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The Weekend Links

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"¢ After reading Higgins' great article on Eliza the AI chatterbox, you may want to check out Chatterbox Central, which links to tons of other internet bots you can have a conversation with ... you lonely, lonely soul you. (Thanks Dail!)

"¢ Jan has sent in a very dangerous link to Rockabye Baby Music, where rock songs are turned into sweet lullabyes. Dangerous because I nearly fell into a sweet slumber listening to a few. Try it out!

"¢ Spring is in the air! Now it can be on your internet browser as well (Hint: Just click and drag around for some thankfully non-pollen magic.)

"¢ Not sure why you would need this (I say that after spending a solid 10 minutes fiddling with it), but a website that allows you to spell things upside down. (via makezine.com)

"¢ I don't know what kinda of person thinks, "If I take this vintage Jeff Goldblum iMac commercial and slow it down 30 percent, hilarity will ensure," but I'm glad they did. And, well, it does.

"¢ Flossy reader Edward sends us a link to an amazing drumming robot with plenty of detail on how it was built and how it works. Not what you would think, but probably a great way to annoy your roommate (via Music Thing)

"¢ A clever rebuttal to our feature on 10 TV Shows That Changed the Course of History. Couch potatoes unite!

"¢ Speaking of predictions, here are 10 prophetic Sci-Fi movies. Just be glad that some, like Brazil, didn't make the list.

"¢ Another March Madness bracket, but this time showing if winners were predicted by median salaries of graduates. I would like to point out I would not have even made the selection show on this one.

"¢ For people who do have some disposable income, start planning your summer vacations with a look at the World's Largest Roadside Attractions. Has anyone been to any of these?

"¢ Still on the thread of disposable (and, well, income)—three strange but funny commercials for JAPP Chocolate. They destroy 3 Porsches in the process of filming, which makes me think this must be some really great, money-generating chocolate!

"¢ The science of drafting baseball movie characters. More like alchemy, with about the same percentage of gold produced.

"¢ Did someone just throw the A-Town Down call? Atlanta Hawks mascot loses a dance-off to a pushy kid, with fantastic results.

"¢ Remember a few weeks ago when we kept challenging you to name all the members of college conferences in one minute? It kind of got old, and we never got around to posting all of them. Here you go, Pac 10 fans.

"¢ I don't come from a place with wind turbines, so they sort of frighten me with their resemblance to a kind of giant medieval torture device. Still, not all wind turbines have to be huge and menacing, as this Massachusetts town has recently discovered.

Much love and thanks to everyone who sent in links this week! Keep it up - all links, pictures, plugs and gifts should be sent to FlossyLinks@gmail.com. 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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