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An Art Exhibit That Imagines the Anatomy of a Centaur

The anatomy of a centaur (half man, half horse) raises a lot of questions. For instance, which organs go where? And what’s the purpose of having two torsos? If scientists could only get their hands on some ancient centaur remains, maybe it would clear things up. Sadly, the centaur skeleton currently on display at the John C.Hodges Library at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville is a piece of art, not science.

The remains of the “Centaur of Volos” were fabricated in 1980 by artist and biology professor Bill Willers when he felt inspired to combine the bones of a human specimen from his university's biology department with those of a Shetland pony. After tea-staining them both for an authentic, consistent look, the first-ever centaur skeleton was born. 

The bone sculpture was first displayed at the Madison Art Center before touring other colleges in the mid-1980s. By the '90s, it had ended up in storage, much to the dismay of two professors at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Beauvais Lyons (currently Ellen McClung Berry Professor of Art) and Neil Greenberg (Emeritus Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology) campaigned to raise money to purchase the fictitious artifact and were ultimately successful.  

Since 1994, the piece has been on display at the university’s John C. Hodges Library as part of an exhibit called The Centaur Excavations of Volos. Instead of standing on four legs, the skeleton is half-buried in an artificial dig site surrounded by ceramic artifacts. The exhibit also includes an anatomically-correct centaur illustration and a plaque that reads, "one of three centaur burials discovered in 1980 by the Archaeological Society of Argos Orestiko eight kilometers northeast of Volos, Greece.” 

Even after three decades, Bill Willers’s centaur fixation is still going strong. In 2008, he commissioned a standing centaur made from a human skeleton and that of a zebra that he called the Centaur of Tymfi. We’re not entirely sure if a half-man, half-zebra constitutes a centaur, but we’ll let this one slide.

[h/t: Strange Remains]

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Watch a Chain of Dominos Climb a Flight of Stairs
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Dominos are made to fall down—it's what they do. But in the hands of 19-year-old professional domino artist Lily Hevesh, known as Hevesh5 on YouTube, the tiny plastic tiles can be arranged to fall up a flight of stairs in spectacular fashion.

The video spotted by Thrillist shows the chain reaction being set off at the top a staircase. The momentum travels to the bottom of the stairs and is then carried back up through a Rube Goldberg machine of balls, cups, dominos, and other toys spanning the steps. The contraption leads back up to the platform where it began, only to end with a basketball bouncing down the steps and toppling a wall of dominos below.

The domino art seems to flow effortlessly, but it took more than a few shots to get it right. The footage below shows the 32nd attempt at having all the elements come together in one, unbroken take. (You can catch the blooper at the end of an uncooperative basketball ruining a near-perfect run.)

Hevesh’s domino chains that don't appear to defy gravity are no less impressive. Check out this ambitious rainbow domino spiral that took her 25 hours to construct.

[h/t Thrillist]

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A Secret Room Full of Michelangelo's Sketches Will Soon Open in Florence
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Claudio Giovannini/AFP/Getty Images

Parents all over the world have chastised their children for drawing on the walls. But when you're Michelangelo, you've got some leeway. According to The Local, the Medici Chapels, part of the Bargello museum in Florence, Italy, has announced that it plans to open a largely unseen room full of the artist's sketches to the public by 2020.

Roughly 40 years ago, curators of the chapels at the Basilica di San Lorenzo had a very Dan Brown moment when they discovered a trap door in a wardrobe leading to an underground room that appeared to have works from Michelangelo covering its walls. The tiny retreat is thought to be a place where the artist hid out in 1530 after upsetting the Medicis—his patrons—by joining a revolt against their control of Florence. While in self-imposed exile for several months, he apparently spent his time drawing on whatever surfaces were available.

A drawing by Michelangelo under the Medici Chapels in Florence
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Museum officials previously believed the room and the charcoal drawings were too fragile to risk visitors, but have since had a change of heart, leading to their plan to renovate the building and create new attractions. While not all of the work is thought to be attributable to the famed artist, there's enough of it in the subterranean chamber—including drawings of Jesus and even recreations of portions of the Sistine Chapel—to make a trip worthwhile.

[h/t The Local]

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