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23 Places Where the Konami Code Lives On

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Way back in 1985, Kazuhisa Hashimoto was working on the arcade game Gradius. Because he didn’t want to actually play the whole game during the testing process, he developed a little shortcut that gave him a full set of power-ups, letting him live long enough to easily get to where he needed to without dying. When the game went live in 1986, the code was still there. To get full power-ups, all a player had to do was enter the code up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A.

The trick caught on, and soon, the so-called “Konami Code” could be found in a number of arcade and video games. Most notably, it gave you 30 extra lives in Contra. This super-secret (…or not) code has a special place in the hearts of geeks who have since grown up and used the insider code in websites, in movies, and on TV shows. Here are a few places to watch for the UUDDLRLRBA reference.

1. It’s Shark Week every day at Qiwi.be. Keep hitting enter once you key in the code.

2. Some old-school Nintendo nostalgia for you at virtualNES. Enter to activate.

3. Just when you thought the bacon craze had reached its limits, SoundClick takes it to another level.

4. The Code plays a key role in Wreck-It Ralph

5. You can also find a reference to the code in the queue to meet the Wreck-It Ralph characters at Disney's Hollywood Studios:

Photo courtesy of Jason English

6. If you didn't catch the reference in Archer a few weeks ago, don't feel bad—it was disguised as a code within a code. 

Photo courtesy of Gamesided

A Redditor thought that the code above resembled hex code, so he sent the chain through a decoder to see what he would get. The result? "UUDDLRLRBA." The find was confirmed by the animator who put it there.

7. In 1976, Gene Roddenberry and William Shatner sat down and had a little chat about Gene's history and the development of Star Trek. It's not terribly hidden, since the page spells out exactly how to find this "hidden" interview. But it's fun anyway!

8. Here's a little twist on the code: Go to a Google search bar, then use Google Voice to search for "Up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right." (No "b" or "a" necessary.) It unlocks a Google "cheat mode" that will make you laugh. Or at least roll your eyes.

9. Various Conde Nast UK sites provide a quick look at ancient fashion history you probably didn't know about—check out Vogue and GQ

10. The UK Wired (also Conde Nast) site also has a little hidden treat. Meow go on over and try it out.

11. Try it at digg.com—and turn your speakers on.

12. The code works on BuzzFeed. It's diabolical, though. SFW—just diabolical. 

13. There's no missing the effects of the Code at Dango Design.

14. Eagle-eyed fans of the animated Disney series Gravity Falls may have noticed the gaming reference on the journal page in the intro. You can see how fast it goes by here, which is where I grabbed the screenshot.

15. Scott Pilgrim fans won't be surprised to learn that there's a hidden message on the Scott Pilgrim iPhone app site. Be sure to press enter.

16. Could you use more rainbows and unicorns in your life? Cornify thought so, too. Head there and enter the Code for a sparkly surprise.

17. Geek and Hype's Konami Code contribution is quite fitting. 

18. Get ready for fun graphics and earwig music over at Nikdaum.com.

19. The next time you're over at dancesportinfo.net, checking out the latest in the world of ballroom dancing, give the code a try. 

20. The Easter egg at teddy-o-ted.com is actually somewhat useful ... or at least more so than most of these.

21. I'm going to show you one of the images you see when you enter the code at http://www.ukoakdoors.co.uk/, but trust me—you're going to want to go see the other two. (Let us know if you find more than two.)

22. Get goosed over at kuppiya.com. And keep clicking! There are plenty of geese to go around.

23. A geeky insider joke on Family Guy—who could have guessed?

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Big Questions
Why Do Cats 'Blep'?
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As pet owners are well aware, cats are inscrutable creatures. They hiss at bare walls. They invite petting and then answer with scratching ingratitude. Their eyes are wandering globes of murky motivations.

Sometimes, you may catch your cat staring off into the abyss with his or her tongue lolling out of their mouth. This cartoonish expression, which is atypical of a cat’s normally regal air, has been identified as a “blep” by internet cat photo connoisseurs. An example:

Cunning as they are, cats probably don’t have the self-awareness to realize how charming this is. So why do cats really blep?

In a piece for Inverse, cat consultant Amy Shojai expressed the belief that a blep could be associated with the Flehmen response, which describes the act of a cat “smelling” their environment with their tongue. As a cat pants with his or her mouth open, pheromones are collected and passed along to the vomeronasal organ on the roof of their mouth. This typically happens when cats want to learn more about other cats or intriguing scents, like your dirty socks.

While the Flehmen response might precede a blep, it is not precisely a blep. That involves the cat’s mouth being closed while the tongue hangs out listlessly.

Ingrid Johnson, a certified cat behavior consultant through the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants and the owner of Fundamentally Feline, tells Mental Floss that cat bleps may have several other plausible explanations. “It’s likely they don’t feel it or even realize they’re doing it,” she says. “One reason for that might be that they’re on medication that causes relaxation. Something for anxiety or stress or a muscle relaxer would do it.”

A photo of a cat sticking its tongue out
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If the cat isn’t sedated and unfurling their tongue because they’re high, then it’s possible that an anatomic cause is behind a blep: Johnson says she’s seen several cats display their tongues after having teeth extracted for health reasons. “Canine teeth help keep the tongue in place, so this would be a more common behavior for cats missing teeth, particularly on the bottom.”

A blep might even be breed-specific. Persians, which have been bred to have flat faces, might dangle their tongues because they lack the real estate to store it. “I see it a lot with Persians because there’s just no room to tuck it back in,” Johnson says. A cat may also simply have a Gene Simmons-sized tongue that gets caught on their incisors during a grooming session, leading to repeated bleps.

Whatever the origin, bleps are generally no cause for concern unless they’re doing it on a regular basis. That could be sign of an oral problem with their gums or teeth, prompting an evaluation by a veterinarian. Otherwise, a blep can either be admired—or retracted with a gentle prod of the tongue (provided your cat puts up with that kind of nonsense). “They might put up with touching their tongue, or they may bite or swipe at you,” Johnson says. “It depends on the temperament of the cat.” Considering the possible wrath involved, it may be best to let them blep in peace.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

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Afternoon Map
The Most Popular Infomercial Product in Each State

You don't have to pay $19.95 plus shipping and handling to discover the most popular infomercial product in each state: AT&T retailer All Home Connections is giving that information away for free via a handy map.

The map was compiled by cross-referencing the top-grossing infomercial products of all time with Google Trends search interest from the past calendar year. So, which crazy products do people order most from their TVs?

Folks in Arizona know that it's too hot there to wear layers; that's why they invest in the Cami Secret—a clip-on, mock top that gives them the look of a camisole without all the added fabric. No-nonsense New Yorkers are protecting themselves from identity theft with the RFID-blocking Aluma wallet. Delaware's priorities are all sorted out, because tons of its residents are still riding the Snuggie wave. Meanwhile, Vermont has figured out that Pajama Jeans are the way to go—because who needs real pants?

Unsurprisingly, the most popular product in many states has to do with fitness and weight loss, because when you're watching TV late enough to start seeing infomercials, you're probably also thinking to yourself: "I need to get my life together. I should get in shape." Seven states—Colorado, Idaho, Kentucky, Montana, Nebraska, Utah, and Wisconsin—have invested in the P90X home fitness system, while West Virginia and Arkansas prefer the gentler workout provided by the Shake Weight. The ThighMaster is still a thing in Illinois and Washington, while Total Gym and Bowflex were favored by South Dakota and Wyoming, respectively. 

Kitchen items are clearly another category ripe for impulse-buying: Alabama and North Dakota are all over the George Forman Grill; Alaska and Rhode Island are mixing things up with the Magic Bullet; and Floridians must be using their Slice-o-matics to chop up limes for their poolside margaritas.

Cleaning products like OxiClean (D.C. and Hawaii), Sani Sticks (North Carolina), and the infamous ShamWow (which claims the loyalty of Mainers) are also popular, but it's Proactiv that turned out to be the big winner. The beloved skin care system claimed the top spot in eight states—California, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, and Texas—making it the most popular item on the map.

Peep the full map above, or check out the full study from All Home Connections here.

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