorks (and Marshall Brain, specifically) approves of the Rally. I think he really captures what Jon Stewart was going for - thanks!

The Good Side of Life

This mini-documentary, "Alice Dancing under the Gallows" is incredible. It really made me happy, and I hope it makes you happy, too. Sometimes it all is about perspective...

Even More Harry Potter Featurettes!

These two are great not only because they're interesting and offer new footage, but also because they don't start automatically! The quality is not super great, but that's what the super IMAX screens are for 12 days from now!


[Thanks to /film for finding these]

Animation News You Can Use

Here's a couple of interviews with Pixarians.

And a particularly awesome letter from Walt Disney to Don Graham about what to teach animation students.


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Election Day!

Happy Election Day, everyone! I know things are going to go poorly, so let's just suck it up and get through it. And don't forget to vote - or else you just might make things worse.

Here's hoping not TOO many crazies get elected this round, am I right?

Then again, you never know. This is America, after all. We love our crazies something fierce.