Suddenly, a Square Pit in the Road

A few months ago, we were fascinated by watching the mayhem of the physics game BeamNG.Drive when someone put a massive hill in the road. Here's another dangerous situation from the game that's going viral. The road looks just fine from a distance, but there's a giant square pit. Who can drive fast enough to get to the other side? Not many vehicles can do it, so the allure here is watching the rest of them getting ruined in a variety of ways. The takeaway is that you do not want to approach a hidden square pit while pulling a trailer. Unless you're driving a Tesla cybertruck. Plenty of commenters swear they see potholes this big on their drive to work. The rest of them are arguing that it isn't a square hole, it's a rectangle. They're certainly right. It leaves you with a wreck and a tangle. -via reddit

Toddler Bites Snake to Death

(SLURPent t-shirt now on sale at the Neatoshop)

Newsweek brings us a story from a village near Bingol, Turkey, of a snake which passed away after suffering a toddlerbite. Neighbors heard the 2-year old girl screaming and ran to her. When they arrived, they found that the girl had bite marks on her lip and a living 20-inch snake in her mouth.

The snake died shortly thereafter. The little girl was taken to a hospital. After 24 hours of observation, she was released in good health.

The snake species is unknown, but of the 45 snake species native to Turkey, 12 are venomous. It is likely, but not certain, that the late serpent was non-venomous.

-via Dave Barry

Kindergarten Teacher Uses Words Invented by Her Students

Mrs. F, a kindergarten teacher in California, knows the importance of adapting her communication to meet the needs of her audience. Right now, that's 5-year old children.

Her kids have a language of her own. She explains that this is because kids will naturally create words that fit into their pre-existing mental schemas. A lot of words invented by little kids simply make more sense than adult words. Why not call the lower half of your leg your foreleg if the lower part of your arm is the forearm?

When she was a toddler, my eldest daughter referred to our stroller as the gogogol, presumably because it was used to go places. This was a superior designation to stroller, so my wife and I started using it, too.

Foods That Went from Gross to Glorified

Just about anything that the earth produces will be loved by some, detested by some, and eaten by many. But food has always been a marker of class, and many types of food have suffered from class discrimination. If it is edible and plentiful, then it will be affordable to poor people, and the rich will look down on it for just that reason. It's happened over and over, but eventually that food's reputation will change, either because it became expensive enough to be prized, or else enough people try it and like it that a tipping point is reached. Sometimes a dish is considered "low class" only until someone finds a way to get rich from it, like importing it to places where no one knows that it's a staple among the poor.

For example, lobster was so plentiful when Europeans first colonized America that people got sick of eating so much of it. When other food sources were established, lobster was relegated to poor people, prisoners, and livestock. It's much better when it's a rare treat, which people will pay a premium for today. Read about 15 foods that were once considered trash but are now a treat at Cracked.

(Image credit: Digimint)

The Life Story of the Iceberg That Sank the Titanic

The voyage of the RMS Titanic in 1912 was such a spectacular disaster that it's never really been out of the news in over a hundred years. It dominated newspapers for months afterward, books were written, and movies were made about it. Millions were spent to find the Titanic at the bottom of the ocean, and relics from the ship have taken their places in museums. But rarely do we hear the story from the other side- that of the iceberg.

When it was born as an iceberg in 1909, it was 100 feet tall and two miles wide, much bigger than most icebergs. But the unnamed iceberg's story began much earlier, when it started its journey as part of a glacier. The iceberg was already elderly for an iceberg and had outlived its contemporaries when it encountered the Titanic. Read about that iceberg, its origins, travels, and ultimate death, at Smithsonian. 

The Names That Are Most Often Changed in the US

People change their legal names at different times in their lives for different reasons, the most common reason being marriage. But what about first names? The Social Security Administration released a list of the names that were changed the most in the past five years. At the top of the list for names that are changed to something else are Chole and Issac. At the top of the lists for the most commonly adopted names when a name is changed are Chloe and Isaac. Coincidence? No, these have to be cases in which the name was accidentally misspelled on a birth certificate. We'd really like to know who did the misspelling and how long it took the parents to notice, but that information is not available.

See the rest of the lists of names that are most often changed, and also lists of baby names that are gaining in popularity and those that are dropping in popularity. Surprisingly, Karen is not at the top of the girls' list of names that are dipping in popularity. I don't know what Denise, or Denisse, has done to deserve such disgrace. The boys' names that are falling in popularity make sense, because no one can spell Jaxtyn, Karsyn, and Xzavier. And maybe people have figured out that Willie is supposed to be a nickname for William. -via Fark

Paper Shredder in the Form of a Pooping Dog

Did your dog eat your homework? Or did your dog protect your sensitive documents from prying eyes? You can blame or praise this dog sculpture by Atlanta-based artist and art director Pablo Rochat.

Behind the cover, the paper shredder in the dog's mouth routes the strips to the rear. Perhaps a receptacle would be handy, but it's more realistic to show the dog uncaringly pooping on your nice clean floor.

Pro tip: do not put dog poop in your shredder. Instead, put it in someone else's shredder for mirthful hijinks.

Why Brands Are Simplifying Their Logos

There's an emerging trend in graphic design: brands are simplifying and flattening their visual logos. They're taking out the flourishes, shadows, accents, and other details that were common just a decade ago.

Why? Photographer, writer, and miscellanist Ben Schott explains in this video for Bloomberg News that the digitization of graphic design made complexity more feasible, so designers made complex works to demonstrate their skills. This is no longer necessary.

And, with graphic designs increasingly focused on small smartphone screens, complexity is counterproductive. "Pixel pressure" -- the maximum size available to a logo -- encourages designers to create images that are easier to instantly comprehend. The details must go.

-via Laughing Squid

The Science Behind Touchscreens

Touchscreens were first developed in 1965, but the first one I ever used professionally was in 1999 when I worked at a radio station that had music recorded on and played by computer. Deejays could start, stop, and rearrange the music on screen with our fingers. One day my boss sneezed in the studio and showered the screen with snot droplets. Every song scheduled for that hour, plus ads, played at once. That's when we all started washing our hands -and the screens- regularly. But not all touch screens respond to flying liquid, or even fingers if they are gloved. Those older types of touchscreens had to be modified for phones, or else butt-dialing would be a national epidemic. This TED-Ed lesson explains how touch screens work and the difference in the old screens that were activatewd by a stylus (or a sneeze) and new touch screens that will work with a sausage. -via Geeks Are Sexy

Dogs Photographed While Catching Treats

It happens in just an instant. Dogs are very good at catching tasty snacks thrown in their direction, but if you blink, you'll miss seeing it. German photographer Christian Vieler is very good at catching those exact moments with a high-speed camera. The dogs are already in a portrait setting, so their derpy faces in action are both hilarious and adorable. Click to the right on the galleries above and below to see more dogs at their best.

Vieler loves dogs, and they love him, too. It's a lot of fun posing for a photographer who throws treats at your face! See more of Vieler's awesome dog photos (with a cat or two as well) at Instagram. -via Nag on the Lake

When TV News Anchors Have a Baby

Have you ever wondered about that peculiar delivery and cadence people use on TV newscasts? They speak that way so that every word is understandable to the viewers and so that their natural accents don't get in the way. But do they speak like that all the time? Jeannette Reyes is a morning news anchor at Fox5 in Washington, DC. Her husband Robert Burton is a morning news anchor at WJLA ABC-7. They welcomed a new baby girl on June 30, and now give us a news update on what life is now like at their home. Jeannette does break character at one point, which only highlights how odd the whole idea is. -via reddit

Hollywood Myths About Mobsters

Most of what we know about classic organized crime, as in the Mafia, comes from movies and TV. If you've watched The Sopranos and you've seen Goodfellas and The Godfather, you know about the traditions and stereotypes that surround la Cosa Nostra. Except Hollywood always manages to throw extra mustard on their stories to get butts in the seats, whether at a theater or at home. Real life doesn't follow a script, and stereotypes aren't universal in the real world. While some mob movies are based on real-life people, these are the cases that came to light and made national headlines- and many of them were from quite a long time ago.

For example, we tend to think that cooperating with law enforcement and informing on your colleagues is a death sentence. If that were so, how do we have so many former mobsters making bank with their tell-all books? Cracked takes a deep dive into four things you'll see in a gangster movie that aren't quite true, and why. Yes, there are video examples.

An Extreme Case of Helicopter Parenting

Bored Panda has a list gleaned from an AskReddit post in which the question was, "What is the most extreme example of helicopter parenting that you have ever witnessed?" You can imagine the stories that came out of the almost-10K comments. There are plenty of parents who want to do everything for their child and put them at risk of never learning to do things for themselves. But one account stuck out from the others because of the term "helicopter parent." It doesn't always mean what you think it means.  

My brother was injured pretty badly while training in Lebanon. (Israeli army). The base commander (equivalent to a captain in the us army) refused to send him to a hospital because he was partially to blame for the accident and asked the camp nurse to take care of him.

The nurse, after pumping my brother up on morphine, contacted my mom. Mom, who was a military police colonel at the time, proceeded to commandeer a chopper, fly up to the base, tear the commander a new a*****e and evac my brother out.

I mean, she literally took a helicopter. I don't think it gets more helicopter parent than that.

To be fair, she's a good mom and never really tried to control us too much. If s**t gets serious though, she'll happily murder anyone who threatens her family.

That was cool, wasn't it? We can call her a helicopter mom because of the mode of transportation, but a better term would be Mama Bear. You can see more of the best of those stories at Bored Panda.

(Image credit: Israel Defense Forces)

An Efficient Way to Water Houseplants

Nathan W. Pyle (previously at Neatorama) is responsible for bringing us the aliens in his Strange Planet series. But his comics are about anything and everything. Recently, no doubt while emptying his humidifier, he thought about how this water might somehow be used for something, like watering the houseplants. How could this be accomplished? Using the ceiling fan sounds like a genius idea! But then he started troubleshooting.

Every time he solved a problem, that only brought up another problem.

So maybe this is not such a practical idea after all.

But it was all worth it for the laughs. It won't be long before someone tries this in the real world. Look for a video coming soon. Or maybe not. See more of Pyle's comics at Instagram.

The Horror of Drowning in Sewage

Britain’s worst inland waterway disaster was the sinking of the SS Princess Alice in the river Thames. This happened in 1878, when the ship collided with the larger Bywell Castle. The Princess Alice was broken in two, and sank quickly. More than 600 people drowned. The crew of the Bywell Castle rushed to save as many people from the river as possible, and local boatmen from both shores joined in the effort. They managed to pull 130 survivors from the water. Curiously, dozens of the survivors became ill afterward, and 16 more people died within two weeks of the wreck.

The collision happened near two of London's sewage pumping stations, only an hour after they had pumped 75 million gallons of sewage into the river. The water was also polluted by factories up and down the river. The accounts of survivors of the Princess Alice described the horrible condition of the water from which they were pulled. Descriptions of those who drowned were pretty grim, too. The wreck itself led to inquiries and lawsuits in which it was determined that both ships were at fault. It also led to discussions in Parliament over sewage treatment practices and changes in the way London's wastewater was handled. Read the story of the SS Princess Alice at Amusing Planet. 

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