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Coding with Bill

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Getty Images

In honor of Computer Science Education Week, Code.org is featuring videos from the tech industry’s leading lights – Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and representatives from Apple, Amazon, Yahoo, and more—teaching absolute beginners the basics of coding. With some tutorials as short as an hour, it can’t hurt to give it a try.

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In case you missed it, Beyoncé surprised her fans by releasing her latest album this week with no prior notice—happy holidays, Sasha Fierce fans.

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Ian McKellen (otherwise known as Gandalf), another celebrity with an apparent fondness for surprises, showed up unannounced to a midnight screening of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. He wished the theatergoers “a wonderful time.”

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The most-read books of the past 50 years tend, not surprisingly, to skew towards the twentieth-century.

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Amateur photographer Paul Williams got quite a view when his London-to-New-York flight happened to cross paths with a spectacularly vibrant aurora in the sky. He shot a series of photos and compiled them into a time-lapse video, which can be viewed from the comfort of your own home with plenty of legroom.

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Given a large enough sheet of paper, Swiss artist Sipho Mabona is convinced he can fold a life-size origami elephant out of it. Sounds ambitious, to say the least.

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The mall car-chase scene from The Blues Brothers recreated in Lego form is just as fun to watch as the original – in fact, maybe even more so.

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“Yesterday was Friday,” indeed: proving that not all viral video fame goes to your head, Rebecca Black of earworm-y “Friday” music video infamy has released a tongue-in-cheek follow-up, appropriately entitled “Saturday.” The self-aware send-up of her earlier song is surprisingly catchy.

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How Will Martian Laws Differ From Earth's Laws?
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How Will Martian Laws Differ From Earth's Laws? Enforcement of existing laws from Earth will be impossible for a small population millions of miles away.

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The Creepy Cabinet That Inspired Jekyll and Hyde. Robert Louis Stevenson's childhood bedroom had a cabinet made by a carpenter who led a double life.

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14 Unmade Hammer Horror Films. Some ideas were too bizarre even for the erstwhile British gothic film studio.

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A Brief History of Bat-Marriage. Batman has been spotted carrying Kathy Kane, Vicki Vale, Julie Madison, Selina Kyle, Lois Lane, and Wonder Woman across the threshold—most of them twice.

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John Banvard is the most successful American artist you've never heard of. His chosen medium was an obscure 19th-century show business gimmick, and he managed to completely squander his fortune.

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Why Everyone Knows the Same Scary Slumber-Party Stories. People who know them don't recall where they first heard them.

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9 Naked Cakes for When You Don't Feel Like Frosting. You'll feel good about avoiding too much sugar, too.

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8 Antique Maps That Were the First of Their Kind. Each one gave us a new way to look at our world.

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Where is the Line Between Fandom and Obsession?
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Where is the Line Between Fandom and Obsession? Will Pearson and Mangesh Hattikudur discuss what it takes to be a superfan.

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The Roller Skating Scene from Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times. A lesson in special effects from 1936.

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From Prejudice to Pride. As the indigenous Ainu begin to assert their place among the people of Japan, an archaeological dig reveals more about their past.

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How U.S. Colleges Went from Pitiful to Powerful. The flexibility born of the system's ragged beginnings helped make the American higher education business what it is today.

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A Brief History of the Danse Macabre, from a Paris cemetery to David S. Pumpkins. It's a reminder that no one escapes death.

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Life Along the Russian Border. Border security reflects each nation's history with Russia.

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The Frenetic Enchantment of New York City. French photojournalist Jean-Pierre Laffont captures the city's charm in 50 years of photos.

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Hellish Nell, The Last Person Imprisoned for Witchcraft in Britain. And that was only 73 years ago!

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