Sometimes the Universe smiles, and sometimes it doesn’t

Karma. Everyone wants good Karma.

Over at reddit, it’s measured in orangered or periwinkle (props to the author of this gif, whoever you are):

upvote downvote

In other locations, one doesn’t accrue upvotes and downvotes, but there is still a certain intangible karma that people collect for creating / sharing “cool” images, so we often see things like this:


or this:


The two images above are almost certainly photoshopped, and I’ve seen them in my inbox more times than I can count. Not that they’re not really cute, but on occasion nature can one-up the photoshoppers.


AP Photo

In December of 2008, a beautiful conjunction of Venus, Jupiter, and a crescent moon created a lovely “smile” in the night sky, although depending on where you were in the world, it probably didn’t appear straight-up like this.

More recently, however, the Hubble telescope captured a lovely smiley face created by gravitational lensing:

A smiling lens

You can read the science behind the capture at

The Old Wolf has spoken.

Celebrities as Classic Paintings, Annotated

Recently over at reddit a list of photos appeared showing modern-day celebrities photoshopped onto classic paintings. The list appeared over at Imgur, but without any annotation. Various redditors chimed in and were able to provide a key, but I found these interesting enough that I thought I would present the list here, with some supplementary information which came to mind as I discussed the images with my wife. I have tried, wherever possible, to find the original painting, and provide links to the subjects depicted and the artists of the original works.

These photoshopped versions are found at, and a quick search over there will turn up the creators of these clever derivative images, as well as many other similar efforts.


Sir Patrick Stewart


The original painting, Philip the Good. This is a copy of an original which is thought to be lost, by Rogier van der Weden. This particular painting for Picard seems poignantly apt, in my opinion. Picard’s character was both written and interpreted as a flawed (as are we all) individual doing his utmost to make a positive difference in the universe.

For obvious reasons, this is an image heavy post; much more can be seen after the jump.

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