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Charm City Cakes
Charm City Cakes

12 Great Wizarding Cakes for Harry Potter’s Birthday

Charm City Cakes
Charm City Cakes

Did you know Wednesday was Harry Potter’s birthday? To celebrate, here are some of the finest cakes inspired by the famous J.K. Rowling series.

1. No One Should Eat the Forbidden Forrest

While there are plenty of Hogwarts cakes out there, most of them only include the castle. Charly’s Bakery went above and beyond by including the grounds of the school, including the whomping willow, Hagrid’s hut and the Forbidden Forrest. They also included all of the Horcruxes.

2. Getting Some Perspective

Tastycakes’ take on Hogwarts is impressive not only because of its size, but also because it really captures the layout of the grounds. The cake features the staircase first year students take when they get off their boats, Hagrid’s hut, and the start of the Forbidden Forrest behind his shack. And while the cake is massive, it has all kinds of tiny details that make it truly incredible.

3. Special Effects for a Special Occasion

The lights and smoke that emit from this Hogwarts cake take it from pretty impressive to mind-blowing. Of course, it’s hard to expect anything less from the cake magicians at legendary Charm City Cakes.

4. Say Hello to My Little Friends

While the Cake Apothecary’s version might not be 100% accurate to the movie layout or feature special effects like some of the ones above, it makes up for it by adding in some of our favorite characters, including a few students in class within the cake itself.

5. Show Your True Colors

In an effort to celebrate all of the houses, Bakingdom created this fantastic cake that looks like it's made from scarves of all the different houses. This would be a perfect treat to open Quidditch season with a message about good sportsmanship.

6. Sorting Through the Sorting Hat Cakes

There are a whole lot of Sorting Hat cakes out there, but this one by Highland Bakery goes above and beyond by putting him on top of an already impressive cake painted with an image of the Hogwarts Express.

7. Send Hedwig Away to Enjoy The Cake Below

To be fair, Rosebud Cake’s sculpted bird cage and Hedwig aren’t part of the cake, but they certainly do add a lot to the design and they were made specifically for this project. Hedwig and her cage must be lifted up to reveal the cake underneath. Of course, the books, glasses, wand and potion are all edible.

8. A Perfect Perch for Hedwig

Into tall cakes? Then you’ll love this giant broom cake by Deb Kichline. As if the detailing, including a quill, ink, books, a wand, a scarf, golden snitches and Hedwig aren’t already impressive enough, you should know that the owl and snitches actually rotate on the top of the broom. Plus, the custom cake stand was equipped with an iPod and speakers so it could play the Harry Potter theme as the top rotated.

9. They’ve Grabbed The Golden Snitch In Love

While many of the other cakes on this list are more complex, the simplicity of Sweet Talk Cakes’ design is what makes it perfect for a classic, yet geeky, wedding, which is precisely what Allyson and Casey had in mind while planning their big day.

10. This Cake Is Ready to Bite Back

The great thing about this Book of Monsters cake by Cake Central user judy2808 is that you don’t have to stroke its spine gently in order to experience the delicious lessons inside. As a bonus, it comes with a tiny version of Dobby, complete with only one sock.

11. It’s Like Biting Into Your Favorite Book

Cake Central user pbjoachim took the covers of the Harry Potter books and placed them on perfectly shaped cakes with a wand and a ribbon bookmark. Bravo!

12. The Every Flavor Cupcake Topper Collection

The great thing about these cupcakes by Claire’s Cupcakes is that they have so many different icons on the tops. All of the houses are represented in two different ways, there’s a sign for Platform 9 ¾, the Sorting Hat is there, the obligatory glasses, lightning bolt and brooms are present, and, my personal favorite, there are even Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans on some of the cupcakes.

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Hulu
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10 Things We Know About The Handmaid’s Tale Season 2
Hulu
Hulu

Though Hulu has been producing original content for more than five years now, 2017 turned out to be a banner year for the streaming network with the debut of The Handmaid’s Tale on April 26, 2017. The dystopian drama, based on Margaret Atwood’s 1985 book, imagines a future in which a theocratic regime known as Gilead has taken over the United States and enslaved fertile women so that the group’s most powerful couples can procreate.

If it all sounds rather bleak, that’s because it is—but it’s also one of the most impressive new series to arrive in years (as evidenced by the slew of awards it has won, including eight Emmy and two Golden Globe Awards). Fortunately, fans left wanting more don’t have that much longer to wait, as season two will premiere on Hulu in April. In the meantime, here’s everything we know about The Handmaid’s Tale’s second season.

1. IT WILL PREMIERE WITH TWO EPISODES.

When The Handmaid’s Tale returns on April 25, 2018, Hulu will release the first two of its 13 new episodes on premiere night, then drop another new episode every Wednesday.

2. MARGARET ATWOOD WILL CONTINUE TO HELP SHAPE THE NARRATIVE.

Fans of Atwood’s novel who didn’t like that season one went beyond the original source material are in for some more disappointment in season two, as the narrative will again go beyond the scope of what Atwood covered. But creator/showrunner Bruce Miller doesn’t necessarily agree with the criticism they received in season one.

“People talk about how we're beyond the book, but we're not really," Miller told Newsweek. "The book starts, then jumps 200 years with an academic discussion at the end of it, about what's happened in those intervening 200 years. We're not going beyond the novel. We're just covering territory [Atwood] covered quickly, a bit more slowly.”

Even more importantly, Miller's got Atwood on his side. The author serves as a consulting producer on the show, and the title isn’t an honorary one. For Miller, Atwood’s input is essential to shaping the show, particularly as it veers off into new territories. And they were already thinking about season two while shooting season one. “Margaret and I had started to talk about the shape of season two halfway through the first [season],” he told Entertainment Weekly.

In fact, Miller said that when he first began working on the show, he sketched out a full 10 seasons worth of storylines. “That’s what you have to do when you’re taking on a project like this,” he said.

3. MOTHERHOOD WILL BE A CENTRAL THEME.

As with season one, motherhood is a key theme in the series. And June/Offred’s pregnancy will be one of the main plotlines. “So much of [Season 2] is about motherhood,” Elisabeth Moss said during the Television Critics Association press tour. “Bruce and I always talked about the impending birth of this child that’s growing inside her as a bit of a ticking time bomb, and the complications of that are really wonderful to explore. It’s a wonderful thing to have a baby, but she’s having it potentially in this world that she may not want to bring it into. And then, you know, if she does have the baby, the baby gets taken away from her and she can’t be its mother. So, obviously, it’s very complicated and makes for good drama. But, it’s a very big part of this season, and it gets bigger and bigger as the show goes on.”

4. THE RESISTANCE IS COMING.

Just because June is pregnant, don’t expect her to sit on the sidelines as the resistance to Gilead continues. “There is more than one way to resist," Moss said. “There is resistance within [June], and that is a big part of this season.”

5. WE’LL GET TO SEE THE COLONIES.

A scene from 'The Handmaid's Tale'
Hulu

Miller, understandably, isn’t eager to share too many details about the new season. “I’m not being cagey!” he swore to Entertainment Weekly. “I just want the viewers to experience it for themselves!” What he did confirm is that the new season will bring us to the colonies—reportedly in episode two—and show what life is like for those who have been sent there.

It will also delve further into what life is like for the refugees who managed to escape Gilead, like Luke and Moira.

6. MARISA TOMEI WILL APPEAR IN AN EPISODE.

Though she won’t be a regular cast member, Miller recently announced that Oscar winner Marisa Tomei will make a guest appearance in the new season’s second episode. Yes, the one that will show us the Colonies. In fact, that’s where we’ll meet her; Tomei is playing the wife of a Commander.

7. WE’LL LEARN MORE ABOUT THE ORIGINS OF GILEAD.

As a group shrouded in secrecy, we still don’t know much about how and where Gilead began. That will change a bit in season two. When discussing some of the questions viewers will have answered, executive producer Warren Littlefield promised that, "How did Gilead come about? How did this happen?” would be two of them. “We get to follow the historical creation of this world,” he said.

8. THERE WILL BE AT LEAST ONE HANDMAID FUNERAL.

A scene from 'The Handmaid's Tale'
Hulu

While Miller wouldn’t talk about who the handmaids are mourning in a teaser shot from season two that shows a handmaid’s funeral, he was excited to talk about creating the look for the scene. “Everything from the design of their costumes to the way they look is so chilling,” Miller told Entertainment Weekly. “These scenes that are so beautiful, while set in such a terrible place, provide the kind of contrast that makes me happy.”

9. ELISABETH MOSS SAYS THE TONE WILL BE DARKER.

Like season one, Miller says that The Handmaid’s Tale's second season will again balance its darker, dystopian themes with glimpses of hopefulness. “I think the first season had very difficult things, and very hopeful things, and I think this season is exactly the same way,” he told the Los Angeles Times. “There come some surprising moments of real hope and victory, and strength, that come from surprising places.”

Moss, however, has a different opinion. “It's a dark season,” she told reporters at TCA. “I would say arguably it's darker than Season 1—if that's possible.”

10. IT WILL ALSO BE BLOODIER.

A scene from 'The Handmaid's Tale'
Hulu

When pressed about how the teaser images for the new season seemed to feature a lot of blood, Miller conceded: “Oh gosh, yeah. There may be a little more blood this season.”

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NUS Environmental Research Institute, Subnero
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Researchers in Singapore Deploy Robot Swans to Test Water Quality
NUS Environmental Research Institute, Subnero
NUS Environmental Research Institute, Subnero

There's something peculiar about the new swans floating around reservoirs in Singapore. They drift across the water like normal birds, but upon closer inspection, onlookers will find they're not birds at all: They're cleverly disguised robots designed to test the quality of the city's water.

As Dezeen reports, the high-tech waterfowl, dubbed NUSwan (New Smart Water Assessment Network), are the work of researchers at the National University of Singapore [PDF]. The team invented the devices as a way to tackle the challenges of maintaining an urban water source. "Water bodies are exposed to varying sources of pollutants from urban run-offs and industries," they write in a statement. "Several methods and protocols in monitoring pollutants are already in place. However, the boundaries of extensive assessment for the water bodies are limited by labor intensive and resource exhaustive methods."

By building water assessment technology into a plastic swan, they're able to analyze the quality of the reservoirs cheaply and discreetly. Sensors on the robots' undersides measure factors like dissolved oxygen and chlorophyll levels. The swans wirelessly transmit whatever data they collect to the command center on land, and based on what they send, human pilots can remotely tweak the robots' performance in real time. The hope is that the simple, adaptable technology will allow researchers to take smarter samples and better understand the impact of the reservoir's micro-ecosystem on water quality.

Man placing robotic swan in water.
NUS Environmental Research Institute, Subnero

This isn't the first time humans have used robots disguised as animals as tools for studying nature. Check out this clip from the BBC series Spy in the Wild for an idea of just how realistic these robots can get.

[h/t Dezeen]

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