Saturday, 28 February 2015

Sorry, But Your Dog Can't Remember That Fun Game Of Fetch

Sorry to break it to you, but your dog probably has no recollection of that fun game of fetch the two of you played yesterday. And that yummy treat you gave him just minutes ago? Even that has probably gone poof!

The truth is, a dog's memory just isn't very good. And a new study suggests that the same is true for 25 other animal species, from bees and birds to big mammals. Their recall of specific events disappears within minutes or even seconds.

“When it comes to short-term memory, it seems to work almost the same for all animals," Dr. Johan Lind, a professor of ethology ethology at Stockholm University in Sweden and the study's lead author, said in a written statement. "It's a bit surprising that apes do not remember better than rats, but the results are clear. Human memory stands out because it is so susceptible, anything seems to stick in the memory for a very long time."

For their study, a "meta-analysis" of previous research, Lind and his colleagues analyzed nearly 100 studies in which captive animals performed a short-term memory test. In the first part of the test, an animal is briefly exposed to some visual stimulus -- a red dot, for example. After a brief delay, the animal is shown the same stimulus a second time, along with one or more additional stimuli -- a black square, for instance. If the animal is able to identify the original stimulus, it is rewarded with a treat.

The animals didn't quite ace the test. In fact, average memory span across all species was a paltry 27 seconds. Bees' memories lasted about 2.5 seconds, chimps about 20 seconds. Dogs came out on top, but their memories dried up after only 70 seconds.

In contrast, previous research showed that humans who performed the memory task could remember that little red dot when tested a couple of days later, National Geographic reported.

"You can remember the name of a subway station, where you put you mobile phone or if your daughter laughed at your joke during breakfast," Lind told The Huffington Post in an email. "In contrast, when non-human animals remember something for a long time, it is probably only possible for biologically relevant stimuli so that the event taps into a specialized memory; like the location of food for a caching animal... or perhaps the sound or looks of your offspring."

In other words, he said animals may have two kinds of memory systems: one that retains information about events for a brief span of time, and another that retains long-term memories only for specific types of information.

Lind thinks that only humans have an "open memory system" that can store any type of information long-term, including memories for specific events -- called "episodic memories." But other scientists who were not involved in the meta-analysis think it's a bit premature to rule out the possibility that non-human animals can remember events too.

"The study of episodic memory is crucial, since it is still under debate whether other animals can retrieve memories of personal past events in the same way humans do," Dr. Gema Martin-Ordas, who studies animal and human cognition at Newcastle University's Institute of Neuroscience in England, told National Geographic. She added that "it might be too early to argue that humans are the only ones who are able to mentally travel back and forward in time."

The review was accepted for publication in the journal Behavioural Processes.

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Candy-Hauling Man Used 'James Bond' Device To Hide License From Toll Booth: Cops

Pablo Ortega

(Reuters) - A trucker accused of using a James Bond-style retractable bumper to evade a $95 toll on the George Washington Bridge has been charged with using burglary tools, police said on Thursday.

Hauling a load of candy across the bridge toward New York City on Wednesday, Pablo Ortega flipped a switch on his dashboard as he approached the toll gates over the Hudson River. That engaged a device that tilted up the truck's bumper and attached license plate, said Joseph Pentangelo, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police.

"The officer positioned at the toll booth sees the bumper lift to a 90-degree angle. This makes it unreadable to the EZ-Pass reader," Pentangelo said, referring to the electronic device that collects the toll from vehicles at the bridge entrance at Fort Lee, New Jersey.

The Port Authority, which operates the bridge, charges a $95 toll for an 18-wheeler crossing the Hudson into upper Manhattan.

Authorities also found the rear license plate of the red 1997 Peterbilt tractor-trailer was obscured with grease and unreadable.

Ortega, 45, of the New York borough of Queens is the owner-operator of the big rig. He was charged with tampering with public records and possession of burglary tools. It was not known how many times he had used the device.

"He did volunteer that the kit cost him about $2,500," said Pentangelo, noting its legal use is to protect bumpers from getting scraped at construction sites and other places with uneven pavement.

The device is the most sophisticated used so far by a toll scofflaw, said Pentangelo, noting others have created homemade devices to lift up the license plate itself or have used tape to obscure the plate.

(Reporting by Barbara Goldberg; Editing by Bill Trott)

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Dirty Pig Pulls Over Man, Takes Bribe (VIDEO)

Let's hope no one squeals.

A Bradford, Maine, man was cruising along last Sunday when an officer of the hog stopped his vehicle.

"What's up, big guy?" the man in the vehicle says during the 51 second confrontation.

It's clear the swine isn't taking any beef, snorting and sniffing at the man until finally, the terrified driver feels he has no other choice but to offer a bribe.

"You want a cookie?" the man asks.

The pig accepts and the man is allowed to continue on his way.

After reaching out to his superiors, owners Stacey and Brian -- who identified the rogue pig as Buster -- came to the animal's defense.

“We made him our buddy,” Brian told WAIBI. “In the summertime, he gets daiquiris and deserts for breakfasts and then he gets some grain and what not, whatever we can come up with and he’s just part of the bunch. He hangs out. Does campfires with us in the summer and in the winter time, he runs amok and startles the neighbors.”

Running amok? Startling neighbors? It's time we got these crooked hogs off our streets.

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BLADES OF GLORY:It's World Sword Swallowers Day

Sword swallowers will be sharpening their resolve and their blades today because it's World Sword Swallowers Day.

Now in its eighth year, World Sword Swallowers Day is when blade gobblers gather at 13 Ripley's Believe It Or Not! Odditoriums to gobble blades at exactly 2:28 p.m. local time.

Dan Meyer, the president of Sword Swallowers Association International, expects at least 55 sword swallowers will be participating this year.

"Last year, we had 44 sword swallowers swallowing 89 swords," Meyer told The Huffington Post. "This year, we're blowing that out of the water. We're going to swallow 70 swords just in Orlando."

Meyer started World Sword Swallowers Day to focus attention on the activity, which has been around for more than 4,000 years, and to raise money for esophageal cancer research.

Some of the more cutting-edge sword swallowers participating today include Brett Loudermilk, who will swallow a curved sword at the Times Square Odditiorium and 7-foot-3 inch tall George "The Gentle Giant" McArthur, who will swallow an extra-long blade at Ripley's Hollywood location.

The most extreme sword swallow may be the one taking place in Atlantic City.

David Peyre-Ferry will attempt to swallow a sword while sandwiched between two beds of nails -- then have someone smash a cinder block with a sledgehammer right on top of him.

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Friday, 27 February 2015

Will Forte's Wedding Toast To Seth Meyers Is Wonderfully Inappropriate

Oh, what we would give to have been a fly on the wall at the rehearsal dinner of Seth Meyers and his now-wife Alexi Ashe.

On Thursday, Will Forte stopped by "Late Night with Seth Meyers" to promote his new show "Last Man On Earth." While there, the pair reminisced about the pre-wedding dinner in 2013 where Forte made an inappropriate and yet oh-so entertaining wedding toast as his creepy and racist "SNL" character Hamilton Whiteman.

"That was about a six-minute toast and those were about the only 30 seconds we could show on television," Meyers said after playing the clip.

Here's to hoping they release the other 5:30.

H/T Jezebel

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The Blue And The Green

This article originally appeared on Slate.

By Phil Plait

Via my evil twin Richard Wiseman comes one of the best color optical illusions I have ever seen. The original was apparently posted on Buzzhunt Akiyoshi Kitaoka's incredible optical illusion website:


You see embedded spirals, right, of green, pinkish-orange, and blue? Incredibly, the green and the blue spirals are the same color. At first I thought Richard was pulling our collective legs, being a trickster of high magnitude. So I loaded the image in Photoshop and examined the two spirals. In the two squares displayed below, the one on the left is colored using the same color from the blue spiral, and on the right using the green spiral.


Like I said, incredible! For pedantry sake, the RGB colors in both spirals are 0, 255, 150. So they are mostly green with a solid splash of blue.

The reason they look different colors is because our brain judges the color of an object by comparing it to surrounding colors. In this case, the stripes are not continuous as they appear at first glance. The orange stripes don't go through the "blue" spiral, and the magenta ones don't go through the "green" one. Here's a zoom to make this more clear:


See? The orange stripes go through the "green" spiral but not the "blue" one. So without us even knowing it, our brains compare that spiral to the orange stripes, forcing it to think the spiral is green. The magenta stripes make the other part of the spiral look blue, even though they are exactly the same color. If you still don't believe me, concentrate on the edges of the colored spirals. Where the green hits the magenta it looks bluer to me, and where the blue hits the orange it looks greener. Amazing.

The overall pattern is a spiral shape because our brain likes to fill in missing bits to a pattern. Even though the stripes are not the same color all the way around the spiral, the overlapping spirals makes our brain think they are. The very fact that you have to examine the picture closely to figure out any of this at all shows just how easily we can be fooled.

This is why I tell people over and over again: you cannot trust what you see even with your own eyes. Your eyes are not cameras faithfully taking pictures of absolute truth of all that surrounds you. They have filters, and your brain has to interpret the jangled mess it gets fed. Colors are not what they appear, shapes are not what they appear (that zoomed image above is square, believe it or not), objects are not what they appear.

So the next time someone swears they saw Jesus, or a UFO, or a ghost, show them this picture. What you see in life is absolutely and provably not what you get.

Edit to add: if you like this illusion, then you might want to check out this audio illusion, and this one of a spinning woman's sillhouette which is one of my all-time favorites.

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Michael Kelly Attacked Ex-wife's Lawyer With Hatchet, Wasp Spray: Cops

QUINCY, Mass. (AP) — Police say a Massachusetts man attacked his ex-wife's lawyer with a hatchet and wasp-killing spray, and the victim needed nearly two dozen staples to close wounds on his face.

Fifty-three-year-old Michael Kelly pleaded not guilty Friday in Quincy District Court to attempted murder and assault charges. He's being detained without bail pending a dangerousness hearing. Police say Kelly sprayed wasp-killing solution in the victim's face, then bashed him in the head with the hatchet Tuesday night in a Quincy parking garage.

Prosecutors say Kelly and the lawyer had a contentious relationship.

A public defender who represents Kelly said Friday that witnesses gave conflicting statements.

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Introducing 4 Real-Life Lawyers Who Would Fit Right In On 'Better Call Saul'

Pretty much everyone is watching "Better Call Saul," AMC's "Breaking Bad" spinoff that centers on Walter White's morally ambiguous attorney Saul Goodman. Best exemplified by his over-the-top commercials, Saul is exactly the kind of outlandish character that makes great TV drama, but he's also familiar to anyone who's ever seen one of the many similarly-directed ads for local lawyers across the country.

HuffPost Live's Josh Zepps joined in on the excitement on Friday when he spoke with four personal injury attorneys who would fit right in at Goodman's practice. Whether it's creating commercials you'll never forget or learning to separate legitimate clients from shady scammers, these lawmen are professionals when it comes to the weirder parts of the job, but they all say their primary mission is fighting for people who can't fight for themselves.

Watch the video above to see the full HuffPost Live conversation with these real-life Saul Goodmans.

Sign up here for Live Today, HuffPost Live’s morning email that will let you know the newsmakers, celebrities and politicians joining us that day and give you the best clips from the day before!

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Vines Of Those Llamas Are Here And They're Freaking Hilarious Of Course

"We now go live to llamas enthralling a nation."

If you're anything like us, you probably couldn't remove your face from the screen when two llamas evaded authority figures in Arizona for the better part of an afternoon. Of course, the users of Vine knew exactly what they had to do next (you're going to want to turn your sound on):

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Disneyland Surveillance Catches Ghost Hanging Around After Hours... Because Who Wouldn't?

Because who wouldn't want to spend their afterlife at the Happiest Place on Earth?

A 2009 YouTube video -- presumably of Disneyland surveillance footage -- shows a grim grinning ghost cruising around Diseyland's Haunted Mansion and Rivers of America areas after hours. The Park is totally empty, giving him plenty of space to roam around the sidewalks and grass. He even walks on water near the end of the tape.

You may have to look closely, but you can see something going on.

Reddit user _littlehelll resurfaced the video on Friday. Users speculate the apparition may be the result of re-using VHS surveillance tapes. Some say it's Walt Disney's ghost, and others don't know WHAT the heck is going on here.

One thing's for sure: This dude isn't paying admission.

H/T Reddit

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#TheDress Was Actually A Mother-Of-The-Bride Dress (And P.S. It's Black And Blue)

Turns out, the black and blue (or, perhaps, white and gold) dress that has undoubtedly taken over your newsfeed in the last 24 hours actually began as one woman's mother-of-the-bride dress.

The viral dress belongs to a British mother named Cecilia Bleasdale. She wore it to daughter Grace Johnston's wedding earlier this month, according to the Daily Mail. (See the photo here.)


via Roman Originals

It all started when Bleasdale sent a photo of the dress, purchased at U.K. retailer Roman Originals, to the bride and later to her other daughter, Angie McPhee.

"Mum sent it to Grace to give the dress a thumbs up or thumbs down," McPhee told the Daily Mail. "It was sent originally to my sister, then my mum sent the picture to me, and Grace said, 'Why is she wearing white and gold to the wedding?' We were shocked my mum had chosen a light-colored dress."

According to Business Insider, Johnston and her then-fiancé also disagreed about the color of the dress, so they posted a photo of it to Facebook where the debate continued. That's when friend and 21-year-old Scottish folk singer Caitlin McNeill, who performed at the wedding, shared it to a Tumblr fan page dedicated to talent manager Sarah Weichel. From there, the debate just exploded -- with celebrities such as Taylor Swift, Kim Kardashian, Mindy Kaling and Julianne Moore chiming in.

As we're sure you know by now, the dress is officially black and blue, as confirmed by Roman Originals. The reason so many people saw it as white and gold is likely because of a phenomenon called color constancy, as explained by this video from AsapSCIENCE.

"People who picture the dress as white have brains who may be interpreting the dress in a blue-lit room, for example -- as in it's near a window with a bright blue sky," the narrator states. "It makes perfect sense then that the white dress would be tinted blue and that the gold color wouldn't really change. On the other hand, the brains of people who see it as black and blue may be interpreting the dress in an artificially lit setting, like somewhere with yellow lights. As a result, the brain sees the gold as just a reflection off of the black and believes the blue has been unaffected."

2015-02-27-22715yeahscience.gifvia Giphy

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7 Images Almost As Freaky As #TheDress

This photo of a dress has now divided all of humanity into dueling factions, with sane individuals who see this image as white and gold pitted against the dangerous loons who perceive it as blue and black. (OK, so the dress is blue and black in real life, but the argument is about how it appears in this particular photo.)

Why people see the dress differently hasn’t been conclusively figured out. The more prominent theories have to do with color constancy, or the way that an object appears to stay the same color under different lighting. This process can get dicey when colored light comes into play, as Dr. Jay Neitz told Vice.

Anyway, whether you’re distraught because the debate has torn apart your relationship or you’re just sick of your whole office talking about nothing else, we’ve compiled some other totally confusing images to take your mind off #TheDress.

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This Woman Built A Ton Of Furniture In The Time It Takes To Make A Sandwich

If you've ever put together an Ikea bed (or, say, attempted to build a piece of furniture yourself) then you know full well that furniture assembly and construction is one of life's most toughest tasks. But for one artist, it's anything but difficult.

Meet Jenny Nordberg, a Swedish interior designer who takes pleasure in what you probably find painful. Nordberg's series, called "3 to 5 Minutes," highlights how she makes pieces of furniture at incredibly fast speeds. In the video below, the designer builds, assembles and decorates two chairs, all within less than five minutes.

Just for reference, in the time it took her to build ALL that, we could've:

  • Taken a relaxing nap

  • Finished "Parks and Recreation"

  • Scanned Pinterest for more DIY projects

  • Gone online shopping

  • Taken a yoga class

All jokes aside, Nordberg is an incredible artist and designer. Even if her style of "DIY" is different from others, we do have a few easy hacks for making things in nearly half the time it would normally take.

Try this hack for making a T-shirt rug quickly, or try making your own coffee table tray with just a few power tools, some tape and a cake pan.

H/T Design Milk

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Are you an architect, designer or blogger and would like to get your work seen on HuffPost Home? Reach out to us at with the subject line "Project submission." (All PR pitches sent to this address will be ignored.)

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You Are So Ready For Skateboarders Jumping Human Ramps

Give dudes some plywood and fellow dudes willing to hold the plywood from underneath, and you got yourself one nutty skateboard video.

Watch these skateboarders jump on and off human-supported ramps with the greatest of ease -- and without.

And don't get us started on the guy jumping from a tree branch ...


But at least it didn't end like this human ramp exhibition:

funny gifs

via gifbin

As always, be careful out there -- and really, don't try this at home.

H/T Pixable

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Head Transplants Are Coming Soon, At Least If This Doctor Gets His Way

Things didn't go so great for Victor Frankenstein or his monster, but don't tell that to Sergio Canavero.

The Italian doctor believes that it's now possible to slice the head of off one person, stitch it to the decapitated body of another, and then reanimate the two-human mash-up. What's more, he says the first head transplant operation could come in two years, New Scientist reported.

The goal of such an audacious operation would be to extend the lives of people whose bodies were too diseased or injured to keep the head alive. As Canavero told The Huffington Post in an email, "Go to any neurology ward, ask to see someone with muscle-wasting disorders, and the answer [as to why the surgery makes sense] will be crystal clear."

That sounds simple enough, if perhaps a bit ghoulish. But not everyone is convinced that head transplantation is medically feasible or ethically sound. And then there's the high cost of the head-swapping surgery--Canavero's best guess is $13 million a pop.

Canavero, of Turin Advanced Neuromodulation Group, first proposed the idea for head transplantation in 2013. Now, in a new paper published Feb. 3, 2015 in the journal Surgical Neurological International, he outlines the surgical techniques that he believes will move head transplants from the realm of science fiction to medical fact.

These range from cooling the head and donor body to prevent cell death to using a super-sharp blade to cut the spinal cords very cleanly so that the nerve fibers are better able to fuse. Following the surgery, the patient would be kept in a coma for weeks in order to prevent movement that might interfere with healing.

"The greatest technical hurdle to such endeavor is of course the reconnection of the donor's and recipient's spinal cords," Dr. Canavero wrote in 2013. "It is my contention that the technology only now exists for such linkage."

If Canavero sounds confident about head transplants, other medical experts think the good doctor is headed in the wrong direction.

"This is such an overwhelming project, the possibility of it happening is very unlikely," Dr. Harry Goldsmith, a clinical professor of neurological surgery at the University of California, Davis, told New Scientist. "I don't believe it will ever work, there are too many problems with the procedure."

Dr. Arthur Caplan, a bioethicist at New York University, offered a similarly blunt assessment.

"To move a head on to someone else's body requires the rewiring of the spinal cord," Caplan wrote in an article for Forbes. "We don't know how to do that. If we did there would be far fewer spinal cord injuries. Nor, despite Canavero's assertions to the contrary, is medicine anywhere close to knowing how to use stem cells or growth factors to make this happen."

But Canavero is counting on bringing others into the fold, telling New Scientist that "before going to the moon, you want to make sure people will follow you."

Followers may be one thing Canavero can count on. He told the magazine that several people had already expressed interest in a new body.

No word yet as to how many people have expressed interest in a new head.

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How Much Coffee Do Americans Drink Every Day?

Coffee is one of life's greatest gifts. Not only does it help most people wake up in the morning, it also has a lot of health benefits. But how much do we know about coffee? How much should we be drinking, and how much are Americans actually drinking?

Luckily, the folks at Zagat have some of the answers. They just released the results from their third annual coffee study, which highlights consumers' coffee habits.

Check out more of the Zagat findings below and see how your coffee consumption compares:

How much coffee does the average American drink?

2.1 coffee drinks per day, and it increases with age.

two cups of coffee

How much do Americans pay, on average, for a coffee drink? $3.28, higher than 2013 and 2014.

What kind of drink does the average American woman order? Lattes (22 percent), followed by regular coffee (19 percent) and cappuccinos (12 percent).

What kind of drink does the average American man order?

Men go for regular coffee (30 percent) followed by espresso (14 percent).


What kind of sweeteners do Americans add to their coffee?

52 percent of people said they don't add sweeteners, 14 percent of people use Splenda, 7 percent of people use white sugar, 4 percent of people use Stevia and 3 percent of people use simple/flavored syrup.

Read the rest of the findings here to learn more about American coffee consumption patterns.

And if you're worried about how much coffee is okay to consume -- you might be surprised by how much is "allowed" in one day. The new 2015 dietary guidelines the government just released say 3 to 5 cups of coffee are okay, as long as you don't add cream, milk or sugar.

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The Internet Just Served Up Some Weird Stuff, So Here Are Some Joe Biden Photos To Cleanse Your Palate

The last 24 hours of the Internet have been pretty weird. First we all stopped to watch a live llama chase, and then there was that argument over the color of a dress. (It's blue and black, by the way.)

Because we could all use a reset, here are some classic photos of Vice President Joe Biden being himself, doing his thing, keeping it real:

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Jerome Clemons Burned House When Niece Refused 'Beer Run': Cops

When Jerome Clemons' niece refused to drive him to a liquor store, he got all fired up. So much so that he torched a vehicle and burned part of his home.

Clemons, 44, was arrested and charged with one count of arson on Wednesday for the heated incident on Dec. 14 at his house in Boynton Beach, Florida.

Clemons had already been drinking when he asked his niece, Robineisha Felton, to drive him to the liquor store to replenish the beer supply, the Florida Sun-Sentinel reports.

When she declined, the two argued but Felton left because tempers had flared.

Clemons' brother, James Clemons, who was also at the house, told police Jerome kept mumbling about how he was "tired of it all," the Miami New Times reports.

The brother started making dinner when he observed Jerome pouring gas over a large area rug placed on top of a four-wheeled ATV. The suspect then allegedly set the ATV on fire with a lighter, according to a police report obtained by The Huffington Post.

Soon, the rug, the ATV, a garbage can, and miscellaneous plates and clothing were all ablaze.

James Clemons put out the fire with a garden hose before calling the police.

Officers said Jerome Clemons had multiple burns, blisters and peeling skin on his right arm from his fingers to his shoulder. He also smelled of gasoline.

He was taken to the hospital to be treated for second-degree burns.

Although a corner of the house was burned, damage was minimal.

This isn't Clemons first arrest in unique circumstances.

In October, 2012, he charged with disorderly conduct after dialing 911 and telling the dispatcher he had a cold and wanted medical attention, according to the Palm Beach Post.

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'Star Trek' Star Leonard Nimoy Dead At 83

Leonard Nimoy, who was best-known for his role as Mr. Spock in the "Star Trek" franchise, died at his home on Friday in Los Angeles, his wife, Susan Bay Nimoy, confirmed to the New York Times. He was 83.

According to his wife, Nimoy's death was due to end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The star had been open about his condition, and spoke publicly about it last year. "Just can't walk distances. Love my life, family, friends and followers," he wrote on Twitter a week after announcing his diagnosis.

Nimoy had been hospitalized earlier this week, and many of his former co-stars, including George Takei, sent public well wishes. He had become active on Twitter in recent years, and wrote his last message on Monday:

Nimoy portrayed Spock for 40 years, reprising the role in 2009's "Star Trek" and 2013's "Star Trek Into Darkness." Aside from his work as Spock, Nimoy sat in the director's chair, helming "3 Men And A Baby" and "Star Trek" films like "The Search For Spock" and "The Voyage Home." He was also an accomplished voice actor, and can be heard in two episodes of "The Simpsons," “Atlantis: The Lost Empire,” “Transformers: The Movie,” “The Pagemaster," and dozens of other projects, including video games. More recently, he had a recurring role on the series, "Fringe," as William Bell.

leonard nimoy star trek

Nimoy also released five albums via Dot Records, one of which borrowed from his days as Spock: "Leonard Nimoy Presents Mr. Spock's Music From Outer Space."

The actor is survived by his wife, two children from his first marriage to actress Sandra Zober, his stepson and grandchildren.

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Artist Challenges Selfie Stick Ban By Taking A Bunch Of Selfies

Museums all over the world are working to ban the beloved selfie stick, but Australian artist Jesse Willesee isn't having it.

As a conceptual artist, Willesee is all about the selfie stick, which attaches to cameras and makes it possible to take selfies from a distance greater than arm's length.

"Anything that helps you document the world is a positive thing," he told The Huffington Post. So Willesee "stormed" the Museum of Contemporary Art in Australia and took a bunch of selfie stick photos for a project titled "Andy Warhol With Better Features."

andy warhol with better features 1

Willesee shot the project in collaboration with photographer Valentina Penkova. His intent is to highlight the world's interest in selfies and the idea that we now use other people's art as the backdrop for our own.

“People were taking photos of Valentina taking photos of me while I was taking photos of myself,” Willesee said in a press release. “No one was looking at the art."

andy warhol with better features

Although museum staff reportedly told Willesee that his project would "detract from the others' viewing experience," he did it anyway.

"I went in anyway and shot without their permission. And for most of the people there at the time, I was the most interesting viewing experience they were having," he told HuffPost. "After I started posing with the artworks, people wanted to pose with me. Galleries don’t accept that that’s the kind of experience audiences want to have. They have an old-fashioned solemn, contemplative viewing experience in mind when people want to interact and jump into the picture. Let the people take photos!"

selfie stick 3

So, why Warhol? Willesee told HuffPost that Warhol would have been a fan of the selfie stick.

"It seems like something he could have invented himself. So the title is a play on words with his name and the line from Jay Z's 'Picasso Baby,' where he says 'sleeping every night next to Mona Lisa, the modern day version with better features.' The idea of him taking Beyonce and mythologizing her against the Mona Lisa reminded me of how people want to mythologize themselves with great artworks."

selfie stick 4

H/T Artdaily

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#TheDress Sparked A Huge Debate, But Science Is Here To Settle Things

What color is it?

That question had just about everyone with a social media account scratching their heads on Thursday, when 21-year-old Scottish folk singer Caitlin McNeill posted a photo of a dress on Tumblr.

"Me and my friends can’t agree and we are freaking the f*ck out," McNeil wrote in the photo's caption--and they weren't the only ones who couldn't. Some people saw the dress as white and gold, while others say it as blue and black.

The dress really is blue and black, so why do some perfectly sane people see it as white and gold? Here comes the science.

(Story continues below image.)

the dress blue and black

In the middle, the original photo of the dress. The photo on the left has been color-corrected as if the dress were white. The photo on the right has been color-corrected to blue-black.

"It's a phenomenon known as color constancy," Mitchell Moffitt, co-creator of the YouTube series ASAPScience, says in a new video (above). "People who picture the dress as white have brains who may be interpreting the dress in a blue-lit room for example... It makes perfect sense then that the white dress would be tinted blue and that the gold color wouldn't really change."

In other words, our brains automatically adjust our color perception depending on the context in which something is viewed.

Mystery solved.

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Toddler Allegedly 'Pulled' To The Ground By Strange Force

Even a game of peekaboo is too dangerous.

The parents of a 1-year-old Welsh girl claim their daughter was pulled to the ground by a mysterious force during a game of peekaboo.

Lexi Hood was at her home in Bridgend, Wales fooling around with her parents, Gareth and Charlene, when she appears to suddenly move backwards and fall to the ground, according to the Express.

"She just went shooting back," Gareth Hunt said. "Her arms went out to the side and she went back, as if she has been pushed or pulled."

Hunt said his daughter is very secure on her feet, though we would politely point out that 1-year-olds are known to sometimes lose their balance.

Also, the Express and Mirror report that, according to her parents, Hood shouted "down" when she fell. But the Daily Mail reports that she said "naughty boy," as if she was scolding someone.

You have to keep your story about paranormal activity consistent, people.

So was little Lexi pushed by a ghost or did she just fall? Tell us in the comments and then, depending on your answer, prepare to be haunted by dark spirits for the rest of your miserable life.

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An Owl Is Now Attacking Pedestrians In The Netherlands, Too

PURMEREND, Netherlands (AP) — The residents of one Dutch town are cowering under umbrellas after an aggressive eagle owl started swooping out of the sky, sinking its talons into them and gouging their flesh.

The so-called "terror owl" has become a media sensation after attacking people in recent weeks in and around Purmerend, 20 kilometers (12 miles) north of Amsterdam. The hardest hit area in town is the Prinsenstichting assisted-living complex for people with disabilities. A spokeswoman for the complex, Lieselotte de Bruijn, said Thursday the owl has attacked up to 20 people there in recent weeks, sometimes causing injuries that required stitches.

One Prinsenstichting resident who fell prey to the owl, Niels Verkooijen, told the Dutch news show Hart van Nederland that it was a painful experience.

"It was like having a brick laced with nails thrown at your head," he said.

The town is warning residents to steer clear of the bird, which is reported to be 60-to-75 centimeters (24-to-30 inches) tall. It has applied for a permit to catch the owl, which is a protected species. Officials suspect the "terror owl" was once kept in captivity, as they say such aggressive behavior is not known among wild eagle owls and the species is not commonly found in the region.

In the meantime, the town has advised residents not to approach the bird and to use umbrellas if they are walking in the evening, when the owl is most active. Marielle de Munnik of Rabobank said staff visited the Prinsenstichting complex this week to hand out dozens of umbrellas.

Bas van Gelderen, who works at Prinsenstichting, saw an owl attack a resident, gouging her cheek with its talons.

"(Now) when we go out at night, or when it's dark, we go out only with umbrellas," he said.


Mike Corder in The Hague contributed.

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Two Suspected Vandals Rescued From Cliff, Arrested At California Park

SAN FRANCISCO, Feb 26 (Reuters) - Two men suspected of vandalism had to be rescued after becoming stranded on a cliff in a San Francisco-area national park on Thursday afternoon and were later taken into custody, officials said.

The men, who were not identified, were believed to have defaced a historic military building in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and got stuck down a steep cliff when trying to escape park rangers, the National Park Service said in a statement.

One of the men was lifted to safety by a state police helicopter and the other was saved by rangers and firefighters who used climbing gear to pull him from the waterfront precipice.

Authorities are continuing to investigate the case, the Park Service said. (Reporting by Curtis Skinner; Editing by Tom Heneghan)

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This Dog's Best Friend? A Rat

One dog's dinner is another's best friend.

Such is the case for Cooper, a coon dog who'd normally prey on small rodents like Olivia. Instead, he and the humble rat have formed a charming relationship.

Cooper is a breed of dog that is used in hunting small mammals, Naturalist David Mizejewski told HuffPost Live's Alyona Minkovski in an appearance with the two animal pals. "Rats, of course, are on the menu for a lot of predatory species, so they're generally not going to a form a friendship."

Olivia and Cooper, both of whom will be featured on this season of Nat Geo Wild's "Unlikely Animal Friends" series, are "special" outliers from their species, and have forged a close bond.

"These guys are great friends," Mizjewski added. "...They are life buddies."

Watch Cooper and Olivia interact in the HuffPost Live clip above.

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'The Jinx' Is 'Serial' For Television, And You're Missing Out If You're Not Watching

An heir to his family's billion-dollar New York real-estate fortune, Robert Durst almost witnessed his mother's suicide as a child, emerged as the prime suspect in his wife's disappearance years later, became estranged from his family after his brother secured the chief position in their business, was accused of dismembering his neighbor's body, began cross-dressing to disguise himself and urinated on a cash register at a Texas CVS. Enticed? You should be watching "The Jinx."

HBO's miniseries, currently halfway through its six-episode run, is more gripping than whatever else you're watching on television right now. The genre-bending show is catnip for anyone who spent the final months of 2014 obsessing over the podcast "Serial." Replace Adnan Syed with 71-year-old Durst, and give host Sarah Koenig's role to Andrew Jarecki, the filmmaker at the helm. Jarecki directed 2010's "All Good Things," a fictionalized take in which Ryan Gosling portrays a Durst analog. An elusive presence for years while the New York media gobbled up his scandal like a midnight snack, Durst, for reasons not quite clear, volunteered to discuss his case with Jarecki. Out of that, "The Jinx" was born.

Bringing true-crime reenactments to prestige TV, "The Jinx" employs newspaper headlines, diary excerpts, investigative footage and interviews with Durst's affiliates (including family members, attorneys, friends of his wife and others) to piece together a mystery that has no probable solution. The framing device of "Serial" stemmed from Syed's skepticism over Koenig's interest in his 15-year-old case; "The Jinx" contains the opposite DNA, yet, because Durst was never actually convicted of a crime, packs even more allure. It's "Serial" for the rich and privileged. Durst's willingness to discuss the case gives him a certain ownership, but the whodunnit makes him a performer, as though he's cast himself in his life story. The labyrinthine tentacles -- divorce proceedings that immediately predate his wife's disappearance, a mobster's daughter who becomes a player, mysterious collect calls, questionable investigations -- rely on Durst's alibis, which are often airtight enough that he almost comes off as a victim.

You will be flabbergasted by the narrative's developments, compounded by the visual medium they inhabit. Sure, this could be a podcast or book, but then you wouldn't get to witness Durst's dry cadence and uncanny tics. "The Jinx" is a new achievement for HBO, whose longstanding highbrow crown has not yielded much in the way of unique programming formats. Here is a presentation seemingly fit for Investigation Discovery earning the glamour of the network's sleek production values. The Errol Morris parallels don't shy from frothy gossip, but it has a polish that suits both the eccentric plutocrat at its center and the lofty platform that houses it (along with an opening-credit sequence that feels like a blatant "True Detective" ripoff). Tune in now. Besides, what else are you going to watch?

"The Jinx" airs Sunday at 8:00 p.m. ET on HBO.

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South African Parents Reunite With Daughter 17 Years After Kidnapping

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — A newborn was kidnapped from a Cape Town hospital in 1997. Her parents never gave up hope and, 17 years later, they have found her.

She was living just a couple miles (kilometers) from her parents but, as the Cape Argus newspaper reports, the amazing discovery happened only after she attended school with her biological sister, and people noticed their similarities. Police spokesman Andre Traut says a woman was arrested and appeared in court Friday in the kidnapping at Groote Schuur Hospital.

In a 2010, the girl's biological father said: "I'll never, ever give up hope. I can feel it in my gut — my daughter is out there and she is going to come home."

The Cape Argus reported that police took DNA samples before making the arrest.

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Scientists Create Music For Cats, And Fur A Good Reason

"Cats are not humans and humans are not cats and it is important that we humans, as the servants of cats, be aware of this difference."

That's Dr. Charles Snowdon, a psychologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He's been on a quirky mission to--yes, you're reading this right--create music for cats.

You can listen to some of his "meow-sic" here.

"We were motivated to make music for cats for two reasons," he told The Huffington Post in an email. "First, many pet owners told us that they play radio music for their pets while they are at work and we wondered if this had any value. Second, we have developed a theory that suggests that species other than humans can enjoy music but that the music has to be in the frequency range that the species uses to communicate and with tempos that they would normally use."

To create the cat music, Snowdon and his colleagues tried to mimic natural cat sounds, using sliding notes and high pitches--cat calls tend to be an octave or more above human voices. The researchers based the tempo of the songs on purring and suckling sounds.

Then came the moment of truth: the researchers tested their compositions on 47 male and female domestic cats in their homes. The kitties heard "Cozmo's Air" and "Rusty's Ballad," along with two human music pieces for comparison: Gabriel Fauré's "Elegie" and Johann Sebastian Bach's "Air on a G String."

What happened? When the cat music was playing, the felines were significantly more likely to orient their heads toward it, walk toward it, and even rub up against the speaker.

"We interpret this as indicating that the cats showed a preference," Snowdon said in the email.

Now that the researchers have found music cats seem to like, they think it may have some important applications, like soothing stressed-out shelter cats.

"We think of cats as highly independent of their human servants, but there is some research showing that cats experience separation anxiety, which is greater in human-raised cats than in feral cats," he told Discovery News.

An article describing the research has been accepted for publication in the journal Applied Animal Behavioral Science.

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Stolen Picasso Shipped As Christmas Present Seized In Newark


The cubist painting La Coiffeuse by Pablo Picasso was considered missing for over a decade.

Photo: AP/US Department of Justice

This article originally appeared on artnet News.

A stolen Picasso painting which was considered lost for years has resurfaced in the United States, where it had been shipped under false pretenses as a $37 Christmas present labeled as “art craft." The 1911 painting, La Coiffeuse (The Hairdresser), was discovered in December in a FedEx shipment from Belgium to Long Island City.

The US attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Loretta Lynch, filed a civil forfeiture suit on Thursday, February 26 to return the painting to France. The work is owned by the French government.

The painting, worth millions of dollars, was stolen in Paris more than a decade ago, though the theft's exact date is unclear. It had been smuggled out of a storeroom at the Centre Georges Pompidou.

The canvas was last exhibited in Munich in 1998, and then returned to Paris, where it was placed in storage at the Paris museum. It wasn't until three years later, in 2001, when officials received a loan request for the cubist landmark, that the theft was noticed. Having searched the storerooms to no avail, they declared the painting, then valued at more than $2.5 million, stolen, the New York Times reports.

An unknown person going by “Robert" shipped the painting on December 17 from an address in Belgium to a climate-controlled warehouse in Long Island City. The package was labeled as “art craft," with a stated value of $37 and complete with a Christmas card. The next day, the painting arrived at the Port of Newark and was seized.

Federal Customs and Border Protection officials examined the FedEx shipment and found the missing Picasso. They notified the Department of Homeland Security, and officials working from Long Island City, Queens, then took over.

There's no information on whether anyone has been arrested in connection with the shipment and the identity of the package's recipient has not been released.

French museum officials came to New York in January to examine the painting in person. Comparing it with historical records and photographs of the missing work, they confirmed that it was indeed La Coiffeuse.

Anthony Scandiffio, the deputy special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations who seized the painting, said in a statement, “The market to sell stolen antiquities in the United States is drying up."

A number of recent thefts from European museums have shown that robberies are often inside jobs committed by employees with access to invaluable artworks, manuscripts, and artifacts. (see Librarian Steals Priceless Documents from Russian Museum also Prosecutor Asks for Five-Year Suspended Prison Sentence for Picasso's Electrician Pierre Le Guennec). However, many cases remain unsolved for years (see Unsolved Art Heists: The Missing Paintings of Vincent van Gogh).


artnet News is the world’s first global, 24-hour art newswire, dedicated to informing, engaging, and connecting the most avid members of the art community with daily news and expert commentary.

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Forget The Kennel, Use Rover For Your Dogs When You Go On Vacation

Going on vacation is one of the most exciting things to look forward to, but if you're leaving a pet at home, it can turn into a stressful experience. Luckily, you won't have to worry about man's best friend at the kennel anymore, because Rover has you covered.

Rover (much like DogVacay) is the latest service to offer at-home dog boarding. It's a happy alternative to boarding your dog at kennel or burdening neighbors, friends and family with petsitting responsibilities.

The way Rover works is sort of like Airbnb. Dog owners browse the "search" section of the site or app for potential pet sitters, which can be organized by zip code and available dates. In-depth profiles of pet sitters are provided, complete with multiple reviews, availability, specific services and rates. Currently, Rover has over 25,000 approved sitters in more than 5,000 U.S. cities.

After deciding on someone that fits your doggie criteria, just direct message a pet sitter on their profile to schedule a meet and greet, decide if they'll watch Fido at your house or theirs and pay them.

Then, like Rover says, all that's left to do is relax! Rover pet sitters are encouraged to send text and picture updates throughout the day, and if there's a medical emergency, the site guarantees 24/7 access to a vet. Don't worry about a sitter canceling -- you're also guaranteed a replacement if someone falls through.

Happy doggie, happy travels -- that sounds good to us. To learn more about Rover, click here.

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Someone Stole An Entire House In Oregon

A thief made off with an entire house in Klamath Falls, Oregon, this week in a heist that would make Ocean's Eleven blush.

On Tuesday, the homeowner called the Klamath County Sheriff's Office to report that the home was missing, KOBI reports. Moving this log cabin couldn't have been easy, either. It was on a foundation and definitely wasn't a mobile home.

"[The owner] went to visit his part-time home and between the first time he saw it and a couple of months later, it was gone. I mean can you imagine?" Klamath County Sheriff Frank Skrah told The Washington Post.

Police spent two days searching and finally found the cabin on Thursday, at least a mile away from its foundation. Skrah said there was a legal dispute in which three people were claiming ownership of the home, and one of them had sold it to a fourth person.

"We think that somebody busted out the foundation, jacked it up, put a lowboy [trailer] underneath it and lowered it down on the lowboy and took it," Skrah said.

The 1,200-square-foot cabin wasn't occupied at the time it was swiped.

Deputies reportedly have a list of suspects, but they wouldn't release any more details about the homeowner or the investigation. No charges have been filed.

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Everything You Need To Know About #TheDress

Unless you were in a bunker on Thursday, you've heard the only story more viral than the llamas on the lam.

A photo of a dress -- now trending on every social media site as #TheDress -- left the world divided. Is it white and gold? Blue and black? Or, dare we say it, blue and brown?

the dress

We know the answer. Here's what all the fuss is about:

An image of the dress was originally posted by a 21-year-old singer named Caitlin McNeill.

McNeill shared it with talent manager Sarah Weichel, who begged the question, "Is this dress white and gold, or blue and black? Me and my friends can’t agree and we are freaking the fuck out."

It's freaking blue and black.

the dress blue and black

Though you may not see it that way. Wired wrote a great piece outlining how our eyes deceive us, and the science behind The Dress.

Wired reports:

“What’s happening here is your visual system is looking at this thing, and you’re trying to discount the chromatic bias of the daylight axis,” says Bevil Conway, a neuroscientist who studies color and vision at Wellesley College. “So people either discount the blue side, in which case they end up seeing white and gold, or discount the gold side, in which case they end up with blue and black.” (Conway sees blue and orange, somehow.)

You can buy it.

The dress is by Roman Originals, and the company knows its garment is famous. Oh yeah, and the site describes it as "Royal Blue."

the dress

Some still probably think it's white and gold. That's OK.

#TeamWhiteGold is still going strong on Twitter and Facebook. #TeamBlueandBlack is winning, though.

Yes, there are memes.

Because of course there are memes.

white and black

llama drama


The Dress' poster has spoken.

McNeill told Business Insider that the whole experience has been odd, but she enjoyed the attention the dress received from celebrities:

"I thought my followers on Tumblr would maybe have a good reaction, but I never would have considered that Taylor Swift and Mindy Kaling would be tweeting about it," McNeill said.

McNeill also says that the dress is blue and black. Debate over!

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John Unger, Man In Heart-Wrenching Photo With His Dog Schoep, Adopts New Pup

No dog will ever replace Schoep.

The adorable, arthritic dog became an Internet sensation in 2013 when photographer Hannah Stonehouse Hudson snapped a photo of Schoep and his human, John Unger, embracing in the waters of Lake Superior. Unger regularly waded in the water with Schoep to relieve the aging pooch's arthritis.

man dog lake suprerior photo

Schoep died in 2013 at the age of 20.

This week, Unger has invited a new dog, named Bear, into his home. He posted the news to his Facebook page on Feb. 24, saying, "I am whole again..."

Since its appearing on Tuesday, the Facebook post has generated more than 72,000 likes from a community that rallied around Unger when Schoep died.

Unger adopted Schoep when he was just an 8-month-old puppy. The dog had been abused by his former owner, and it took time for the little guy to trust Unger. The two finally developed a bond so strong that Unger credits Schoep with saving him from a deep depression following a bad breakup.

Here's to Unger and Bear celebrating their future together!

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Thursday, 26 February 2015

U.S. Northern Command: Loose Llamas Had No Connection To ISIS

The military just shot the elephant in the room.

Hours after two llamas wreaked havoc on the streets of Phoenix, Arizona Thursday, the United States Northern Command answered the questions on everyone's minds: Who were the llamas working for? And do they have connections to the so-called Islamic State in Syria?

Rest easy folks, the U.S. military assures us that there was no breach in homeland security.

The tweet from Northern Command reads: "Llama had no known connections to ISIS. Appears to have self-radicalized."

It's nice to know we're safe.

In all seriousness, at least we can find some humor in what was one of the most amazing daytime stories to come out of local news in a while.

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Producer Adi Shankar Slams 'Bullsh*t' Copyright Claims That Got His Viral 'Power Rangers' Film Removed From YouTube, Vimeo

When producer Adi Shankar's dark "Power Rangers" fan film spread like wildfire on the Internet, racking up millions of views and shares, it was closely followed by copyright complaints from Saban Entertainment, the company that owns the franchise. First Vimeo took the video down on Wednesday, and YouTube followed suit on Thursday.

That doesn't sit well with Shankar, who blasted the "bullshit" copyright claims during an interview with HuffPost Live's Nancy Redd on Thursday, about an hour after YouTube removed his video. And just minutes before the interview began, Shankar said he received a personal cease-and-desist letter from Warner/Chappell Music claiming he stole the "Power Rangers" theme song.

Shankar's argument is that his film was wholly original and used no footage or music from the original "Power Rangers" series. Furthermore, he says the motivation for making it was all about his personal fandom and not an attempt to monetize someone else's work.

"I'm literally not trying to pitch this to anyone. I'm not trying to use this to get ahead or leverage off their intellectual property. I'm just a fan, you know what I mean? I did this for the 7-year-old kid inside of me," he said.

The short film's director Joseph Kahn defended the project on Twitter, arguing that because it was a fan video created with no intention to make any money, "it is just as if I drew a pic of Power Rangers on a napkin and I gave it to my friend."

Shankar told HuffPost Live he's also worried about what Warner/Chappell's cease-and-desist letter could mean for the use of music by fans and artists online.

"[The music in the film] is an original composition. It's an original score. So now they're attacking the remix culture. So now what does that say about anyone on the Internet who does a musical parody, who does a cover song?" Shankar said.

Watch Adi Shankar's interview with HuffPost Live in the video above.

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Hell Is For Sale, And These Damned Artists Would Really Like Your Help Buying It

For the group that puts on an art show called “DAMNED: An Exhibition of Enlightened Darkness,” an abandoned church seems like an appropriate venue. But hosting in 5 acres of Hell is even more fitting.

DAMNED, which stages an annual visual arts show, masquerade and performances in Detroit, is hell-bent on raising $1,333,666 to purchase the holdings of Hell, Michigan, where members plan to build a performing arts center. They launched a Kickstarter campaign this week to help get the funds.


What to expect in DAMNED's version of Hell. Via Kickstarter.

The small town of Hell is a surprisingly popular destination (and excuse for puns) located 60 miles west of Detroit. Tourists can attend the annual Hearse Fest or Blessed in Hell motorcycle rally, marry in the Chapel of Love or get a “degree” from Damnation University (Damn U) -- or just take their pictures in front of the town sign to prove they visited the underworld.

John Colone, who owns the holdings of Hell and is the unofficial mayor, announced Feb. 13 (a Friday, of course), that he was selling the property for just under $1 million -- $999,666, to be exact.

Besides the 5-acre property, "university" and chapel, the Hell holdings include a souvenir store, an ice cream shop, a weather station, a post office, a mini golf course, the Gates of Hell and a canoe and kayak rental operation. Perhaps most lucratively, the merchandising rights to “Hell” and associated online pages for the town are also included in the listing.

The sale is being handled by real estate agent Rick Beaudin, who calls himself the “Pinckney Pirate”-- and he has the hat to prove it. (Who else would you trust to sell Hell?)

DAMNED member Anthony DVS told WXYZ the group had been searching for an abandoned church or warehouse in the Detroit area for their venue. But, as the Kickstarter page notes, they couldn't pass up this “divine opportunity.”

“So we ask you, the fine citizens of the world, to help us to unleash Hell 2.0 on Earth,” the Kickstarter page beckons. “There are no soul contracts to sign. No first-borns to give.”

Perks for top donations to the crowdfunding campaign include a chance to have your name "scribed ETERNALLY upon the walls of Hell 2.0" and a personalized parking spot in Hell.

Some might think an outsider arts group has a snowball’s chance in hell of raising more than a $1 million by March 22. But you never know; the crowdfunding campaign raised more than $40,000 in its first few days with little publicity. And last we heard, Hell already froze over.

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