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The Late Movies: Absurd Campaign Ads

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I live with a self-confessed TV marathoner, and right now we're plowing our way through The West Wing. Spending all this time in Martin Sheen's White House has me a little angry with Rob Lowe for the sway he holds over my girlfriend and a little depressed with the real-word politicians we've got. Aside from the occasional faux pas, Team Bartlett ran a clean, positive re-election campaign in seasons 3 and 4, with none of the absurdity and, in some cases, sheer insanity, you'll see in these ads.

Hendon for Lieutenant Governor
This is audio only, but you really don't need a visual to get some LOLs out of it. Illinois State Senator Rickey Hendon is running for Illinois lieutenant governor, and has been running this ad on radio stations across the state. The audio quality is poor, but you can get the gist. We're listening in on a house party where conversation is focused on three things:

1. Hendon's accomplishments, like getting free bus rides for seniors and stopping "them fools" from putting up red light cameras.
2. Where the pretty girls are up in here.
3. Twinkies.

Robinson for Congress
Vernon Robinson is infamous in North Carolina for two failed Congressional runs and the ads that went with them.

This one manages to be racist, homophobic, xenophobic and completely off-your-meds insane in less than 60 seconds. Kind of impressive. Makes you wonder why voters in NC's 13th district didn't want "the black Jesse Helms" to lead them back to the traditional values of a fictional television show.

Power to the People vs. Give Peace a Chance
This is a little bit of campaign ad, a little bit of music video and a whole lot of weirdness all rolled into one. Former U.S. senator Mike Gravel (Alaska), you might remember, ran as a libertarian candidate for president in 2008. This is the first in a series of campaign videos/American Idol audition tapes he made that year.

McKenna for Coroner
Eighty-year-old Frank Minyard has been the Orleans Parish coroner for almost four decades. During his tenure, he ran into a spot of trouble when he allegedly removed bone pieces and corneas from bodies and gave them transplant centers without consent, and he was sued for it. His opponent in the upcoming election, Dwight McKenna, concluded from the lawsuit that Minyard is a Frankenstein-esque madman who's running a black market body parts ring from his office and turned his conspiracy theory into a great bit of television.

Fiorina for U.S. Senate
If you haven't seen this one yet, you're spending your time in the wrong parts of the Internet. Carly Fiorina pulls the ultimate character assassination on her opponent Tom Campbell and accuses him of being a demonic sheep with death ray eyes.


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Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images
Can’t See the Eclipse in Person? Watch NASA’s 360° Live Stream
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Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images

Depending on where you live, the historic eclipse on August 21 might not look all that impressive from your vantage point. You may be far away from the path of totality, or stuck with heartbreakingly cloudy weather. Maybe you forgot to get your eclipse glasses before they sold out, or can't get away from your desk in the middle of the day.

But fear not. NASA has you covered. The space agency is live streaming a spectacular 4K-resolution 360° live video of the celestial phenomenon on Facebook. The livestream started at 12 p.m. Eastern Time and includes commentary from NASA experts based in South Carolina. It will run until about 4:15 ET.

You can watch it below, on NASA's Facebook page, or on the Facebook video app.

Cephalopod Fossil Sketch in Australia Can Be Seen From Space

Australia is home to some of the most singular creatures alive today, but a new piece of outdoor art pays homage to an organism that last inhabited the continent 65 million years ago. As the Townsville Bulletin reports, an etching of a prehistoric ammonite has appeared in a barren field in Queensland.

Ammonites are the ancestors of the cephalopods that currently populate the world’s oceans. They had sharp beaks, dexterous tentacles, and spiraling shells that could grow more than 3 feet in diameter. The inland sea where the ammonites once thrived has since dried up, leaving only fossils as evidence of their existence. The newly plowed dirt mural acts as a larger-than-life reminder of the ancient animals.

To make a drawing big enough to be seen from space, mathematician David Kennedy plotted the image into a path consisting of more than 600 “way points.” Then, using a former War World II airfield as his canvas, the property’s owner Rob Ievers plowed the massive 1230-foot-by-820-foot artwork into the ground with his tractor.

The project was funded by Soil Science Australia, an organization that uses soil art to raise awareness of the importance of farming. The sketch doubles as a paleotourist attraction for the local area, which is home to Australia's "dinosaur trail" of museums and other fossil-related attractions. But to see the craftsmanship in all its glory, visitors will need to find a way to view it from above.

[h/t Townsville Bulletin]


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