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The Weekend Links

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Would the world be a better place if we had jetpacks? There's a strong possibility.

If you have a soft spot for potentially exploitative black and white movies with dogs dressed as humans and dubbed with voices from 1928, then this completely weird but awesome video from Jill will be just your cup of tea.

I've posted several origami links in the past, because my own inadequacies in the field make me exceedingly impressed by anyone who can do it. Here's another example - a guy who can do complex origami blindfolded in under two minutes, with a lovely cello accompaniment.

Of course, another round up of the Craziest Shoes in the World (part deux)

A pretty cool interactive Olympic map that tallies up medals won by countries. Play around with the timeline feature, and notice how countries who are hosting the Olympics do significantly better with the home-field advantage (no big surprise there I suppose)

Speaking of the Olympics (warning: nerd alert! nerd alert!) - a video from Meg with World of Warcraft characters singing the Olympic song. Yes it's in Chinese, but yes it's still ridiculous and funny (but not as jaw dropping and astounding as the opening ceremonies last night!!)

Have you ever noticed simple items in your household bearing a tag such as "Patent No. 2938402394"? Have you ever wondered what some of those other 2938402393 patents are? Here's a website with some very strange (and in some cases, wonderful) patents. (Thanks Paul!)

Another set of great musical links from Rachel - first, lots of musicians, one note each, followed by one instrument and several people playing it, and finally, one man, one cello, and plenty of different sounds. (Side note one this last link - the guy is brilliant, but that video could use some upgrades ...)

It's hard finding a job these days, so perhaps your best bet is to not take no for an answer.

This one goes out to the bibliophiles - a collection of stunning, beautiful photos of yes, libraries.

Here's a way to floss the gray matter this weekend - attempt to name these countries on a map (Harder than it looks!)

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Since I seem to have Olympic fever, I managed to find pictures of an amazing Beijing garden, which definitely puts a great many crafted foliage exhibits to shame.

A note on writing style from the peerless Kurt Vonnegut.

A few more Picassoheads this week from your fellow Flossers:
"wind curse" by catastrophic
"advice" by Mikey
"a tribute to doisneau" also by Mikey, who is rather talented in the MrPicassoHead ways

Last but not least ... lil laugh of the week

Keep sending in great links, pictures and whatnot to FlossyLinks@gmail.com. Have a fantastic weekend!

[Last Week'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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