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Own a Piece of History (But Not a Very Important One)

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If you want to see some truly historic sports memorabilia, you've got to make the trip to a hall of fame or museum. After all, Babe Ruth's uniform isn't just hanging in any old closet. However, if you wanted to start your own museum, you could do that, too. Granted, you probably wouldn't have the same quality of exhibits, but eBay sellers do a thriving trade with people who want to own a piece of sports history, just not a particularly important piece. While nothing currently up for auction is as unsettling as a wad of Terry Francona's used gum and chewing tobacco, all manner of absurd game-used gems are available. Let's take a look at some of the more bizarre offerings a PayPal account can secure you right now:

Masumi Kuwata 2007 Pittsburgh Pirates Jersey

From 1986 to 2006, Kuwata was a legendary pitcher for the Yomiuri Giants of Japan's Central League. In 2007 he joined the Pirates as a 38-year-old rookie reliever and proceeded to get absolutely shelled, as often happens to the Pirates' pitchers. Over the course of 21 innings, he racked up an ERA of 9.43 and surrendered six home runs. For those of you who aren't baseball fans, I'll clarify: he was truly horrendous. And now you can own one of the jerseys he might have had on while pitching this batting practice! The starting bid is a scant $1,750, which means if you want to dress as a "Terrible Relief Pitcher" for Halloween this year, this costume pretty much pays for itself.

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Tony Dumas 1996-1997 Phoenix Suns Jersey

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Dumas was a great target for mockery on some truly abysmal Dallas Mavericks teams, especially if you willfully mispronounced his last name. His career highlights include a 39-point game in 1996 and wrecking his knee while attempting his "Texas Twister" dunk in the 1995 NBA Slam Dunk contest. If you're a size 46 plus two inches of length, then you can slip into Tony's threads from his six-game stint with the Suns in the 1996-97 campaign. You probably wont' be able to pull off the Texas Twister, either.

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Kazuhisa Ishii Game-Used Bat

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Kaz Ishii spent four decent years as a starting pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets before returning to his native Japan. Like most pitchers, Ishii wasn't much with the bat. In 164 big-league at-bats in his four-year career here, he got 18 hits for a cool .110 batting average with a single home run, exactly one more than you've probably hit in the majors. For only a $99 starting bid, you might be able to own the lumber that Ishii used to strike fear in the hearts of opposing pitchers. The other guys in your softball league will be terribly intimidated.

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NFL Game-Used ? Chin Strap

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That rogue question mark isn't a typo "“ this one may not have been game-used at all. But really, can you afford to miss out on what could potentially be a piece of history? For only an opening bid of $10, you can get your hands on this handsome Riddell chin strap, complete with number 85 sticker on either side. The seller doesn't know what team or what player this gem might have come from or even if it was used in an NFL game, but if you want to own some memorabilia (or just keep a hat or helmet affixed to your head), this could be your bargain. Which number 85 might have worn it? Chad Johnson? Antonio Gates? An anonymous high-school tight end?

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Kansas City Scouts Game-Used Hockey Bag

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This item appears to be a vinyl duffel bag used to transport hockey equipment during the New Jersey Devils' forerunners' stint in Kansas City from 1974-76. Granted, I wasn't alive and watching hockey in the mid-"˜70s, so this might be a stupid point. However, unless the rules of the game were much, much different then, it seems hard to believe that a duffel was "game used." "Season-used," maybe, but were players toting bags around on the ice before faceoffs? It's only going for $300, though, so you might as well buy it to find out.

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David LaFleur Dallas Cowboys Jersey

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After an All-American career at LSU, tight end LaFleur became the Cowboys' first-round draft pick in 1997. Although LaFleur caught seven touchdowns in 1999, he was something of a bust in the NFL and was out of the league after the 2000 season. That doesn't mean you can't still buy his game-used jersey for a mere $200, thought. One look at the jersey itself illuminates part of why LaFleur was a favorite of NFL scouts: he's really, really tall. The jersey has seven extra inches of length, so even if you can't wear it to play football, it would make a sharp summer dress.

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DreamWorks
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entertainment
15 Must-Watch Facts About The Ring
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DreamWorks

An urban legend about a videotape that kills its viewers seven days after they see it turns out to be true. To her increasing horror, reporter Rachel Keller (then-newcomer Naomi Watts) discovers this after her niece is one of four teenage victims, and is in a race against the clock to uncover the mystery behind the girl in the video before her and her son’s time is up.

Released 15 years ago, on October 18, 2002, The Ring began a trend of both remaking Japanese horror films in a big way, and giving you nightmares about creepy creatures crawling out of your television. Here are some facts about the film that you can feel free to pass along to anybody, guilt-free.

1. DREAMWORKS BOUGHT THE AMERICAN RIGHTS TO RINGU FOR $1 MILLION.

There were conflicting stories over how executive producer Roy Lee came to see the 1998 Japanese horror film Ringu, Hideo Nakata's adaptation of the 1991 novel Ring by Kôji Suzuki. Lee said two different friends gave him a copy of Ringu in January 2001, which he loved and immediately gave to DreamWorks executive Mark Sourian, who agreed to purchase the rights. But Lee’s close friend Mike Macari worked at Fine Line Features, which had an American remake of Ringu in development before January 2001. Macari said he showed Lee Ringu much earlier. Macari and Lee were both listed as executive producers for The Ring.

2. THE DIRECTOR FIRST SAW RINGU ON A POOR QUALITY VHS TAPE, WHICH ADDED TO ITS CREEPINESS.

Gore Verbinski had previously directed MouseHunt. He said the first time he "watched the original Ringu was on a VHS tape that was probably seven generations down. It was really poor quality, but actually that added to the mystique, especially when I realized that this was a movie about a videotape." Naomi Watts struggled to find a VHS copy of Ringu while shooting in the south of Wales. When she finally got a hold of one she watched it on a very small TV alone in her hotel room. "I remember being pretty freaked out," Watts said. "I just saw it the once, and that was enough to get me excited about doing it."

3. THE RING AND RINGU ARE ABOUT 50 PERCENT DIFFERENT.

Naomi Watts in 'The Ring'
© 2002 - DreamWorks LLC - All Rights Reserved

Verbinski estimated that, for the American version, they "changed up to 50 percent of it. The basic premise is intact, the story is intact, the ghost story, the story of Samara, the child." Storylines involving the characters having ESP, a volcano, “dream logic,” and references to “brine and goblins” were taken out.

4. IT RAINED ALMOST EVERY DAY WHEN THEY FILMED IN THE STATE OF WASHINGTON.

The weather added to the “atmosphere of dread,” according to the film's production notes. Verbinski said the setting allowed them to create an “overcast mood” of dampness and isolation.

5. THE PRODUCTION DESIGNER WAS INFLUENCED BY ANDREW WYETH.

Artist Andrew Wyeth tended to use muted, somber earth tones in his work. "In Wyeth's work, the trees are always dormant, and the colors are muted earth tones," explained production designer Tom Duffield. "It's greys, it's browns, it's somber colors; it's ripped fabrics in the windows. His work has a haunting flavor that I felt would add to the mystique of this movie, so I latched on to it."

6. THERE WERE RINGS EVERYWHERE.

The carpeting and wallpaper patterns, the circular kitchen knobs, the doctor’s sweater design, Rachel’s apartment number, and more were purposely designed with the film's title in mind.

7. WATTS AND MARTIN HENDERSON HAD A FRIENDLY INTERNATIONAL RIVALRY.

Martin Henderson and Naomi Watts star in 'The Ring' (1992)
© 2002 - DreamWorks LLC - All Rights Reserved

The New Zealand-born Henderson played Noah, Rachel’s ex-husband. Since Watts is from Australia, Henderson said that, "Between takes, we'd joke around with each other's accents and play into the whole New Zealand-Australia rivalry."

8. THE TWO WEREN’T SURE IF THE MOVIE WAS GOING TO BE SCARY ENOUGH.

After shooting some of the scenes, and not having the benefit of seeing what they'd look like once any special effects were added, Henderson and Watts worried that the final result would not be scary enough. "There were moments when Naomi and I would look at each other and say, 'This is embarrassing, people are going to laugh,'" Henderson told the BBC." You just hope that somebody makes it scary or you're going to look like an idiot!"

9. CHRIS COOPER WAS CUT FROM THE MOVIE.

Cooper played a child murderer in two scenes which were initially meant to bookend the film. He unconvincingly claimed to Rachel that he found God in the beginning, and in the end she gave him the cursed tape. Audiences at test screenings were distracted that an actor they recognized disappears for most of the film, so he was cut out entirely.

10. THEY TRIED TO GET RID OF ALL OF THE SHADOWS.

Verbinski and cinematographer Bojan Bazelli used the lack of sunlight in Washington to remove the characters’ shadows. The two wanted to keep the characters feeling as if “they’re floating a little bit, in space.”

11. THE TREE WAS NICKNAMED "LUCILLE."

The red Japanese maple tree in the cursed video was named after the famous redheaded actress Lucille Ball. The tree was fake, built out of steel tubing and plaster. The Washington wind blew it over three different times. The night they put up the tree in Los Angeles, the wind blew at 60 miles per hour and knocked Lucille over yet again. "It was very strange," said Duffield.

12. MOESKO ISLAND IS A FUNCTIONING LIGHTHOUSE.

Moesko Island Lighthouse is Yaquina Head Lighthouse, at the mouth of the Yaquina River, a mile west of Agate Beach, Oregon. The website Rachel checks, MoeskoIslandLighthouse.com, used to actually exist as a one-page website, which gave general information on the fictional place. You can read it here.

13. A WEBSITE WAS CREATED BY DREAMWORKS TO PROMOTE THE MOVIE AND ADD TO ITS MYTHOLOGY.

Before and during the theatrical release, if you logged into AnOpenLetter.com, you could read a message in white lettering against a black background warning about what happens if you watch the cursed video (you can read it here). By November 24, 2002, it was a standard official website made for the movie, set up by DreamWorks.

14. VERBINSKI DIDN’T HAVE FUN DIRECTING THE MOVIE.

“It’s no fun making a horror film," admitted Verbinski. "You get into some darker areas of the brain and after a while everything becomes a bit depressing.”

15. DAVEIGH CHASE SCARED HERSELF.

Daveigh Chase in 'The Ring'
© 2002 - DreamWorks LLC - All Rights Reserved

When Daveigh Chase, who played Samara, saw The Ring in theaters, she had to cover her eyes out of fear—of herself. Some people she met after the movie came out were also afraid of her.

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Land Cover CCI, ESA
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European Space Agency Releases First High-Res Land Cover Map of Africa
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Land Cover CCI, ESA

This isn’t just any image of Africa. It represents the first of its kind: a high-resolution map of the different types of land cover that are found on the continent, released by The European Space Agency, as Travel + Leisure reports.

Land cover maps depict the different physical materials that cover the Earth, whether that material is vegetation, wetlands, concrete, or sand. They can be used to track the growth of cities, assess flooding, keep tabs on environmental issues like deforestation or desertification, and more.

The newly released land cover map of Africa shows the continent at an extremely detailed resolution. Each pixel represents just 65.6 feet (20 meters) on the ground. It’s designed to help researchers model the extent of climate change across Africa, study biodiversity and natural resources, and see how land use is changing, among other applications.

Developed as part of the Climate Change Initiative (CCI) Land Cover project, the space agency gathered a full year’s worth of data from its Sentinel-2A satellite to create the map. In total, the image is made from 90 terabytes of data—180,000 images—taken between December 2015 and December 2016.

The map is so large and detailed that the space agency created its own online viewer for it. You can dive further into the image here.

And keep watch: A better map might be close at hand. In March, the ESA launched the Sentinal-2B satellite, which it says will make a global map at a 32.8 feet-per-pixel (10 meters) resolution possible.

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

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