The Most Delightful Tumblrs of 2011

One of the most valuable players on the Internet over the last year, Tumblr has amazed us in how quickly it’s evolved from a small-staffed, ballsy experiment to a respected, widely used, interactive network of some of the funniest and highest-quality content out there. We’ve found that when we’re looking for some procrastination, inspiration, or just a good laugh, we often wind up on a Tumblr blog. Below the jump, browse through our 15 favorites of 2011, and tell us which others you think we should check out before the year is up. … Read More

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Review Roundup: Who’s the Better Lisbeth Salander?

In 2009, audiences were knocked out by Noomi Rapace as Lisbeth Salander, the punk lesbian hacker at the center of Niels Oplev’s Swedish film adaptation of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and one of the most poweful heroines to hit the big screen this decade. Yesterday, a new Lisbeth Salander, played by Rooney Mara, was born in David Fincher’s English-language version. So who’s the better Lisbeth? We rounded up the critics’ widely divergent opinions. Tell us yours in the comments. … Read More

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Ranking TV’s Nightlife Destinations from Worst to Best

The cities and settings and streets and apartments we see on television become, over time, our own; who doesn’t sometimes get the feeling they could actually stroll through Pawnee or buy coffee at Central Perk? These places become our second homes, each as filled with nostalgia as our old classrooms, friends’ houses, and playgrounds. But we’re not going to fool ourselves — some of the dingy joints our favorite TV characters spend their time in are just as bad as the worst ones we get dragged to in real life, which is why we’ve put together an honest tourist’s guide to onscreen nightlife. Below the jump, browse our ranking of ten TV hangout spots, in order, from the ones we wouldn’t step foot into to the ones we’re trying to book for our next holiday party. Which TV bar, club, or lounge would you head to on a night out? … Read More

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Unusual Santa Claus Traditions from Around the World

It’s thanks to centuries of Byzantine, Greek, and Scandinavian myths and folklore that this Christmas, some guy will put on a red velvet suit and fake beard to sit on a throne in Walmart, taking kids’ toy orders. But Santa wasn’t always the generous man in Walmart, nor is he everywhere today. That man is just one of the many evolutionary paths taken by tales of deities, sprites, animals, and St. Nicholas. In other countries, the patron saint of giving inherited different traits, leaving Santa with quite a few doppelgangers around the world, including goats, monks, and wise men who travel on camelback. Below the jump, we take you on a tour of Santa’s many representations around the globe. … Read More

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An Analysis of 2011′s Many Dance Songs About Dancing

Foot tapping and head bobbing are as much facets of some songs as lyrics and instrumentals. But some music goes to particularly explicit lengths to serenade dance, not only compelling listeners to get up and move, but also paying homage to the act of dancing in subject matter. Below the jump, we review some of 2011′s most memorable dance songs about dancing — full-on, unmasked celebrations of bouncing, shuffling, booty shaking, and generally letting loose on the dance floor. … Read More

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The 10 Best Podcasts for Your Holiday Roadtrip

As holiday roadtrips grow imminent, it’s time to plan how you’ll while away the hours you’ll spend in transit. Here at Flavorpill, we’re stocking our iPods with playlists for every time of day, part of the country, and state of mind. But listening to music only goes so far when you’re craving good conversation and your shotgun rider has fallen asleep (or you’re taking the bus or plane solo), which is why we’re filling up on brain candy in addition to ear candy. Below the jump, browse through the engrossing, educational, and entertaining podcasts we highly recommend for the road. … Read More

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10 Inventions from Movies That We Wish Were Real

In the celluloid world, anything is possible, which is why it’s a haven for visionaries and inventors of all types. The laws of nature suspended, mad scientists can reign free, achieving success without the burden of proof, research, or failure. With these freedoms, they’ve actualized genius ideas, some of which our off-screen world could stand to adopt, whether to help us out when we’re too weak not to yield to the snooze button or to make the snooze button last another five years.

Of course, misuse of these powerful machines can lead to terrible things — and in many films have. But the luxuries they afford, both the culturally transformative ones and the ones that  just shave a little stress off an average day, are too major to ignore. With that in mind, we’ve rounded up the the fictive weapons, trinkets, and tools we’re dying to test drive, below the jump — and even predicted if and when they’re likely to become a reality. Which would you most want to get your hands on? … Read More

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TV's Most Memorable Pets

Pets are a staple of almost every television household, making for trusty sidekicks, dependable comic relief, and comforting ears that (usually) don’t talk back. But some on-screen animal stars are more than just housemates, with affable personalities and plot lines of their own. The inspiring owner-pet relationships that we celebrate after the jump establish a real equity and rapport between cross-species co-stars and make us reevaluate a pet’s role in the home. Which of your favorite actors yield from the animal kingdom? … Read More

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What Did the World’s First Mug Shots Look Like?

The mug shot has, by now, become so universal that it’s hard to imagine a criminal justice system without it. But in the mid-19th century, when photography was still a new medium, there was no standardized record-keeping system in place to help police departments identify repeat criminals. Random daguerreotypes and loose photographs laying around unfiled weren’t cutting it — which is why in the early 1880s, French criminologist Alphonse Bertillon introduced the Paris police force to a standardized method that documented mug shots, body measurements, and in some cases, early finger prints.

That anthropometric Bertillon System, which was a recent subject of the podcast “Stuff You Missed in History Class,” would eventually be replaced with finger printing in the 1910s. But until then, its strange measurements — the width of the head, length of right ear, length of the cubit, etc. — represented huge advances in forensic science and criminal identification in both Europe and the States. Below the jump, browse through our gallery of Bertillon Card mug shots of 19th- and 20th-century suspicious persons, and make your own with the blanks we’ve included at the end. … Read More

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TV’s Most Underrated Detectives

Even in the near-perfect realm of television, not every cop can be an Olivia Benson, and not every Good Samaritan can be a Lassie. TV is as full of cruddy detectives as our real world is. But it’s also inundated with great ones, not all of whose talents are acknowledged in their respective worlds. We think it’s time they get their due recognition. Below the jump, browse through our favorite TV detectives who seem to be nobody else’s, and tell us which other crime solvers you think have been robbed of a much-deserved pat on the back. … Read More

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