Filmmaker, photo hound, author of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. Ransom was a daily contributor to mentalfloss.com for many, many years.
Today's Strange Geographies post revisits a place I've been several times before -- the Salton Sea. It's one of my favorite places to visit; just a few hours from my house, it may as well be on the moon. This time, though, I shot video rather than photos while I was there, and the result is my first Strange Geographies-style short film. Hope you like it![See all my Strange Geographies photo... READ ON
Only in Iceland would someone wear a dead guy as pants. The necropants, as they're called, are at the center of a very strange legend that's part of an exhibit at Iceland's Holmavik Witchcraft and Sorcery Museum (a macabre little pit-stop where you can learn the stories of 17 people burned at the stake in the 17th century -- for supposedly "occult" practices like cursing someone with uncontrollable farting). The necropants were made from the skin of the bottom half of a dead guy -- but that's not the weird... READ ON
My in-laws are both teachers -- one of English, the other of English as a second language -- so I hear stories like this all the time. While funny, the mistakes students make also make you wonder if, you know, kids are dumber these days or just more distracted by things that aren't school -- but then again, I'm certain I made lots of dumb mistakes in reports and papers when I was younger too, like these and worse. (I burned all the evidence.) But as with everything, it seems, now There's A Tumblr For... READ ON
I won't make you guess the theme of tonight's Late Movies -- it'd be way too obvious. I searched YouTube for the most terrible videos I could find -- most of which have the word "terrible" in the titles. The results are, well ... interesting.
TERRIBLE VIDEO GAME ENDINGS
Ever play a game through to the end -- maybe 20-30 hours of work -- only to be rewarded by a hastily thrown-together 10-second end screen?
Quite possibly the most terrible cover of the most terrible song on... READ ON
The space shuttle's retirement has prompted me to think a bit harder about the future of the American space program. I always took the space shuttle, and the giant rockets that propelled it, for granted, assuming they were the best and only method of launching things into space. It turns out, however, that somebody thought of making a space elevator way back in the 19th century, and we've had the technology to create one in a lower-gravity environment like the moon or Mars since the 70s.
So what would a... READ ON
Over at Fast Company there's a slideshow of incredible dollhouse interiors, all designed by a Santa-Claus-lookin' Frenchman who operates somewhere between the world of Franz Kafka and that of director Jean-Paul Jenet (remember The City of Lost Children and... READ ON
Public domain books have been around for a long time, but until efforts like Project Gutenberg came along, getting your hands on them was no different than any other book: you'd have to check it out from the library or buy it at a bookstore. After Gutenberg and Google Books, they were free and plentiful, as long as you didn't mind reading giant 19th century novels on a computer screen. But if you were one of those people who prefer their classics in audiobook form -- and if I had a massive commute every... READ ON
“One morning, as Gregor Samsa was waking up from anxious dreams, he discovered that he had been changed into an adorable kitten.” So begins the latest literary mash-up from our friends at Quirk Books, the ingeniously titled MEOWMORPHOSIS. It's been getting some great reviews, and the premise looks like a really fun update of the classic:
"If Gregor is to survive this bizarre, bewhiskered ordeal, he'll have to achieve what he never could before – escape from his parents' house," said Quirk.... READ ON
Since we're all talking about the CIA and Tom Clancy-style special ops teams this week -- and the Playstation Network is still down -- I found this video from Google especially interesting. It's ostensibly a promo about their advanced security measures, meant to intimidate hackers and data thieves from trying anything funny -- but it kinda creeped me out, too. Don't get me wrong: I'm glad they're strict about security. This is Google's version of Mission: Impossible, where pasty nerds get iris-scanned... READ ON
It's getting easier to film things in extreme slow motion. My buddy Pat is a Hollywood camera tech who frequently has fancy high-end camera packages lying around his house -- so, theoretically, we could get drunk and film ourselves jumping off his roof at 10,000 frames/second any old time. (But I'm glad we haven't. On a related note: I have never broken a bone.) This new availability of extreme-slow-motion-capable cameras is the reason that all sorts of silly things shot in slo-mo are showing up on... READ ON
Liechtenstein is the world’s leading exporter of false teeth.