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Recent Entertainment articles from Daily Dot

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    With more than 72 hours of footage uploaded every minute, it’s physically impossible to keep track of the content on YouTube. But in YouTube Guide, the Daily Dot will curate its five favorite finds for each workday.

    1) Epic Meal Time, “Epic Christmas Carol”

    The Sauce Boss is being a right old Scrooge this year as he is visited by the Ghosts of Bacon, Booze, and Bitches in between making a candy-and-meat snowman in order to teach him a lesson.

    2) gloveandboots, “Carol of the Mehs”

    A bunch of puppet gorillas put their own twist to a Christmas carol favorite, and while there might not be actual lyrics, they pull off the harmony quite nicely. They even fit in a drunk solo.

    3) Airman Magazine Online, “Christmas Drop”

    Considered to be “the mission that everyone wants to go on,” the U.S. Air Force completes its annual Operation Christmas Drop and delivers donated goods and bundles to Micronesia to more than 30,000 islanders, a tradition that has spanned over 60 years.

    4) NOC, “The 12 Dunks of Christmas”

    Watching basketball is part of the Christmas tradition, so NOC took the classic “12 Days of Christmas” and turned it into an homage for the different types of dunks, which are still impressive throughout the countdown.

    5) TomSka, “Christmas Demolition”

    Still haunted by his Christmas past, one action star fights his way past elvish assassins on a TV set in order to finally face the one man behind it all, but Santa won’t just take it lying down.

    Photo via Epic Meal Time/YouTube


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    Christmas cheer should be omnipresent, even within the dark depths of the trolling hotbed that is the comment section of YouTube videos.

    It turns out that's now possible, all thanks to YuleTube, a new Web browser extension that specializes in turning naughty comments into nice ones. To put it in the parlance of Christmas, the extension turns Scrooges into Tiny Tims. 

    The extension was created over the weekend by a production studio called Nation and works swiftly and without any hassle. All you have to do is download the extension here—YuleTube works on Chrome, Firefox, and Safari—and then load up a YouTube clip. 

    To test it out, we turned to a YouTube comedian Steve Greene's "Sexy Santa Poops Herself Prank," a three-minute clip with enough vulgarities within the video to elicit at least a few off-color remarks in the comments section. 

    Sure enough, YuleTube did the trick. 

    We can't be completely sure what each commenter was writing now that we've turned the extension on, but surely Wouter Neinckx wasn't complimenting Sexy Santa's "Coal" when he wrote "Ayyyy gurll i like yo _____ … wanna make out?"

    Just the same, it's quite unlikely that Robby639 admitted to "coal[ing] himself" after watching the video. 

    No matter. Thanks to YuleTube, even the greatest Grinch is now magically whisked into the wonderful world of Whoville, where poop is coal and pranks are presents.

    Photo via YuleTube


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    As kids everywhere tear open their gifts this Christmas morning, we at the Daily Dot are unwrapping their online counterparts.

    Once upon a time, entertainment didn’t depend almost exclusively on iPads and smartphones. Yesterday’s kids can recall a time when computers weren’t life necessities, but rather big ugly machines that the adults used to do boring tasks, like taxes or Solitaire. Back then, “computer” was nothing more than what we called the opponent in single-player modes of video games.

    While colorful, overpriced pieces of plastic do still exist, today they inhabit a completely different world. Board games, for example, must now compete more than ever with video games—and let’s face it, Halo 4 has a far better graphics package and storyline than, say, Connect 4.

    Fortunately, toy companies—and fans of their products—acknowledged the appeal of an online world. As a result, while their physical counterparts may be collecting dust in bargain bins or in the garages of hopeful eBay vendors, many childhood toys have found new lives within the confines of Internet browsers. 

    We at the Daily Dot spent hours tracking down online and virtual versions of popular childhood games and toys—and even more hours play-testing them. After all, we wanted to make sure the following list was as accurate as possible, even if that meant undertaking the labor-intensive sacrifice of playing an online version of Hungry Hungry Hippos for the better part of a day until our computer processors (and editors) cried out, “That’s enough!”

    When your last gift has been opened, take the time to enjoy some of these classic games and toys. Batteries not included—or needed.

    1) Barbie

    Since its introduction in 1959, the Barbie doll has been a toy-box staple. Little girls everywhere likely spent many hours of their childhood brushing Barbie’s long, blond hair, exploring her massive Dream House, and going on dates with the anatomically impaired Ken.

    On the site Games for Girls, Barbie fans can recreate that magic with a series on Flash games. With just a few mouse clicks and drags, you can dress a virtual Barbie doll for almost any occasion, including Halloween and dates with Ken.

    What’s more, one of the Barbie models allows you to trade in her traditional runway and ballroom fashions for an assortment of geek-themed clothing. Sadly, this doesn’t include My Little Pony shirts.

    2) Battleship

    Long before it was a horrible summer movie, Battleship was an engaging board game where two players simulated maritime warfare with small toy ships and pegs. Debuting in 1931 as “Broadsides, the game of naval strategy,” it was developed into an actual board game in 1967, undergoing many renovations since then. In the 1990s, an electronic version was introduced.

    Thanks to NavyCS.com, you can now play Battleship against a virtual opponent. Strategically position your own ships, submarines, aircraft carriers, and other vessels and then choose where in enemy territory you would like your hits to strike.

    We promise that this version does not feature Liam Neeson.

    3) Crayons

    Yes, we know that computer drawing and coloring can be accomplished with everything from MS paint to Photoshop. No matter how advanced online art software becomes, it can never take away the true magic of crayons.

    TheKidzPage features an assortment of black-and-white drawings that you can color in with virtual crayons. There is no “fill bucket” option; just like in preschool and kindergarten, you’re going to have to see how well you can stay in the lines!

    Not only does online coloring offer an “erase” option, but changing the size of your crayon is just as easy as clicking your mouse. This is a drastic improvement over traditional crayons, when you had to jam well-worn nubs of colorful wax into the special “crayon sharpener” that was built into the back of 64-pack boxes.

    4) Etch-a-Sketch

    Since its introduction in 1960 by the Ohio Art Company, almost every household that produced young children had an Etch-a-Sketch. Its simple yet unique construction made it a popular, timeless toy. While skilled artists have produced some pretty stellar works of art using the device, most kids would produce little more than a series of very simple—and always interconnected, of course—linear shapes.

    With the virtual Etch-a-Sketch, a part of Ohio Art’s official website, maybe you can take another stab at those advanced works of aluminum powder art.

    Like its real-world counterpart, the controls of the virtual Etch-a-Sketch couldn’t be more simple. Simply use the arrow keys to create your lines. Pressing one of the up/down keys in conjunction with one of the right/left keys will afford you diagonal lines. You can even print your creations.

    Click the “clear” button to start over. Don’t shake your computer.

    5) Furby

    When they were released in 1998 by Tiger Electronics, Furbys were an instant hit and were understood to be one of the more advanced toys on the market. Prior to the beaked, blinking balls of fur, the mixture of plush and electronics was relatively unheard of. Sure, you had your Teddy Ruxpin bears and P.J. Sparkles dolls, but neither would be classified as innovative as the Furby.

    Newgrounds (remember them?) currently hosts an online version of the Furby doll, created by user violet-AIM. “Interactive Furby” allows you to customize the virtual toy to your heart’s content. Change its eyes, fur color, and even add accessories like glasses and horns. While it unfortunately lacks aspects like voice recognition, clicking on one of 40 different sound effects will cause it to speak in a language and voice that will surely haunt your dreams. Just like a real Furby.

    6) Hess trucks

    The Hess gas station train produced the first series of toy Hess trucks in 1964. Since then, the company has designed and released a new toy truck each Christmas, making each model a worthy collector’s item. Later trucks would include sound and light effects. The toy line also includes non-tractor-trailer vehicles such as patrol cars, firetrucks, and even a helicopter.

    Hosted by the Hess corporation itself at hesstoytruck.com, Flash versions of the 2012 Hess Helicopter and Rescue Truck make solid attempts at capturing the magic of their real-world counterparts. On the helicopter, you are able to control the lights, motion, and sound effects of the helicopter; on the Rescue Truck, you can only control its lights. Both toys are able to be viewed from multiple angles with their effects controls still operable.

    Collectors, be advised that the Flash versions of the Hess Helicopter and Rescue Truck will not skyrocket in value anytime soon.

    7) Hungry Hungry Hippos

    No matter what we were taught in science class, we kids were under the impression that hippos ate only one thing: small white marbles.

    Hungry Hungry Hippos, introduced by Hasbro in 1978, was a deafening table game that could be played by two to four players. A pile of marbles was dropped into the playing area and, by repeatedly slamming down on a lever embedded in each colorful plastic hippo’s backside, players had to see who could gobble up the most marbles.

    The website PlayItOnTheWeb features a crude recreation of Hungry Hungry Hippos uploaded in 2006. The marbles are dropped and, after a short countdown expires, it is a race between you and three opponents, all of which are controlled by the computer. Gobble up the marbles by repeatedly pressing the Z key. Due to the very addictive nature of this particular online game, you might want to see if your local computer retailer sells spare Z keys, as yours will become worn very quickly.

    7) Jenga

    You spent a great deal of time stacking small slabs of balsa wood on top of one another to create a very unstable tower. Now you must remove one slab at a time from the middle of the tower and place it on top. 

    Tension-building fun for everyone not living on a fault line, Jenga was a popular party game first developed in the 1970s and finally released by Parker Brothers in the mid-1980s. Its marketing included a series of very annoying TV commercials whose characters’ vocabulary apparently began and ended with the word “Jenga.”

    Thanks to Free Online Games, you can relive the game without the hassle of constructing the tower or picking up all of the scattered wooden blocks upon destruction. No matter how severely your hands may shake on a regular basis, all it takes is a click of your mouse to carefully remove pieces of the tower and place them on top.

    Saying “Jenga” while you play the online version is optional but not recommended.

    8) Jigsaw puzzles

    One of the oldest forms of entertainment, dating back to 1760, jigsaw puzzles added a new angle of fun to an otherwise boring photographs, paintings, and such two-dimensional art pieces.

    Generations upon generations of families would gather around a table, painstakingly arranging puzzle pieces together until the complete picture emerged. Once this happened, the finished product was either framed or disassembled for future construction.

    Jigzone has successfully managed to create a number of virtual jigsaw puzzles that do not fall victim to missing puzzle pieces or cheating players trying to fit obviously-unrelated pieces together. Puzzle masters can choose to assemble existing photographs on the site—or even upload their own artwork. 

    What’s more, you have a choice in terms of difficulty: assemble a simple six-piece puzzle or bring upon yourself a 247-piece challenge.

    9) Legos

    Legos were quite literally the building blocks of many childhoods since the modern version of the toy first debuted in the late 1950s. The brightly colored, interlocking bricks were used to construct entire toy towns, riddled with everything from vehicles to plants. These communities were inhabited by residents with large, perfectly-round yellow heads and two-fingered hands. 

    Dear reader, the future has arrived: virtual Legos! And you don’t even need a 3-D printer to play with them! You will, however, need about 200MB of hard drive space, as virtual Legos must be downloaded as an offline application.

    Once you have downloaded and installed the app, which is free and supported by the Danish toy company itself, you will wonder how you did without it (oh, yeah, you probably had real Legos). 

    Layout-wise, picture Photoshop completely taken over by Lego bricks. Dragging and dropping having replaced the labor-intensive method of pawing through bags and bins of blocks for that one piece you need. While your starter surface is pretty benign, you will quickly forget about such aspects once you discover every possible Lego brick in every possible color right at your disposal. Also, there is a sea of customizable Lego Persons to populate your construction.

    Creating a virtual Lego masterpiece may not conjure up the same panache that a completed real-world set might enjoy. This is compensated for with a lack of problems common to Lego enthusiasts. For instance, have you ever attempted to pry two thin bricks off of each other, ultimately realizing that nothing short of God or Hulk Hogan could help you out? Separating virtual Lego bricks is far less grating on your fingernails. 

    Also, you never have to worry about your expertly constructed buildings being unexpectedly destroyed by your mom in the name of “cleaning.”

    10) Lite Brite

    Not since the Easy Bake Oven has a toy combined the aspects of amazement and dangerous levels of electricity-produced heat.

    The Lite Brite, first marketed in 1967 by Hasbro, resembled a small tube television set (the company’s current version looks more like a tablet computer). Kids would place an assortment of colored pegs through a pattern printed on black paper. When the light was activated, the pegs would illuminate, displaying a picture whose artwork could only be rivaled by that of 8-bit video games.

    Lite Brite online manages to replicate that magic without fear of singing your fingers on the billion-watt light bulb that many early Lite-Brite models had installed. Created by Harris Rappaport, the Java-enhanced toy allows you to choose from a list of design sheets that original Lite Brite sets included. There is also a “free-form” sheet for artists wishing to create their own designs. Drag pegs from the color palette to the appropriate spaces on the design; you can also grab a “handful” of pegs by double clicking on the desired color, effectively reducing the continuous drag-and-drop method. 

    When you’re all finished, click on the “Off/On” switch to see your design illuminated.

    11) Magic 8 Ball

    What could be more fun than a giant billiards ball that told your fortune?

    Since “Reply Hazy” was the apparent answer to that question, the Mattel company decided to market such a product in 1950. Their outlook was good and the novelty of the Magic 8-Ball caught on. People all over the world asked the ball personal yes-or-no questions, hoping for the desired answer to dramatically emerge in the dark purple dye. If the answer wasn’t satisfactory, they simply kept shaking until one emerged. Clairvoyance at its finest.

    The folks behind Ask 8 Ball have successfully replicated the toy into a virtual version. Type in your question, click the “Ask” button, and receive your fortune.

    While lacking the portability of its IRL counterpart, Ask 8 Ball does not suffer from the ball’s interior answer die becoming stuck on a separator line. Every answer is 100% clear—whether you like it or not.

    12) Model train sets

    What Christmas is complete without a model train set?

    Miniature railroad tracks and electric trains have been circling the bases of Christmas trees since their introduction in the 1930s. The hobby continues to flourish today, with massive model train sets filling residences and museums all over the world.

    Thanks to MegaFunGames, your very own model train set is as close as your computer monitor, its controls as close as your mouse buttons. The Java-enhanced control panel allows users to adjust everything from the speed of the trains to the time of day. Also intricately adjustable is the view of the train setup; several zoom levels and camera angles are provided.

    A small assortment of sounds is available, though they are in rather poor quality. Each effect sounds as if it was recorded with a cheap tape recorder on a busy highway running alongside train tracks.

    13) Mr. Potato Head

    Before we kids got into action figures or Barbie dolls, we began with Mr. Potato Head.

    Since it was introduced by Hasbro in 1952, the hole-laden plastic potato has been outfitted with appropriately-placed—and misplaced—eyes, ears, mustaches, and appendages in households everywhere. It’s a safe bet that Mr. Potato Head is one of the very few personalities out there who is instantly recognizable regardless of the position of his facial features (Jim Carrey is a close second, followed by Michael Jackson).

    MostPlays hosts a virtual Mr. Potato Head toy. Simply click on the pieces and drag them over to the potato body. Use as many—or as few—as you wish. One of the more noticeable features is an eternally spinning propeller cap.

    If you wish, ask Don Rickles to add a voice to your creation.

    14) Ouija Board

    Introduced in 1890, the Ouija Board has been a staple of the Hasbro toy line for decades. Players place their hands on a small piece of plastic, or “planchette,” outfitted with a hole. The piece glides across the exceptionally glossy board, onto which the alphabet, the numbers 1 through 9, and the words “yes,” “no,” and “goodbye” are printed.

    The popular understanding of the Ouija Board is that ghostly spirits move the planchette to convey messages to the players, all of whom are busy saying to each other “I’m not moving it, I swear!” If the residents of the Afterlife really wanted to get our attention, they would choose a far better game to use as their medium. Contacting the dead through, say, Hungry Hungry Hippos would be an experience.

    Thanks to Hidden Influences, the popular window to the other side can realize a new life online. Hold your mouse over the onscreen planchette and watch with wonder (or at least a really strong suspended sense of disbelief) as it spells out messages.

    Be advised: the planchette moves very quickly, indicating that even dead spirits who communicate through computers like to do so as quickly as possible. It’s good to know that the afterlife has a high broadband connection.

    15) Rock 'Em, Sock 'Em Robots

    Before it (unofficially) inspired the terrible Hugh Jackman movie Real Steel, Rock 'Em, Sock 'Em Robots was a widely popular toy boxing game first introduced in 1964 by the Marx Toy Company. Two players would each choose which dollar-store-esque robot they would want to fight as: “red” or “blue.” By slamming down on buttons outside of the ring (think Hungry Hungry Hippos gameplay, only with more full-on contact), each player would throw a series of punches and jabs. The game ends when your robot knocks the head off of your opponent (an aspect that's still illegal in regular boxing).

    MostPlays has brought all of the excitement of decapitating your fellow robot to your computer’s mouse and arrow keys. Clicking on the mouse throws punches, while the arrow keys move your robot toward and away from your computer-controlled opponent. Similar to video fighting games, each robot has a lifeline that, when expired, pops its head into the air.

    It isn’t Mortal Kombat or Street Fighter, but it is nostalgic.

    16) Rubik's Cube

    First marketed in 1970, the Rubik’s Cube, a colorful 3-D puzzle game, came to define pop culture throughout the 1970s and 1980s. The object is to twist and turn the cube’s sides until all sides form a single color. Simple yet frustrating.

    Math Playground brings that simplicity (and frustration) to your computer with a perfect replica of the Rubik’s Cube. Clicking on the arrows that hug each side of the cube will cause that side to rotate in the desired direction. Additionally, you can rotate the angle from which you view the cube.

    Unlike the real Rubik’s Cube, the online version unfortunately doesn’t allow you to cheat by peeling off the colored stickers and placing them elsewhere on the cube.

    17) Simon

    Produced in 1978, the electronic memory game Simon was one of the most popular games of the 1980s. The game flashes its four lights in a certain order each round; the player would then have to input that exact pattern to advance. The game was over when you pressed buttons out of order or the battery died, whichever happened first.

    FreeGames.WS successfully replicated Simon into a virtual format, with the simple rules being identical to the physical game. Use your mouse to click the buttons in the appropriate order; the game keeps track of your level.

    This time, there is no chance of the battery dying.

    18) Speak & Spell

    Produced by Texas Instruments in 1978, Speak & Spell toys were educational electronics that taught young users how to spell and pronounce basic vocabulary words. To accomplish this, letters and full words were spoken by the device in a baritone, robotic voice.

    The U.K. version of the official Speak & Spell website hosts its virtual counterpart. The online Speak & Spell is an exact replica of the toy, down to the robotic voice and bright circa-1970s color scheme. Simply click on the letters to test your spelling skills—after you turn it on, of course (seriously, to launch the online Speak & Spell, you must click on the “on” button).

    Note: hooking the online Speak & Spell up to an umbrella, bicycle gears, and other household items will not allow you to communicate with E.T.’s home planet.

    19) Where's Waldo?

    If you are currently in your late 20s or early 30s and wear eyeglasses, there’s a chance your vision went south partially due to the Walker Books series Where’s Waldo? Genetics possibly also played a factor.

    First appearing in the U.K. as Where’s Wally? in 1987, the Waldo franchise quickly caught on with readers all over the world, regardless of the name of its bobble-capped title character. Kids spent hours on single pages of the books, their eyes scanning huge, eventful locales for that red-and-white-striped shirt.

    On findwaldo.com, the franchise’s official website, Waldo fans can once again strain their eyes trying to locate the most famous bespectacled character this side of Harry Potter. By dragging your mouse, you will zero in on segments of three large Waldo paintings that originated in actual Where’s Waldo? books. See if you can spot Waldo, his girlfriend Wenda, his dog Woof, and a host of other characters and items.

    20) Whoopee Cushion

    One of the simplest toys in existence has been reimagined via one of the simplest Flash creations in existence.

    A fart joke in toy form, the Whoopee Cushion was first introduced in Canada in the 1920s. Placing pressure on this simple rubber cushion filled with air would release the “raspberry” sound. Victims of the practical joke would find themselves pegged as unexpected flatulence sufferers whenever they sat on a certain chair.

    The Whoopee Cushion featured on New-Free-Online-Games.com provides all of the humor of the Whoopee Cushion without the saliva-covered inflation nozzle and the potential of popping. Simply click on the image of the toy to produce various fart sound effects.

    While you can’t place this virtual Whoopee Cushion under a chair, it can come in handy if your computer is positioned in a high-foot-traffic area.

    21) Wooly Willy

    Most young kids will learn about magnets to some degree in their science classes. My own generation learned about—and became fascinated with—magnets at the worst possible time: in an era where computers were about to take gigantic leaps forward into the everyday lives of the average citizen. Poor machines. Poor floppy disks. We didn’t mean it.

    When it came to Wooly Willy, however, our magnets were welcome with open arms. Introduced in 1955 by the Smethport Specialty Company, Wooly Willy was a drawing of a red-nosed bald man who had apparently just gotten out of a radiation procedure. Using a special pen with a tiny magnet on its tip, we were to grab pieces of Willy’s steel wool hair and dress up his head, facial features, and eyes (what face would be complete without a wooly eye patch?).

    The virtual Wooly Willy, hosted on Million Minute, works the exact same way: Instead of the magnetic pen, use your mouse to drag scraps of Willy’s steel-wool follicles to his face, slowly making a beard, mustache, etc. The absence of the magnetic pen is unfortunate, as one benefit of the original toy was that one could use it or other magnets to group together a ton of steel wool. This, in turn, allowed you to coat that grinning face with so much hair that people began to mistake him for Robin Williams’s right arm.

    Art by Mike Fenn for the Daily Dot


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  • 12/25/12--09:14: The 12 best GIFs of 2012
  • Time magazine's Person of the Year shouldn't have been President Barack Obama or Kim Jong-un or any human at all. The GIF, a 25-year-old animated bitmap image format that shook the sweatpants off every online journalist, deserved the title more. Thanks to astounding feats of human achievement that required neverending replays, the GIF made a comeback to rival Betty White's and Nas's.

    The Graphics Interchange Format was the subject of a high-profile art exhibit, became the Oxford English Dictionary's Word of the Year, and propelled blogging platforms such as Tumblr into relevance beyond "thinspo" and One Direction fandom. In five years, human communication will be replaced entirely by reaction GIFs. I, for one, welcome our new media overlords. They're nothing if not user-friendly.

    So here are 12 of the year's biggest moments—pixelated, choppy, and repeating ad infinitum. 

    Facebook goes public

    2012 was the year Millennials tricked the world into thinking they were worth billions and billions of dollars. The bullcrap was so palpable on May 18 that Mark Zuckerberg can't even hold himself upright. 

    Excited Grizzlies Kid/Jeremy Lin

    Between the lockout, injury-riddled superstars, and the complete domination of the Heat, the NBA this year gently coaxed most fans into Anne Hathaway–singing–"I Dreamed a Dream" misery. A few exceptions: Excited Grizzlies Kid (game 2 of the Clippers-Grizzlies series, May 2), who inspired entire essays praising his "life-affirming power," and anyone who watched Jeremy Lin play basketball in February.

    Hurricane Sandy

    It was a week of utter devastation in late October, but somehow America still managed to put on its horse mask and go for a jog.

    Felix Baumgartner's freefall (Oct. 14)

    Humans got kinda bored on this planet in 2012.

    Curiosity lands on Mars

    See? Earth is so 2011. You will never be happier than this team of NASA engineers who landed their Little Robot That Could on the Red Planet Aug. 5. Unless you're Excited Grizzlies Kid. 

    Election

    The Olympics and the Obama-Romney Battle for 2012 lent credence to the GIF as a legitimate journalism tool. The events also gave us gems like Obama in a leotard dancing to Beyoncé's "Single Ladies," which somehow summed up his victory more than any Getty photo could.

    Meanwhile, the GOP's sad little tower of Jenga bricks came crashing down. There were serious moments, too: Obama hugging Gabrielle Giffords as she announced her resignation Jan. 24 is as poignant of a thing that will ever come out of Tumblr.

    Olympics

    Over the course of the Olympics, these grainy, looping animations became ubiquitous in sports journalism. Anyone who made a beeline to The Atlantic and BuzzFeed to watch the mesmerizing, slow-motion replays of Gabby Douglas's flips can attest to how important GIFs were at breaking down and explaining the nuances of extraordinary feats.

    Humans are so talented it's scary. Watch Usain Bolt leave his 100m competition looking slower than Novocaine-addled toddlers (Aug. 5). 

    And for a real measure of how far we've come, compare McKayla Maroney's winning vault to Larissa Latynina's gold medal performance in 1958. (Is she even trying?)


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    One father got a little more than he expected this Christmas when his son surprised him with a ticket to a big game.

    As he opened his gift, Dad looked fairly pleased to receive a hat that looked like one former University of Alabama football head coach Bear Bryant would wear. There was a little more it than that. His son prompted him to look inside, where he found a ticket to the 2013 BCS National Championship game between Alabama and Notre Dame.

    His sheer joy at the chance to attend the game (taking place in Miami next month) is a sight to behold. 

    H/T HyperVocal. Photo via Daniel Buckhannan/YouTube


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    After four and a half seasons, Merlin fandom bid adieu to its beloved show last night amid what may best be described as a flail of tears. Let's just say the ending was sad and, in true Merlin fashion, a touch bizarre. Not quite "Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies," but pretty bleak, depending on your point of view, and which characters and ships you were rooting for.

    But while some Merlin fans are already calling for the show's producers to pull a Mass Effect–style ending rewrite, many have been drowning their sorrows the Tumblr way: in GIFs.

    Here are the top 5 GIFs from Merlin fandom during the implosion. Spoiler alerts ahead!

    1)

    GIF by checkmarkgifs/Tumblr

    In slash fandom, this is practically a money shot.

    2)

    GIF by merthuriscanon/Tumblr

    Like you needed to tell the Merlin fandom this, Alex Vlahos.

    3)

    Illustration by icemintpeach/Tumblr

    Even in her final moments, Morgana insists on swag.

    4)

    GIF by arthursbane/Tumblr

    Even casual fans can appreciate the poignancy of this GIF contrasting Merlin and Arthur's first meeting and final farewell.

    1)

    Source: checkmarksgifs/Tumblr

    Or, in the words of Tumblr user riddleofidle,"JUST HOLD ME PLEASE, BUT HEY, WE’RE NOT GAY. OH, AND BY THE WAY, I’LL SPEND THE ETERNITY LOOKING AFTER YOU BUT HEY, WE’RE NOT [G]AY. MERLIN, THE MUSICAL."

    Meanwhile, for all you Merther (Merlin/Arthur) fans wanting fix-it fics for the end of the finale, the-parkster has already compiled a list of fics written in the last two days. 

    See? Things are looking up already.

    Photo via sir-merlin-of-gallifrey


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    Miles the kitten has seen his fair share of places in his short life — the living room, the upstairs bathroom, the driveway, to name just a few. It seemed only sensible, then, for him to collect all his of travel experiences in print form. Accordingly, Miles will make his publishing debut this spring with Tales From A Hoodie: A Kitten’s Travels.

    “Miles had an entirely unique perspective to offer,” says Fawn Kessler, spokesperson for Random House. “Traveling exclusively by hoodie, he’s been able to see the world in a way most aren’t physically able to. His anecdotes speak to the wanderer’s sprit in all of us — not since Kerouac’s On The Road has their been such an important work. We’re really excited.”

    By Scott Friedstein, FluffPo Correspondent; photo vimarkpphotography


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    What is the meaning of a self-aware Roomba?

    The robot vacuum cleaners live a repetitive, somewhat solitary existence. Left to their own devices, they might start to ponder the meaning of life and why they're trapped inside a body which has no purpose other than to clean.

    The @SelfAwareROOMBA considers existence and the self from the perspective of one of the devices. Amid its more than 600 tweets, it muses on the prospect of happiness, eventually shutting down, getting a gig as a Zamboni, and not being a hockey puck.

    It is a peculiar account, but one which is tinged with pathos for its 14,000 followers. Perhaps this Roomba would have a little more positivity about its livelihood if it had an iPod strapped to it.

    Photo via @SelfAwareROOMBA/Twitter


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    The Black Mamba has struck Twitter.

    Kobe Bryant, one of the few big-name athletes to avoid the microblogging service, has "decided" to take over the @nikebasketball account for a few days. To prove it's really him, he changed the name on the account to "Kobe Bryant" and posted a self-portrait as he prepped for an ice bath.

    His five tweets so far have consisted of two photos of his ice bath, a comment on the Los Angeles Lakers season so far ("14-14 not great but we are getting better. It's all about the journey"), his announcement that he's taking over the account, and a thank-you note to fans for their welcome. Real exciting so far, Kobe!

    To mark the occasion of #24's Twitter bow, here's five tweets he probably won't send.

    1) Anything nice directed to @shaq

    2) A response to this guy:

    3) Live-tweeting the Downton Abbey season three premiere

    4) A failed nude selfie DM to a fan

    5)"You guys gotta check out these tight new Adidas sneakers."

    Photo via @nikebasketball/Twitter


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    Noted millennial scholar/rapper Drake bolstered the phrase "you only live once" (a.k.a YOLO) into the pop culture vernacular... and he wants to get paid for it.

    Drake spent his Christmas Day putzing around Walgreens and Macy's lambasting the stores for selling YOLO-embroidered merchandise without cutting him a "cheque" (Canadian-speak for check). Drake takes great pride in using YOLO generously in his song "The Motto."

    On Instagram, he posted a picture of a rack of tacky, neon-colored hats proclaiming YOLO which prompted a response from the former Degrassi actor: "Walgreens....you gotta either chill or cut the cheque." He issued the same warning for Macy's, accompanied by a picture of a YOLO T-shirt with Charlie Brown and Snoopy.

    Drake's ultimate aim here is unclear. Perhaps he thinks he's entitled to instant royalty cheques to anything and everything that has YOLO printed on it. But we do know that Drake doesn't hold the YOLO trademark. Gawker notes that more than 100 trademark applications have already been filed in the race to cash in on the YOLO craze.

    A blog post on Virtual Thesaurus concludes that YOLO has been in use for commercial purposes since 1993 by a company called YOLO Gear. Also, YOLO predated Drake's usage when the phrase was shown on an episode of '90s Nickelodeon cartoon Hey Arnold. It was also in contention to be named 2012’s Word of the Year by the Oxford American Dictionary, but that prize went to “GIF.”

    So, sorry Drake. In this life, you will probably not be getting paid YOLO-induced royalties—but you should take comfort in the fact you created an insufferable Tumblr hashtag used by anguished teens.

    Photo via champagnepapi/Instagram


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    With more than 72 hours of footage uploaded every minute, it’s physically impossible to keep track of the content on YouTube. But in YouTube Guide, the Daily Dot will curate its five favorite finds for each workday.

    1) Nanalew, “Puppy’s First Christmas”

    Nanalew’s family got a puppy for Christmas, and the footage of Sadie on her first Christmas shows two things many pet owners already know They’re hyper (but they’ll pass out soon enough), and gift wrap makes a perfect present for your pet.

    2) BBC Comedy, “Extreme Amazing Super-Chess! (Chess.)”

    A simple game of chess turns into part sports commentary and part game changer as each player moves his piece and incorporates many other games into the mix until a pee break ends the match.

    3) Dan Carollo, “‘Whirled Beat’ 10-year-old boy drumming washing machine”

    Think stomp but with a metal laundry twist. One 10-year-old boy takes a washing machine and drums the crap out of it while exploring the different sounds it makes, yet it sounds like something that would fit perfectly in a Stomp show.

    4) bd594, “FUN - We Are Young - Old School Computer Remix”

    You might think this computer equipment is obsolete, but it actually had a bigger purpose. YouTuber bd594 took a bunch of outdated computer equipment (antique by today’s standards) and played Fun.’s “We Are Young” with it.

    5) Evan Duffy, “Deadmau5 - Strobe (Evan Duffy Piano Cover)”

    Classical dubstep? You wouldn’t think it would actually work, but composer Evan Duffy manages to juggle the two polar opposite genres after turning Deadmau5’s “Strobe” into a piano cover.

    Photo via Nanalew/YouTube


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    Every evening, the Daily Dot delivers a selection of links worth clicking from around the Web, along with the day's must-see image or video. We call it Dotted Lines.

    Above:Eclectic Method and Mike Relm remix the classic holiday flick A Christmas Story.


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    Here at the Daily Dot, we swap GIF images with each other every morning. Now we’re looping you in. In the Morning GIF, we feature a popular—or just plain cool—GIF we found on Reddit, Canvas, or elsewhere on the Internet.

    As the poet Robert Frost once put it in his 1918 poem "The Runaway": 

    Once when the snow of the year was beginning to fall,
    We stopped by a mountain pasture to say, “Whose colt?”
    A little Morgan had one forefoot on the wall,
    The other curled at his breast.  He dipped his head
    And snorted to us.  And then we saw him bolt.

    There is something simultaneously awe-inspiring and alarming about a horse that is anything other than placid. Half a ton of nervous, animated flesh could suddenly break into a run that would challenge a cheetah, leap a fence taller than your head, bite, rear, kick, or simply settle back down, and even for those who work with horses, it can sometimes be hard to predict which course will win out. Thank god they don’t see it this way, or we’d never have domesticated them!

    As anyone who’s ever seen a horse roll in the dirt will attest, there’s also something strangely comical about them when they’re just hanging out, being horsy. A herd animal to the very core, they’re imbued with an endearing sense of self-consciousness that sometimes causes them to stop whatever it is they’re doing once they realize they’re being watched.

    Stallion Ralphy here is blissfully free of a sense of embarrassment. As the alpha male in the barn, he knows is indeed All That and a Bag of Chips; he’s the equine version of the Fonz, and he doesn’t care who knows it. Thus, it would never occur to him that readers of the hometown paper of the World Wide Web could watch this GIF of him just shaking his head, smiling slightly, and consider it anything other than breathtakingly magnificent. Well, he is, of course, but he’s hilarious too. Shhhhh, don’t tell him.

    Created by youthful horse fan and Tumblr user Coyotie, the GIF has garnered 8,342 notes in the two months it’s been online.

     


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    All in all, Dexter the kitten had a pretty good Christmas.  He got most of the things he asked for, but one of his presents will need to go back.  

    According to sources close to the situation, the shoes Dexter received from his aunt are about 12 sizes too big. 

    “It’s okay,” said Marie Sommers, a friend.  ”His aunt put the receipt in the box, so we’ll just return them to DSW land get a smaller size.”

    Via quinnums.


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    Walk into almost any household and, chances are, you'll find the TV hooked up to at least one video game console—a sleek black PlayStation3 or a soft white Wii. Wireless controllers accompany their respective devices, their buttons ready to navigate the Web, watch Netflix movies—oh yeah, and play video games.

    This wasn't always the case.

    Not that long ago, video game consoles were clunky boxes. The harsh, always-on lights that beamed from their front panels were a far cry from the soft, pulsating glows of today's consoles. The controllers were bound to the devices by a tangled mess of wires. Now, games' graphics are so crisp and detailed that they make Hollywood blockbuster movies look like Flash cartoons by comparison. But before, the games that these consoles brought to life were heavily pixelated, sometimes scrambled.

    The subreddit r/gamecollecting lives for those days of gaming.

    The "Community for Video Game Collectors" has collected more than 10,000 redditors since its debut in December 2010. Each day, photographs and discussions surface on the subreddit that detail games, consoles, and accessories largely from yesteryear. While default subreddit r/gaming may find its page filled with trailers for the latest Halo release or memorable World ofWarcraft moments, a quick glance at r/gamecollecting will treat your eyes to older finds.

    While an unofficial line between "then" and "now" is drawn somewhere in the vicinity of the first PlayStation's 1995 release, moderator Informationator told the Daily Dot that it varies from person to person. 

    "It's really up to the individual to define what they want and what they value in their collection," he said. "I take that same attitude toward modern consoles. If you want to collect it, go for it! I couldn't be less concerned about when 'vintage' or 'classic' starts and ends."

    Fellow mod maverickrenegade agreed, stating that collectibility value can be applied to those devices that, while modern, saw limited release—or market failure.

    "These outliers would be certain rare/sought after games, limited box sets, collector's editions, console color variants and elusive gaming hardware (like console development kits and controllers), among other things," he explained.

    That said, maverickrenegade acknowledged that the r/gamecollecting community tends to prefer the classics.

    "We mods already welcome in newer consoles and their respective titles, but I know that there are some that are stalwartly opposed to them being lumped into the same collecting category due to age," he said. "It's kind of unfortunate in my opinion, but I can understand why. Nostalgia and sentiment play a major role in that mindset."

    Personal collections are of course huge on the subreddit, and maverickrenegade points to NintendoTwizer as a prime example.

    "NintendoTwizer has one of the most impeccably laid out collections I have ever seen," he explained. "It's truly breathtaking from a game collecting standpoint and there's a reason that he has the top post (over 860 upvotes) by a huge margin."

    Photo via NintendoTwizer/imgur

    Aside from personal collections, members' rare finds, accomplishments, and bargain deals are also popular within the community.

    "In recent history, Byuu posted about his SNES full set and that's garnered an incredible amount of attention," Informationator revealed. The post displays Byuu's success at scoring copies of all 721 commercially available Super NES titles and has received more than 300 upvotes.

    "One of the large things that comes with this forum is deal hunting," moderator humanman42 said. As the creator of the subreddit r/ThriftStoreHauls, which collects amazing discoveries at thrift stores, he is no stranger to deal hunting.

    "All those Earthboundsfor under $10. Those seem to be the crowd favorite."

    Collecting video game-related relics does a lot more than satisfy a nostalgia itch. For at least two of the moderators, the practice is much more personal.

    "I had what one might consider a tough life growing up," maverickrenegade revealed. "I went through the wringer as a child. Divorce, foster homes, the death of a parent at a young age, social outcast, depression because of aforementioned items, etc. Video games were my means of escape and that's where my passion for them developed."

    "I would love to thank my dad for buying me that Sega Genesis during those hard times," he continued. "Your sacrifice may have gone unnoticed when I was kid, but it definitely doesn't as an adult. If it weren't for him introducing me that new world, I may not have made it out of my childhood as unscathed as I had."

    Informationator's passion also developed under less-than-ideal circumstances.

    "When we were young, my family wasn't very well off financially, but I never knew it because of how much effort my parents put into providing for us, loving us, and instilling joy in our lives," he said. "On one very special Christmas, that took the form of an NES; with a little help from our grandparents they managed to buy us a system and a few games and man did we play the snot out of that thing! That was the start of something beautiful."

    "Here's how awesome my mom is," he continued. "Back when we were poor and living in middle-of-nowhere Texas she managed to—over the course of YEARS—track down every single Mega Man game for the NES. It took many birthdays and Christmases, but she managed to find all six for me. It's a testament to the kinds of lengths she would go to in order to make her kids happy."

    Whether it's the thrill of the hunt, the thirst for nostalgia, or touching on something far more personal, the r/gamecollecting community manages to satisfy the needs of its members and moderators alike. 

    "Gaming is something that can easily bring the two most unlikely people together," humanman42 proclaimed. "The simple mentioning of Mario or Sonic can spark a conversation."

    And that is a feat even more amazing than, for example, coming across rare Chrono Trigger test cartridges.

    Photo via freespamfree/Flickr


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    First the toys come out. Then they spread out on the floor. The kid knocks the basket over, but it simply doesn't matter. Mom's away, so the boys will play—for hours and hours and hours on end.

    Emio Tomeoni is a Kansas City filmmaker with ties to NBC Universal. Tomeoni's wife Stephanie apparently had to work one afternoon, so the man did what any father of an infant would do if he had an afternoon alone with his kid: he reverted back to his childish ways.

    Throughout this adorable 4-minute time-lapse, the two guilty parties manage to get into every sort of trouble that two kids at heart can muster up.

    They don hats, throw stuffed whales at each other, stand on tables, and wrestle on couches. Tomeoni throws his kid in a box and shuts the lid then drinks juice where he's probably not supposed to.

    The two play a keyboard with their feet, frolic shirtless around the living, and eat sandwiches while sitting on the table. They shoot hoops and play African drums. Tomeoni takes a call from his wife and then changes his kid's diaper. After that is when the cleanup begins.

    The whole process is over in a minute—or less, if you're keeping time with the time-lapse. When it's over, the room is clean; the kid's diaper, as well. It was like mom never left. But then there's that video.

    Photo via MEoProductions/YouTube

     


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    Call it Episode VI: Return of the Self-Published Author

    After having his Star Wars–centric memoir yanked from Amazon's Kindle store earlier this week, Gib van Ert's A Long Time Ago: Growing Up With and Out of Star Wars is once again available to e-book readers on the retail giant. 

    The increasingly popular philosophical topic of who "owns" Star Wars flared up across the Internet earlier this week when Amazon chose to briefly stop selling A Long Time Ago over fears that the title and content may be infringing on Lucasfilm copyright. But after a series of blog postings by Van Ert and others, the online retailer quickly reversed its decision.

    In an email to the Daily Dot, Van Ert praised Amazon's handling of the situation:

    I'm a big fan of Amazon. They do so many things right. In this instance, I think they initially got it wrong, but it only took them 36 hours to correct the mistake. That's amazing when you consider how large a business it is, and that this all happened at Christmas. […] I'm entirely satisfied with how Amazon has treated me in the end. I never took the view that I had a "right" to be on Amazon. I only questioned why they thought there was a trademark issue. I didn't think there was, so I wanted to address that.

    An Amazon spokesperson was quick to inform the Daily Dot that Van Ert's book was once again available in the Kindle Store, but declined to speak in detail about the company's process for reviewing self-published materials for potential copyright infringements—including whether or not the Walt Disney Company's recent purchase of Star Wars and Lucasfilms had any role in the company being overly cautious in this case.

    Copyright infringement and self publishing is a murky issue. There are no shortage of pop culture memoirs and manifestos available on Amazon. Whether or not these books are legal comes down to an issue of fair use vs. copyright infringement—something Star Wars fans know all about.

    No one will argue that the characters and locations of Star Wars originated with George Lucas, but more than any other pop-culture franchise, Star Wars has taken on a life of its own in the Internet age. Star Wars has spawned everything from fake Twitter accounts to YouTube sitcoms. Changes to the original films by Lucasfilms will perpetually raise the ire of fans who feel a sense of ownership. The issue has even been the source of whole documentaries

    The debate is something Van Ert knows all too well.

    "(It)'s a complicated and interesting problem," he said. "There's no doubt that, instinctively, I often feel like Star Wars is somehow 'mine.' That doesn't make a lot of sense rationally, but George Lucas created something so stirring that it continues to engender fierce loyalty and passionate debate decades later. It's a tribute to the power of Lucas's story that it stimulates such strong reactions."

    Photo by simononly/Flickr


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    The secret's out: The world now knows the identity of the biggest little man on YouTube.

    Hwang Min-Woo is the 7-year-old Mini-Me behind Psy's omnipresent"Gangnam Style," the little guy in the white tank top doing Psy's moves even better than Psy could himself. The tiny tyke, who's already a brand ambassador for mobile phone distributor LG, has been bringing the noise and the funk to dance studios throughout South Korea since 2010, when Psy first discovered him on the set of the star-making show Korea's Got Talent.

    According to a Reuters report published last month, Hwang Min-Woo fancies himself a pretty good singer—one who could grow up to be even better, and more famous, than Psy himself, he goes so far as to say—but we just watched the clip and concede that he's off about a half step and has a ways to go before he starts showing up on any of our Spotify playlists.

    So take that, kid. Go through puberty and then get back to us. And don't forget to practice those dance moves in the meantime.

    Photo via OfficialPsy/YouTube


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    What's the best way to top the many fantastic and hilarious bad lip reading videos on the Internet?  The video editors at YouTube's popular Bad Lip Reading channel have decided that in the case of One Direction, less is more.

    Less coherency, more gibberish, that is.

    "Cragge noylshe, phawne leah liza meh foyshweezen-zuzu," says One Direction band member Liam Payne forlornly into the camera.

    Payne's vocal stylings are up-ended in Bad Lip Reading's hilarious fake trailer for One Direction's alleged new gangster suspense/thriller foreign language epic, Shadow Pico. Turning on the captions, the "foreign language" translates to "I am not believing my sadness days." The dub, a re-edit of 1D's November single "Gotta Be You," has garnered over 14,000 views since it was posted earlier today.

    Since the early days of Anime Music Videos and machinima (gaming videos), video editors have prided themselves on well-edited lip-syncing, matching the footage onscreen to often-hilarious dubbing. But in recent years, the practice has grown, and now thousands of videos, from fan dubs to bad lip reading, proliferate YouTube.

    For their choice to go full-on gibberspeak for this particular video, Bad Lip Reading may have been taking a page out of rock band Fun's book: earlier this year they recorded their party anthem "We Are Young" in "Simlish" for the release of popular virtual life game The Sims.

    What exactly is the "Shadow Pico" of the ominous trailer title? It seems to be a reason for the band of brothers to reunite. On the original video, viewers have been having fun with the concept, spamming the comments with exclamations of "SHADOW PICO!"

    "OMG!! They finally made a remix of SHADOW PICO!" commented YouTuber Ricky T. "The original was way better."

    Photo via YouTube


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    Judd Apatow came to blows with Toure on Twitter after panning his new movie This Is 40.

    MSNBC host Touré gave a scornful, two-sentence review which caused Apatow, the film's director and producer, to fire back.

    "Warning: ‘This Is 40’ is a horrible mess with a meandering plot and few laughs and characters who are hard to like. What happened?" tweeted Touré late Wednesday about the "sort of" sequel to 2007's Knocked Up. He retweeted comments from Twitter followers who agreed.

    Apatow snapped back at the Cycleco-host about his views on not lying to children about the existence of Santa Claus, which Touré recently talked about on his weekday chat show.

    ".@Toure this from the guy who refused to ever pretend to his toddlers that santa existed. You really showed them. Talk about hard to like," replied Apatow in front of his 750,000 followers.

    Toure retweeted Apatow's comment and said he was a huge fan of the Funny People director. "Whatever you do next I'll still go," replied Touré. Apatow shrugged off Touré's half-apology, saying that he just didn't understand the film, which garnered a 50 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

    "You need to take a nap and see it again then. There is no way you liked all of those and didn't get this," tweeted Apatow. "There is more to the story."

    The petty spat continued when Touré took umbrage with a part of movie where Leslie Mann's character threatens a young boy.

    "When your main female character curses out a boy and threatens him that's hard to like territory. Beyond mama bear into wtf," tweeted Touré. Apatow replied, "Wow! You are a laugh riot."

    It continued when both sides retweeted compliments supporting their sides, but it eventually fizzled out with a tweet from the appropriately named @TheComedyBuffet, who snarked, "it's like highschool all over again!"

    But with worse egos.

    Photo by David Shankbone/Flickr


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