CLOSE
Original image

Where unlikely superheroes go to die

Original image

Yes, it's the internet. That's where you'll find thousands upon thousands of geek fanboy attempts at creating their own superheroes on celluloid (or at least highly compressed digital tape), now quietly decomposing in the graveyard of ideas that is YouTube. Here are some of our favorites, exhumed for your viewing pleasure. The thing they all share is the creative genius (some might argue) of one Dan Harmon, who wrote and co-created the 80s-style Knight-Rider parody Heatvision and Jack, starring Jack Black and Owen Wilson, and directed by a hilariously pretentious Ben Stiller. Check out the first (and only) episode, a pilot made for Fox but never picked up:

Riding low on the failure of his almost-success, a few years later Harmon started a Los Angeles-based film competition called Channel 101, which challenged whomever wanted to compete to make a five-minute (fake) TV pilot, the lot of which would be screened and voted on in some public place (a bar, usually), and either picked up (ie, recieved a lot of votes), or cancelled (did not). Harmon himself created some of the funniest pilots for 101, including a number of unlikely superhero shows. Check 'em out, but be forewarned, those among you with Victorian sensitivities: some of them are downright bawdy; ribald, even!

After the jump, that is ...

COMPUTERMAN
Jack Black plays a man turned into a computer (and sings the theme song). A man-puter?

LASER FART
Eating a burrito from a malfunctioning microwave gives Dan Harmon special powers.

THE LYNX
Even the concept it too naughty (and silly) to write here. Hilarious, but not for the easily offended!

Original image
iStock
arrow
Big Questions
What's the Difference Between Vanilla and French Vanilla Ice Cream?
Original image
iStock

While you’re browsing the ice cream aisle, you may find yourself wondering, “What’s so French about French vanilla?” The name may sound a little fancier than just plain ol’ “vanilla,” but it has nothing to do with the origin of the vanilla itself. (Vanilla is a tropical plant that grows near the equator.)

The difference comes down to eggs, as The Kitchn explains. You may have already noticed that French vanilla ice cream tends to have a slightly yellow coloring, while plain vanilla ice cream is more white. That’s because the base of French vanilla ice cream has egg yolks added to it.

The eggs give French vanilla ice cream both a smoother consistency and that subtle yellow color. The taste is a little richer and a little more complex than a regular vanilla, which is made with just milk and cream and is sometimes called “Philadelphia-style vanilla” ice cream.

In an interview with NPR’s All Things Considered in 2010—when Baskin-Robbins decided to eliminate French Vanilla from its ice cream lineup—ice cream industry consultant Bruce Tharp noted that French vanilla ice cream may date back to at least colonial times, when Thomas Jefferson and George Washington both used ice cream recipes that included egg yolks.

Jefferson likely acquired his taste for ice cream during the time he spent in France, and served it to his White House guests several times. His family’s ice cream recipe—which calls for six egg yolks per quart of cream—seems to have originated with his French butler.

But everyone already knew to trust the French with their dairy products, right?

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

Original image
iStock
arrow
science
Belly Flop Physics 101: The Science Behind the Sting
Original image
iStock

Belly flops are the least-dignified—yet most painful—way of making a serious splash at the pool. Rarely do they result in serious physical injury, but if you’re wondering why an elegant swan dive feels better for your body than falling stomach-first into the water, you can learn the laws of physics that turn your soft torso a tender pink by watching the SciShow’s video below.

SECTIONS

More from mental floss studios