The Weekend Links

"¢ 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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Win a Trip to Any National Park By Instagramming Your Travels
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If you're planning out your summer vacation, make sure to add a few national parks to your itinerary. Every time you share your travels on Instagram, you can increase your chances of winning a VIP trip for two to the national park of your choice.

The National Park Foundation is hosting its "Pic Your Park" sweepstakes now through September 28. To participate, post your selfies from visits to National Park System (NPS) properties on Instagram using the hashtag #PicYourParkContest and a geotag of the location. Making the trek to multiple parks increases your points, with less-visited parks in the system having the highest value. During certain months, the point values of some sites are doubled. You can find a list of participating properties and a schedule of boost periods here.

Following the contest run, the National Park Foundation will decide a winner based on most points earned. The grand prize is a three-day, two-night trip for the winner and a guest to any NPS property within the contiguous U.S. Round-trip airfare and hotel lodging are included. The reward also comes with a 30-day lease of a car from Subaru, the contest's sponsor.

The contest is already underway, with a leader board on the website keeping track of the competition. If you're looking to catch up, this national parks road trip route isn't a bad place to start.

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15 Dad Facts for Father's Day
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Gather 'round the grill and toast Dad for Father's Day—the national holiday so awesome that Americans have celebrated it for more than a century. Here are 15 Dad facts you can wow him with today.

1. Halsey Taylor invented the drinking fountain in 1912 as a tribute to his father, who succumbed to typhoid fever after drinking from a contaminated public water supply in 1896.

2. George Washington, the celebrated father of our country, had no children of his own. A 2004 study suggested that a type of tuberculosis that Washington contracted in childhood may have rendered him sterile. He did adopt the two children from Martha Custis's first marriage.

3. In Thailand, the king's birthday also serves as National Father's Day. The celebration includes fireworks, speeches, and acts of charity and honor—the most distinct being the donation of blood and the liberation of captive animals.

4. In 1950, after a Washington Post music critic gave Harry Truman's daughter Margaret's concert a negative review, the president came out swinging: "Some day I hope to meet you," he wrote. "When that happens you'll need a new nose, a lot of beefsteak for black eyes, and perhaps a supporter below!"

5. A.A. Milne created Winnie the Pooh for his son, Christopher Robin. Pooh was based on Robin's teddy bear, Edward, a gift Christopher had received for his first birthday, and on their father/son visits to the London Zoo, where the bear named Winnie was Christopher's favorite. Pooh comes from the name of Christopher's pet swan.

6. Kurt Vonnegut was (for a short time) Geraldo Rivera's father-in-law. Rivera's marriage to Edith Vonnegut ended in 1974 because of his womanizing. Her ever-protective father was quoted as saying, "If I see Gerry again, I'll spit in his face." He also included an unflattering character named Jerry Rivers (a chauffeur) in a few of his books.

7. Andre Agassi's father represented Iran in the 1948 and 1952 Olympics as a boxer.

8. Charlemagne, the 8th-century king of the Franks, united much of Western Europe through military campaigns and has been called the "king and father of Europe" [PDF]. Charlemagne was also a devoted dad to about 18 children, and today, most Europeans may be able to claim Charlemagne as their ancestor.

9. The voice of Papa Smurf, Don Messick, also provided the voice of Scooby-Doo, Ranger Smith on Yogi Bear, and Astro and RUDI on The Jetsons.

10. In 2001, Yuri Usachev, cosmonaut and commander of the International Space Station, received a talking picture frame from his 12-year-old daughter while in orbit. The gift was made possible by RadioShack, which filmed the presentation of the gift for a TV commercial.

11. The only father-daughter collaboration to hit the top spot on the Billboard pop music chart was the 1967 hit single "Something Stupid" by Frank & Nancy Sinatra.

12. In the underwater world of the seahorse, it's the male that gets to carry the eggs and birth the babies.

13. If show creator/producer Sherwood Schwartz had gotten his way, Gene Hackman would have portrayed the role of father Mike Brady on The Brady Bunch.

14. The Stevie Wonder song "Isn't She Lovely" is about his newborn daughter, Aisha. If you listen closely, you can hear Aisha crying during the song.

15. Dick Hoyt has pushed and pulled his son Rick, who has cerebral palsy, through hundreds of marathons and triathlons. Rick cannot speak, but using a custom-designed computer he has been able to communicate. They ran their first five-mile race together when Rick was in high school. When they were done, Rick sent his father this message: "Dad, when we were running, it felt like I wasn't disabled anymore!"

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