Those crazy candidates!

Still a year and a half til the US presidential election, and the internet is already littered with campaign sites. Besides the declared major party candidates, there are unofficial websites for candidates who aren't running but may conceivably change their minds, like Al Gore, and Condoleezza Rice. There are also campaigns to draft candidates who don't want the job, fringe candidates who haven't got a chance, and fictional characters who are running for president. There are even two guys on my blogroll who have announced their candidacy!

Florida humorist Dave Barry runs for president in every election, despite never actually getting on a ballot in any state. 2008 will be no exception. His campaign website hasn't been updated for the 2008 campaign yet, but its just a matter of time, as he has now his first endorsement. Already, bumper stickers are available. Notice the bumper sticker does not specify which election, so its recyclable.

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When the Christopher Walken for President 2008 website went up last year, a lot of people thought it was real. It looks real. You can even buy a t-shirt. The press release explained that "there would be relatively minimal publicity at this early stage," due to Walken's contracted film production schedule. In a world where Arnold Schwarzeneggar is a governor, Ronald Reagan became president, and Al Franken is running for senate, Christopher Walken would be a believable candidate you could get behind. Alas, Walken himself has no plans to run, and had nothing to do with the website.

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Bill Gates has billions of dollars, a foundation formed to save the world, and a corporation full of geeks to invent toys he can play with. Why would he want to be president? He doesn't. The site Bill Gates for President admits that Gates isn't interested in getting involved in politics, but also states that "this website will probably never change Bill's mind, but we feel we have the right to try."

More potential candidates, pseudo-candidates, and fictional candidates after the jump.

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Jeff Bridges for President is an online petition to draft the Big Lebowski actor into the election. Bridges played a US president in the 2000 movie The Contender. Although the petition has been online since 2005, there are only 86 signatures so far.

 

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In his book Dude, Where's My Country? Michael Moore described the perfect presidential candidate: Oprah Winfrey. He has a draft petition site where you can add your name. The Oprah Winfrey for President movement is made up of fans who think she'd be a great choice. They've even got a theme song! The problem is that Oprah doesn't want to have anything to do with them.

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The Jon Stewart/Stephen Colbert campaign website features a petition drive, but neither candidate appears to need an arm-twist to get them to run. Their slogan: Trust and Truthiness.

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Cthulhu is a monster from H.P. Lovecraft's book The Call of Cthulhu, described as "humanity's most basic nightmare". This fictional character has a presidential campaign at The Home Page for Evil. Campaign slogan: Why vote for a lesser evil?

 

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Another science fiction candidate is General Zod. Zod, best known as Superman's nemesis, has a platform that includes the end to the war in Iraq, universal healthcare, and corporate reform. He also pledges to disband Congress and the Supreme Court because they are so meddlesome. All he asks for is your tribute, your lives, and your vote. I-Mockery has a Help Zod page and a merchandise page.

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Ackbar, a rebel alliance leader in Star Wars, was endorsed early by the Llama Butchers. If support builds, we may see a website soon.

There are surely more candidates out there, and more to come before November, 2008. If you are over 35 years old and a natural-born US citizen, you can run for president. Winning, on the other hand, is very difficult.

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Employees at Antarctica's McMurdo Station Are Throwing a Party for Pride Month
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Employees at Antarctica's McMurdo Station are gearing up to celebrate Pride month in one of the world's harshest environments. On Saturday, June 9, the station will host what Hannah Valian, who deals with the center's recycling efforts, calls "one of the larger parties ever thrown" at the station.

McMurdo Station is an Antarctic research facility owned and operated by the United States. The station is more sparsely populated during Antarctica's colder autumn and winter seasons (which run from March to September), but employees tell us there's still a decent-sized LGBTQ scene to celebrate this June.

About 10 of the 133 people currently at McMurdo identify as LGBTQ, says Rachel Bowens-Rubin, a station laboratory assistant. Valian said the idea for a Pride celebration came up in May at one of the station's regular LGBTQ socials.

"Everyone got really excited about it," she tells Mental Floss via email. "So we ran with it."

Ten individuals are wearing coats while holding a rainbow-colored Pride flag. They are standing in snow with mountains in the distance.
"I hope when people see this photo they'll be reminded that LGBTQ people aren't limited to a place, a culture, or a climate," McMurdo's Evan Townsend tells Mental Floss. "We are important and valuable members of every community, even at the bottom of the world."
Courtesy of Shawn Waldron

Despite reports that this is the continent's first Pride party, none of the event's organizers are convinced this is the first Pride celebration Antarctica has seen. Sous chef Zach Morgan tells us he's been attending LGBTQ socials at McMurdo since 2009.

"The notion is certainly not new here," he says.

To Evan Townsend, a steward at the station, this weekend's Pride event is less a milestone and more a reflection of the history of queer acceptance in Antarctica.

"If anything," Townsend says, "recognition belongs to those who came to Antarctica as open members of the LGBTQ community during much less welcoming times in the recent past."

This week, though, McMurdo's employees only had positive things to say about the station's acceptance of LGBTQ people.

"I have always felt like a valued member of the community here," Morgan tells us in an email. "Most people I've met here have been open and supportive. I've never felt the need to hide myself here, and that's one of the reasons I love working here."

Saturday's celebration will feature a dance floor, photo booth, lip sync battles, live music, and a short skit explaining the history of Pride, Valian says.

"At the very least, I hope the attention our Pride celebration has garnered has inspired someone to go out and explore the world, even if they might feel different or afraid they might not fit in," Morgan says. "'Cause even on the most inhospitable place on Earth, there's still people who will love and respect you no matter who you are."

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New Nap Pods—Complete with Alarm Clocks and Netflix—Set for A Trial Run at Airports This Summer
Courtesy of Airpod
Courtesy of Airpod

Sleepy travelers in Europe can soon be on the lookout for Airpods, self-contained capsules designed to help passengers relax in privacy.

For 15 euros per hour (roughly $18), travelers can charge their phones, store their luggage, and, yes, nap on a chair that reclines into a bed. The Airpods are also equipped with television screens and free streaming on Netflix, Travel + Leisure reports.

To keep things clean between uses, each Airpod uses LED lights to disinfect the space and a scent machine to manage any unfortunate odors.

The company's two Slovenian founders, Mihael Meolic and Grega Mrgole, expect to conduct a trial run of the service by placing 10 pods in EU airports late this summer. By early 2019, they expect to have 100 Airpods installed in airports around the world, though the company hasn't yet announced which EU airports will receive the first Airpods.

The company eventually plans to introduce an element of cryptocurrency to its service. Once 1000 Airpods are installed (which the company expects to happen by late 2019), customers can opt in to a "Partnership Program." With this program, participants can become sponsors of one specific Airpod unit and earn up to 80 percent of the profits it generates each month. The company's cryptocurrency—called an APOD token—is already on sale through the Airpod website.

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

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