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Saturday, October 06, 2007

Free Photoshop Tutorials, Cryptex, Stixy, MediaMonkey

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Continuing with the posts about , there are 4 free stuff today. To make up for the extra free stuff, I shall keep the details light. :) Actually I'm busier today, so this will be a quick but concise post.

Free Photoshop Tutorials
Free Photoshop Tutorials I'm quite sure that many of you have heard of Adobe Photoshop before. Quite simply, Photoshop enables you to edit/create graphics on your computer. And if you know how to use it effectively, amazing images can be created from nothing at all. However, even pros must have started from somewhere, ie pros were also noobs once. :) This is where comes in. The site provides step-by-step tutorials along with screenshots at each step as you manipulate your masterpiece. In fact the picture on the left is the end result from one of the tutorials there. If you're looking for some help with Photoshop, give the a try. After you become a pro, maybe you can even design a free logo for me. :)

Cryptex
Cryptex is a freeware program that encrypts your private details in an encrypted database on your Palm. Using RC4 encryption, it allows an unlimited number of entries and fields for each entry. Each entry can also be accompanied with an icon so that you can find different types of info easily. Even if you lose your device or someone steals your database, Cryptex claims that the RC4 encryption it uses will protect your data.

Stixy
Stixy At first glance, looks like it's just a free online replacement for your sticky notes. But that's just one part of Stixy. Stixy also wants to help you stay organized without cramping your style and collaborate with others while you're at it. Here's the official take on Stixy:

Stixy helps users organize their world on flexible, shareable Web-based bulletin boards called Stixyboards. Unlike most personal productivity or project management software, Stixy doesn’t dictate how users should organize their information. Users can create tasks, appointments, files, photos, notes, and bookmarks on their Stixyboards, organized in whatever way makes sense to them. Then they can share Stixyboards with friends, family, and colleagues.


True enough, Stixy turned out to be very easy to use. I didn't even have to sign up to try it out, although signing up is simple - only an email and a password is needed. Drag and drog any of the four available widgets - Note, Photo, Document, Todo - onto your Stixyboard and unleash your creative beast. Run out of ideas? Look at some of the samples provided for inspiration. Worried about losing your hard work? Stixy autosaves your work every 30 seconds or you can just hit the save button.

Stixy is still in beta and as such has some rough edges showing. For example, the Stixy website says that your Stixyboard can be as large as you want but it doesn't touch on the size of uploaded documents or photos. I can only assume it's unlimited as well.

Stixy relies heavily on Ajax which makes it quite slow whenever you click on a link that loads another page within the same screen. Since the background is temporarily blanked out (in order to get you to pay attention to the current page), you can't do anything else while this happens. Fortunately, this doesn't occur for every link, but it would be nice if an option was available to open links in tabs instead. The widget options also suffer from a short lag when switching between widgets due to this. Hopefully the Stixy team can find a way to improve the response time.

MediaMonkey
MediaMonkey is a free music player and manager. It also rips and burns CDs, tags your music and converts them. As you can see, MediaMonkey is jam-packed with features that could replace several utilities. The gold version includes even more features, but that comes at price of $19.95. If you've been looking for the swiss army knife of audio programs, I guess MediaMonkey could be the one for you.

MediaMonkey screenshot


Oh by the way, how was today's freebies? :)

 

Feedburner burns 1,000,000 feeds!

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Feedburner burns 1,000,000 feeds!

has blazed through 1 million feeds as of Oct 5th 2007! Congrats to the Feedburner Team. Nice little flaming hat too!

If your feeds haven't been through the trials of fire yet, you're missing out on a lot of hot stuff like FeedFlares, Chicklets and more. Set your feeds on (it's free) and don't forget to as well. :)

 

No, Mister Master Baiter, You're Not Allowed to Fly

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Sometimes I think Southwest Airlines just wants publicity, whether it's positive or negative. After causing a public outcry in and it's sequel, , Southwest Airlines returns with a new one in its franchise.

This time, it involves a man instead of a woman and it's becoming (more) ridiculous. At least in the short-lived series there was some room for debate, since the women were slightly under-dressed (for conservative folks anyway).

But this guy, Joe Winiecki, was singled out due to the shirt he was wearing. He had three choices - change his shirt, turn it inside out or skip the flight. Eventually he opted to swap his shirt as he didn't want to miss work.

What was wrong with the shirt? Was it showing too much? Perhaps some obscenity? Nope. All that fuss over two words - "Master Baiter" - which was printed on his fictional fishing shop T-shirt. If you say "Master Baiter" really fast, you'll get another interpretation which could be construed as offensive, but that's really your fault. After all, and were rated PG-13 and no one was upset.

Master baiter T-Shirt
My curious mind decided to try googling for the Master Baiter T-shirt and I think this is it. The evil Master Baiter shirt. Potential fliers heed the warning. No Master Baiters allowed.

 

Friday, October 05, 2007

Smile at the IgNobel Awards

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World smile day October 5th is World Smile Day®, and the theme is "Do an act of kindness. Help one person smile", not that the theme has ever changed. :) The has listed past years' events that others did to make people smile and some smiley faces, but if that doesn't work, I've got a surefire solution for you.

Presenting the ! A parody of the Nobel prizes, are given to scientific achievements that make people laugh, then think. (Thanks, Wikipedia!) Just see what's in store for you:

Best (and worst) of the rest
Other winners include:

* A Dutch researcher who conducted a census of all the creepy-crawlies that share our beds.
* Spanish scientists who found that rats sometimes could not distinguish between Japanese spoken backwards and Dutch spoken backwards.
* An Australian woman who documented the indexing problems caused by the word "the."
* A Japanese researcher who extracted vanilla flavoring from cow dung.
* A Taiwanese man who patented a Batman-like device that drops a net over bank robbers.


I hope that left a smile on your face, it sure worked for me. :) See what I mean. Visit .

 

Free Blogger Ebooks, Maps and Rememble

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As a sequel to , today I bring you more free stuff! And now, without further ado, let's get on to (free) business. :)

Top 10 Free Ebooks for Bloggers
Top 10 Free Ebooks for Bloggers First, let's start off with the . I won't pretend to have heard of all the names on that list, but there are a few I do recognize, like the (in)famous , and the quirky . They are all unique in their own ways, but they have one thing in common - they are popular on the net and have the stats to prove it. Let's not forget the (obscene amount of) money that they're currently making. There are probably a few killer tips that they aren't sharing, but as conventional wisdom goes, some help is better than none.

Free Maps
Free Maps Next up, is a . On that site, you can find maps of individual countries, states or continents. A quick glance reveals that other than .gif, his maps are available in Adobe Illustrator EPS format, so you can edit them if you have Adobe Illustrator installed. The webmaster, Keisuke Inoue, is Japanese so you may find some there, but you should be able to get the gist of what he's saying. Besides, there's not much to understand except that the maps are free for any type of use. :)

Rememble
Rememble The last stop for the day is . No, that isn't a typo. Rememble is a newly launched site that aims to store all your digital memories. Here's the official word from the Rememble press release:

Rememble enables users to collect and store digital data -- membles -- online from a range of different devices such as pcís, digital cameras and mobile phones, through an online facility that offers limitless memory storage space.
Examples of membles are text messages, emails, images or video clips.

Rememble has a free ad-supported and paid subscription service, but the paid subscription isn't up yet. Not that it matters since we're talking about free stuff here. I took a quick look around Rememble and liked some of the stuff I saw. The signup was easy and painless, requiring only an email address and password. Some cool features I spotted include the membleline (a time line for your membles, see the picture below), uploading membles via SMS/MMS and Flickr and Twitter integration. Like many sites, social networking has also been thrown in via Groups and Friends.

Membleline
The Membleline, time line for your membles


Since Rememble is still in its initial stages, there are some kinks to work out. For example, blog posts can't be added to your Rememble account at the moment. Also, SMS/MMS charges for overseas users could get pretty high, seeing that there's only one number for sending the SMS/MMS. Finally, freeloaders (that's what free users are called in Rememble) are limited to 30 images, 30 videos and 0 audio a month. In my opinion, this takes away much of the fun of Rememble.

Edit: Bonus freebie! Tons of .

Did you like today's free stuff? Tell me all about it in the comments!

 

BRAVIA Bouncing Bunnies

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This new Sony Bravia ad will overwhelm you with its bunnies and awesomeness. Created with play-doh, a hell lot of patience, time and money, it's one of those commercials where you haven't got the slightest clue what they're selling till the end. That would be a good commercial, since you keep your eyes glued to the screen throughout the ad spot. But after I watched this, I wanted the big red bunny instead. Oops.

Found at:

 

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Testcard TV - Watch Free TV, Movies And More!

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Testcard TV - Watch Free TV, Movies And More! What is testcard.tv?

With testcard.tv you can discover, watch and share your favourite movies, tv shows, cartoons, music videos and live tv - all on your PC, all for free

From what I can gather, is a new watch-TV-on-your-PC type of site that launched recently.

Thoughts
is similar to other sites of its genre - it indexes links from other sites. That being said, testcard.tv has a number of things going for it.

It features fullscreen viewing and frequent updates of new and popular media (eg. Heroes episode 2, Lizards, can be found there).

The site design is also easy on the eye and the integrated search returns relevant results. Other than TV shows and movies, it also has cartoons, documentaries, anime and music videos.

Like other sites however, it suffers from the annoying problem of content being pulled from the originating server. Alternative links are available to combat this, but occasionally even these links go down.

Another disadvantage is that testcard.tv depends on the uploads of others, which means that certain content may not get updated.

Lastly, testcard.tv falls into the gray area of the law, so it could just disappear one day. Not something to look forward to if you're a regular user.

If you're interested in similar sites, leave a comment and I'll come up with something. :)

 

375 Free Photoshop Brushes, Berkeley Lectures and PatchOnClick

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Offtopic: Ok, maybe the title is a little misleading since there are only a bunch of Berkeley lectures and one PatchOnClick. But hey at least there are 375 free Photoshop brushes! That's what you're here for, right? Right? No? Ah well...

Anyway, I was doing my thing and came across some interesting links about free stuff I thought you may want to check out. I think there's something for everyone even if you're not like anyone. :)

First Link - PatchOnClick
The first link I came across was . Believe it or not, this appeared on and I just clicked on it, hoping to be introduced to a new and useful freeware program. (After all, the site name was FreewareGenius and at worst it'll just be some lame program. So in case you're wondering if anyone actually clicks on , I'm one of the clickers.)

PatchOnClick

Boy was I surprised at the potential usefulness of . Weighing in at a light 935k, it allows you to create patches for any file. At this point, the utility of probably hasn't struck you yet, due to my poor and inadequate explanation.

But just think about this - many programs you use require patches to fix some bug or add a new feature. The most common example would be Windows XP or Vista. Instead of downloading everything again, patches only update the necessary parts, making them smaller and saving you space and time.

The same idea applies to PatchOnClick. You have an old file, 1, which is updated to become file 2. Your friend has the file 1. Rather than sending him/her file 2, run file 1 and file 2 through PatchOnClick to get patch file 1+2. Ask your friend to download PatchOnClick and apply patch file 1+2 to file 1. The end result? Your friend ends up with file 2, without you sending the entire file 2 over.

There are however, some limitations with PatchOnClick. Tiny files don't benefit much or may even put on extra weight while large files are likely to benefit the most from patching, though that may not be always true. See for some actual test results.

Second Link - Free Berkeley Lectures at YouTube

Free Berkeley Lectures at YouTube

The second link I stumbled upon was . UC Berkeley announced it was posting full-length lectures on YouTube and they weren't kidding. At , there are already a available. Topics include Biology, Chemistry, Physics and... ?!? Yup, seems they have a as well and Google's invited.

Final Link - 375 Free Photoshop Brushes
The last link I have to share is a title-says-it-all link. Found at , it's a collection of Photoshop brushes. Heh, what more can I say? I told you the title says it all. :)

 

50th Sputnik Anniversary Google Logo

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50th Sputnik Anniversary Google Logo

Today marks the 50th Sputnik anniversary and Google is always quick to have an appropriate logo at hand to celebrate the event.

On October 4, 1957, the Soviet Union launched the world's first artificial satellite, which as you may have guessed, was Sputnik I. And with that initial "victory" in conquering space, the space race between the US and Soviet Union was born. For more about .

Now that I've got Sputnik covered, back to the Google logo. I'm just not feeling the 'g'. Sputnik looks like what it's supposed to be (here's ), but what about Google? It sure looks like "Gooole" now.

 

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

World's First Invisibility Cloak!

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World's First Invisibility Cloak! Yes, scientists have brought Harry Potter's invisible cloak to life. It works well too as you can see from the picture on the left - the center is now gone and nowhere to be seen. There are just a few niggling problems if you're a Harry Potter wannabe.

First, you have to be no larger than 10 micrometers. That's 100 times smaller than a millimeter. Next, unless you exist in only two dimensions, everyone can see you. This is basically impossible since you're not that circle over there.

Guess you'll have to wait for scientists to come out with a shrinking potion to try this one out.

[Source: ]

 

Ripping CDs? Stop you Thief!

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Gabriel asked if it was wrong for consumers to make copies of music which they have purchased, even just one copy. Pariser replied, "When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song." Making "a copy" of a purchased song is just "a nice way of saying 'steals just one copy'," she said.


The quote says it all. Taken out of context? Nope. Is that what Jennifer Pariser, the head of litigation for Sony BMG, really thinks? Yes. That was her testimony in court, which as far as I can recall is under oath.

And when you think about it, this is a really stupid idea. Why? Just read these digg comments:

From PistolFred -
I have 2 physical hard drives on my PC. I've copied the music folder from one to the other as a backup. (I know, a power surge or malicious virus could kill them both). By her definition, I stole those songs even if they are still only accessible from a single device.


From Lukesed -
I'm using a RAID array that makes two copies of everything on a pretty low level. Is tht stealing as well?


And what happens when you continue along that line of thought? Madness. Absolute madness.

From dfick -
It's stealing when the mp3 is loaded from the Harddisk to DRAM, and stealing again for each level of cache.


From ToadLeg -
I had to "copy" a song to my speakers in order to listen to it. Did I just steal that song by copying it to my speakers?


The last comment takes the cake not only because it's true according to that twisted theory but also because you can't legally listen to your music at all, if that idea were true. Maybe you should start dumping your CDs and switch over to the radio. Or is that stealing too?

[Source: ]

 

Newly Flavored Zunes - 80GB Zunes and Flash Zunes

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Newly Flavored Zunes - 80GB Zunes and Flash Zunes

Hot on the heels of , Microsoft is revamping its Zune lineup, which previously consisted of a lone 30GB Zune in several colors.

Now with the Zune v2, the long-lost 80GB brother was reunited with the 30GB, while sexy 4GB and 8GB flash cousins also joined the Zune family. Speaking of sexy, the prices are quite sexy as well.

The sleeker Zune 80 is yours for only $250 and has a big 3.2" screen. The smaller cousins sport a 1.8 screen and go for $150 (4GB) and $200 (8GB).

Other highlights include wifi syncing, additional native video codecs, DRM-free music and software updates for all Zunes including the Zune 30 aka Zune Classic.

For the full details, .

Edit: Pretty pictures posted at and . Gizmodo is recommended since ugly watermarks aren't plastered on the photos. In fact .

Can't decide between the iPods and the Zunes? A is available at Cliczune.

 

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Betavoltaic Battery, 30 Years of Laptop Power!

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Betavoltaic Battery, 30 Years of Laptop Power! Very soon, you won't be complaining about your laptop running low on juice. In fact you probably won't complain about the battery if your laptop packs a betavoltaic battery. Not for 30 years anyway.

If you're geeky and want to understand how it works, you can visit the links below. (You may want to keep your physics textbook within arm's reach.) For the non-geeky crowd, the battery's advantages are listed in English below.

  • Small and thin
  • Cool
  • 30 Years of Power?
  • Non-toxic and environmentally friendly

[Source: ]
[Link: ]
[Link: (Warning: Serious Physics geeks only)]

 

Free Dashboard Confessional's Thick As Thieves Download

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Yesterday, at a price that everyone was happy with. Today, I found out that . And on , Dashboard Confessional has released Thick as Thieves, a single on their new album for free! In case you're a doubter, it's a high quality mp3 rip (320kbps).

[Direct Download: ]

 

Wall-E Teaser

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The year is 2700. WALL*E, a robot, spends every day doing what he was made for. But soon, he will discover what he was meant for.




Doesn't reveal much but kinda reminds me of .

[Link: ]

 

Zune 2.0 Leaked Cardboard Photos?

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Zune 2.0 Leaked Cardboard Photos?
Zune 2.0 Leaked Cardboard Photos?

I'm just wondering why the states that the "Photos are from 16 May 2007".

View the entire set at .

[Source: & ]

 

Monday, October 01, 2007

Grandmother Gives Birth to Grandkids!

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A grandmother in Brazil just gave birth to her own grandkids a few days back! Her daughter, Michelle, was unable to have children and didn't have any sisters. As the law in Brazil only allows close relatives to become surrogate mothers, Michelle had to turn to her mother for help. This is the first reported case of such an occurrence.

 

Free Office Live Workspace, But...

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Free Office Live Workspace Microsoft is launching a . On the surface, it sounds great especially for students or office workers that travel frequently. It has a storage space for 1000+ documents and other online collaboration features such as editing and commenting.

The Office Live Workspace looks like a real competitor to , except when you get to the part about editing. The catch is that editing documents requires Microsoft Office to be installed. Everything else will probably work without Office installed, but an online workspace sans editing features isn't really a workplace since you can't work on your documents.

This requirement doesn't hit you at first and . The only hint of this is from the front page of the , where it clearly states "Works with Microsoft Office". Maybe they should have appended "only" to the header.

[Source: ]

 

Fun with Calligrams - Pictures or Words?

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A inspired me to look further into the wonderful world of calligrams. And I was glad I did. Here are the pretty results of my discoveries (courtesy of ).

What is a calligram?

A calligram is a poem (though can also be a phrase or single word) in which the typeface or handwriting forms an important part of the focus. Indeed, it is a visual manifestation of themes presented aurally and textually. Guillaume Apollinaire is a famous calligram writer. -


Calligrams are also closely related to another form of visual art known as or .

Warning! Pretty pictures popping up next!

Veja Campaign Pictures from


Bin Laden - Dead or Alive
Bin Laden - Dead or Alive

Bush - Peace or War
Bush - Peace or War

Saddam - Threat or Pretext
Saddam - Threat or Pretext

Castro - Tirany (Tyranny) or Freedom
Castro - Tirany (Tyranny) or Freedom

Victory or Defeat
Victory or Defeat

Bomb or Bluff
Bomb or Bluff

Suicide or Right to die
Suicide or Right to die

Heal or Sin
Heal or Sin


designed and typeset by Laura Ruggeri

Mix of calligrams designed and typeset by Laura Ruggeri


Calligram Ant by ~Inky-la-reve


Calligrammes by Guillaume Apollinaire

 

Free Radiohead In Rainbows Album Download

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Well, not exactly. is offering their newest album, In Rainbows, at any price you desire. Free's the lowest price, although I'm sure they'd appreciate some green for their music.

What to do?

  1. Head over to , add the In Rainbows download to your basket and checkout (view the basket to do so).

  2. You'll see an option to enter a price and it's up to you. No really, it's up to you. :)
    Radiohead's In Rainbows download screen, Name Your Price
    Radiohead's In Rainbows download screen, It's Up To You
    Radiohead's In Rainbows download screen, No really, It's Up To You

  3. After you have cracked your head trying to decide on a price, wait a bit at the processing screen.
    Radiohead's In Rainbows download screen, Processing...

  4. You'll be presented with a screen to register (free) with the site if you're a new user or login if you've already signed up before.
    Radiohead's In Rainbows download screen, Signup/Login

  5. Click through some confirmation screens and you'll hit the order confirmation page, as you can see below.
    Radiohead's In Rainbows download screen, Order confirmed!

  6. Wait till Oct 10 for the email to get your download. Your email should be waiting for you in your inbox. :) If you run into problems, I've compiled .

  7. Profit!

What's in the In Rainbows download and what isn't:


THIS CONSISTS OF THE NEW ALBUM, IN RAINBOWS.


IT DOES NOT INCLUDE THE EXTRA MATERIAL CONTAINED IN THE DISCBOX.

YOU CAN DOWNLOAD THE FILE DIGITALLY FROM THE 10th OCTOBER 2007.

YOUR PURCHASE MAY BE SUBJECT TO A TRANSACTION FEE.
THIS WILL BE SHOWN AT THE CHECKOUT.


In Rainbows Download Track Listing:

15 STEP
BODYSNATCHERS
NUDE
WEIRD FISHES/ARPEGGI
ALL I NEED
FAUST ARP
RECKONER
HOUSE OF CARDS
JIGSAW FALLING INTO PLACE
VIDEOTAPE


Edit: Some people are wondering how the confirmation email looks like and why they haven't received any email with the code/link to download the album. Well if I'm correct, you should have received an email with your order number stating that

You will receive a further e-mail shortly before the 10th October detailing your username and activation code. The e-mail will also provide the link to the download area.


If you didn't understand that, the email with the download link will arrive some time before Oct 10, but it hasn't been sent yet. So just keep an eye on your inbox and wait...



UPDATE: You should have received .


***UPDATE:*** If you are facing problems, check out .


[Link: ]

 

The Tooth and Nail Trick Plus the Explanation

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How do you get a nail into the middle of a solid piece of wood? The wood has several protruding teeth but looks solid and in one piece. The nail resembles the stick in a except that it's trapped by the wood. Hurt your tiny brain? Spare yourself the agony, here are the answers - one by and the other by .

Something interesting I found out was that this isn't the . And considering the solution can be found online, I guess the guy didn't look hard enough.

[Source: ]

 

Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Most Well-Fitted Public Restroom in the World

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Other than its busy and hectic lifestyle, Hong Kong is also pretty well known for its shopping malls. One such shopping mall is trying to attract customers by building a very expensive toilet.

Topped with marble and freshly cut flowers, it also provides complimentary (free!) essential oils (like bergamot and patchouli) and chocolate. And that's not all. The soap dispenser and taps are rigged with proximity sensors so that users can enjoy a "touchless" (and hygienic) experience. It's not cramped either. 3000 square feet was reserved just for this loo.

The manager explains that customers go to malls for the entire experience and how this restroom helps in doing just that. But I'm not too sure about that. How often do you feel the urge to answer nature's call while shopping? Once? Twice? Even if you do visit as many as 5 times in a trip, I'm pretty confident the shops lured you to the mall and not the toilets. And the shops are what keeps you there shopping.

By the way, I have a feeling that this may be appearing some time soon on , a cool pictorial site on urban culture.

 

Sheep in Alien Clothing

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Sheep in Alien Clothing Wow green sheep spotted in Romania! Nope, unlike , these green sheep aren't a freak of nature. The shepherd used some limestone for treating rash (no idea how limestone helps either) and they morphed into alien sheep. The shepherd sounds upset but hey, look on the bright side, your wool is pre-dyed!

[Source: ]

 

Golf is Hot and Boring? Dive in!

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Playing golf all day under the hot sun is very exhausting besides being boring. So Woody Austin decided to spice things up a little by diving into a lake. He sure looks revitalized after that quick splash. All hail Woody Austin for bumping golf up a notch above car racing in my list of sports that provide as much entertainment as watching paint dry.

[Source: ]

 
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