Alpin Drums, A Sextet of Percussionists Who Play Toolboxes While Wearing Traditional Bavarian Garb

Alpin Drums is a German musical sextet who play percussion on various objects–including toolboxes in a video shot by Vimeo user malfecha–while wearing the traditional clothing of their Bavarian home.

via The Presurfer

Beloved ‘Mad Magazine’ and Movie Poster Artist Jack Davis Announces His Retirement at Age 90

Jack Davis

Jack Davis (previously), the legendary cartoonist whose work is most closely associated with his long run on Mad Magazine and the iconic movie posters he created during the 1960s and 1970s, has announced his retirement. The 90-year-old artist can still draw, but said that he is no longer pleased with his output.

I’m not satisfied with the work. I can still draw, but I just can’t draw like I used to.

Jack Davis joined up with Mad during its initial run as a humor comic, after working with Bill Gaines on the publisher’s EC Comics horror titles.

Jack Davis

Jack Davis

Jack Davis

Jack Davis

images via Wired

via Wired

‘The Auteurs of Christmas 2′, Humorous Short Holiday Films Shot in the Style of Iconic Filmmakers

“The Auteurs of Christmas 2″ is the second in a series of annual shorts by Fourgrounds Film that compiles various short and silly holiday films shot in the style of iconic filmmakers from Jean-Luc Godard to Michael Bay.

submitted via Laughing Squid Tips

Hector, A Large Robot Based on a Stick Insect That Can Move Its Six Legs Independently

Hector is a large six-legged robot built by Axel Schneider and his team from Bielefeld University in Germany that is capable of moving each of its six legs independently of one another. The robot, which was inspired by stick insects, can traverse uneven terrain and climb over obstacles using built in sensors.

At the moment, Hector is fitted with short-range cameras and sensors that provide information about its body position and immediate surroundings. But the team is working on adding longer-range sensors to better mimic the abilities of’ real insects. The improved prototype should be a useful tool for biologists studying animal locomotion.

Bebo Relaunches as a Messaging App With Animated Avatars After Being Bought Back by Its Founder

Bebo Bebo

Bebo has been relaunched as a new feature-rich messaging app after the social networking service was bought back from AOL by founder Michael Birch for a reported $1 million ($849 million less than AOL had initially paid for the service). The app will give users access to their old photos, but is otherwise largely unrecognizable as a chat service, featuring animated avatars and a slew of hashtag-based activities.

#Draw – let’s you doodle right in your chat window
#Music – an easy way to send a song while messaging
#Location – shows your Bebo on a map so your friends know where you are!

Bebo Bebo

images via Bebo

San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge Light Installation ‘The Bay Lights’ to Become a Permanent Installation

The Bay Lights

Today Illuminate the Arts, the organization that produced The Bay Lights (previously), a large-scale LED installation by Leo Villareal currently on the San Francisco—Oakland Bay Bridge, announced that it has raised enough money to make the work a permanent installation. The group has raised the $4 million necessary to upgrade and reinstall the work in 2016, after its scheduled removal in 2015 to make way for bridge maintenance. Upon its reinstallation, the State of California has agreed to take ownership of The Bay Lights and provide for its maintenance in future years. It is expected to be on display through 2026 at the least.

photo by Scott Beale

via The New York Times, Burning Blog

‘Plagues and Pleasures on the Salton Sea’, A Documentary About the Curious Tale of California’s Salton Sea

Plagues and Pleasures on the Salton Sea is a documentary about the strange case of the Salton Sea, a manmade lake in the California desert that was once a tourist resort destination, but is now a much-diminished salt lake notorious for its brackish water and rank odor. Directed by filmmakers Chris Metzler and Jeff Springer, the 2006 documentary tells the tale of the lake, from its accidental creation in 1905, through its brief success as a resort destination in the 1950s, to its subsequent decline. The film also includes interviews with some of the lake’s few remaining residents–a remarkably resilient community of artists, eccentrics, and recluses. The documentary was selected for Truly CA, a KQED series that showcases independent documentaries about California. Plagues and Pleasures on the Salton Sea can be streamed in its entirety through the KQED Arts YouTube channel.

Once known as the California Riviera, the Salton Sea is now called one of America’s worst ecological disasters: a fetid, stagnant, salty lake, coughing up dead fish and birds by the thousands. Yet a few hardy eccentrics hang on to hope, including a roadside nudist waving at passing European tourists, a man building a religious mountain out of mud and paint, beer-loving Hungarian Revolutionary Hunky Daddy, and the real-estate Ronald McDonald known simply as The Landman. Through their perceptions and misperceptions, the strange history and unexpected beauty of the Salton Sea is revealed.

Plagues and Pleasures on the Salton Sea

image via Plagues and Pleasures on the Salton Sea

JetBlue Employee Digitally Clones Himself to Fill All 100 Seats in an Airliner in Creative Composite Photo

100 Tims on a Plane by Timothy LaBranche

Back in October, photographer and JetBlue employee Timothy LaBranche created a digital composite photo in which “100 Tims” occupy all 100 seats of a JetBlue Embraer 190 aircraft. To create the image, LaBranche photographed himself in each of the aircraft’s seats–a one-hour process that he accomplished with the aid of the Wi-Fi remote function of his Canon 6D. And if you’re wondering–he did the photo shoot in his off hours.

photo by Timothy LaBranche

via PetaPixel

Mental Floss Shares the Surprising and Festive Origins of Holiday Traditions

In a recent episode of the Mental Floss series List Showhost John Green shares the festive origins of some holiday traditions. A few of the more surprising origins include how Christmas Eve became the busiest night of the year for KFC restaurants in Japan, the fact that the celebration of Festivus predates its inclusion in an episode of the television show Seinfeld, and the persistent lie of the Christmas pickle.

Compound Interest Explains Why a Love of Brussels Sprouts May Be Genetic

Brussels sprouts

UK chemistry teacher Andy Brunning of Compound Interest explains the possible genetic basis for people’s appreciation of the taste of Brussels sprouts.

Sulforaphane, a compound found in Brussels sprouts, was featured in the 2014 Chemistry Advent Calendar.

There’s one vegetable at the Christmas dinner table that’s always bound to elicit strong and contrary opinions: brussels sprouts. Much like marmite, they seem to conjure up a ‘love it or hate it’ sentiment; however, if you fall into the latter camp, there may actually be a chemical and genetic reason why you can’t stand the taste.

Brunning’s book, Compound Interest: The Curious Chemistry of Food and Drink, is scheduled to be released next year and is available for preorder.

image via Compound Interest