Greetings, and welcome to your mid-week round of links and fun distractions.
Here’s a little frog riding a beetle, because what could be better? “Hey guys, look at me!”
Dogs are awesome – obviously – and this 5 minute video gives a great picture of how awesome they are with smelling. It’s amazing seeing the breakdown of biology of how smelling for dogs work. For instance, I had no idea dogs breathe in through their nostrils, but out through small slits on the sides of their nose! Whaaaa!
This app, Pivot, looks pretty awesome. An augmented reality sort of thing, where you can be in a place and see the comparison to how it looked through historical photos. So cool! More info is on their Kickstarter.
Local Toronto artist Daniel Rotsztain is visiting every branch of the Toronto Public Library and drawing them – you can see all the sketches here! I think this is my fave so far:
While it’s a bit hyperbolic and silly and US-centric (tis a Buzzfeed production after all), it’s still interesting to see countries compared by their actual sizes and how much different they look when represented not on the Mercator map projection.
Embroidering scenes as she travels, textile artist Teresa Lim creates beautiful keepsakes. I wish I had the skills to try something like this, they’re like little fabric postcards.
I love the patterns created by this artist pouring paint! Super trippy and colourful. I’d love to have something like that hanging in my apartment.
“Better Book Store Sections” has me crying with laughter. Especially “meals you intend to make but never will”. Yeah.
I said dogs are awesome up there – I have a specific love for pups, but I think all animals are amazing. Check out this tricksy praying mantis that makes itself look like an orchid! Next level shit.
I want this. I want many of them, so I can put all the things in them all over my apartment and my desk at work!
Okay, more awesome animals. Because it’s amazing how much fun these squirrels are having. I mean, really.
I don’t understand how it’s already Wednesday, but also, how is is only Wednesday? Hump day, you vex me. Onto the fun stuff!
First of all, I’ve been watching and rewatching and sharing this everywhere, but it needs to take first mention here. Magic dogs. I love it.
Animal problems. They’re real, and they’re adorably illustrated by Geoff Hewer-Candee over at this Tumblr.
Let’s talk about some REAL distractions, like the incredible archive of MS DOS games now available on the Internet Archive! There’s a little about the process behind it here. There are so many to play, right in your browser! Have you any idea how awesome that is? Especially for me to relive all those hours of..
Interspecies friends always make me happy. This squirrel is so persistent, and the dog is so patient! Although I imagine it’s nice to have someone combing around in your fur 🙂 There’s a load more videos here!
Speaking of interspecies interactions.. this kitten’s reactions are pretty priceless. GIF included for good laughs. Oh, the look of terror!
Who knew bananas could be a medium for art? Their very browning nature must make this tough..
If I still played D&D, I’d be on these dice like.. a flash! *zing* The only thing that would be better is if they made a *womp-womp* noise on a critical fail.
It’s amazing what folks can do with digital media nowadays.. these GIFs show the colouring of B&W photos so that they look like they were always meant to be that way. It’s incredible!
This dude climbed the ice next to Niagara Falls. It’s terrifying, when you think about it, and especially when you see the scale of it:
I love the style of these pieces – ‘Super Families‘ – there’s something really sweet about the way they are framed. And it’s safe to say I definitely want this one, because have you met me?
I’m usually not too taken with landscapes unless they really stand out to me – and these did. Look how dreamy they are. Finland! Gosh.
While we’re on dreamy, and somewhat humbling (or should that be Hubbling?) in sense of scale. Check out this amazing image of the ‘Pillars of Creation’ taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. It’s hard to believe something that incredible exists, but look at it.
If you are an animal lover like me, you’ll enjoy this Digital Dozen of animal-related stuff. Obviously dog-heavy, because have you met me? Lots of vids and images and generally things to warm your Wednesday!
This guy knows what’s up.
Look at these beautiful tiny animal embroideries. So delicate.
Sweet hedgehog who can accidentally play some alright improv piano jazz! His name is Marutaro and you’ll want to see more about him here, of course.
Someone in LA is fundraising on IndieGogo for a dog cafe right now! Yesssss!! Take that, cat cafes. I hope they get off the ground, especially considering the idea is to have the dogs there up for adoption to find their forever homes 😀
This rat knows what he likes, and broccoli just is not it. Hilariously the opposite of my dog Jake who WHINES if you’re chopping it and won’t give him scraps.
Pringle is kinda the best lizard, am I right?
Can dogs see in colour, or just black and white? This is a short, informative video that says yeah, they kinda can see some colour.
“Animal Problems” is a really sweet Tumblr blog of little illustrations.
Kanzi the bonobo makes a fire & roasts marshmallows, because wouldn’t you? Also, how amazing are chimpanzees? Oh man. I love the tentative nibble he gives at the freshly roasted treats.
This hamster is such a greedy guts! It’s a small clip of a hamster stuffing his cheeks, then showing an x-ray version of it which is kind of incredible!
If only we could all find our perfect chill zone like this cat – watching videos of Slayer from the couch.
I’ve had a tough time getting through non-fiction of late. I attributed it to my overall lack of interest in reading due to general malaise etc, but really when I look at it, I just crave something that will pull me in and keep reading, and much of the non-fiction I’ve read of late (ie. the past year or so) hasn’t had a strong enough narrative to do that.
Jenny Brown’s book is a memoir as much as it is the story of getting the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary (WFAS) up and running. She speaks about her experience with bone cancer as a young girl, her struggles with adapting to a prosthetic leg, and her gradual shift from typical American meat-eater (“We eat animals simply because it’s what we’ve always done”) to passionate advocate for animals, and vegan (“We can become prisoners of our earliest indoctrination or we can choose to look critically at our assumptions and align our lives with our values”). I really identified with much of what Brown went through in her ‘awakening’, let’s call it – and also her current approach of educating visitors about the marvels and personalities of farm animals, and what they also suffer through in the farming system.
As I was reading through her ‘transition’ chapters, much of it hit me really hard. From her initial backlash against the system “I wore my impatience on my face and slathered my care and chest with bold messages: ‘Meat is Murder! Fur is Dead!’ I was a bitter proselytizer, which was neither pretty nor effective”, to the realization that no matter what, she’d never be able to take part in the system again after what she’d seen going undercover in farms/stockyards “I loved cheese omelets, but now I was haunted by the image of the critters I’d gotten to know, and I knew I’d feel complicit in the ruthless treatment of cows and chickens if I consumed their ‘products'”.
I have never gone undercover to see what factory farming is really like, because I’ve seen enough to know. I know that I don’t need to bear witness anymore, and it’s actually really upsetting for me (ask Adam, he’s seen me balled up on the couch in a crying jag after seeing just a few minutes of footage) – I’ve never watched anything like Earthlings, either. I just can’t. That’s why I really appreciate the approach that farm sanctuaries and animal advocates like Brown have – show what the animals are like, and capable of, and tie it implicitly to their treatment within the animal farming system to hopefully bring people to make a connection between their food/clothing/products and these animals. “For those of us who claim to love animals, we have an obligation to examine what they must endure for us to enjoy such products.”
It’s also why I appreciate that in the book, while there’s some tough information to swallow as far as how these animals can be treated, Brown talks a lot about these animals and their behaviours, personalities and quirks. There are some times where it can be tough to have people listen to tough information – “faced with uncomfort able truths that involve their participation on some level, people can become very defensive” – that can be a hard balance, getting your message across without scaring people off.
While it’s obviously preaching to the converted having a vegan like me read a book like this, I think it’s always important to remember the reasons why I make the choices I do, and not just for the awful truths, but for the wonderful reasons that Brown talks about a lot when she speaks generally of animals, and of the animals she cares for and is friends with (now at WFAS, and in her time at Farm Sanctuary). I think some of these quotes I picked out highlights that.
“It makes me sad how so far removed people are from the reality that bacon came from a sentient animal who lived a life of deprivation, pain, frustration and fear, all for food we have no nutritional need for.”
“But amazing as these facts are, I wonder should they even matter? Must animals be intelligent for humans to have compassion and empathy toward them? To be spared misery?”
“Their faces may not express emotions the same way ours do, but it’s hard to miss bliss when you see it.”
“All of the animals I love with, from our dog Carli to our rooster Rod, want the same things: companionship, pleasure, good food, room to explore, and the freedom to spend their days as they wish.”
I really admire the work Brown’s done leading up to opening WFAS, and the passion and drive that she and her husband have to keep it going, especially constantly welcoming visitors to engage and inform them. That’s amazing. I’d love to visit WFAS myself, some day. Until then, I would encourage anyone to read this book! Omnivore, vegan, vegetarian – it’s a great and inspiring story about a person that has been through a lot, and used that to connect with her passions and values to do something fantastic. It’s a light read, with a very informal tone and some great anecdotes, and doesn’t get preachy too often. I’ll leave you with this quote from Brown:
“What will matter, what in fact always matters, are the values we uphold and the principles and possibilities we stand for. What will matter then, and what matters now, are the quality of the love we share with the world and the statements we make with our choices and our lives.”
Looking for something to alt-tab to between Word documents and emails today? Look no further..
If you’ve ever wondered what some pretty famous bands look like as LEGO minifigs, you needn’t leave it to your imagination any more – see the rest here. These are pretty spot on! I think the Thom Yorke below is especially good.
Indignant bunny is mad you’ve stopped petting! Jake sometimes gives me a look when I stop petting him in the mornings 🙂
Transformers are neat and all, but they’re way more awesome when they’re pop culture vehicles made into Transformers! Check it. My fave is..
Fill your brain with strange word knowledge – John Green goes over the strange origins of 40 English Words on this Mental Floss episode. (Canteloupe is interesting, but I’d be interested to know where the term Rockmelon comes from, which is what we call ’em in Australia!).
How freaking adorable are these tea cosies? Snailpots! Amazing.
Get ready for how adorable tree kangaroos are! Especially when they’re wrasslin’ teddy bears or fighting over spaghetti. These cuties were rescued, and are being prepared for wild release in a couple of years.
This is a smashing design for a bike wall-mount. I wonder if it works for all sorts of seat shapes to hang on there..
A photographer took a photo of birds on a wire, and a composer used it to make a musical piece. Creativity to the max.
This isn’t a cucumber. But it’s a pretty good decoy. Click through to check out incredible painted foods that look like other foods.
Pretty sure this kid & his dog win cosplay forever.
Hero-glyphics – these are so imaginative and well-realised! I love it. You can buy prints!
And now I’ll leave you with a GIF of an adorable combat-rolling piggie.