Presidential rap battles and the genealogy of Hobbits in this week’s Staff Picks

Digital Trends Staff Picks

ryan flemingRyan Fleming: The election shall be decided by an old school rap battle

Every few weeks the people behind Epic Rap Battles churn out a new entry that pits two combatants, sometimes historical figures sometimes fictional ones, against each other in a battle to the death! And by death, I mean it ends, they dance, and people on YouTube comment and discuss who won. So it’s not really to the death at all, but let’s not get bogged down by semantics.

In the most recent offering from the EPR guys, Romney and Obama do away with the pretense of civility and trade in debate zingers with lyrical barbs. Each politician lays the verbal smack down at the other, right up until the excellent twist that is better seen than spoiled. Perhaps someday in the future following the general, Town Hall, and foreign policy debates, Americans can have both candidates polish their best bling and spigity spit hot fire at each other until one of them chokes and runs off the stage in tears. The winner would then drop the mic and walk off to a landslide victory. Hey, if we are going to be subjected to months of negative ads every four years, it might as well be entertaining.

If you like the video, check some of the other battles (Hawking vs. Einstein and Beiber vs. Beethoven are both personal faves), then be sure to subscribe to their page.

molly-mchughMolly McHugh: LOTR dorks rejoice

Emil Johansson has been charting the world of The Lord of the Rings for nearly a year now – really, this man is doing God’s work. The idea is to map characters into a family tree, something that every LOTR fan knows could be a serious, life-consuming, I’m-going-to-work-on-this-until-my-fingers-fall-off-and-I-die-staring-at-this-screen-and-or-book type of undertaking.

As someone who has read the entire series (including The Hobbit and The Silmarillion) and may or may not have an Elvish tattoo (don’t be jealous), I’m obviously counting the days until Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit is released on December 14th.

But until then, I’ve got this. While the entire family tree is engrossing, the sections in which I get lost are the Timeline (for obvious reasons, mostly related to making my brain hurt less when I’m re-reading parts of the books out of order) and Statistics pages. Under Statistics, Johansson has created graphs charting the LOTR universe by population, race, and sex, life expectancy, age distribution, and more. It’s a wet dream for Tolkien lovers and data nerds! Special shout out to the Hobbit genealogy page as well.

 The Lord of the Rings Chart

amir IliafarAmir Iliaifar: Why I’m not fit for fatherhood

World’s fastest baby stroller:

I have yet to experience the joys of parenthood, and I’m pretty bummed about that too – not really. But when I do finally take that step and bring a little bundle of joy into this world, I’m hoping I can make growing up fun for baby and me, which is also why I think Colin Furze’s 50 mph baby stroller would be the coolest baby-related item I could ever purchase. Sporting 10 horsepower and a 125CC engine, this stroller (“pram” if you’re a Brit) is unlike anything I’ve ever seen.

Sure we could get caught up in the little details like the fact that it isn’t legal here or in the U.K. where Colin hails from, and it’s probably not the safest or most responsible method of baby transportation around, but I’d still rock it. Then again, maybe I should hold off on the whole parenting thing for a while…

caleb denisonCaleb Denison: Electronics manufacturers have the last laugh

Manfacturers spend big-time bucks on ad campaigns and promotional events aimed at convincing us their displays are so good, they challenge reality. Samsung, for instance, recently introduced its s[edition] app which attempts to showcase artwork in a new way, claiming its displays are the next best thing to the real deal. LG, on the other hand, has taken a decidedly different approach which successfully tickles the funny bone of our inner Jr. High-schooler — and just in time for Halloween, too. Check out the video below in which a couple of pranksters use a custom built floor made of LG computer monitors to freak out unsuspecting elevator riders. We dare you not to chuckle a little bit. 

Make sure to check out our Staff Picks from previous weeks.

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