Archive for Funny / Interesting

How Marble is Made

From the category of things I did’t know were so awesome: How they harvest marble.

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On all the World Cup players folding their arms

From the little of the World Cup that I watched this year, one thing really stood out: the hilarious arm-folding. None of my friends really watch football, and yet this topic keeps being brought up. FIFA should seriously leave creativity to creative people, even if they don’t watch football. This arm folding thing is a disaster.

Disasters are funny though, and Slate has the funniest article I read in ages.

It turns out that’s surprisingly hard to ace on your first (and, presumably, only) try. Hundreds upon hundreds of millions of television viewers have watched players from all 32 teams botch this seemingly simple technique in the lineup presentations before each World Cup match. Nailing that turn and arm-fold is crucial, though: It’s the difference between looking like an ordinary, nice dude (like Japan’s Atsuto Uchida) and an unlucky guy caught posing for his mug shot (like the United States’ Kyle Beckerman).

So what can we learn from these athletes’ struggles to fold their arms and look to the left in a convincingly human manner? The primary issue is where your hands should go. Should they go on the outside of your biceps, like those of the Netherlands’ Daryl Janmaat? Or would you prefer, as does Mexican goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa, to tuck them inside, thumbs up?

Would you like to adopt the pose of a hip-hop dancer, like Greece’s Ioannis Maniatis, or that of a perfectly upright Cossack dancer, like the Ivory Coast’s Salomon Kalou?

But whatever you do, don’t stuff your hands into your armpits like Colombian players Carlos Sánchez, Abel Aguilar, and Juan Cuadrado. Gross, guys!

But best of all is Cameroon’s Benoît Assou-Ekotto. Graceful, funny, relaxed, Ekotto’s arm-folding is a joyous invitation to come to his place and watch some Adventure Time. Assou-Ekotto wins the World Cup of Arm-Folding.

Read the whole hilarious article on Slate.

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Mixed-race Portraits

I love this series of mixed-race family portraits.

For one thing, evolution is beautiful, especially when you can see it happening right in front of your eyes. Two, as a Jordanian, where 99.9% of the population is Jordanian, race is fascinating to me because I don’t see much of it. Finally, all sides of my own family are very racially consistent, with Levantine genes all the way back.

And these mixed-race portraits are soooooo beautiful. I wish I can see the world when there will be no race anymore.

View all portraits on Slate.

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The Pocket Guide to Detecting Bullshit


So apparently, under-eye bags, or aegyo sal, are hot in Asia

So, from Quora:

Asian people think that having aegyo sal makes them cuter and more youthful looking–like it softens their appearance. People go so far as to get surgery or put tape or makeup under their eyes to get this effect.

Wow, this is really cool. I personally don’t have feelings towards the area area beneath the eye, and don’t notice it much at all. But now that I’m looking… they’re right. The “aegyo sal” does actually look better.




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Autism Therapy Through Disney Movies

I was greatly moved by this beautiful piece written by the father of an autistic child, on how they learned to communicate through Disney movies.

It’s long, but worth every second.

In our first year in Washington, our son disappeared.

Just shy of his 3rd birthday, an engaged, chatty child, full of typical speech — “I love you,” “Where are my Ninja Turtles?” “Let’s get ice cream!” — fell silent. He cried, inconsolably. Didn’t sleep. Wouldn’t make eye contact. His only word was “juice.”

I had just started a job as The Wall Street Journal’s national affairs reporter. My wife, Cornelia, a former journalist, was home with him — a new story every day, a new horror. He could barely use a sippy cup, though he’d long ago graduated to a big-boy cup. He wove about like someone walking with his eyes shut. “It doesn’t make sense,” I’d say at night. “You don’t grow backward.” Had he been injured somehow when he was out of our sight, banged his head, swallowed something poisonous? It was like searching for clues to a kidnapping.

After visits to several doctors, we first heard the word “autism.” Later, it would be fine-tuned to “regressive autism,” now affecting roughly a third of children with the disorder. Unlike the kids born with it, this group seems typical until somewhere between 18 and 36 months — then they vanish. Some never get their speech back. Families stop watching those early videos, their child waving to the camera. Too painful. That child’s gone.

In the year since his diagnosis, Owen’s only activity with his brother, Walt, is something they did before the autism struck: watching Disney movies. “The Little Mermaid,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Aladdin” — it was a boom time for Disney — and also the old classics: “Dumbo,” “Fantasia,” “Pinocchio,” “Bambi.” They watch on a television bracketed to the wall in a high corner of our smallish bedroom in Georgetown. It is hard to know all the things going through the mind of our 6-year-old, Walt, about how his little brother, now nearly 4, is changing. They pile up pillows on our bed and sit close, Walt often with his arm around Owen’s shoulders, trying to hold him — and the shifting world — in place.

Read the rest of it here.


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