Chris Higgins is the author of The Blogger Abides and writes for This American Life, The Atlantic, Breakfast on Mars, and The Magazine. You can follow him at chrishiggins.com.
Her Majesty Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, according to Wikipedia, #830 in the Line of succession to the British throne.
Back in July, our own Will Treece pointed to the then-longest Wikipedia article: Licensed and localized editions of Monopoly. However, since then, the Monopoly page has been broken up into a series of shorter pages. I thought I'd check out what the current Top 20 list looks like today -- and it's totally bananas.
While most of the longest articles are themselves long lists... READ ON
What happens when a mini-orchestra performs the Mad Men theme song, gently mashed up with Nat "King" Cole's classic "Nature Boy"? Awesome jazz fantasticness. Also be aware -- it's performed in a single take, with no cuts or overdubs. BEHOLD:
Educational note: the Mad Men theme is actually an edit of "A Beautiful Mine" by RJD2. Huh. You learn something new every day, right? Here's how the band (apparently called Videos Recorded Live) describes the... READ ON
Spoiler alert: if you haven't seen 2007's There Will Be Blood, the video below is a massive spoiler -- in the best possible way. The creators turn TWBB into a sidescrolling Super Nintendo style game (sorry, not a playable game -- just a video) lasting just one minute. The original film is 158 minutes long, so this 158:1 compression is shockingly impressive -- particularly given that it seems to get all of the major plot points in there. If you have seen TWBB, you owe it to nerds everywhere to watch this... READ ON
Premiering Sunday, November 7, on the National Geographic Channel: Great Migrations. Set your DVRs -- the seven-part series is set to air at 8pm.
We live in a wonderful era for nature documentaries. In recent years we've seen mega documentaries like Planet Earth and Life capture headlines, and with good reason -- they featured stunning HD photography, huge budgets, and a compelling narrative. The latest mega nature documentary is Great Migrations from National Geographic, and it's a doozy. This... READ ON
If you've seen Mad Men, you've probably noticed books embedded within the show. In each season, period-appropriate books show up and sometimes even relate to major plot points (like Meditations in an Emergency and The Chrysanthemum and the Sword). The New York Public Library has been tweeting about these books and has now assembled a complete collection of the books shown onscreen (there are even screen-grabs at the bottom of the post!), along with some recommended reading beyond what has been featured... READ ON
Presented without comment: "In the desert, not only is mound-building incredibly difficult, but the bird population is incredibly sparse...and a mate is hard to find. Laid-up after an industrial accident, former motor mechanic Whimpey Reicheldt became a self-taught naturalist."
Sadly, the clip is so short, we don't find out much about Whimpey or his Malleefowl. You can learn a bit more about these animals in this video. Both videos are excerpts from the documentary Men and their Megapodes, which... READ ON
The Old Grey Whistle Test was a BBC TV show featuring live music. It ran from 1971 through 1988 on BBC2, and many performances are now collected on YouTube -- I'll show you some favorites below. But what the heck does "Old Grey Whistle Test" mean? According to host Bob Harris, the name comes from:
... a 'tin pan alley' phrase from years ago. When they got the first pressing of a record they would play it to people they called the old greys [doormen in grey suits]. The ones they could remember and... READ ON
Beautiful and creepy: this video uses macro photography showing a spider's web, covered in droplets of dew. At least one of the spiders is a European Garden Spider (there are zillions of them in my yard).
If you're arachnophobic, don't watch. If you're a little skeezed out by spiders, actually DO watch, since it's mainly just empty webs, beautifully photographed. The spider shots are in the second half.
The Web from Bill Newsinger on Vimeo.
(Via... READ ON
Here's a catchy, simple song to brighten your Tuesday morning. Songwriter Jonathan Mann has ben doing a song-a-day project called Songatron for quite a while now; song #659 is called "What A Glorious Space To Dwell (Fun Facts Song)." He explains it like so:
I stumbled on to a really wonderful thread on Reddit.com about the most mind blowing facts people could think of. I collected a bunch of them and made this song!
Here's a sample of the song's lyrics:
"Hydrogen is a light, odorless gas,... READ ON
Last Friday, Sony announced the end of the Walkman Era -- a period that lasted more than three decades, defining the personal music listening experience for pretty much everyone in my generation (I was born a year before the Walkman was). Sony will no longer produce the portable cassette-based Walkman, though they are still selling the CD-based Discman and MiniDisc Walkman. The Walkman was first introduced on July 1, 1979. Every five years (until 1999), Sony introduced an "anniversary model" Walkman.... READ ON
Michael J. Fox’s middle name is Andrew.