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Pop Culture

Artist makes everyday spaces magical by cleverly adding pixelated, old-school pop-culture icons

Here are 17 of his most clever pieces.

johan karlgren, pappas pärlor, bi-bit art

Pappas Pärlor's fantastic street art.

Anyone who grew up in the late '80s and early '90s—Gen X, I’m looking at you—grew up in a world that was dominated by 8-bit graphics. Back in the day, computers and video game systems had a limited amount of processing power so the graphics had to be simple.

That meant the heroes that we played with such as Mario from Super Mario Brothers or Link from The Legend of Zelda, had to be super simple looking and we had to fill in the rest with our imaginations.

Video graphics have come a long way over the past 30-plus years, but people still love the old designs because it takes them back to a simpler time. This has led to an 8-bit movement where people use their creativity to make art within the confines of the limited medium.

Some people also use the limited 8-bit soundscape to create music that’s reminiscent of the old games. Sure, computer game music may be much more sophisticated these days, but is there anything better than the soundtrack to the original Tetris? Would Super Mario Brothers be the same with a sophisticated soundtrack? I think not.


Swedish artist Johan Karlgren, who goes by the name Pappas Pärlor, creates pixelated 8-bit-looking art and then inserts it into everyday scenes. The interesting thing is that his 8-bit art isn’t done with computer graphics, but Perler beads.

Perler beads are small, plastic beads that one places on a grid, and when the picture is done, they are melted with a household clothing iron. The beads are a fun hobby for kids who love to see the melting beads ooze their way into a fully-formed picture.

Although they weren’t originally intended to make 8-bit art, because the beads are placed on a grid when they melt together the designs look like they came straight out of a Nintendo Entertainment System.

Karlgren recreates iconic images from comics, cartoons, video games and movies with the beads and then adds them to the scenarios, turning the mundane into the whimsical.

What’s Karlgren’s big inspiration? “Anything that makes me feel something,” he told Bored Panda. “It could be anything from childhood memories to politics or people doing awesome stuff that I wanna interpret.”

For Karlgren, his work is the byproduct of having a good time. “I don’t really choose what to create. My work is sprung from playing, and I’ll try to go with the ideas that come up in my head,” he said.

One of the hallmarks of Karlgen’s work is taking drab places such as a parking lot or other types of urban infrastructure and livening them up with the addition of one of his Perler bead creations. "It's something that makes me happy, and hopefully other people [when] seeing it as well," he told Newsweek.

Karlgren is a father of four and started posting his creations on Instagram back in April 2014. Since then, his fun, old-school designs have earned him more than 144,000 followers. Here are some of his coolest, and funniest 8-bit designs.


8-Bit Joker
Raiders of the Lost Fence Knob
Mario Kart: Snow Speeders
"Here's 8-Bit Johnny!"
The Man of Steel
That Creep Can Roll
Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man
Anthony Adams Rubbing Hands Meme


"I Said God Damn!"

"Take My Money!"
Darth's Day Off


"Go Ahead, Make My Day."


Mini Bernie


Tony Montana


The Homer Meme


This article originally appeared on 02.25.22

A young woman drinking bottled water outdoors before exercising.



The Story of Bottled Waterwww.youtube.com

Here are six facts from the video above by The Story of Stuff Project that I'll definitely remember next time I'm tempted to buy bottled water.

1. Bottled water is more expensive than tap water (and not just a little).

via The Story of Stuff Project/YouTube


A Business Insider column noted that two-thirds of the bottled water sold in the United States is in individual 16.9-ounce bottles, which comes out to roughly $7.50 per gallon. That's about 2,000 times higher than the cost of a gallon of tap water.

And in an article in 20 Something Finance, G.E. Miller investigated the cost of bottled versus tap water for himself. He found that he could fill 4,787 20-ounce bottles with tap water for only $2.10! So if he paid $1 for a bottled water, he'd be paying 2,279 times the cost of tap.

2. Bottled water could potentially be of lower quality than tap water.

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A teacher collcts "rent" from ger 3rd-grade students.

Financial literacy is one of the most essential life skills determining someone’s future success and mental and physical well-being. However, only 17% of American students must pass just one semester of a financial literacy-based class to graduate.

This development flies in the face of public opinion on the topic. A recent poll found that 88% of Americans wish they had been taught financial literacy in school. The same number said their state should require either a semester or year-long personal finance course for graduation.

A teacher in Charlotte, North Carolina, has taken that problem to heart and is giving her 3rd-grade class rigorous, hands-on lessons on the importance of personal finance.

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Joy

A 9-yr-old cheerleader’s veteran dad couldn't help with her routine, so a high schooler ran to her side

Sensing something was wrong, he sprang to action with many witnessing his kind act.

Images from YouTube video.

Addie Rodriguez does her cheer.

Addie Rodriguez was supposed to take the field with her dad during a high school football game, where he, along with other dads, would lift her onto his shoulders for a routine. But Addie's dad was halfway across the country, unable to make the event.

Her father is Abel Rodriguez, a veteran airman who, after tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, was training at Travis Air Force Base in California, 1,700 miles from his family in San Antonio at the time.

"Mom missed the memo it was parent day, and the reason her mom missed the memo was her dad left Wednesday," said Alexis Perry-Rodriguez, Addie's mom. She continued, "It was really heartbreaking to see your daughter standing out there being the only one without their father, knowing why he's away. It's not just an absentee parent. He's serving our country."

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Pop Culture

Elmo did a well-being check-in with everyone and unintentionally opened the floodgates

The response was massive, and Sesame Street's follow-up was perfection.

Elmo's check-in brought out thousands of emotional responses.

Few things evoke a visceral comfort response in people of all ages like the colorful characters of Sesame Street. Millions of us grew up with Elmo, Big Bird, Bert & Ernie, Grover, Oscar the Grouch and the rest, and have nothing but warm, positive memories associated with them.

So when Elmo asked all the grownups on X to how they were doing, it triggered a deluge that spoke to people's need to share their mental and emotional struggles as well as the safe place Sesame Street has been for generations.

It all began with a simple question: "Elmo is just checking in! How is everybody doing?"

Elmo surely did not expect thousands upon thousands of people to dump their emotional loads on him like they were in a therapy session, but that's exactly what happened.

Not only did people respond that they were tired—a common refrain—but they also shared about the deaths of loved ones, their relationship struggles, jobs they'd been laid off from, their feelings of despair and depression. Clearly, some people needed a place to put their woes, and who better to receive them than a beloved childhood character who we know understands and accepts us unconditionally?

To Sesame Street's credit, they handled the trauma dump as best a fictional world filled with fictional characters possibly could. After the initial post's impact, Elmo posted, "Wow! Elmo is glad he asked! Elmo learned that it is important to ask a friend how they are doing. Elmo will check in again soon, friends! Elmo loves you." Elmo added the hashtag #EmotionalWellBeing.

And then the other Sesame Street characters started chiming in.

One by one, all perfectly in character, the Sesame Street crew showed up on their respective accounts to offer their support, all using the #EmotionalWellBeing hashtag.

"I'm here if you ever need a shoulder to lean on. I'll make us both a warm cup of tea," wrote Bert.

"If you need some cheering up, let me know! I love making others smile," wrote Ernie.

"Me here to talk it out whenever you want. Me will also supply cookies," wrote Cookie Monster.

"I, Grover, am here to be a good listener whenever you need it," wrote Grover.

Even Oscar the Grouch weighed in with some honesty and support. "I'm not great at listening to other share their big feelings, but my worm Slimey is. You should talk with him if you ever need to chat."

Yes, it's silly. But it's also not, because Sesame Street truly has been a lifeline for countless kids who found solace, support and celebration of themselves in those beloved characters, sometimes even more than they found at home.

The main Sesame Street account also shared a link to mental health resources.

But the wave of support and words of kindness and understanding didn't stay confined to Sesame Street. All kinds of big accounts, from NASA and the United Nations to Xbox and Verizon—even the President of the United States himself—weighed in with gratitude for Elmo checking in and reminders that we're all making our way through this life together.

Does it get more wholesome than NASA reminding us we're made of stardust?

The entire phenomenon was a testament to the enduring influence of Sesame Street, but also a good reminder to check in with people once in a while. You never know who might need to offload some emotional weight, and as cathartic as it might feel to drop it all on a beloved icon like Elmo, nothing compares to a real-life friend who offers a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on.

Thank you for the inspiration, Sesame Street creators. Still managing to nurture the children within us, all these years later.

Four cousins hanging out in the yard.

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The dropping birthrate has many worried that it will upend government programs because there won’t be enough young people to work and pay taxes to support older people on Social Security and Medicare.

Faith Hill from The Atlantic recently illustrated another problem with the declining birthrate in the U.S. and Europe that no one talks about: the decline of cousins.

“If everyone hypothetically went from having five kids to having four kids, that would mean one less sibling for each child,” Hill wrote, quoting demographer Sha Jiang. “But it would yield a much bigger decrease in first cousins: Instead of a child having four aunts or uncles who each have five kids—20 cousins—they would have three aunts or uncles who each have four kids, for a total of 12.”

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Who knew the award-winning actress was a "Team America" fan?

George Biard/Wikipedia,Paramount Pictures/Wikipedia

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With a lengthy list of credits in critically acclaimed films like “Taxi Driver” and “Silence of the Lambs,” not to mention being a highly successful director for decades, you can probably trust any movie recommendations Jodie Foster gives you.

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Pulling a pretty badass move, the legendary filmmaker gave not one, but two movies. And one of her recommendations might come as a surprise.

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