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The Weekend Links

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"¢ Here are 10 of the Strangest Sights in Google Street View. Now it's not Big Brother watching so much as, well, you? Check out The Map Room for more map-related fun. (Thanks Jan!)

"¢ Reader Jane sent in a link to this incredible product. As she put it, "it is amazing what Amazon.com will sell. If you got the $$ they have the item." Additionally, the user reviews makes this a classic.

"¢ You might have seen this, but for those who haven't: 30 Things That Should Never be Adapted to Film. Still, I KNOW you guys would go see the LOLCats movie. Don't even lie to yourselves!

The Scuba: a car that runs underwater. Take that, greenhouse gas!

"¢ This story from The Sun about a menacing gnome will scare you or excite you, but either way, seriously, what IS it?

"¢ From the AV Club, The Scandal of Olivia Newton-John: 12 surprisingly controversial Wikipedia pages. For PTI fans, I also hear they've finally opened back up editing on Kornheiser and Wilbon's pages as well.

"¢ Beware! People are watching you on the streets (see above), studying your reading habits, and listening to your conversations ... (Thanks to John for the links.)

"¢ Weekly dose of cute alert: If you are feeling blue, just click here for the best screen cleaner in the world!

"¢ We've talked about unfortunate facial hair in baseball, and so to tickle your fancy, here are some of the Worst Haircuts in Basketball History (via GorillaMask.net)

"¢ Absolutely amazing: 20 Incredibly Unconventional Hotel Rooms that will make you considering redecorating your own living space.

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"¢ Also from Jan, a list of the Most Unusual Books of the World. Pop-ups aren't just for kids!

"¢ Get ready, Flossers! Brett Savage is currently working on a Guns N' Roses quiz to whet your appetite for destruction. In the meantime, check out this vintage article from McSweeney's on the hilarious deconstruction of "Sweet Child O' Mine" by an editor.

Much love to everyone who sent in links this week ... please keep it up! Remember, pictures and shameless personal plugs are always welcome. Just send your stuff to flossylinks@gmail.com and gain a little flossy fame. Have a great weekend!

[Last Weekend's Links]

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Animals
25 Benefits of Adopting a Rescue Dog
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According to the ASPCA, 3.3 million dogs enter shelters each year in the United States. Although that number has gone down since 2011 (from 3.9 million) there are still millions of dogs waiting in shelters for a forever home. October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month; here are 25 benefits of adopting a shelter dog.

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fun
How Urban Legends Like 'The Licked Hand' Are Born
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If you compare the scary stories you heard as a kid with those of your friends—even those who grew up across the country from you—you’ll probably hear some familiar tales. Maybe you tried to summon Bloody Mary by chanting her name in front of the mirror three times in a dark bathroom. Maybe you learned never to wonder what’s under a woman’s neck ribbon. Maybe you heard the one about the girl who feels her dog lick her hand in the middle of the night, only to wake up to find him hanging dead from the shower nozzle, the words “humans can lick too” written on the wall in the dog’s blood.

These ubiquitous, spooky folk tales exist everywhere, and a lot of them take surprisingly similar forms. How does a single story like the one often called “Humans Can Lick Too” or "The Licked Hand" make its way into every slumber party in America? Thrillist recently investigated the question with a few experts, finding that most of these stories have very deep roots.

In the case of The Licked Hand, its origins go back more than a century. In the 1990s, Snopes found that a similar motif dates back to an Englishman’s diary entry from 1871. In it, the diary keeper, Dearman Birchall, retold a story he heard at a party of a man whose wife woke him up in the middle of the night, urging him to go investigate what sounded like burglars in their home. He told his wife that it was only the dog, reaching out his hand. He felt the dog lick his hand … but in the morning, all his valuables were gone: He had clearly been robbed.

A similar theme shows up in the short story “The Diary of Mr. Poynter,” published in 1919 by M.R. James. In it, a character dozes off in an armchair, and thinks that he is petting his dog. It turns out, it’s some kind of hairy human figure that he flees from. The story seems to have evolved from there into its presently popular form, picking up steam in the 1960s. As with any folk tale, its exact form changes depending on the teller: sometimes the main character is an old lady, other times it’s a young girl.

You’ll probably hear these stories in the context of happening to a “friend of a friend,” making you more likely to believe the tale. It practically happened to someone you know! Kind of! The setting, too, is probably somewhere nearby. It might be in your neighborhood, or down by the local railroad tracks.

Thrillist spoke to Dr. Joseph Stubbersfield, a researcher in the UK who studies urban legends, who says the kind of stories that spread widely contain both social information and emotional resonance. Meaning they contain a message—you never know who’s lurking in your house—and are evocative.

If something is super scary or gross, you want to share it. Stories tend to warn against something: A study of English-language urban legends circulating online found that most warned listeners about the hazards of life (poisonous plants, dangerous animals, dangerous humans) rather than any kind of opportunities. We like to warn each other of the dangers that could be lurking around every corner, which makes sense considering our proven propensity to focus on and learn from negative information. And yes, that means telling each other to watch out for who’s licking our hands in the middle of the night.

Just something to keep in mind as you eagerly await Jezebel’s annual scary story contest.

[h/t Thrillist]

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