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The Week in WTF: baby criminals, bee suits, chicken corsages

by Angela Tung  |  Posted April 16, 2014

Every day we look for the weird and wonderful, and present it to you in Fun Finds collections. But what about those finds that aren’t so fun? Those stories that made us go WTF?

They get their own weekly blog and collection series, of course: The Week in WTF.

Baby in Pakistan charged with attempted murder

Photo via The Guardian

Photo via The Guardian

First off, the charges against nine-month-old Musa Khan were dropped earlier this week, but how did they come up in the first place?

Apparently, Musa’s family as a whole had been accused of trying to kill gas company workers who had come to disconnect their house for supposedly not paying their bills. According to The Guardian, “lawyers say it is all too common for police to resort to collective punishment of entire families.”

Musa’s family was also accused of producing “‘the wrong baby’ before the court in order to undermine the police case.”

Japan’s biggest pop star right now is a fetishized hologram

Image via Vocaloid Wiki

Hatsune Miku is nothing more than light, lasers, and a digitally synthesized voice, but she — or rather, “she” — has “1.8 million Facebook followers,” and has been “the face for Google, Toyota, and Louis Vuitton,” says Global Post.

Then again, light, lasers, and digitally synthesized voice aren’t too far off from some human pop stars today.

Chinese farmer wears suit of bees

Photo via The Telegraph

Photo via The Telegraph

In Chongqing it’s called bee bearding, and She Ping, a Chinese beekeeper, bearded a bodysuit made of 456,00 bees to market his honey.

If you think that’s the most bees ever worn by a human, think again: the Guinness World Record is held by Vipin Seth, “who wore more than 600,000 bees.”

Ping was stung “just 20 times,” hopefully not in any of these areas.

Student Uses White Out to ‘Erase’ Test Question She Can’t Answer

Photo via Jezebel

Photo via Jezebel

“Oh shoot, I don’t know the answer to this question. I know! I’ll just White It out. It’ll be like it never existed.”

KFC is selling a chicken corsage for prom

chickencorsage

Because nothing says romance like a wristful of greasy chicken bits.

For even more in the Week of WTF, check out the whole collection. Also be sure to build your own collection and tweet it @Reverb with #collections for a chance to win some cool schwag.

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Every day we look for the weird and wonderful, and present it to you in Fun Finds collections. But what about those finds that aren’t so fun? Those stories that made us go WTF?

They get their own weekly blog and collection series, of course: The Week in WTF.

 This is one of the sickest, most twisted STDs that nature has to offer (The Week)

cricket

Photo via Flickr, CC BY 2.0 by Hugo A. Quintero G.

True, it’s a cricket STD, but that doesn’t make it any less gruesome.

The virus, which renders both parties sterile, encourages the insects to mate. In fact, infected males want to mate even more than uninfected males. On top of that, the virus keeps the infected in shape good enough to attract a mate.

Absurd Creature of the Week: This Eel Fires Extra Alien Jaws Out of Its Throat (Wired)

Photo via Flickr, CC BY 2.0 by Jason Eppink

Photo via Flickr, CC BY 2.0 by Jason Eppink

We’re huge fans of Matt Simon’s weekly Absurd Creatures column, and this one is particularly WTF (although not as WTF as a certain toad).

The moray eel is an apex predator that has “a second set of jaws that fire forward and pull prey down its gullet.” While most fish use suction to suck down their prey, suction is a no-go for the moray eel due to its narrow shape and predilection for large prey. Instead, it adapted its “pharyngeal jaws into mobilized graspers,” and eats its prey like a snake.

Tree Trimmer “Lucky” to Survive Chainsaw Lodged 2 Inches in Neck (Gawker)

Photo via Gawker

Photo via Gawker

James Valentine was minding his own business, chainsawing a tree, when he “lost control” of the chainsaw, and ended up with it two inches in his neck.

Luckily, he avoided “severing any major arteries or tendons” and is expected to make a full recovery.

Flesh-crawling page-turners: the books bound in human skin (The Guardian)

Photo via The Guardian

Photo via The Guardian

Despite the macabre description —  ”the bynding of this booke is all that remains of my dear friende Jonas Wright, who was flayed alive by the Wavuma on the Fourth Day of August, 1632″ — it turns out the cover of a 17th century book, Practicarum Quaestionum Circa Leges Regias Hispaniae, is actually sheep and not human skin.

However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t other books that are people. For instance, there’s The Highwayman: Narrative of the Life of James Allen alias George Walton, “a death-bed confession the author asked be delivered bound in his own skin to his last victim.”

GQ: Human Barbie is a “racist space alien” (Salon)

Photo via Flickr, CC BY 2.0 by Mike Mozart

Photo via Flickr, CC BY 2.0 by Mike Mozart

So not only is the human Barbie a human Barbie, she’s a racist who blames the popularity of plastic surgery (of which she claims to have had very little) on “race-mixing” and the “degeneration” of the white race.

Related: the “human Ken doll” (who, by the way, looks nothing like Ken and more like, as one commenter put it, “keanu reeves after some bad plastic surgery”) doesn’t really “get why people think [human Barbie is] so interesting.” He even goes as far as to declare that she “has been [his] arch-nemesis ever since [they] met each other earlier this year.”

For even more in the Week of WTF, check out the whole collection. Also be sure to build your own collection and tweet it @Reverb with #collections for a chance to win some cool schwag.

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The Week in WTF: expensive burgers, stupid tattoos, giant Hoff

by Angela Tung  |  Posted April 2, 2014

Every day we look for the weird and wonderful, and present it to you in Fun Finds collections. But what about those finds that aren’t so fun? Those stories that made us go WTF?

They get their own weekly blog and collection series, of course: The Week in WTF.

No Ford Nation Campaign against Rob Ford for Toronto mayor (Slate)

robford

Image via Slate

Some folks in Toronto really don’t want Rob Ford to be their mayor again. While none of these candidates are real, No Ford Nation (or at least the website) seems to be.

Of course, Ford Nation, according to David Weigel at Slate, is “the popular nickname for the following Ford has built out from his base in Etobicoke.”

Student claims college instructor spent months teaching class the ‘wrong’ course (KHOU)

fail

Photo via Flickr, CC BY 2.0 by Chris Griffith

A student at Lonestar College in Houston, Texas claims that a professor taught the wrong class all semester.

Professor Thao Shirley Nguyen was supposed to teach an introductory chemistry course but somehow ended up teaching a more advanced one. The student complained about “getting 40’s on every test” and ruining her straight A average.

This Teenager Got A McDonald’s Receipt Tattooed To His Arm (Business Insider)

mcdonalds-tattoo

Image via Business Insider

The friends of an 18-year old Norwegian teen “wanted to punish him for ‘being a little too active with the ladies’” (whatever that means) and forced him to get a tattoo of either a McDonald’s receipt, “a Barbie, or an inked drawing of his own bare behind.”

He went with the receipt. We would have gone with the Barbie.

UPDATE: As promised, the teen got the tattoo parlor receipt inked on his other arm.

The Most Expensive Burgers in America (First We Feast)

Photo via First We Feast

Photo via First We Feast

You’d think a piece of meat between two pieces of bread wouldn’t cost that much, but First We Feast would beg to differ. The site rounded up the priciest hamburgers in the U.S., and at the top was the Fleurburger 5000 coming in at, you guessed it, $5,000.

First We Feast says the Kobe beef burger “comes loaded with foie gras and black truffles,” and “is encased in a truffle-infused brioche bun.” With the Fleurburger, you also get “a bottle of Chateau Petrus 1995, which the restaurant has listed at $5,300.” So actually you’re getting the burger for free plus a $300 discount on the wine.

It’s a bargain really.

You Have Two Weeks to Bid on This Giant David Hasselhoff Mannequin

(Gawker)

Photo via Gawker

Photo via Gawker

The former Baywatch star is auctioning off items “from his personal archive,” says Hollywood Reporter, including this frightening oversized replica of the Hoff that was apparently used as a prop in a 2004 SpongeBob SquarePants movie.

According to Gawker, the statue is 14 feet long, in case you were wondering if it would fit in your living room.

For even more in the Week of WTF, check out the whole collection. Also be sure to build your own collection and tweet it @Reverb with #collections for a chance to win some cool schwag.

Happy collecting!

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The Week in WTF: killer dolphins, bad haircuts, creepy dolls

by Angela Tung  |  Posted March 28, 2014

As you may know, every day we look for the weird and wonderful, and present it to you in a daily Fun Finds collection. But what about the finds that aren’t so fun? Those stories that made us go WTF?

We thought they deserved their own weekly blog and collection series. May we present the first installment of The Week in WTF.

Russia stole Ukraine’s killer dolphin army (The Wire)

dolphins

You read that correctly. Ukraine has — or had — a group of about 10 dolphins trained in “counter-combat swimmer tasks in order to defend ships in port and on raids,” says The Wire. And now, as part of their seizure of Crimea’s naval bases, Russia has pilfered this batch of battle-worthy bottlenoses for their own.

Creepy clown haunts Staten Island (The New York Daily News)

clown25n-1-web

Photo via http://instagram.com/realvinnocente#

In case you didn’t know, coulrophobia is the fear of clowns, and we have it. That’s why we’re glad we weren’t in Staten Island this week as sightings of a Pennywise-lookalike were reported around the New York borough.

It turned out to be a publicity stunt for a film, but we still prefer to keep our clowns in nightmares and not reality.

UPDATE: There is no film. Fuzz on the Film just created the clown for the hell of it, says Gothamist. And because they’re evil.

Men in North Korea ordered to get Kim Jong Un’s haircut (The Independent)

kim

Photo via The Independent

We’re taking this story with a grain of salt, and The Independent qualifies it as a rumor, but supposedly, “state sanctioned guidelines” are calling for all North Korean men to style their hair with the “shaved sides, ahead-of-the-trend, high-top fade” of their “Dear Leader.”

Most likely however this story isn’t true, which means North Korean men and women still have a whole 28 hairstyles to choose from.

Wal-Mart Recalls ‘Cuddle Care’ Dolls Because They Can Burn (NPR)

cuddlecaredoll

Photo via NPR

She drinks from a bottle! She cries real tears! And she burns…she burns….

At least that’s according to the 12 reported incidents to Wal-Mart, says NPR. According to the Consumer Products Safety Commission, “the circuit board that makes the doll seem to come alive can also overheat, creating a burn hazard.”

Have one of these dolls? Take out the batteries and return it to the store for a refund.

This gyrating animatronic doll will your haunt your dreams (io9)

gyratingdoll

Photo via The Daily Mail

This doll doesn’t burn (presumably) but it does bump and grind in a surrealy creepy way. What is it about her that’s so eek-inducing? Her mask? Those grabby hands? The way she weirdly moves like a human but clearly is not?

For even more about creepy robots, check out this blog post, and if you’re in New York City between now and April 19, visit the dancing sculpture in, um, person at the David Zwirner Art Gallery.

For even more in the Week of WTF, check out the whole collection. Also be sure to build your own collection and tweet it @Reverb with #collections for a chance to win some cool schwag.

Happy collecting!

[Photo: "Dolphin Encounter," CC BY 2.0 by Ste Elmore]

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Reverb Collections Madness…And a Contest!

by Angela Tung  |  Posted March 19, 2014

collectionLandscape

In case you missed it, we recently launched Reverb collections, a quick and easy way for you to collect articles on your favorite topics, share them with friends, and, via Reverb’s recommendations, to deepen your knowledge and discover even more.

We here at Reverb are so excited about collections, we decided, in the spirit of March Madness, to hold our own collection-making tournament.

Here’s how it worked: in 30 minutes we made as many collections as we could about anything we wanted, and then tweeted those collections with the hashtag #collections.

Out of the 30 collections that were created, an Elite 8 were selected:

And here’s how it played out:

Screen Shot 2014-03-19 at 2.57.19 PM

And the top four winners in non-bracket format:

Congratulations to all the winners!

But that’s not all. In addition to votes, another prize was available for whomever’s collection was retweeted by an account with at least 10,000 followers. The first winner was –

Screen Shot 2014-03-19 at 3.07.38 PM

Thanks for retweeting Chiao’s tweet, mass_writer! The second winner was –

Screen Shot 2014-03-19 at 3.21.07 PMThanks Miel Van Opstal! And congratulations to Chiao and Ivan!

Now it’s your turn. On the theme of what March Madness means to you — spring cleaning frenzy? cuckoo weather? or hey even sports? — create a Reverb collection and tweet it, making sure to include the hashtag #collections. Every Friday we’ll pick our favorite and award the creator with some lovely Reverb schwag!

What are you waiting for? Download Reverb today and start collecting!

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Reverb Collections: Now It’s Your Turn

by Katie  |  Posted March 13, 2014

We have some exciting news!

While collections have always been a part of Reverb –  for instance, our editorial team had a lot of fun making this Pizza in the News collection — now you’ll be able to make collections too.

Reverb Collections is a quick and easy way for you to build collections around your favorite articles and topics. For instance, you can gather all of your favorite recipes together in one place –

collectionLandscape

– and keep up-to-date on current events.

crimeaUnrest

Plus, Reverb recommends articles and topics related to those already in your collection to help grow your collection, deepen your knowledge on your favorite topics, and find even more interests for you to explore.

Finally, just like with everything else in Reverb, you can share your collections via email, Twitter, and Facebook.

So how do you get started? It’s easy. Once you find an article or topic you’re interested in, just tap on the Collections icon –

collectionIconName your collection –

CollectionTitle

– and give it a description.

CollectionDescription

Tap Done, and you’ve created your first collection!

Reverb Collections are another way that we’ve set out to create the most effortless, personalized news experience for you, giving you more of what you want to read and less of what you don’t.

Reverb is available for the iPad for free in the iTunes store. Give Reverb a try today!

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Science Fiction Reality: The 10 Creepiest Real-Life Robots

by Katie  |  Posted January 2, 2014

robots

Happy Science Fiction Day!

As you may know, we here at Reverb love the weird and wonderful, and what’s weirder or more wonderful than science fiction? How about creepy, real-life robots?

In honor of SF Day and the birthday of author Isaac Asimov — who by the way coined the term robotics — we bring you 10 of the creepiest real-life robots, in increasing degrees of creepiness.

Self-Assembling Cubes

Developed by MIT, these self-assembling cubes, or M-Blocks, says WIRED, “can scoot across tables and flip themselves through the air” due to a high-speed spinning “flywheel.” Not only that,  “once they come close to another block, a clever system of self-aligning magnets attaches them to their partner.”

So a Rubik’s cube that can not only self-propel but self-propel and attach itself to other self-propelling Rubik’s cubes to form a giant Rubik’s cube that will destroy us all? See for yourself.

Paro Seal Robot

Okay, these robots are pretty cute. But isn’t there something creepy about robo-pets “designed to sense touch, light, sound, temperature, and posture,” as well as “show emotions, including happiness, surprise, and anger”?

Not so, says Slate. Australian and German researchers found that when placed with eldery patients with dementia, the Paro seals produced “a positive, clinically meaningful influence on quality of life, increased levels of pleasure and also reduced displays of anxiety.”

Not creepy after all.

Robot Butt

Comedian Rob Delaney tweeted a picture of it. We remember. Vividly.

Turns out, according to Geekosystem, the “robot butt” is a virtual patient created by doctors Benjamin Lok and Carla Pugh. Medical students can practice prostate exams on the mannequin (or “Patrick” as his inventors call him) which is “instrumented with force sensors that can measure where the student is examining and with how much pressure.”

Flying Robot Jellyfish

Jellyfish are already pretty creepy. How about a robot jellyfish? How about a flying robot jellyfish?

According to the Washington Post, Leif Rostroph and Stephen Childress “wanted to build the ‘simplest possible’ flying machine.” To do this, the applied mathematicians “glued together several tubes of carbon fiber” to create “a sphere with four wings attached to it that propels it as a jellyfish swims.”

(Why the video looks like it’s from the 1950s, we’re not sure.)

In addition, “even though [the device] has absolutely no circuitry and no sensors, it manages to keep itself upright in the air,” and can “right itself in response to disturbances.”

Sounds pretty creepy to us.

Mosquito Drones

Killer robots as tiny as insects. Enough said.

VELOCIRoACH

Duncan Haldane at the University of California, Berkeley, asked himself, “How can I make the cockroach, the creepiest insect ever, even creepier? Turn it into a robot!”

Not really, but it’s what we imagine the researcher and his colleagues thought as they developed this “small cardboard hexapod,” as New Scientist calls it.

The VELOCIRoACH — we assume the name is a combination of velocity and roach (although we picture a giant velociraptor-cockroach hybrid) — is one of the fastest robots in existence, which would make killing it with a rolled up newspaper a pain in the neck.

Atlas

Boston Dynamics has developed seven creepy robots in response to the DARPA Robotics Challenge, says BBC. There’s WildCat, which can run up to 16 miles per hour on flat terrain; the Cheetah Robot, which is faster than Usain Bolt; and the LS3, a sort of oversized, trotting cow.

But by far the creepiest is Boston Dynamics’ humanoid robot, Atlas.


Named for, in Greek mythology, the Titan condemned by Zeus to hold the world — OH GOD, LOOK AT IT MOVING LIKE A REAL PERSON, RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!

Ahem. Well, if Atlas needs a best friend, there’s always BigDog.

Artificial Electric Skin

More robotic than robot, but still just as a creepy, this electric skin developed by Georgia Tech is “covered in thousands of tiny mechanical hairs,” says Gizmodo, and is as sensitive as yours.

Such artificial skin would be “used to cover prosthetics and try to return sensation to those who’ve lost limbs.”

And to give skin-gasms to robots like Data.

Diego-San

We’ve now entered the realm of the uncanny valley, that place where non-humans seem almost human but not quite, like robo-toddler Diego-San.

“Born” at UCSD’s Machine Perception Laboratory, says IEEE Spectrum, Diego-San was developed “to study cognitive and social development in infants.”

Diego-San has “62 degrees of freedom,” which are basically specific, defined modes in which a mechanical device can move. In the video, you can see Diego-San’s includes very human-like blinking and a whole range of emotions, which easily clocks him in as the second creepiest robot ever.

Singing and Dancing Japanese Fembot

She sings. She dances. She has giant man-hands. Meet HRP-4, a metallic Miley Cyrus developed by Japan’s Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology.

Everything about HRP-4 is modeled after real people — her dance moves, her synthesized singing voice, even her breathing.

And if that doesn’t make her the creepiest robot ever, we don’t know what does.

For even more creepy robot stories, check out this Reverb collection.

[Photo: CC BY 2.0 by Jelene Morris]

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Introducing the Reverb iPad App!

by Tom Carmony  |  Posted November 20, 2013

reverb-screenshot
We have some exciting news! The new Reverb app is now available for free for the iPad.

Digital content is growing at a ridiculously fast rate. This is a problem that we all have–a challenge Reverb that is committed to solving in delightful and intuitive manner. How do you find what you were looking for? Where do you start? More importantly, what are you missing? And given that not all content is created equally, how can you differentiate the signal from the noise?

We feel that computers and software should be personal and delight you, not create yet another chore or task. We should learn from what interests you and organize content in an intuitive and delightful manner. You shouldn’t have to fill out forms, tell us your interests, or train us with questionnaires. Instead, you should read. And as you do, Reverb should learn what you like, and give you new ideas in a manner that’s not creepy or algorithmic. It should be an extension of how you interact with your device, how you want to find content. Dare we say, a tiny bit how your mind works.

As you discover and read, Reverb learns about you and presents more ideas in your Word Wall. Those that you tap on become more important, and the ones that you aren’t interested in will drift to the right. This is part of the personalized discovery experience.

Reverb has re-imagined your social streams as well. We organize and aggregate articles shared across Twitter and Facebook by interest—you’re no longer on your own when trying to make sense of content shares. Reverb understands that your social networks have discreet ideas. There’s no reason to force you to pick them apart.

This is just the first step in an exciting new journey to improve your reading and discovering experience. Try Reverb today. It learns about you so you have the time to learn about what’s most important — what you’re interested in.

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Filed under: News | Permalink | No Comments

Get to Know Reverb: Favorite Bands from Ten Years Ago

by Tony Tam  |  Posted November 13, 2013

 Here Comes Everyone - AlohaWilliam ParkerInfinite PossibilitiesAmon TobinBlack Album - MetallicaWelcome to our latest installment of our Get to Know Reverb blog series!

This week we used Know Your Company by 37signals to ask the Reverb team “What was your favorite band ten years ago?

Here are some of our favorite answers:

“Ten years ago, I was one year out of college. This was right about when I started listening to awesome music. I *think* my favorite band at the time was Aloha. I was particularly fond of their albums ‘That’s Your Fire,’ ‘Sugar,’ and ‘Here Comes Everyone.’ Things went downhill for them after that. Some other bands I was super into at that time: The Dismemberment Plan, No Knife, and Faraquet.” — Robert Voyer, Computational Linguist.

“I was pretty heavy into avant-garde jazz, pretty sure my favorite guy at that point was NYC bass player/band leader William Parker.” — Clarke Robinson, Creative Director.

“Not a band but around ten years ago I discovered Amel Larrieux, still one of my favorite singers.” — Angela Tung, Managing Editor.

“I’m more of a singer-songwriter kind of guy (a child of the 70s), so I’d probably say Iris Dement, whom I think I was just learning about then. Who can listen to ‘Our Town’ without a tear in their eye? I also love John Philip Sousa, which dominated the pop charts in their prime.”  — Will Fitzgerald, Senior NLP Engineer.

“I find it pretty hard to commit to a favorite band, but I think ten years ago I was going through an electronic phase, so I was listening to a lot of Amon Tobin, Photek, other stuff off the Metalheadz label… that kind of thing.” — Ascander Dost, Computational Linguist.

“Probably Metallica. Around that time I played an acoustic version of ‘Nothing Else Matters’ for my high school’s talent show.” — Cody Allen, Backend Engineer.

If you’d like to hear the what the rest of the office said, check out this Spotify playlist.

Want to fess up to your favorite band from ten years ago?

Let us know in the comments!

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Reverb Five Favorites: Our Favorite Finds of the Day

by Katie  |  Posted November 5, 2013

It’s that time once again. Check out the weird (emphasis on weird) and wonderful stuff we found on the Internet today.

Discover something that made you go hmmm? Let us know on our Twitter account with the hashtag #HelloReverb, and follow us for more weird and wonderful daily discoverie

For additional interesting finds, check out our whole series.

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