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The Weekend Links

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Through the years Santa has taken on many forms, but a biker? A penguin? These are just a few of the more recent incarnations of the man we called Claus.
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Vanity thy name is ... all of these 7 incredibly vain historical figures!
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Airports are pretty crazy during the holidays, and delays are common. However, there are a few airports that are so cool and unique that you may wish you were Tom Hanks in the movie "Terminal" just to have the time to explore them all.
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9 Amazing Can Sculptures, including a caterpillar made out of 9,168 cans of tuna and Coney Island sculpture made out of over 6,000 cans of various vegetables!
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Have yourself a merry ... and terribly traumatic OMG shield the children's eyes! kind of holiday with this giant Santa statue on fire in Brazil.
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Like a flash fire or a flash flood, a flash mob can happen anywhere ... especially if there's dancing involved. Here are the Top 10 Flash Mobs of 2009.
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When I saw these "25 Worst Album Covers of the Decade" at first I thought, "oh great, another decade list." Then I thought ... "how can this possibly be real??" to "I have to post this immediately." Enjoy!
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Just for the "cool" of it: an animation xray of a mouth talking
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It's Tiger this and Tiger that all over the media - but just how well do you know your Hollywood mistresses? Take the quiz and judge your tabloid prowess.
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You guys know I always bring you the most up-to-date news on geeks inheriting the Earth, so here is the latest: They have usurped Christmas! The evidence? These 11 extremely geeky ornaments. (Thanks Jan!)
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Plenty of celebrities and politicians may wish there was no such thing as text messaging (as it has, y'know, lead to a downfall or two), but there are some cases where a well-placed text might have been just the thing, such as these (Imagined) Text Messages From Famous Trials.
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Speaking of scandal, this San Antonio blog quickly visualizes the mystery of why so many tabloid covers look the same ... (Answer: because they are!)
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This link goes out to all designers, especially for the web, and anyone who has spent time on strategic web committees: I give you (thunder clash) web design from hell.
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Snuggle up in the cold weather with some deeply ponderous movies - though by no means a definitive list, a good place to start are these 10 Movies that Make You Think.
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Some amazing 3D advertisements to catch your eye (or potentially put your eye out if you get too close)
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Don't you wish you had friends like these? One Facebook comment chain spirals out of control in a funny way. One more from CollegeHumor: what if the Internet named TV shows?
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Nature doing amazing things: silk frost.
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Finally, here's a Weekend Project for all you aspiring CIA ops: how to hollow out a book (with pictures, pictures, and more pictures. Plus some pretty good commentary)
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Thanks as always to everyone who sends in links, with a special shout-out to link faithfuls Jan and Sarah. Your efforts are much appreciated! It's the season of giving so ... give me some links! Send all submissions to FlossyLinks@gmail.com. Have a warm 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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