Troll Girl Pays the Price for Being Different

An odd-looking baby is abandoned at the church steps and is taken in by a nun. The "troll girl" grows up as an outcast, trying to hide her true nature. She just wants to blend in and be left alone, but she is bullied relentlessly. Along the way, she finds inner talents that come in handy when she has to save the only person who ever loved her unconditionally. Troll Girl was written and directed by Kay Carmichael of Giantslayer Studios.   

Chad Smith Drumming 30 Seconds to Mars' "The Kill" On the Spot

Chad Smith has been the drummer for Red Hot Chili Peppers since 1988. The group was inducted in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2012. And in this video, Chad Smith shows us why he's such a legend. Asked to do the drum parts for 30 Seconds to Mars' song "The Kill" which he hasn't heard before, the results were quite surprising. - via Digg

(Video credit: Drumeo/Youtube)

The Aztec Death Whistle: The Scariest Sound You Will Ever Hear

(Content warning: the video contains loud, shocking sounds)

There are a lot of sounds and background music in horror movies that elicit feelings of panic, dread, suspense, or general distress and discomfort in us. But perhaps, the Aztec death whistle is the scariest sound you will ever hear produced by a whistle. - via Digg

(Video credit: The Action Lab/Youtube)

5 Surprising Things That Are Actually Invasive Species

When we think about invasive species, what usually comes to mind are organisms like parasites that terrorize a natural habitat by hording resources, pushing naturally-occurring species, and at times, preying on the local species. But little do we know that there are some species, which we might often see, that are not native to where they are now.

In “Human Footprint” on PBS, Biologist Shane Campbell-Staton gets up-close and personal with invasive species you may not have realized were invaders at all. Could your favorite plant or animal be on the list? You might be surprised.

(Image credit: Sonika Agarwal/Unsplash)

Netflix's New Squid Game Reality Show

Yup, you read that right. Netflix is doing a reality show based on the South Korean drama "Squid Game". And no worries. No contestants were harmed during the making of this reality show.

Similar to the show it’s based on, Squid Game: The Challenge sees 456 contestants from around the world go up against each other in challenges based on the games within the show, and some specifically for the competition.
Whoever wins gets the $4.56 million prize, and the losers do not get shot after getting eliminated, they just get sent home.

Gizmodo gives us a scoop on the new Squid Game reality show.

(Video credit: Netflix)

Authors VS ChatGPT: The Class-Action Against OpenAI

You may have heard that several authors from the Authors Guild of America has decided to sue ChatGPT a few days ago over copyright claims. The writers include George R.R. Martin and John Grisham, and this has even led Amazon to start making restrictions on selling self-published books on their site.

In their filing, the Guild alleged that OpenAI may have downloaded authors’ books from pirated ebook sites and used them to train its ChatGPT models. The authors say that OpenAI should have paid a reasonable licensing fee or opted to train their models using works that are already in the public domain.

AI models have made it a lot easier for written works to be produced lickety-split, which makes certain people's jobs a lot easier, but also others, such as professors in academia, might have a harder time checking students' work for any sign of AI assistance. What could be the best way to harness the potential of AI models such as ChatGPT while mitigating the possible negative effects? That is something we can only wait and see.

(Image credit: Mohajid Mottakin/Unsplash)

The Dark Pasts of These 4 Sitcom Characters

Even after watching all 236 episodes of Friends, I fail to recall this quite dark revelation about one of its funniest characters, Joey. And quite frankly, he's not the only character with quite a distressing backstory from a show that brings unadulterated laughter and joy to its viewers.

But then again, the best comedians are those with some very deep past experiences which they use as a source for their material. What makes them great is how they are able to find a silver lining despite the circumstances they faced. And at the end of the day, when the worst has passed, those painful experiences become merely a part of our history, and slowly, we are able to make light of even the most serious of our circumstances.

JM McNab from Cracked gives us this list of sitcom characters who have surprisingly dark backstories.

Why Your Cling Wrap No Longer Sticks As Much As They Used To

Eric Fife from Suvie shared a comment his mother made about cling wraps saying that she remembered cling wrap sticking much better than it does today. And so, he went to investigate a little on the topic and found the reason why:

The Dow Chemical Company began selling Saran Wrap in 1949, which at that time was made out of PVDC (polyvinylidene chloride). PVDC is a stretchy material that is mostly impervious to air and moisture, which makes it perfect for long-term food preservation. Unfortunately, however, recent research has shown that PVDC is harmful to the environment and, quite possibly, to your health.

Learn more about the effects of PVDC to your health and why cling wrap brands have switched to LDPE on Suvie. - via Cracked

(Image credit: Kakura/CC BY SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons)

When James Cameron Saved Guillermo Del Toro's Father

Sometimes, reality isn't too far off from films, especially with Guillermo del Toro's harrowing experience of having his father kidnapped. Now, in this instance, one might probably go to the police for help, but luckily for del Toro, a good friend and fellow director James Cameron came to his aid instead.

In the midst of production for "Mimic," del Toro's father, Federico del Toro, was kidnapped in his hometown of Guadalajara. The kidnappers wanted $1 million in ransom money. There was only one issue — Del Toro did not have the funds.
After learning that del Toro's father had been kidnapped, his old friend James Cameron stepped in, and he took del Toro to a bank and gave him the $1 million he needed.

Read more on Grunge. - via Cracked

(Image credit: Boungawa/CC BY SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons & Gage Skidmore/CC BY SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons)

The Tenth Watch: The 95-Year-Long (And Counting) Pitch Drop Experiment

In 1927, Thomas Parnell, University of Queensland physics professor wanted to demonstrate the fluidity and high viscosity of pitch, and so created an experiment by putting a pitch sample in a glass funnel and waited for it to drip out. The first drop took eight years to fall. The ninth drop fell in 2014, and right now, the School of Mathematics and Physics of UQ has set up a live video stream, called The Tenth Watch, to await the momentous tenth drop.

Currently, the experiment has had three custodians, Professor Parnell being the first, his colleague Professor John Mainstone, was the second, and now, the third is Professor Andrew White. Read more on the Pitch Drop experiment from UQ. -via Cracked

(Image credit: University of Queensland)

Meet Khutulun, the Wrestler Princess of the Mongol Empire

Khutulun was the great-great-granddaughter of Genghis Khan. She earned her title of wrestler princess when she declared that she will only marry her suitor if they bested her in wrestling. In the event that she won, they must give her a horse. And so it is said, that she, in the course of her lifetime, owned 10,000 horses.

Born around 1260 and raised with her 14 brothers, Khutulun excelled at horse riding, archery and wrestling, with the latter arguably the source of her reputation.
Khutulun was a feared fighter, who battled alongside her father against Kublai Khan, protecting the nomadic Mongol lifestyle of his Chagatai Khanate against the Chinese ways adopted by Kublai’s court.

Netflix's Marco Polo also featured Khutulun as her life warranted enough interest for the Italian explorer to mention her in his records. Learn more about Khutulun from SCMP and Rejected Princesses.

(Image credit: Quite Interesting/Twitter)

A Curious Custody Case for the Paris Police

A strange case of child trafficking came to light in Paris in 1909. A six- or seven-year-old girl approached the police and eloquently told a story in a language no one at the station could understand. When they determined she was speaking Armenian, an interpreter was brought in. The girl said a woman had kidnapped her from her grandparents' home in Syria. Only after the child's picture appeared in the newspaper did the woman emerge. The American woman said the girl was her daughter, who she had sent to her grandparents' home as an infant when she became a teenage widow, and she had recently retrieved her. The woman spoke a combination of English and French, and she and the child had no common language.  

The child, upon hearing that story, expanded her account by declaring she knew her mother, and had seen her only a year before, and that other parts of the woman's tale were untrue. She said her name was Marianne, although the woman called her Annette.

Another newspaper account expands on the story, although it may be a little hard to read. The American woman's story was investigated, and apparently she had used several different names in her travels, and had drafted a letter to her husband about bringing home a young servant. Her story then expanded to accommodate that discovery, in that her second husband didn't know about her child from her first marriage, so she concocted the servant story. While we still don't know what happened in the end, it is doubtful that Marianne was allowed to leave Paris with the woman who claimed to be her mother.


The Unique River That Flows to Two Oceans

Gravity will have its way, and it controls the way water works everywhere on earth. Water falls from the sky and then flows downward along the slope of the earth. Traditionally, people have respected that, and settled into places where nature provides a water supply. But in the modern era, people often disregard nature's water supplies to rely on technology. Still, there's a limit to how much we can do to overcome the laws of gravity and the enormous geography we have. Half as Interesting take a look at the way water flows in North America, and focuses on a singular anomaly in Wyoming. That's the home of mysteriously-named North Two Ocean Creek. Far from any ocean, this is the one place along the Continental Divide where water can flow to either the Atlantic or the Pacific Oceans! It's not a phenomena we can engineer to bring water to the people who need it; it's both unique and natural.  

Illustrating the Pain of Beauty

The photograph above by photographer Dina Litovsky has gone viral for showing the state of a model's feet during New York Fashion Week. Litovsky has covered Fashion Week for 12 years now, and has always taken pictures illustrating the pain caused by constant changes of high heels on the models working the many shows, but most were not published. However, Litosky keeps them for her personal project Fashion Lust.

The model's wounds were not caused by this particular pair of shoes, but they do allow the damage of the entire week to be exposed. You can see they are too small, as are most of the shoes provided for the fashion shows. They are designed to look good, not to walk in. And that's the story of high heels.

Women unwittingly continue the centuries-old tradition that "beauty is pain" when we buy expensive shoes only to classify them according to the number of blocks they can be worn without causing blisters.

Litovsky tells the story of this image and what it says about the lives of everyday women at In the Flash. -via Nag on the Lake 

(Image credit: Dina Litovsky)

Piece of Cake: A Drama Behind the Scenes in a Bakery

Two brides, porcelain wedding cake toppers Val and Mara, are unsatisfied with the grooms they are paired with. Val's designated groom turns abusive, and his bride is injured but not destroyed. The other couple, Mara and Jesse, come to the rescue and the whole cake shop turns into a war scene. After the violence dies down, Val and Mara really only want to be with each other. It's a touching tale, but the real story is revealed in still shots shown during the credits. I had to laugh when the shopkeeper arrived the next morning. As Marvel has taught us, never leave before the credits roll. The award-winning short film Piece of Cake was written and directed by Sophie Feher and produced by Emma Goeas at the Savannah College of Art and Design.

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