We’ve discovered yet another destination to add to our list for when we finally take that field trip to Japan: Moomin Cafés.

Created Swedish-Finn illustrator and writer Tove Jansson for a series of books and comics, the Moomins are a family of fairy tale characters that look like white hippos who’ve learned to walk upright and sometimes wear the odd article of clothing. They live in Moominvalley where they share all sorts of adventures with a variety of equally interesting characters.

The original books are so popular throughout Japan that they spawned a franchise of animated tv shows [Buy on Amazon], merchandise [Buy on Amazon], and a chain of Moomin Bakeries and Cafés managed by the Benelic company. Each adorable location is full of Moomin-themed art, Moomin-shaped food and drinks, and Moomin merchandise. But, wait, none of those cute things are the best part.

The best part is that, when you visit a Moomin Café all by yourself, you’ll soon be informed that someone else would like to sit with you. And before you have time to wonder who on earth might’ve followed you there, you’ll be joined at your table by one of the Moomin characters - or rather a large plush version of one of them. No need to bring a book. We’re sure you’ll have plenty to talk about.

Visit RocketNews24 to learn more.

The Department of Teeny-weeny Wonders would like to welcome these incredibly tiny, ridiculously cute Caribbean pygmy octopus (Octopus mercatoris) hatchlings, born last month at the Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium in Sarasota, Florida.

Can you believe how small they are? Look at all those wee-bitty suckers on their eensy-weensy tentacles. When they’re full grown, these tentacular cuties will only be about the size of a silver dollar. The cuteness, it hurts!

Photos by the Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium

[via ZooBorns]

Just in time for Easter, here’s a brand new entry from the Department of Extraordinary Eggshell Artists: Polish artist Piotr Bockenheim spends countless hours using a tiny electric drill, an awesomely delicate touch, and immeasurable patience to turn goose egg shells into exquisite sculptures.

Head over to Piotr’s DeviantART gallery to view more.

[via Colossal]

Did you know that we’ve been in the middle of a Loch Ness Monster sighting drought? Last year marked the first time in almost 90 years that Nessie hadn’t been spotted for an entire year. In fact, there hadn’t been any ‘confirmed sightings’ of the elusive cryptid for 18 months, leading some veteran spotters to voice concern that perhaps the famous monster had finally given up the ghost.

But wait! Something awesome just happened: Two different people, both using Apple Maps, captured screenshots of something measuring approximately 100ft long, with what appear to be two large flippers, powering along just under the surface of the loch. Experts from the Official Loch Ness Monster Fan Club have been studying the images and Gary Campbell, club president, reports that they’ve been steadily ruling out alternative explanations, leaving it increasingly likely that these images are brand new ‘confirmed sightings’:

‘We’ve been looking at it for a long time trying to work out exactly what it is. It looks like a boat wake, but the boat is missing. You can see some boats moored at the shore, but there isn’t one here. We’ve shown it to boat experts and they don’t know what it is. Whatever this is, it is under the water and heading south, so unless there have been secret submarine trials going on in the loch, the size of the object would make it likely to be Nessie.’

‘Now that we have spies in the skies above Loch Ness, maybe we will get more sightings which will whet the appetite of more down to earth Nessie hunters to come north. Furthermore, the use of satellite technology means that if Nessie is just swimming below the surface like in this case, we can still pick her up.’

Visit Dailymail.co.uk for additional information about this exiting development and the history of Nessie hunting.

[via Geekosystem and Dailymail.co.uk]

Do you ever wonder what your toys get up to when you aren’t around? Malaysian photographer Zahir Batin stages fantastic scenes using his Star Wars figurines that demonstrate some awesome possibilities, which range from cute and playful to action-packed or downright somber. A group of Stormtroopers hang out with some sweet chicks while another pair takes the day off to go fishing. Epic battles take place and those who survive bury and mourn their fallen comrades.

What’s more, over on Facebook Batin freely shares the techniques he uses to achieve these shots and encourages other people to give it a try. For many of the photos he uses strings, wires and twigs to position the action figures and then simply removes those supports from the final images using Photoshop.

Head over to DeviantART, 500px or Facebook to check out many more of Zahir Batin’s wonderful photos.

[via Design Taxi]

Pizza is pretty much always a good thing, but what sort of super awesome, cheese-packed, dream come true is this? Canadian pizza chain Boston Pizza recently launched a new marketing campaign, entitled “Pizza Game Changers“, for which they are asking their customers to vote on what new items they’d most like to see on their summer menu.
Their promise is “If you like it, we will make it,” and the ideas currently on the virtual ballot include pizza mints, a gas-powered pizza cutter, pizza cheese clippers, the pizza pocket, pizza car fresheners, the pizza protector, the pizza beardkin, and the glorious pizza cake pictured here.
The six-layer pizza cake is currently in the lead, so we’re hopeful that this gloriously overindulgent pizza fantasy becomes a reality.
[via Uproxx]

Pizza is pretty much always a good thing, but what sort of super awesome, cheese-packed, dream come true is this? Canadian pizza chain Boston Pizza recently launched a new marketing campaign, entitled “Pizza Game Changers“, for which they are asking their customers to vote on what new items they’d most like to see on their summer menu.

Their promise is “If you like it, we will make it,” and the ideas currently on the virtual ballot include pizza mints, a gas-powered pizza cutter, pizza cheese clippers, the pizza pocket, pizza car fresheners, the pizza protector, the pizza beardkin, and the glorious pizza cake pictured here.

The six-layer pizza cake is currently in the lead, so we’re hopeful that this gloriously overindulgent pizza fantasy becomes a reality.

[via Uproxx]

This awesome sculpture is a fully-functioning pipe organ made of 250 empty Pringles cans. It was created by Brooklyn-based mixed-media artist collective Fall On Your Sword, who explain that their inspiration for the project came from the organ seen in The Goonies.

Will Bates, cofounder of Fall On Your Sword, explains how the Pringles organ works:

"We built ten keys below the organ’s pipes by connecting the cans to springs. Pushing a key triggers a tone, causing air generated by hidden fans within the tubes to flow out of the pipes at the top of the organ. "We want the piece to feel like a real instrument, so the tones will be based on manipulated recordings of organ tones and resonances played through the cans themselves. Participants can make up their own tune, and have their own unique experience with the piece."

Click here for video of the Pringles organ in action.

[via Junkculture]

We already know that Honey Badgers are awesome, but did you know that in addition to being skilled diggers, fearless hunters and not caring about anything, they’re also incredibly intelligent and cunning? Well now you do. Meet Stoffel the Honey Badger Houdini.

Stoffel lives at the Moholoholo wildlife rehabilitation center near Kruger National Park in eastern South Africa. He’s a permanent resident of the center, which rescued him from a negligent owner trying to keep him as a pet, which is why he cannot be released into the wild. But it turns out that keeping Stoffel isn’t simply a matter of giving him a nice place to live. No matter what sort of enclosed habitat the center provides, Stoffel finds ways to escape - sometimes ingenious ways - which reveal that he’s not just determined, he’s also amazingly thoughtful.

We don’t want to reveal any more than we already have, so watch this astonishing video to see exactly how Stoffel works his mustelid magic.

Video from Honey Badgers: Masters of Mayhem, part of the BBC series Natural World.

[via Twisted Sifter]

Singaporean photographer Ernest Goh has created an awesome portrait series of Championship Ornamental Chickens that showcases the handsome birds’ impressive plumage as well as their sassy attitudes. These may be static images, but it’s all to easy to envision the strutting that took place when they were shot. The photos are part of Goh’s latest photography book, entitled COCKS: The Chicken Book.

To learn more about this project, watch “Ernest Goh - COCKS, Chicken Beauty Pageants”, a short video created by anotherbeautifulstory.

If only these were the sorts of of beauty pageants they showed on TV…

[via Laughing Squid]