Atlas Obscura

If you’re passing through the Pittsburgh International Airport, be sure to stop by Fraley’s Robot Repair to get your malfunctioning bots fixed up before your flight. (Or just marvel at this brilliant storefront-slash-art installation from Kickstarter creator Toby Fraley.)

Read Atlas Obscura’s article about how the project made its way from Kickstarter to the Pittsburgh Airport here.

Image: Raquel Zaldivar/NPR

Sometimes the world can feel a bit uniform: the same department stores in every shopping mall, the same fast food chains on every corner. A new book from the website Atlas Obscura will make you reconsider that sense of monotony.

“The world is still this huge, bizarre, vast place filled with astounding stuff,” says co-author Dylan Thuras. “And if you sort of tilt your view a little bit and start looking for it, you start finding it everywhere.”

To prove it, Thuras took NPR on a tour of the wonders in his own backyard: Manhattan.

‘Atlas Obscura’ Tour Of Manhattan Finds Hidden Wonders In A Well-Trodden Place

Holy shit, Kotaku posted an interesting and informative article about video games.

Except it’s not actually on Kotaku, it’s on io9, it was crossposted. So io9 produces better gaming content than the Gawker site ostensibly about gaming.

Except it’s not actually on io9 either, it’s word for word an Atlas Obscura article that they asked the writer to also put on io9. So it has nothing to do with Gawker at all.

Gawker: The middle man between you and worthwhile content since forever.
Dogpatch USA (May 21, 2014)

Today, I learned that the fictitious hillbilly town from Al Capp’s execrable comic strip/musical “Li'l Abner” was turned into an amusement park in northwestern Arkansas in 1968. Its star “attraction” was apparently a stocked trout pond, where you could catch fish and the staff would either cook it for you or clean and pack it so you could take it home. There were a number of smallish backwoods hick-themed rides and things (like “Barney Barnsmell’s Skunk-Works, Rotten Ralphie’s Rick-O-Shay Rifle Range, and a roller coaster called Earthquake McGoon’s Brain Rattler”), but Capp required that the “rustic atmosphere of [Dogpatch] not be lost beneath garish rides and spectacle” as a condition for the use of his characters.

The park was a big flop (gasp), never attracting the 400,000 visitors a year its builders expected. Somehow it limped on open until 1993, when it closed for good and was left for rot. The owners tried to sell the property on eBay for $1 million, but did not receive a single bid. In 2005 the property, dilapidated rides and all, were awarded to a young man in a lawsuit who was riding his ATV on the property and was nearly decapitated in an accident. It sounds like that would have been the most exciting thing to ever happen at this park.

In case you can’t tell how I feel about it, I’m not a Li'l Abner fan. My high school did the musical my senior year, and it sucks. I mean it’s really bad. Terrible way for a theater kid to finish his high school career. I’m shocked that this park was ever built, let alone lasted for 35 years.



although not as impressive as LucasArts would have me think

Oh, what on earth would make a man decide to do that kind of thing?
Oh, windin’ up twenty-one thousand, one hundred forty pounds of string
What was he trying to prove, who was he trying to impress
Why did he build it, how did he do, it was anybody’s guess
Where did he get the twine, what was goin’ through his mind
Did it just seem like a good idea at the time

Answers from Atlas Obscura:

Question: do non-Americans think this is weird? More than Americans do?

So I’m still tossing around this idea of a Vulture Culture event in DC with Atlas Obscura. They are interested, but the thing is, I can’t do a complicated workshop like skeleton articulation or taxidermy, or the entire bone cleaning process. I don’t know the area well enough to host a bone-hunting hike (so I couldn’t be sure we’d find any.) Yet we want it to be more interactive than a simple lecture. 

Does anyone have an idea of something interactive that one could do with bones? I have more than enough deer and sheep skulls that I could supply for a raffle, or for certain ticket buyers, or for all ticket buyers if the price is high enough. Maybe just bring some spraypaint and newspapers and let people buy and paint skulls? I also have lots of VC stuff that I wouldn’t want to sell, but I could use for a demonstration if needed (I have taxidermy, large skulls, and a few articulated skeletons.)
Any thoughts are greatly appreciated!