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A Big Round of Niche Blogs

If you are looking for new places to explore online, there are more and more niche blogs that might tickle your funny bone for a few minutes or may be something you are passionately into, especially with the explosion in the number of Tumblr blogs -over 20 million of them! There's something about the Tumbler combination blogging and social network platform that inspires new bloggers to try it out, and also inspires established bloggers to launch two, three, or dozens of new blogs about very narrow subjects (even mental_floss has one). Not all the niche blogs here are Tumblr blogs, but the vast majority are. I have conveniently ignored the many blogs with an expletive in the title.

Food

Ramen noodles aren't just for preschoolers and starving college students anymore! But before you select yours, consult the Ramen Rater. The author of the Ramen Rater has sampled and critiqued 451 unique varieties of instant ramen noodles from around the world -so far! The blog has those ratings, as well as all kinds of recipes and other information about noodles. Pretty Foods & Pretty Drinks is a photoblog of consumables that are too artful to actually eat. Pictured are mini flag cakes; links to the recipes or original pictures are included. Doom Cakes spans the gap between food blogs and movie blogs. This site documents the "cinematic tradition in which any beautifully decorated cake serves as a harbinger of imminent catastrophe (often including the destruction of said cake)."

Animals

You'll never go wrong posting pictures of cute animals. There are so many such pictures that very specific blogs grew up around the available material. Animals with Stuffed Animals shows us our pets snuggled up with the toys they love. Aww!

Cats. Where they do not belong. is a photo blog of cats in strange places. Well, maybe not so strange to anyone who has a cat. Pets Who Want to Kill Themselves features pictures of animals dressed up in clothing or costumes. They would be embarrassed if they cared. Along the same lines, Animals Dressed as Other Animals limits itself to pets wearing costumes depicting animals.

Chemistry

Beautiful Proteins is a serious science blog by Mike Tyka, a scientist who is also an artist. He renders the molecular structure of proteins in a way that both illustrates their makeup and shows their beautiful patterns. Shown here is a complex arrangement of eight cystatin C molecules. Caffenol is a blog dedicated to the homemade film developing chemical caffenol, which consists of instant coffee and washing soda, and its uses. A fascinating, if obscure, hobby.

History

You know these two fine-looking young men, even if you've never seen a photograph of either one before. They were both posted at My Daguerreotype Boyfriend, a photo blog dedicated to the attractive men of yesteryear that are still with us thanks to the invention of the camera. On the left is Almanzo Wilder, husband of author Laura Ingalls Wilder. On the right is Russian author and playwright Anton Chekhov. Hotties from History posts photos along the same lines, but doesn't limit itself to men.

Historical Meet-Ups documents those moments when celebrities who (one would think) have no reason to ever meet actually did. You might be surprised, but remember that celebrities can be fans, too -with better access to their object of admiration than we have. Then there are those stories of coincidence, such as Albert Einstein living in the same New Jersey neighborhood as the child who grew up to be the ultra-hippie Wavy Gravy. Black and WTF features strange photographs from way back in time. Some have explanations, some don't; it just proves that ever since the invention of photography, people have pointed cameras at weird sights that no one would believe otherwise.

Celebrities

Actors With Action Figures collects pictures of the unique set of actors who portrayed a character and then had the honor of having the toy action figure designed to look like them. Shown is actress Karen Gillan with the Amy Pond action figure from Doctor Who designed after her portrayal. Another truly specific blog subject is Tom Hanks in a Wax Museum. There's enough material to keep this one going because so many museums have a Tom Hanks figure, and so many tourists have their photograph made with them.

Celebrity Dinosaurs Are Awesome! imagines your favorite dinosaurs with famous faces. Yes, that's all it is. Pictured is the Stephen Colberaptor. The blog Everything is Better with Ducks has pictures of a cartoon duck dressed as various celebrities, fictional characters, and themes.

Words

Starbucks Spelling is dedicated to the custom of baristas writing a customer's name on a cup, for which they sometimes get the spelling wrong. The offense is forgivable as it's hard to hear in a crowded shop, but the result is often worth a laugh. Shown here are four different orders Omar recorded. Onion-like Headlines in Real Life tracks wonderfully absurd or punny headlines, which only encourages more of that sort of thing. More power to them.

Star Trek

Spock on Earth is a blog featuring Craig Galentine's Star Trek Kokeshi dolls placed in various real-world settings and situations. He invites suggestions for new photographs. Here you see Spock browsing the tomatoes at the Union Square Green Market in New York City. At another blog, Spock is Not Impressed, we see Photoshopped images of Spock being very unimpressed by things we would find quite impressive. So be it. Spock rarely, if ever, appears in Fashion It So, a blog about the clothing and costumes seen on the TV series Star Trek: The Next Generation. Charlie and Anna are having a good time capturing screenshots and coming up with commentary on the fashions of the 23rd century.

See also: A Sampling of Niche Blogs
Niche Blogs: Found Photos Edition
Niche Blogs: Focused on Food
Niche Blogs: The English Language
Niche Blogs for Everyone!
Strangely Specific: A Roundup of Niche Blogs

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Animals
India Now Has a Private Ambulance Service Just for Cows
CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP/Getty Images

In India, where the majority of residents are Hindu, the cow is sacred. Just how sacred? So sacred that one state recently launched a private ambulance service for injured cattle.

According to The Guardian, the ambulance service in Uttar Pradesh was launched by Keshav Prasad, the state’s deputy chief minister. While it has the support of the government, it’s not a state-funded enterprise. It’s paid for by an NGO called the Gau Vansh Raksha trust, which operates several gaushalas, or animal shelters specifically aimed at housing old and unwanted cows to protect them from slaughter. (The Indian government also runs its own gaushalas, paying for the cows’ upkeep through state funds.)

The trust launched five ambulances in May 2017, and received hundreds of calls within the first week of operation. The ambulances are equipped with sirens and basic surgery supplies and are run by volunteers.

Though India has a secular government, more than a dozen Indian states have banned the slaughter of cattle out of deference to the Hindu majority. The laws are controversial for the country's beef-eating Christian and Muslim populations (who also make up the bulk of the country's large cattle-export industry), however. The same month the service launched, the Indian government instituted a full ban on selling cows for slaughter. The ban is currently on hold while India’s Supreme Court rules on whether or not it is constitutional.

[h/t The Guardian]

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Hieronymus Bosch / Hieronymus Bosch Work Memes
6 Niche Blogs You Should Read
Hieronymus Bosch / Hieronymus Bosch Work Memes

We know you have a few blogs you go to every day for general information, news, and entertainment, and we’re glad that mental_floss is one of them. But every once in a while, you want to branch out to something new and different, something really crazy and good for a laugh. These single-subject blogs with a very narrow focus just might be what you’re looking for.

1. DEPRESSING FRIDGE POEMS

Rusty Epstein has a set of refrigerator word magnets, and he’s not afraid to use them. His word combinations are not the cheery, uplifting phrases your mom puts up for everyone to see; they are Depressing Fridge Poems. They are so sad, they will most likely make you laugh, at least a little. Then you’ll feel bad about laughing.

2. THE SETUP WIZARD

Here’s a blog that tech workers and Harry Potter fans alike will enjoy. The Setup Wizard puts those workers in the world of Harry Potter by giving us a first-person account of a Muggle IT guy named Jonathan Dart who works at Hogwarts. "It took them until 2016," he writes, "but both students and staff alike have finally caved and demanded that their cell phones work on school grounds, and with that request they had to find a 'muggle' (a term I’m quickly learning to detest) to install wifi and maintain any technology that functions on school grounds." He rolls his eyes at the students and professors who think a little magic will make everything all right, when the magic actually tends to make things worse. You can read the saga so far in chronological order, and then keep up with new entries in blog order.

3. EATS LIKE A DUCK

There’s been a lot of food featured on The Simpsons in its more than two decades on the air. Eats Like a Duck features those foods one at a time, with references to the episode a particular food appeared in and recipes that will allow a reader to make it. For example, in the episode “Homerpalooza” (season 7), Homer tries to sneak homemade Kahlua into a concert. (It's not the best idea—as the blogger behind Eats Like a Duck notes, "The stifling heat of an outdoor concert just doesn’t really pair well with the sweet coffee flavor of Kahlua, homemade or store bought.") Other recipes on the site include Bart’s Grilled Twizzlers, A Cool Glass of Turnip Juice, Blandoori, Clove Tom Collins Pie, and, of course, The Flaming Homer.

4. BOWIEBRANCHIA

Nudibranchs are ocean mollusks that come in a huge variety of shapes and colors. David Bowie was a music and art icon who, over the course of his career, flaunted a lot of colorful and creative looks. The Tumblr blog Bowiebranchia matches Bowie’s looks with a nudibranch.

5. HIERONYMUS BOSCH WORK MEMES

Do you ever feel that being at work is like one of the gory, torturous details in a Hieronymus Bosch painting? You know, like The Garden of Earthly Delights? The blog Hieronymus Bosch Work Memes knows that feeling, and will come up with an image macro that puts those feelings into words. (Note: Some images may be NSFW.) You’ll find an archive of older posts at the blog’s previous address.

6. HRH MARVIN, #THEROYALHAMSTER

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, along with their children Prince George and Princess Charlotte, have a hamster named Marvin. That inspired Christine Frazier to imagine Marvin leading the wonderful life of a royal hamster. She posts her illustrations at her new blog called HRH Marvin, #TheRoyalHamster. It contains pictures of the royal family in the news, and then Frazier's drawings of Marvin living out that image with a little narration, often wearing the same fashions as in the news image. Above, you see Marvin playing polo in the style of the Princes William and Harry, although you will more often see him in Kate Middleton’s newsworthy fashions.

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