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Saturday, June 21, 2014

New Guardians Of The Galaxy Trailer

Based on Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy (wiki) comics - the movie will be out on August 1st. 
An action-packed, epic space adventure, Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” expands the Marvel Cinematic Universe into the cosmos, where brash adventurer Peter Quill finds himself the object of an unrelenting bounty hunt after stealing a mysterious orb coveted by Ronan, a powerful villain with ambitions that threaten the entire universe. To evade the ever-persistent Ronan, Quill is forced into an uneasy truce with a quartet of disparate misfits—Rocket, a gun-toting raccoon, Groot, a tree-like humanoid, the deadly and enigmatic Gamora and the revenge-driven Drax the Destroyer. But when Quill discovers the true power of the orb and the menace it poses to the cosmos, he must do his best to rally his ragtag rivals for a last, desperate stand—with the galaxy’s fate in the balance.
The voice of Rocket Raccoon is done by Bradley Cooper; Groot is voiced by Vin Diesel.

Previous trailers here and here

The Oatmeal on why dieting is hard

He certainly understands the impulse control thing.

Lest you think it's not important, though, being overweight is high on the list of risk factors for spontaneous combustion.

From The Oatmeal.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Friday links

Weird Al Yankovic as Isaac Newton in this historical rap battle vs. Bill Nye.

Scientific invention du jour: Chinese hospitals introduce hands-free automatic sperm extractor.

Video supercut of the classic Star Wars line "I am your father" in 20 languages, bonus Star Wars: The Musical.

It's hard to imagine why, but dating site uses facial recognition to find matches that look like your ex.

If you’re a math geek who doesn’t like sharing, you’ve been cutting cake wrong your whole life.

ICYMI, Tuesday's links are here, and include honest Disney posters, report cards of famous authors, and 18th- and 19th-century patent models.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Video supercut of the classic Star Wars line, "I am your father", in 20 languages, bonus Star Wars: The Musical

The famous line from Empire Strikes Back (which was not, of course, "Luke, I am your father", but:

Darth Vader: Obi-Wan never told you what happened to your father.
Luke: He told me enough. He told me you killed him. 

Darth Vader: No. I am your father.)

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Blogging will be light to non-existent for the rest of the week, due to external committments

Weird Al Yankovic as Isaac Newton in this historical rap battle vs. Bill Nye

Massively geeky Newton vs Bill Nye rap battle - Neil DeGrasse Tyson shows up, too.

Pertinent to a discussion about herb gardens: Take heede therefore ye smellers of Basil

I'm a firm believer in the principle that old ways are always the best:

"An Italian, through the oft smelling of an hearb called Basil, had a Scorpion bred in his braine, which did not only a long time grieve him, but also at the last killed him... Take heede therefore ye smellers of Basil."

Thomas Lupton, A Thousand Notable Things (1595)

There's also this set of instructions for growing an all-purpose herb which, although it contains basil, doesn't carry any brain scorpion warnings:

"To make an hearb to growe which shall have many savours and tastes. And to doo this: firste take one seede of the Lettice, one seede of Endive, one of Smallage, one of the Bassill, one of the Leeke, & of the parslie, al these put togither in a hole in such sort, that one seede may touch an other: but this remember that you plant these together in the dung of an Horsse or an Oxe without any earthe at all with them. And then after of these seedes shall growe up one proper hearbe, which will have so many savours and tastes, as there were seedes sowne together." 

A Briefe and Pleasaunt Treatise, Intituled: Naturall and Artificiall Conclusions (1586)

Tuesday links

Quiz: Match these gorgeous 18th- and 19th- century patent models to their purpose.

Add some weasel brain to your cheese to keep rats and mice away: Advice from 1649. Related, sort of: here's a list of risk factors from 1799 for spontaneous combustion, plus more recent science.

Brutally Honest Disney Movie Posters

Because it's that time of the year: Famous Writers’ Report Cards: Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, Norman Mailer, E.E. Cummings and more.

Kentucky's $30 Million Castle.

ICYMI, Friday's links are here, and include People Painted To Look Like Animals, Technologies That Replace Super Powers, the 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))

Monday, June 16, 2014

Add some weasel brain to your cheese to keep rats and mice away: Advice from 1649

"How to make a Receit, that neither Rat nor Mouse shall eat or gnaw of your Cheese. The Weasel, the Rat, and Mouse, are at such deadly hatred one with the other, as that, if you put the brain of a Weasel into the Rennets or Curds whereof you intend to make your Cheese, neither Rats nor Mice will ever come to taste or eat thereof." 
~Thomas Hill, Naturall and Artificiall Conclusions (1649)
Of course there's also the goat method of chasing away rats:
"The smell of a goat is obnoxious to the nostrils of rats; the two wont be friends and companions on any account whatever, and the introduction of goats to one's barn or premises will cause an immediate stampede of all the rats."
~A. E. Youman, A Dictionary of Everyday Wants (1872)
via Ask The Past.

Mark Steyn's song of the week is Nessun Dorma

Go to Mark's site and read the whole thing - the only thing I have to add are the videos below.

As always with these Song Of The Week posts, I find the history and connections kind of fascinating. One thing I'd never heard before is that during the 1998 Grammy awards (something I've never in my life paid attention to), Pavarotti (wiki) was to sing Nessum Dorma and backed out due to illness with 20 minutes notice. Aretha Franklin stepped up and filled in (yes, with some unoperatic embellishments, but in her case, that's a feature, not a bug): 

Here's the famous Pavarotti version:

And several years ago there was that meek-looking little guy with terrible teeth who stepped up to the mike on a Brit talent show and made himself famous:

Apparently there's a connection with the World Cup. which is a bit like the NFL playoffs but involves soccer instead of real football.

I particularly like this bit:
Whether or not it is, as Frank Johnson said, the last great song, it's certainly the last popular operatic aria. "Nessun Dorma" was written in 1924, the same year as "It Had To Be You" and "Fascinating Rhythm", a time when Italian opera was still a source of hit music. But Puccini died that November, leaving the final moments of Turandot to be pieced together from his sketches. And, with his passing, a living breathing mainstream art form ended, too. Nothing written since has resonated the way Madam Butterfly or Tosca do. At the premiere of Turandot at La Scala in 1926, Toscanini conducted up to the very last note Puccini committed to paper, and then turned to the audience and said:
At this point, the maestro laid down his pen. 
And so did an entire operatic tradition.