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The Weekend Links

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From Slate, a slideshow of strange maps that include California as an island, utopia in the shape of a skull, and other cartographic curiosities.
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I'm thinking about getting my bathtub redone. What do you guys think? Here are 11 more creative bathtubs.
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A partridge in a pear tree isn't what it used to be ... it's cheaper! The '12 days of Christmas' did get slightly pricier overall though, with the Christmas Price Index climbed an anemic 0.9% this year as plunging bird prices offset an increase in the cost of five gold rings.
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When Geeks inherit the earth, expect more everyday gadgets like these nerdcore wallets (actually, I can't wait!)
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Flossy Faithful Sarah (no doubt inspired by this article), found yet another strangely specific museum all about lace. Has anyone been?
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If you think the BCS bracket is a lot of mess and nonsense, they've got nothing compared to the fairness (or lack thereof) in Mortal Kombat. ("Wait, so she doesn't fight until Round 7? What does she do before then, get 6 rounds of byes?" "If that's what you want to call it ... yes.")
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Do you have lush acreage coveted by your neighbor? Or perhaps your apartment is going co-op and those adjacent to you are anxious to expand? Don't fall for the old Trojan Pig trick!
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Here's an end-of-the-year list that's actually worth reading: the Nat Geo News's Top Ten Discoveries of 2009 (including megamouth sharks, giant snakes, a transparent-headed fish, and rare species rescued from obscurity—then eaten).

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We've probably all had a case of Buyer's Remorse, especially on those occasional impulse buys. And even though the old adage goes "one man's trash is another man's treasure," I have a feeling anyone who buys products featured on Regretsy (bizarre or poorly constructed items on Etsy) will be feeling the sorrow sooner than later.
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Pretty cool purse ... but can it play music and video? I guess you need to radio or TV bag for that. You just might find them among these 50 extremely unique bags.
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A very cool traveling photo exhibition in the Karamoja Cluster: Researchers from Tufts University have been traveling around rural Uganda with an outdoor photography exhibition that features pictures they took during their previous fieldwork. They tape the photographs to minivans and hang them from trees, inviting people to come and look.
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Art is everywhere - from mind blowing guerrilla graffiti to corporate airplane creations, to digitally manipulated images that are pretty darn rad.
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I thought this was cute and worth a gander for any baseball fans (also I happen to be a big fan of simple rhyme schemes): Baseball from A to Z: The All-Star Alphabet Team.
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When looking for a job, "find your niche" they say. Well, if you enjoy hanging from ropes around alcohol, a job as a Wine Angel might be just the thing for you.
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A surprised kitten sports some amazing jazz hands.
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Oh my, there's really just a neverending supply of ugliest tattoos. Please, readers, see these are cautionary tales! But then it's ok to laugh. Do any of your out there have any regrettable tattoos?
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30 Rock fans will know that Tracy Jordan is now on a quest to become an EGOT winner (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony). But that kind of achievement still pales in comparison to some of these 5 major overachievers (including the man who wrote over 200,000 books and the man with 20 post graduate degrees).
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Weekend Project 1: A coloring book dress you can wear! (ok this version is a little pricey, but it's a cool idea overall!)
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Weekend Project 2: How to Make a 3-D Origami Christmas Star. Report back if you managed it!
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A very big thank you and much love to everyone who sent me Birthday greetings last week, and for those (especially Jan!) who sent in a bundle of links as a gift! Don't stop now - send all your fabulous, funny or freakish finds to FlossyLinks@gmail.com. Have a great weekend!

[Last Weekend's Links]

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Richard Bouhet // Getty
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science
4 Expert Tips on How to Get the Most Out of August's Total Solar Eclipse
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Richard Bouhet // Getty

As you might have heard, there’s a total solar eclipse crossing the U.S. on August 21. It’s the first total solar eclipse in the country since 1979, and the first coast-to-coast event since June 8, 1918, when eclipse coverage pushed World War I off the front page of national newspapers. Americans are just as excited today: Thousands are hitting the road to stake out prime spots for watching the last cross-country total solar eclipse until 2045. We’ve asked experts for tips on getting the most out of this celestial spectacle.

1. DON’T FRY YOUR EYES—OR BREAK THE BANK

To see the partial phases of the eclipse, you will need eclipse glasses because—surprise!—staring directly at the sun for even a minute or two will permanently damage your retinas. Make sure the glasses you buy meet the ISO 12312-2 safety standards. As eclipse frenzy nears its peak, shady retailers are selling knock-off glasses that will not adequately protect your eyes. The American Astronomical Society keeps a list of reputable vendors, but as a rule, if you can see anything other than the sun through your glasses, they might be bogus. There’s no need to splurge, however: You can order safe paper specs in bulk for as little as 90 cents each. In a pinch, you and your friends can take turns watching the partial phases through a shared pair of glasses. As eclipse chaser and author Kate Russo points out, “you only need to view occasionally—no need to sit and stare with them on the whole time.”

2. DON’T DIY YOUR EYE PROTECTION

There are plenty of urban legends about “alternative” ways to protect your eyes while watching a solar eclipse: smoked glass, CDs, several pairs of sunglasses stacked on top of each other. None works. If you’re feeling crafty, or don’t have a pair of safe eclipse glasses, you can use a pinhole projector to indirectly watch the eclipse. NASA produced a how-to video to walk you through it.

3. GET TO THE PATH OF TOTALITY

Bryan Brewer, who published a guidebook for solar eclipses, tells Mental Floss the difference between seeing a partial solar eclipse and a total solar eclipse is “like the difference between standing right outside the arena and being inside watching the game.”

During totality, observers can take off their glasses and look up at the blocked-out sun—and around at their eerily twilit surroundings. Kate Russo’s advice: Don’t just stare at the sun. “You need to make sure you look above you, and around you as well so you can notice the changes that are happening,” she says. For a brief moment, stars will appear next to the sun and animals will begin their nighttime routines. Once you’ve taken in the scenery, you can use a telescope or a pair of binoculars to get a close look at the tendrils of flame that make up the sun’s corona.

Only a 70-mile-wide band of the country stretching from Oregon to South Carolina will experience the total eclipse. Rooms in the path of totality are reportedly going for as much as $1000 a night, and news outlets across the country have raised the specter of traffic armageddon. But if you can find a ride and a room, you'll be in good shape for witnessing the spectacle.

4. PRESERVE YOUR NIGHT VISION

Your eyes need half an hour to fully adjust to darkness, but the total eclipse will last less than three minutes. If you’ve just been staring at the sun through the partial phases of the eclipse, your view of the corona during totality will be obscured by lousy night vision and annoying green afterimages. Eclipse chaser James McClean—who has trekked from Svalbard to Java to watch the moon blot out the sun—made this rookie mistake during one of his early eclipse sightings in Egypt in 2006. After watching the partial phases, with stray beams of sunlight reflecting into his eyes from the glittering sand and sea, McClean was snowblind throughout the totality.

Now he swears by a new method: blindfolding himself throughout the first phases of the eclipse to maximize his experience of the totality. He says he doesn’t mind “skipping the previews if it means getting a better view of the film.” Afterward, he pops on some eye protection to see the partial phases of the eclipse as the moon pulls away from the sun. If you do blindfold yourself, just remember to set an alarm for the time when the total eclipse begins so you don’t miss its cross-country journey. You'll have to wait 28 years for your next chance.

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HBO
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Pop Culture
IKEA Publishes Instructions for Turning Rugs Into Game of Thrones Capes
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HBO

Game of Thrones is one of the most expensive TV shows ever produced, but even the crew of the hit HBO series isn’t above using an humble IKEA hack behind the scenes. According to Mashable, the fur capes won by Jon Snow and other members of the Night’s Watch on the show are actually sheepskin rugs sold by the home goods chain.

The story behind the iconic garment was first revealed by head costume designer Michele Clapton at a presentation at Los Angeles’s Getty Museum in 2016. “[It’s] a bit of a trick,” she said at Designing the Middle Ages: The Costumes of GoT. “We take anything we can.”

Not one to dissuade customers from modifying its products, IKEA recently released a cape-making guide in the style of its visual furniture assembly instructions. To start you’ll need one of their Skold rugs, which can be bought online for $79. Using a pair of scissors cut a slit in the material and make a hole where your head will go. Slip it on and you’ll look ready for your Game of Thrones debut.

The costume team makes a few more changes to the rugs used on screen, like shaving them, adding leather straps, and waxing and “frosting” the fur to give it a weather-worn effect. Modern elements are used to make a variety of the medieval props used in Game of Thrones. The swords, for example, are made from aircraft aluminum, not steel. For more production design insights, check out these behind-the-scenes secrets of Game of Thrones weapons artists.

[h/t Mashable]

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