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Here’s a short video of an electric can crusher that was made by a group of mechanical engineering students in India.

Why European fascism is destined to die a slow, painful death.

Why we need to include female villains in our history books.

Pussy Riot has accused Bella Thorne of ripping off their signature ski masks.

Haiti is poor because colonial powers like the United States made it that way.

The economic recovery threw the middle-class dream under a Benz.

Hasbro introduced Monopoly For Millennials and Millennials are mad.

Hate groups make unprecedented push to recruit on college campuses.

Cheating and manipulation: Confessions of a gaslight.

The lost American museum that had it all.

How to turn a red state purple (Democrats not required).

Why Baltimore doesn’t heat its schools.

Here’s a free pattern for a beautiful knit scarf.

What does it feel like growing up in a collapsing world?

Ahed Tamimi offers Israelis a lesson worthy of Gandhi.

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Six tiny movie moments that took insane amounts of work.

Add patterned skins to 3D prints with hydro dipping.

Christian Marianciuc creates a new decorated origami paper crane daily for 1,000 days.

View the wedding photos that were shot when the bride refused to cancel the photo shoot after the groom was killed right before the wedding.

When a full-time job isn’t enough to make it.

What did ancient Greek music sound like? Listen to a reconstruction that’s 100% accurate.

What a German diary from the Nazi era can teach us about what’s happening in America today.

Why we shouldn’t be surprised that some pre-Christian deities are similar to Jesus.

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After a few weeks working on this video, I finally managed to upload it last week on the observed Veterans Day holiday (which was on Monday this year because the actual holiday itself fell on a Sunday this year). And I’m only getting around to writing about it the day before Thanksgiving Day. In some ways it’s more appropriate to write about this video now than during Veterans Day.

Here’s some background. Way back in 2016 I did a series of tutorials on how to take a Barbie and customize her into a comic book superhero known as the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl. As I wrote at the time, I was inspired to make this video tutorial series after reading the comic book and seeing letters from some fans clamoring for Squirrel Girl stuff to buy while other fans wrote about how they took matters into their own hands and made their own Squirrel Girl stuff. One guy went as far as take a female action figure and customize her into Squirrel Girl.

In the meantime Target got a shipment of the latest Barbie dolls known as Made to Move Barbie. These Barbies had more articulated joints than the average Barbie doll so they could make all kinds of poses. So I had an idea of using one of these Made to Move Barbies as a blank canvas to customize as the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl.

After doing a lot of research on the web for various doll clothing patterns and doll customization tutorials, I filmed my four-part tutorial series, uploaded them on YouTube, and moved on to other things. I didn’t get too many hits for my tutorial series, which was a disappointment because I tried publicizing it on social media. But I didn’t let it get me down too much. I was satisfied with my tutorial series because I not only demonstrated my artistic and crafting ability but I also demonstrated my ability to teach others.

The following year (late 2017) I sold my customized Squirrel Girl doll at a craft show. I did it because I was looking for things to sell and there are times when I do sell old finished craft projects just so I can earn extra money while having more space in my house. I felt okay with releasing Squirrel Girl to a new home, especially since I have videos and photos to remember that doll by.

So a couple of months ago I attended the weekly animation meetup that’s held at the Greenbelt Makerspace where the person who leads the group showed previews from various animation shows that were debuting either on network television, cable television, various online streaming services, or some combination of the two or three. Among the various previews was a show called Marvel Rising and my mouth almost dropped when I saw that Squirrel Girl was among the characters on that series.

Before you know it, a line of Marvel Rising dolls were released and, yes, there is now an official Squirrel Girl action figure doll.

Ironically I decided to attempt a customized Squirrel Girl doll two years ago because there were no official Squirrel Girl dolls that were already in existence. I generally tend to shy away from doing my own customized versions of popular characters like Batman, Spiderman, Wonder Woman, or the two princesses from Frozen because it’s generally cheaper to purchased the mass-produced version from the store than to buy something handmade by me. I already have a big enough struggle with convincing people that my prices are higher than Walmart because 1) I live in a country with a high cost of living, 2) I make a lot of things by hand and I don’t have machines that can churn stuff out in large numbers in less than five minutes, and 3) it takes time to make things that are eye-catching and high quality without having people get on my case for having a handmade Superman action figure on sale for twice what the mass-produced version costs at a discount big box retailer.

So I did a video about the customized version of a lesser-known superhero with a smaller but dedicated fan following only to have Marvel decide to hyper her in a bigger way two years later. If I had a crystal ball that accurately predicted the future two years ago, I would have ditched the idea of doing that video tutorial series.

But then I came up with an idea for another video, one where I would compare the official Squirrel Girl doll with my original customized Squirrel Girl. I thought it would be a cool idea for a video for my YouTube channel.

So I went to Target and purchased the $19.99 Squirrel Girl doll. I shot footage of unboxing her, did a review of the doll, then compared the doll with my original customized doll from two years ago.

The big challenge was that I no longer have the other doll because I sold her. But I have another Barbie with articulated joints that I purchased just a few years before I did my Squirrel Girl series. I bought her at the time because I thought about making doll clothes to sell at craft shows, which I never acted on due mainly to the fact that I currently don’t have a sewing machine. But this Barbie came in handy because she has just as many articulated joints as the other one. (I was even able to identify which Barbie I had thanks to the Adventures in Barbie Collecting website.)

The biggest irony about finishing this video is that I finished it on the same day that the death of Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee was announced. The official Unbeatable Squirrel Girl’s Twitter feed made a couple of nice tribute tweets to Lee.

So here’s my video about my reaction to finding out that, at long last, there is an official Squirrel Girl action figure doll that was released two years after I did my original four-part customization tutorial. Enjoy!

In case you missed my original tutorial series, here’s the original playlist of the entire series.

Or you can read the individual blog posts about each episode of this series.

The First Video
The Second Video
The Third Video
The Fourth Video

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Josephine Baker: Entertainer, war hero, and civil rights champion.

The U.S. role in turning countries into “shitholes.”

Seven signs your client will never pay your invoice.

President Trump is not as unpopular as you think he is.

Doctor who gave Asperger syndrome its name was kid-killer for Hitler.

Why children aren’t behaving and what you can do about it.

Some said they’d flee Trump’s America. These people actually did.

A sad look at one woman who lost two sons in one night to opioids.

How to make fairy house night lights using recycled plastic bottles.

100 ways white people can make life less frustrating for people of color.

From Starbucks to Hashtags: We need to talk about why white Americans call the police on black people.

You can now use Airbnb to stay in the former home of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, where F. Scott wrote the classic novel Tender is the Night.

Tapes prove how Trump lied his way onto the Forbes 400 list.

Luxury brands prefer to burn millions of dollars worth of clothes to letting the “wrong” shoppers buy them at a discount.

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This Twitter bot tricks angry trolls into arguing with it for hours.

High anxiety: The surreal and disturbingly dreamlike paintings of George Tooker.

How to turn a broken terra-cotta pot shard into a lovely flower pendant.

Colin Kaepernick’s exile is a labor rights violation. Unions should come to his defense.

Mother of two wakes up at 4 am to create 18th century furniture for dollhouses and the details will amaze you.

The shockingly simple, surprisingly cost-effective way to end homelessness.

A jeweler called her $130 engagement ring “pathetic.” The woman’s response goes viral.

The women reporters who sparked the #MeToo movement are already being written out of the story.

Your Christmas decorations can’t compete with the light-up Millennium Falcon on this family’s roof.

Studies show that husbands stress women twice as much as children.

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Baroque-inspired portraits of black girls highlight their amazing natural hair so other girls would stop hiding it.

Millennials born in the 1980s may never recover from the Great Recession.

Retro ads reveal sky-high prices of now archaic technology.

White people should be more afraid of other whites than they are of people of color.

Couple have been using same 1950s appliances for more than a half a century—but they’re finally ditching them.

The Goler clan spent years in their isolated, inbred town until the cops showed up.

Why the coming collapse will happen in the United States.

Tech investors are increasingly investing in midwest tech companies instead of Silicon Valley.

Why does Donald Trump normalize corruption? Because Bill and Hillary Clinton normalized it.

MIT economist warns that the U.S. has regressed to a developing nation status.

Disney and Pixar offer free online animation and film classes.

How Sears CEO Eddie Lampert may come out ahead even if his retailer goes out of business.

22 things you won’t believe are in the Bible.

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When I was growing up I used to frequently hear the saying that one should never put his/her eggs into one basket. The basic meaning is that you should never rely on just one or two things in life and one should always have a backup plan in case something unexpected happens. I had a harsh lesson in that just a few years ago when my husband abruptly walked out on me without ever indicating that he was the least bit unhappy and I later learned that there was another woman involved. Luckily I had friends and family I could rely on because had I totally concentrated only on my relationship with my husband to the exclusion of everything else, I would’ve been worse off when he left.

This saying applies to business as well. Last week a popular website known as LittleThings.com had abruptly shut down. LittleThings.com originally started as an e-commerce site selling pet supplies when it decided to branch out into posting uplifting stories about pets. LittleThings.com frequently used Facebook to promote its stories and it found a huge response to those stories in terms of clicks and likes. In time LittleThings.com morphed into a full-fledged media company that specialized in posting uplifting stories with happy endings along with DIY tips that provided a contrast with the stories involving politics and celebrities that usually get shared around Facebook. Here are just a few samples of the stories that LittleThings.com used to cover:

99-Year-Old Grandma Held Hostage By Teen Keeps Him Calm Until He Eventually Surrenders

More Than 30 Pets Left Behind During Hurricane Marie Reunite With Their Families 6 Months Later

Stranger Spots Single Dad’s 11 Missing Teeth During TV Interview And Offers Him a New Smile

Before You Toss That Toilet Paper Roll, Make a Beautiful DIY Kaleidoscope With Your Kids

Dryer Sheets: 14 Brilliant Ways To Use These Everyday Laundry Items

Mom Of 4 Fires Back At Stranger Who Ridiculed Her For Wearing ‘Inappropriate’ Ripped Jeans

The only thing major criticism I’ve ever read about LittleThings.com was that it was basically a content news aggregation site, which means that it would conduct Internet searches looking for those lighthearted uplifting stories that would fit in with LittleThings.com’s brand. Here’s an example. Let’s say that there was an incident where some burglars broke into a home in Des Moines, Iowa while a teen boy was home alone with his family’s German shepherd dog. The dog confronted the burglars only to be beaten and shot. Despite his injuries the dog continued to defend the teen against the burglars while the teen called 911. The teen was unharmed and the dog survived his injuries. This story was originally reported in the local media. A staffer on LittleThings.com would search the Internet until she came upon the original story as reported by the local media. That staffer would then write her own story about the incident based on what was reported in the local media and that story would sometimes include an embedded video from a local TV station that covered that story.

The issue of content news aggregation is a pretty controversial one and there are some nations (such as Spain) that have sought to regulate this in some way. But there’s no doubt that LittleThings.com was able to become initially successful without having to hire a team of reporters who would roam the streets looking for anything that was both newsworthy and fit in with LittleThings.com’s brand.

LittleThings.com’s popularity rose when people started using Facebook and they would share links to that site’s uplifting stories. Over time LittleThings.com relied exclusively on Facebook’s algorithms to help publicize its content. On top of it, unlike other digital media companies, LittleThings.com didn’t use venture capital (VC) money and it opted for self-funding instead. Those two factors helped propelled LittleThings.com to popularity but they were also the roots of its ultimate downfall.

What happened was that Facebook changed its algorithms so that posts generated from a user’s friends and family would be emphasized more than posts from web publishers like LittleThings.com. That algorithmic change resulted in LittleThings.com quickly losing 75% of its viewers who visited that site from Facebook. LittleThings.com apparently didn’t consider diversifying its content on to other social media sites (such as Twitter and Instagram) so it was almost totally dependent on Facebook for its business. Since LittleThings.com didn’t have VC money it had almost no financial cushion to help it weather the lean times. On top of it, LittleThings.com faced competition from larger, more established media companies.

Had LittleThings.com focused on other social media sites in addition to Facebook, it would be still around. Instead LittleThings.com had put nearly all of its eggs into one basket [Facebook] and it has gone out of business as a result. It’s too bad that it had to happen because I used to sometimes share stories from that site on Facebook and there were times when I shared the occasional LittleThings.com link in this blog. Oh well. Too bad, so sad.

UPDATE (May 8, 2018): LittleThings.com has been resurrected thanks to a buyer. One day I happened to notice a new story from LittleThings.com in my Facebook newsfeed, which freaked me out until I read about what happened. This story of a business being brought back from the dead sounds like a story straight out of LittleThings.com. (LOL!)

As I’m typing this my area has literally been shut down due to this massive wind storm. In fact I had my scheduled job interview get postponed until next Thursday, which is probably just as well since I’m hearing the wind howling outside of my home and the National Weather Service has issued a high wind warning urging people to stay home unless it’s an emergency. In fact the federal government has shut down today along with the public schools. I’m definitely not going to drive today since my car can be pretty difficult to handle in very windy weather but I might take a walk later on this afternoon.

As some of you may know, I have an Instagram account that I tend to update on a regular basis. This morning, while I was hearing the howling winds outside my home, I was leisurely checking my email when I came across this doozy:

Subject: project on Instagram for women photographers: Women’s Month Theme: Women’s Art

Hi,

I hope you will consider participating in our women’s photography Instagram project.  As a women’s photography community we run an Instagram project for women photographers of all levels to encourage, inspire and promote women’s passion and accomplishments in photography. The project postings are at: @womeninphotography.

The projects are to increase awareness and we do these projects in our spare time voluntarily. There is no commercialization by us of your image. So If you would like to join and help promote women’s work and passion in photography it is easy to participate. If you do not want to receive project notices like this just let me know and I will take you off our list.

Any woman photographer can participate or you can help us spread the word to women photographers who may want to.

Our project theme for this month is: ‘Women’s Art’.

What do we mean by this theme?

It is open to your interpretation so just send us your best to show.  I will curate the submissions and I or my husband bill will post up to 12 a day on Instagram until we are done.
There is no rush as we will post images until we stop getting them for this theme. We will email you when yours is posted.

Instructions:
Email your image to me:

  1. Attach one or more of your photos.  It is easier if it is a .jpg
  2. Your full name and your Instagram id if you have one so we can post and tag your image
  3. One web site link that you want posted with your image: (your website, facebook, other if you have one)
  4. Your note about the image to be included with it on Instagram
  5. Any additional hashtags you want posted with your image

Regards,

Gittel and Bill Price

In a nutshell, instead of me uploading my own photographs to my own Instagram account, they want me to send my own photographs to them, wait for them to decide whether they want to include it in their uploading just 12 pictures per day to their Instagram account, and, if they decide to choose whatever I send them, they will do this in exchange for no financial compensation but I will get credit.

So I can send my pictures to these people (whom I’ve never met nor communicated with before) for their Instagram account (which I had never heard of before I received that email) where I won’t get any kind of compensation other than credit (providing that they are actually honorable enough to give me credit). Or I can continue to upload my own photos to my own Instagram account where I won’t get financial compensation but I can at least ensure that I’m getting full credit for my own pictures that I shot and I can completely control such things as captions, hashtags, and tagging locations.

Well, that’s a no-brainer. Since I wouldn’t be getting paid either way, I’ll just keep my photos for my own Instagram account.

However I decided to play with these two freeloaders a little bit. I did a little bit of research on pricing and I decided that I would base my regular fee on the low-end of the amateur photographer scale per picture while cutting a further discount since they claim to be “non-commercial.” Here’s my reply email that I sent to them:

Dear Gittel and Bill Price,

Thank you for your interest in my work. Since I usually charge $25 per shot, I would be willing to cut you a discount of $10 per shot since you say that you’re a non-profit. I really can’t afford to give my work away for free since I’m financially struggling to pay my bills so I hope you would understand. You can pay me via PayPal at kimstark61@gmail.com.

Sincerely,

Kimberly Keyes

I haven’t heard back from them and I seriously doubt that I ever will. LOL!

It’s annoying that these people are looking for free pictures for their Instagram account under the guise of “feminism” and “women photographers.” It’s just as annoying as Ivanka Trump claiming to be a “feminist” who wrote her book Women Who Work while the women who work in those factories in Third World countries making her clothes and shoes for her fashion line are being paid very little while working in poor conditions with little occupational safety and they are frequently separated from their own children. She was also very reluctant to give maternity leave to her own female employees working in her U.S. offices. And that’s not to mention her own father, whom she has continued to serve in his administration despite being recorded bragging about how he grabs women by their pussies. (It’s no wonder that Ivanka Trump’s recent tweet honoring the fact that this month is Women’s History Month went over as well as a lead balloon or a submarine with screen doors.)

By the way, if Gittel and Bill Price want photos of women accomplishing great things for their Instagram account, I suggest that they get a smartphone and start shooting their own pictures of women doing amazing things instead of begging other photographers for freebies.

I know it may sound tempting for others to submit photos to someone else’s Instagram account in exchange for exposure but take my advice. The best way of promoting yourself as a photographer is to take out your own social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) and upload your own photos on to your social media accounts a minimum of one picture once a week. (Don’t forget to use hashtags in order to increase the chances of someone else discovering your work.) For added measure, start a blog or website and post your pictures there. Don’t rely on someone else to post your photos online for you because not everyone has your best interest at heart. There are plenty of free tutorials online that you can access by doing a simple Google search on “how to promote yourself as a photographer.”

UPDATE (March 4, 2018): I got an email response from Bill Price when I sent back a response asking for payment in exchange for them to use my photos on their Instagram account (which, as the previous paragraphs indicated, I would have to manually email each photo to them and hope that it makes the cut among their 12 posts per day limit). Here is what he wrote:

Hi Kimberly,

We understand. We do not own the images we only post them as part of a promotion of women’s photography.
We put in hundreds of hours on each project as volunteers with no pay. We do not monetize the effort in any way.

So the artists support each other and hopefully get more visibility from participating as well.

Best wishes

Bill

Yeah it sounds nice and stuff. But I’m still leery about participating, especially since they require that you manually email each photograph to them then hope that they choose your photo among their own 12 posts per day limit all for credit only. If they had asked me to tag them in the captions to my own Instagram photos on my account I might have considered doing it since it’s pretty easy. (I’ve done it for others in the past.) But I’m not about to give away my photos to them for free so they can upload it on to their own Instagram account, especially since it looks like they are relying on other photographers to supply them with content for free.

I said it before a few paragraphs ago and I’ll say it again: If Bill and Gittel Price need content for their Instagram account, they should grab a smartphone, take their own pictures of women doing extraordinary things, and upload it to their own account themselves instead of relying on other photographers to supply their content for them for no payment. Stop being freeloaders with other people’s photographs.

Man builds a Furby organ using recycled vintage electronic Furbys.

From the Green Book to Facebook: How black people still need to outwit racists in rural America.

If you care at all about the idea of journalism, Project Veritas should horrify you.

Here’s a free tutorial on how to crochet a blanket based on climate change data.

The “Pocahontas” nonsense matters but not in the way that Trump might like it to.

CNN crusades against the slave trade in Libya but they knew about it for years.

A look at a LEGO set featuring the women of NASA.

The Church of Sweden no longer refers to God as “he” or “lord.”

What if American hadn’t done the dumbest thing imaginable after 9/11?

The executives who bankrupted Toys R Us want $16-32 million in bonuses for their performance.

More than 80,000 vintage sewing patterns are now available online.

The driverless revolution may exact a political price.

10+ revenge stories that will make you think twice about being an asshole to other people.

6 badass acts of resistance erased from history.

Dollar General hits a gold mine in rural America where even Walmart failed.

Will the alt-right produce the next Timothy McVeigh?

How Clinton and Obama failed to defend the middle class.

Undoing the New Deal: The 1944 coup against Vice President Henry Wallace.

A free tutorial on how to make your own DIY safe from common household items like a can of shaving cream.

Democrats paid a huge price for letting unions die.

Sexism, remembered and forgotten.

Remembering the life and music of labor agitator Joe Hill.

The 10 greatest films of all time according to 846 film critics.

15 gay Founding Fathers and Mothers.

How to make America more like Scandinavia.

Hey, Nicki Minaj, Pocahontas was a rape survivor, not a sex symbol.

Before buying a Kindle, consider the physical book’s benefits.

The Internet is enabling a new kind of poorly paid hell.

One person’s opinion after visiting the Museum of the Bible.

Closing malls and bankrupt stores: blame Wall Street predation for the “retail apocalypse.”

An Etsy seller specializes in papercraft dollhouse-sized miniatures of furniture, housewares, and decor.

Your brain on poverty or why poor people seem to make bad decisions.

Yeah, sure, #Resistance, let’s pretend that Bill Clinton isn’t a sexual predator. 

Forget the Nordic Diet. Try the Nordic Tax Plan.

Behind the scenes of the new Museum of Selfies in Los Angeles.

The secretive family making billions from the opioid crisis.

Harvey Weinstein, Hugh Hefner and the poor excuse that explains a lot.

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