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The Late Movies: Zoetrope

A zoetrope is a mechanical device that creates the illusion of moving pictures, based on a spinning cylinder in which slits are cut. You look through the slits at a picture on the other side, and the strobe effect of looking through the sequence of slits frames the sequential pictures on the inside. It was invented in about 180AD. That's a long time ago! The modern way to do it is to use strobe lights or camera shutters to recreate the effect of looking through slits, but however you do it, a zoetrope is still magical.

Turntable and Strobe Light

Even if you have no more vinyl records and can't get a needle, you might want to keep your turntable around for projects like this!
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Phonographantasmascope

Using the principle of the old zoetropes, Jim LeFevre built his own 3D discs and rotated them with turntables. The strobe effects is dependent on the camera's shutter speed. The voices you hear is LeFevre explaining the phonographantasmascope to museum patrons.
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3D Zoetrope Mapping

Light effects lend extra magic to this experimental project from Graeme Hawkins.
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Cyclotrope

Tim Wheatley used bicycle parts to make a zoetrope he calls a "cyclotrope".
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Praxinoscope

A praxinoscope is a zoetrope that uses a series of mirrors inside the cylinder instead of slits. It was this kind of device that Edweard Muybridge used to show his famous horse sequence, the first photographic moving picture.
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A Steam-powered Praxinoscope

Professor Hall explains his experiment as he goes along.
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Phenakistiscope

A phenakistiscope is related to the zoetrope, in fact, it works on the same principle, but is shaped differently. See the device here. Thanks to modern cameras and their shutters, we can watch the motion without viewing through the slits.
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Sony Braviadrome

Sony built a huge zoetrope in Turin, Italy in 2008 for an ad campaign that eventually aired in Australia.
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Pixar's Zoetrope

Pixar made this 3D zoetrope to illustrate how animation works. A strobe light turns this turntable into a lifelike cartoon.
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We Got Time

A video by David Wilson for the song "We Got Time" by Moray McLaren. Also watch a fascinating video explaining how he did it.

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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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