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Brain candy for Happy Mutants

Last Build Date: Wed, 26 Oct 2016 17:50:41 +0000


Scientists find first of its kind two-headed shark

Wed, 26 Oct 2016 17:24:11 +0000


University of Malaga scientists were studying the cardiovascular systems of Atlantic sawmill catsharks (catshark (Galeus atlanticus) when they found one with two heads. This is the first time that dicephaly (two-headedness) has been seen in an egg-laying shark. From National Geographic:

The causes of dicephaly aren't known, but the researchers—led by Valentín Sans-Coma of the University of Malaga—suspect that genetics are the most likely culprit (rather than some environmental factor, à la Blinky, the three-eyed fish, from The Simpsons)...

"We see two-headed sharks occasionally," says George Burgess, director of the Florida program for shark research at the Florida Museum of Natural History. "It's an anomaly, caused by a genetic misfire. There are lots of different kinds of genetic misfires, and most don't make it out of the womb."

"There’s a reason you don’t see a lot of sharks with two heads swimming around: they stand out like a sore thumb, so they get eaten," adds Burgess. "They would have trouble swimming and probably digesting food."

Philip Roth donating his personal book collection to Newark Public Library

Wed, 26 Oct 2016 17:10:18 +0000


The Newark Public Library is the scene of Philip Roth's novella Goodbye, Columbus. Now, Roth is donating his personal book collection to that same library. From the New York Times:

Mr. Roth’s library, some 4,000 volumes, is now stored mostly at his house in northwest Connecticut, where it has more or less taken over the premises. A room at the back of the house has been given over to nonfiction. It has library shelves, library lighting — everything except a librarian, Mr. Roth said recently on the phone from his New York apartment. Fiction starts in the living room, takes up all the walls in a front study, and has also colonized a guest bedroom upstairs. Copies of Mr. Roth’s own books and their many translations are stuffed in closets and piled in the attic. The books that were helpful to Mr. Roth in his research for his novel “The Plot Against America” are all grouped together, as are those he consulted for “Operation Shylock...."

The books will be shelved in Newark exactly as they are in Connecticut — not a window into Mr. Roth’s mind exactly, but physical evidence of the eclectic writers who helped shape it: Salinger, Bellow, Malamud, Kafka, Bruno Schulz. Many of the volumes are heavily underlined and annotated...

“I’m 83, and I don’t have any heirs,” Mr. Roth said, explaining why he decided to give the library away. “If I had children it might be a different story. It’s not a huge library, but it’s special to me, and I wanted it preserved as it was, if only for historical interest: What was an American writer reading in the second half of the 20th century.”

"A Scene Right Out of Philip Roth: His Books Come Home to Newark’s Library" (New York Times)

This highly rated and affordable smartwatch also looks kind of like a real watch

Wed, 26 Oct 2016 16:54:08 +0000


I've never really felt the need to purchase a smartwatch because a lot of them aren't very functional, but at just shy of $30, the Martian Notifier Smartwatch was worth checking out. For that low of a price, it actually does feature an impressive amount of functionality, and comes in handy when you don't want to be carrying around your phone.

When checking the watch out, two things really stood out to me. First there's a little tab on the menu that lets you find your phone when you’ve misplaced it just by tapping a button. It can even ping you when you forget your phone. Second is that you can snap pictures from your phone remotely which is pretty handy if you're shy about asking someone else to take a picture of you.

The Martian Notifier also has four out of five stars on Amazon (out of over 740 total reviews).

So I suggest checking out this watch even if you've never thought yourself the smartwatch type. It's currently 76% off retail, at just $29.99 for the white, red, or black color options.

Also explore the Best-Sellers on our network right now:

Marvelous 360 degree ring of Pringles

Wed, 26 Oct 2016 16:40:43 +0000


Jane Espenson is not only a talented TV writer who has worked on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Battlestar Galactica, and Once Upon A Time, she is also quite adept at constructing impressive Pringles structures.

"I did it!" she tweeted. "I did it! I built a Pringles ringle! No glue, just physics."

Most impressive to me is how Espenson managed to complete the ring before eating them all, as I most certainly would have done.

WATCH: Trump's Hollywood Walk of Fame star destroyed

Wed, 26 Oct 2016 16:37:10 +0000


Dominic Patten reports that Donald Trump’s Hollywood Walk of Fame star was destroyed early Wednesday morning by a man dressed as a city construction worker.


Haunting an X-rated movie screening... for science!

Wed, 26 Oct 2016 16:17:34 +0000


In 1960, parapsychologist Anthony Donald Cornell donned a bed sheet and attempted to scare an audience watching an X-rated film in a movie theater. Why? Cornell, a believer in ghosts himself, wanted to understand how people reacted during "apparitional experiences." Today at the BBC, University of Oxford experimental psychologist Matthew Tompkins explores Cornell's strange experiments and considers how his methods may have contributed to the study of "inattentional blindness." Indeed, the ghost in the movie theater experiment is not unlike Daniel Simons and Christopher Chablis's classic "Selective Attention Test" from 1999. If you're not aware of that experiment, the video below is a must-see. From the BBC:

For Cornell, the experiment was another failure. None of the audience reported anything remotely paranormal. Many saw nothing unusual at all: 46% of the respondents had failed to notice the Experimental Apparition when Cornell first passed in front of the screen, and 32% remained completely unaware of it. Even the projectionist, whose job was to watch for anything unusual, reported that he had completely failed to notice the apparition. Those that did see ’something’ were not particularly accurate in their descriptions....

For me, these failures to see are by far the most exciting part of the experimental series. The pleasure of reading Cornell’s original reports, which were published in 1959 and 1960 in the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, is that he writes in matter-of-fact academic prose. He dutifully reports numbers and exact quotes from participants, and walks the reader through the details of his experimental designs without a glimmer of apparent irony. To him, the cinema audience and the X-rated film simply represented an elegant solution to a methodological problem....

Even though inattentional blindness is now an established phenomenon with the scientific community, in general, everyday people are not necessarily aware of it. Contemporary surveys have shown that most people firmly believe that they would notice unexpected objects and events, even if they were paying attention to something else.

"The strange tale of an X-rated haunting" (BBC)

The incredible and dying art of Japanese candy sculpture

Wed, 26 Oct 2016 16:00:09 +0000


Shinri Tezuka, 27, sculpts candy into beautiful, creepy, and very sweet creatures like goldfish and octopuses. The centuries-old practice is called amezaiku, but according to Great Big Story, "today there are only two artists left in Tokyo. Tezuka hopes his elaborate goldfish, frog and octopus designs will inspire the next generation of candy crafters to keep the tradition alive."




Fun book about toys of the '50s, '60s and '70s

Wed, 26 Oct 2016 15:56:31 +0000


There are lots of books about baby boomer toys, but this fun collection is presented from the viewpoint of the kids who played with the toys and includes lots of personal memories and photographs. Sure, there are many interesting facts and histories about well-known toys and their creators. Classic toys and games that are still made today like Tonka trucks, Easy-Bake Oven, G.I. Joe, Matchbox and Hot Wheels, Twister and Mousetrap are featured in loving color photographs and vintage ads. Their stories are well-known, too. For example, writer and artist Johnny Gruelle patented his rag doll design in 1915, the same year his daughter Marcella died after a controversial smallpox vaccination. The Rageddy Ann and Andy dolls and books helped Gruelle keep his memories of his daughter alive.

Famous fads include the '50s Davy Crocket Coonskin Hats, the '60s Troll dolls, and the '70s Pet Rock. Toys always reflect the times they’re from and this book provides plenty of cultural and historical background. Only after the heady 1960s and '70s with women’s liberation, the sexual revolution, and Black Power movement would there be an anatomically correct African American baby boy doll, Mattel’s Baby Tender Love, molded in life-like vinyl skin called Dublon.

Other less well-known toys are long gone from the toy store shelves but live on in the very personal memories (and actual childhood photographs!) featured throughout the book. Home health training specialist Lisa Crawford (b 1963) appropriately recalls the insanely dangerous metal-tipped lawn Jarts. I was delighted to find Make editor and fellow WINK contributor Gareth Branwyn’s (b 1958) recollection of using his own Johnny Horizon Environmental Test Kit to get an A+ on a school project (and to keep tabs on any hometown polluters!). Learn the mysteries of Ike-A-Doos, create a Cootie, and check out Schwinn’s Lil’ Chik for-girls-only line of bikes.

I was charmed by these personal toy stories. I was also lucky enough to see this show of toys at Seattle Museum of History and Industry. Even if you weren’t able to see this traveling Minnesota Historical Society-curated show, which ended last month, you can explore these memorable toys with the book.

Toys of the ‘50s, '60s and '70s
by Kate Roberts and Adam Scher
Minnesota Historical Society Press
2014, 208 pages, 8 x 10 x 0.7 inches (softcover)
$23 Buy a copy on Amazon

See sample pages from this book at Wink.

The 13 best Japanese horror movies

Wed, 26 Oct 2016 15:54:33 +0000


Japanese culture website Tofugu has a rundown of the best Japanese horror movies of all time. Number 6 on the list is Hausu, a cartoonishly gory flick from 1977.

This is what makes Hausu great. It's an absolutely childish horror movie. So much so that the characters are one-dimensional (their names even indicate their behavior). But it all plays into the experience. Watching Hausu as an adult means you're forced to think like a child and find scary the things children find scary. This makes for gory fun when the piano starts dismembering people, blood gushing out its sides.

Sometimes Hausu's blend of silliness and gore is perfect. Other times not so much. But despite the film's imperfection, it works because it's authentic. Though people in 2010 praised Hausu for its "wackiness," I think affection for the film comes from its authenticity. Hausu knows exactly what it wants to be and goes for it full force. Combine that with a childlike perspective and you've got a film worth falling in love with.

Clinton's camp feared Joe Biden run, worked hard to kill it

Wed, 26 Oct 2016 14:46:04 +0000


Hillary Clinton's campaign team "scrambled" after coming to believe Joe Biden would oppose her for the Democratic presidential nomination, reports Fox News. Some delicious, if insidery machinations turned up in campaign chief Joe Podesta's hacked email, as published by Wikileaks:

just three days later, the Biden threat appeared vanquished. Ron Klain, a former Biden chief of staff who is now an operative for the Clinton campaign, emailed Podesta with a cryptic note of thanks.

“It’s been a little hard for me to play such a role in the Biden demise – and I am definitely dead to them -- but I’m glad to be on Team HRC, and glad that she had a great debate last night,” Klain wrote.

Six days later, on Oct. 21, Biden, with Obama by his side, gave a news conference from the White House declaring he wouldn’t run.

Biden would have sailed away from Trump much earlier and faster than Hillary Clinton did. But beyond the easy victory she's likely to win anyway all told, he doesn't have much to recommend him over her, and lacks many of her — yes, I know! — her scruples.

Free cybersecurity course from the University of Helsinki and F-Secure

Wed, 26 Oct 2016 14:31:59 +0000


It's free for anyone to take, and Finns can get credit at the Open University of University of Helsinki (yes, that's what it's called). (more…)

Do not complain about bodega cats on Yelp

Wed, 26 Oct 2016 13:48:07 +0000


Keeping a cat in a NYC bodega is technically against the rules, but everybody loves bodega cats. Everybody but a certain Yelp review, who is now getting a lot of flak for complaining about a bodega cat at SK Deli in the East Village.

Cats squabble over a saucer of milk, until they are both hit by a crisis of conscience.