The Darth Vader Hot Air Balloon Makes a Trip Back Home

According to Wikipedia, the 12 Star Wars films have totaled more than $9.323 billion in the box office…which is a lot.

So it comes as no surprise that someone created a Darth Vader hot air balloon. And it’s awesome.

As a part of the largest annual festival of hot air balloons, the Vader balloon made its way to Bristol International Balloon Fiesta that ran from Aug. 8-11.

Who cares? Glad you asked. While the Vader ballon has previously popped up all over the world, Bristol was one location it had never flown.

“The Darth Vader special shape hot air balloon was built in Bristol by Cameron Balloons but has never flown in this fine city. (We know!)”

In an effort to transport the Darkside, the festival committee started a crowdsourcing campaign, successfully raising over $6,300 to make this special event (even though the campaign is over, you can still donate in support of the festival itself).

Photo Credit: Youtube

This is particularly significant because Bristol is the birthplace of the man that played Darth Vader in Star Wars, David Prowse. Hint: Not James Earl Jones that did the voice, but the actual actor in the suit!

This was even hat-tipped by Luke Skywalker, himself, Mr. Mark Hamill.

Just awesome.

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A man bought a golden egg…

A man bought a golden egg for $13,000 at a sale. It turned out it was an incredibly rare Fabergé egg, once owned by the Emperor of Russia, that had been missing since 1902. It is worth $33,300,000.

The Japanese repair broken pottery…

The Japanese repair broken pottery with gold lacquer to highlight imperfections. The process is called Kintsugi. The art of Kintsugi teaches that broken objects are not something to hide but to display with pride.

After two children carelessly destroyed…

After two children carelessly destroyed a sculpture called “Angel is waiting”, while their parents filmed them, the artist renamed it “Broken” and left it on display with a video monitor showing footage of the incident.

12 Fascinating Facts About the Sistine Chapel

If you’ve ever gazed up at the Sistine Chapel, you know it’s a one-of-a-kind experience.

The famous artwork that defines the Sistine Chapel has drawn tourists and landed on travel bucket lists since, well, probably since Michelangelo and his crew (including one Sandra Botticelli) completed work in 1481. They created the whole thing in less than 5 years, and it has stood the test of time, both architecturally and artistically.

But whether you’ve visited or not, there’s a good chance you’ve missed at least some of these facts about the famous Vatican City monument.

12. Adult Jesus is not depicted.

None of the ceiling murals feature an adult Jesus, and the reason for that is that the scenes are all from the Old Testament, when the Christ only appears as a figure to come in the future.

He is depicted as a young man in the altar mural The Judgement Day.

11. There was a special scaffolding built in order to allow for the height of the ceilings.

Michelangelo himself designed the vertical scaffolding, which attached to beams on the walls of the chapel, allowing him to work over the entire surface of the ceiling while also letting people to move about on the chapel floor. In fact, services went on during the painting – though the people below wouldn’t have been able to see the master’s work until after the scaffolding was removed.

10. Michelangelo didn’t paint the ceiling lying down.

You might have an image in your mind of the artist lying on his back, paint dripping in his face, but in reality he stood and craned his neck back. The process earned Michelangelo ear infections, arthritis, and scoliosis that he lived with for the rest of his life.

9. Some of the symbolism only made sense at the time.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The oak leaves and acorns, for example, are a reference to the family crest of Pope Julius II – the pope at the time.

8. Michelangelo was one of the first people to imagine the face of God.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The famous image of God in The Creation of Adam was the first in history to depict the deity in motion – he was typically seen as a symbol (like a hand alone).

7. Not all of the images are Christian.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Along with the 7 prophets of Israel, some of the side pictures are of 5 of the 10 Sibyls – oracles of Ancient Greece who were believed to be able to predict the future.

6. It contains the lineage of Jesus – or most of it.

The lunettes (the space under the arches above the windows) feature the ancestors of Jesus, though 2 were removed to make room for the entire Last Judgement mural.

5. There’s a lot of debate surrounding the images of God.

Some people believe that the silhouette of fabric around God resembles the human brain, and that the people crowding God symbolize the different parts of the brain.

Others argue that the clothing represents the womb, with the green scarf meant to be the severed umbilical cord, and that the entire image is meant to show how Adam was “born” (and explains his belly button in the process).

4. Michelangelo didn’t create the ceilings alone.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Data collected during the restoration undertaken between 1980-1994 revealed that at least 3 other people helped draw the putti (boys common in the Renaissance period) and different architectural parts.

3. There are some issues with the scenes depicting Adam and Eve.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The Bible does not specify what kind of fruit Adam and Eve ate, but the tree in The Expulsion from Paradise mural is a fig tree. Also, it’s interesting to note that Adam and Eve are frowning and unhappy before they try the apple and beautiful and inspired after they disobey God, leaving one to wonder as to Michelangelo’s thoughts on Christian dogma.

Not so subtle? The fact that the serpent is drawn as a woman.

2. There might be a self-portrait inside the Judgement Day rendering.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

It is said that Michelangelo drew his own portrait in the skin held by Bartholomew because he was suffering at the hands of the church – he didn’t want to paint the murals at all.

Most experts deny this assessment.

1. The artists used a technique known as “fool-the-eye.”

The technique is more commonly known as Trompe-l’œil, and when used it causes murals to give the impression that the stories are separated by architectural elements like pilasters, edges, and ledges that are in fact, pseudo-3D images painted onto a flat surface.


These just make me want to visit even more!

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This Is Why Men Should Be Banned from Writing Female Characters

“Write what you know.” That’s how the saying goes, remember?

Well, maybe men should consider that advice a little harder before they take a crack at writing female characters. Because a lot of them are waaaaaaaaaay off, and, frankly, they sound pretty dumb.

Ladies, on behalf of all males, I apologize for what you’re about to see.

1. Interesting!

2. WTF?

3. I hate that!

4. Here’s why…

5. Oh my god…

Macaroni and cheese vagina from menwritingwomen

6. Weird

7. Not Phillip K. Dick!

Thinking with his Phillip K Dick from menwritingwomen

8. Mmmmm

9. An awful bit

10. Wait, what?

11. Borrow them

12. Get a load of that passage

13. Dear Mr. King…

14. Creamy

Soft and creamy boobs from menwritingwomen

15. Perfect!

Cringeworthy, isn’t it?

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Classical Illustrations Depict What Can Only Be Described as Japanese Fart Battles

If you’ve ever needed proof that potty humor in general has been around for years– fart humor in particular – these images depicting epic flatulence battles should do the trick.

Image Credit: Waseda University

There’s a centuries-old scroll called He-Gassen (“the fart war”) dating to Japan’s Edo Period (1603-1868) that depicts men, rear ends bared, spraying powerful gusts of gas toward each other – gas that can break boards and cross wide battlefields to win the day.

Image Credit: Waseda University

Image Credit: Waseda University

Though the depictions aren’t entirely unique – Arabian Nights features a story titled “The Historic Fart” and Apocolocyntosis, a satire possibly written by Seneca, references a “shart” (“When he had made a great noise with that end of him which talked easiest, he cried out, ‘Oh dear, oh dear! I think I have made a mess of myself.’”)

And bathroom humor has a long history in European political dissent – this is a woodcut from 1545 entitled “Kissing the Pope’s Feet”:

Image Credit: Public Domain

But back to Japan…

Image Credit: Waseda University

Image Credit: Waseda University

In the Japanese art, Westerners in particular were apt to be blown away by the strength and prowess of the Japanese wind, so the scroll pictured also counts (crudely) as a political cartoon.

Image Credit: Waseda University

Image Credit: Waseda University

The creators of South Park have nothing on whoever created it, for sure.

If you want more (and of course you do), you can check out the full collection here.

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This Is Why so Many Ancient Statues Are Missing Their Noses

If you’ve ever spent time in a museum, you may have noticed that a lot of ancient sculptures are mysteriously nose-less.

One of the most famous examples of this phenomenon is the Great Sphinx of Ancient Egypt.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

But the Great Sphinx is far from unique. Ancient sculptures from a wide range of cultures, including Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome, are also missing their noses.

So what gives?

In some cases, the sculptures have been deliberately vandalized at some point in history. In Ancient Egypt, for example, people would often break off a statue’s nose in order to disable its power. The statues were thought to contain a life force, and removing the nose prevented the statue from breathing, thereby killing it.

But in the majority of cases, the missing noses on ancient statues are not the fault of humans at all. Instead, they’re the result of natural wear and tear.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

These sculptures are thousands and thousands of years old, after all. They’re often damaged in a number of ways, including discoloration, wear, and missing parts — including arms, ears, and other body parts aside from noses.

The parts of sculptures that stick out are usually the first ones to break off, because they’re less securely attached. This includes noses, arms, heads, and other appendages.

For example, the Venus de Milo is an ancient statue from Greece that was sculpted by Alexandros of Antioch around the late second century BC. It’s famous for its lack of arms.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

But that wasn’t a design choice – this sculpture did have arms at one point, they just broke off.

FYI, you can generally tell whether a body part was removed intentionally or not by looking at cut marks on the statue.

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The Apollo 11 Astronauts Were Honored with Butter Sculptures at the Ohio State Fair

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the historic Apollo 11 moon landing, the three astronauts on that mission are being honored with life-sized sculptures made out of butter at the Ohio State Fair.

On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins landed on the moon and changed the course of history. The state of Ohio has a strong kinship with space travel: Neil Armstrong was an Ohio native and so was John Glenn, the first American to orbit the Earth. Ohio also has a long history of dairy production. Combine all those factors together and you get the magnificent butter display at this year’s Ohio State Fair.

If you are lucky enough to be able to go to the Ohio State Fair in Columbus, don’t miss the traditional “cow made out of…

Posted by Suellen Brady-Nugent on Thursday, July 25, 2019

Dairy farmers donated over 2,000 pounds of butter to help create the sculptures. An artist from Cincinnati named Paul Brooke and a team of sculptors spent 400-500 hours creating the buttery tributes in a cooler set at 46 degrees to prevent the pieces from melting.

Here’s a cool time-lapse video of the butter being sculpted:

Alexander Balz, one of the artists, said, “The space suits were a real challenge, to be honest. It’s easy to sculpt things that you know. When you sculpt a human being you memorize it, so this was a challenge.”

Roughly 500,000 people are expected to have attended the State Fair in late July and early August. Here’s a video with some great footage of the display.

What a unique and cool way to honor a pivotal event in American, and human, history!

And, by the way, I’m really hoping that this butter sculpting catches on more widely because it is fabulous.

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A Design Student Won an Award for a Chair That Prevents “Manspreading”

“Manspreading” is what happens when men in the cramped quarters of public transit choose to take up more than their quota of space by spreading out their legs.

Seen by feminists as an unwanted exhibition of male social dominance and by sensible, polite people as just plain rude, the practice has gotten more and more attention as people post their rage on social media.

Enter 23-year-old Laila Laurel, a 3D Design & Craft graduate from the University of Brighton.

Image Credit: Laila Laurel

Her final-year project is called “A Solution for Manspreading,” and features two wooden chairs – one for men, and another for women.

“I designed and created these chairs in order to identify and challenge problems surrounding the act of sitting that might potentially be more gender-specific, such as manspreading.”

Image Credit: Laila Laurel

The male version is shaped to force him to sit with his legs closed, while the female version comes with a small piece of wood in the middle that encourages sitting with her legs parted.

She told The Independent that of course the chairs weren’t meant for serious implementation, but to “give physicality to an issue women face in quite a fun yet literal way.”

Image Credit: Laila Laurel

“My design practice is contextualized within fourth-wave feminism and another huge inspiration for these pieces was Laura Bates’ Everyday Sexism Project, a platform in which women can testify about the sexism they have experienced.”

Laurel ended up winning a Belmond Award, which recognizes emerging talent, for her work. The luxury hotel and leisure company called the chairs a “bold, purpose-driven design that explores the important role of design in informing space, a person’s behavior and societal issues of today.”

Image Credit: Laila Laurel

Though the chairs were a big hit at her graduate show, she was surprised – and thrilled – to be recognized beyond that scope.

“The reaction of the people who engaged and interacted with my pieces at my graduate show was really encouraging and exciting as it seemed to spark interesting conversations and also make them laugh, which is something I really value in my work.”

Image Credit: Laila Laurel

It just goes to show that people really enjoy a good piece of art, and that goes double for one that makes you uncomfortable while you experience it.


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