The origin of the doughnut is shrouded in mystery, but it probably began in mid-Nineteenth Century America when a woman named Elizabeth Gregory made pastries, each of which had a single nut in the center.
These were doughnuts and not, I should point out, donuts. The alternate spelling "donut" may have been the work of the restaurant chain Dunkin' Donuts. Kate Taylor of Business Insider summarizes linguistic evidence that suggests that the popularity of the spelling "donut" follows the rise of Dunkin' Donuts as a franchise empire.
After Dunkin' Donuts began in 1950, the use of the alternate spelling of doughnut emerged. It tracks with the spread of the company across America. The spelling has become so common that the Merriam-Webster Dictionary now lists donut has a correct way to spell the word.
You might not have known, but Los Angeles does have a mass transit train system. Metro Los Angeles has produced a new set of safety videos that teach Californians how to not get themselves killed while taking the train. The “Safetyville” series is about as graphic as it gets, considering stick figures are the stars.
Intellectual property owners have to walk a fine line between encouraging fan engagement and protecting their franchise against copyright infringement. The various entities behind the 50-year-old Star Trek franchise have been forgiving up to a point, and that point is Star Trek: Axanar, a full-length fan film that was crowdfunded to the tune of $650,000. CBS and Paramount filed a lawsuit against Axanar’s producers. And now the two companies have released a list of ten guidelines for Star Trek fan films that could help fans avoid a lawsuit. They limit the length, budget, and content of fan films. Actors must be amateurs, although in the real world, the definition of “amateur” could be argued. However, they cannot be paid for their contribution to a Star Trek fan film. And the finished product cannot be sold or even monetized on YouTube.
On the one hand, Axanar is a blatant case of copyright infringement. On the other hand, so are smaller fan films that the franchise tolerates because they feed the fandom and boost interest in Star Trek films. The producers of Axanar have released their response to the new rules. -via Slashfilm
What do you think of the rules for Star Trek fan fiction? You can select more than one answer.
Kaneda scanned the horizon looking for any sign of his old pal Tetsuo, who had recently gone full nuclear in Neo-Tokyo, but it seems even a being possessed of that much power must implode at some point. And yet that look in Tetsuo's eyes made Kaneda think maybe his old pal was still in that swollen monstrosity somewhere, and if there was hope he could bring Tetsuo home again Kaneda would keep looking and waiting. Suddenly he felt breath on his neck and heard a raspy voice whisper "It's good to see you again, old friend..."
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Going to the beach for a vacation is a common, but relatively recent, practice. Throughout most of history, the seashore was a place to be feared, with sea monsters, pirates, and destructive storms. The people that lived and worked there knew different, but they didn’t think of the beach as a treat, either. How did all that change? Historian Alain Corbin fills us in.
Around the mid-18th century, according to Corbin, European elites began touting the curative qualities of fresh air, exercise and sea bathing. Especially in Britain, home of the Industrial Revolution, aristocrats and intellectuals became preoccupied with their own health and hygiene. They viewed workers, whose numbers were multiplying in factories and new industrial towns, as strengthened through labor. By comparison, the upper classes seemed fragile and effete: lacking in physical prowess and destined for decline. The notion of the “restorative sea” was born. Physicians prescribed a plunge into chilly waters to invigorate and enliven. The first seaside resort opened on England’s eastern shore in the tiny town of Scarborough near York. Other coastal communities followed, catering to a growing clientele of sea bathers seeking treatment for a number of conditions: melancholy, rickets, leprosy, gout, impotence, tubercular infections, menstrual problems and “hysteria.” In an earlier version of today’s wellness culture, the practice of sea bathing went mainstream.
The view of the beach as a restful, restorative place took some time to spread to other places and classes. But there have been consequences of our fascination with beach getaways, both culturally and environmentally. Read about the history of beach vacations at Smithsonian. -via Boing Boing
Every year the the Collings Foundation sponsors the Race of the Century, which seems odd for an annual event, but this is a historic demonstration. Various vehicles in use in the late 19th and early 20th centuries are pitted against each other. The race highlights how the evolution of motor vehicles was often two steps forward and one step back. Early motor cars were not an improvement on horses, but they were a step to something that was. National Geographic has the story.
When the 1904 Franklin rolls out for the Race of the Century, there is always a person with a red flag walking in front of it. In the first race, the car goes up against a horse-drawn stagecoach, a runner, and a female bicyclist holding a “Votes for Women” sign, all proclaiming that their mode of transportation is superior to the newfangled horseless carriage.
Whoever wins the first race goes on to the second. Whoever wins that continues to the next one, and so forth. Each race introduces new concepts and technology, and the winners are different every time. (Though the antique cars are well-kept, they’re still old—slight weather changes can affect their performance.)
Interesting, but when I saw this video of so many disparate vehicles racing each other, all I could think of was Japan World Cup 3. This time, there were no horses running sideways on their hind legs. -via mental_floss
When you grow up in a wealthy family, you don’t know any other way until much later. In a recent AskReddit forum, some rich kids shared the moment that they found out everyone else’s lives are not like theirs.
I thought everyone got to eat dinner quite often with the president. I always thought the president has dinner at random houses until I learned otherwise when I finally joined regular school (I was homeschooled till I was age 9) and no kid believed my "dinner story "
I was trying to show a friend of mine that she's rich because her family has a TEAM of maids and drivers. Seriously, a driver for every member of the family. She said she's not rich, because "Everyone has maids and drivers." I asked her... do you think your maids and drivers have maids and drivers? I think then it clicked that she might be rich.
David Freiheit of Montreal enlisted the help of a wild squirrel in a city park to help pull his daughter’s loose tooth. He tied a length of dental floss to the tooth on one end, and attached a chunk of granola to the other end.
Freiheit is pretty excited about getting this stunt on video, while Stacy is concerned about retrieving her tooth! Don’t fret, Stacy, the Tooth Fairy probably reaped enough reward from the Viral Video to leave something under your pillow. -via Dave Barry
Enjoy the soothing motion of a rocking chair, but the horizontality of a bed. This is Private Cloud, a unique piece of furniture designed by Manuel Kloker. It's 7 feet, 8 inches long and 6 feet wide. It costs $7,800 USD, but does not come with a beautiful woman included.
Jim Gass was a wealthy man. He suffered a stroke in 2009, and went on a worldwide search for a cure for his resulting difficulties. Money was no object, and he figured the worst that could happen was that he didn’t get better. He was wrong. Gass developed pain in his lower back, which turned out to be a mysterious mass growing on his spine. A surgeon opened him up, and found a bloody mass that was strongly attached to the tissues around it.
He added, “I had never seen anything like it.”
Tests showed that the mass was made up of abnormal, primitive cells and that it was growing very aggressively. Then came the real shocker: The cells did not come from Jim Gass. They were someone else’s cells.
Mr. Gass, it turned out, had had stem cell therapy at clinics in Mexico, China and Argentina, paying tens of thousands of dollars each time for injections in a desperate attempt to recover from a stroke he had in 2009. The total cost with travel was close to $300,000.
Europe is home to some very old and classic buildings, but also creative designs by inventive architects and artists. As odd as they may be, it’s a step up from cookie-cutter suburban complexes, and far from bland. Shown here is the Hundertwasser Haus, designed by Friedensreich Hundertwasser.
Most people have never heard the name Freidensreich Regentag Dunkelbunt Hundertwasser before (perhaps gratefully), but the architect is highly regarded in Austria. In Vienna particularly, he is known for an exceptionally quirky and strange home. The Hundertwasser House is actually an apartment complex, but it is characterised by seemingly random design.
The bright, patchwork colours and undulating floors have had modern architects shaking their heads, because there seems to be little logic to its structure. Despite this, the building is wildly popular and today stands as one of the most treasured buildings in Europe. It is highly praised for the way in which it incorporates vegetation and has inspired many modern copycats.
If I were to go back to apartment living, I’d want it to be in a place like this. See the other nine unusual homes of Europe at Housely.
Doug Funnie was finally growing up, and that meant letting go of childhood things like scooters, water balloon wars and his favorite superhero, Quailman. But Quailman was actually part of Doug, an alternate personality who made Doug feel alive whenever he donned the cape and belt crown, so letting go was harder than he'd anticipated. Every time Doug heard someone screaming for help because they dropped their ice cream, or their cat was stuck in a tree, Doug wanted to transform into Quailman and come to the rescue, but he knew if he didn't stop playing now he might not ever make it to adulthood...
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It’s the story of humans, from the time our distant ancestors dropped from the trees and started walking up right to the relatively brief period we call recorded history. We had a lot to do to get where we are, like learning to deal with tools and fire, but most of all, each other. There were many important systems to develop, like cooperation, communication, education, organization, and civilization.
In the off-beat world of the sideshow there are few faces more recognizable than Annie Jones the bearded lady and Jo-Jo the Dog Faced Boy.
Their unique physical characteristics made them superstars in a time when that actually meant something, and their work in the sideshow gave other folks with unusual features hope for the future.
She may not have been the first, but Annie Jones is typically considered the original Bearded Lady because she traveled with P.T. Barnum's exhibition and was photographed so often everyone knew her face.
Annie was with the sideshow for most of her life, but as a child she was kidnapped by a phrenologist who then claimed she was his daughter, until a trial revealed the truth and she was returned to her mother.
Jo-Jo the Dog-Faced Boy was actually Fedor Jeftichew from St. Petersburg, Russia, born with a genetic disorder called hypertrichosis which was passed down from his father.
Fedor became Jo-Jo when he joined Barnum's troupe as a teenager in 1884 but he was no stranger to the circus, since he'd been touring in French circuses with his father for most of his life.
Although his wolfman look added to Barnum's made up backstory that Jo-Jo was a savage child found in a cave, Fedor was actually fluent in three languages and loved to read while not going barking mad for audiences.
Over the years we’ve relied on talking sheep, girls in nighties, and glorified car salesmen to deliver us the weather. But behind the gimmicks, forecasters have always mattered. And today, we need them more than ever.
(Image credit: Pete Gamelin)
With a wide smile and an even wider tie, John Coleman was your consummate 1970s TV weatherman. Throughout the decade, he could be found cracking jokes and doing his signature little boogie in front of a hand-drawn weather map on WLS-TV in Chicago. His leisure suits, swooping side hair part, and booming voice made him a celebrity—first in the Midwest, and then, starting in 1975, as Good Morning America’s first weather forecaster. Coleman was a real-life Ron Burgundy in many ways, but he was no ditz. His best idea put him on track to become one of the most important weather journalists of all time.
Even while delivering two weather reports a day, Coleman wasn’t satisfied with weather’s place in the news. He didn’t think the short time devoted to weather on TV—typically 15 minutes a day—was enough. So, in his spare moments, he began hatching a plan: a national cable channel devoted to the weather 24 hours a day. It sounded like an impossible dream—or a ridiculous idea. But weather forecasters are used to the impossible. Every day, after all, we ask them to tell us the future. They sift through reams of data, applying the principles of physics, chemistry, and dynamics to predict the behavior of what is essentially layers of gas floating miles over our heads. Layers, mind you, steered by unstable jet streams that move 100 miles an hour or more.
While today’s weather reports are constantly improved by data culled from Doppler radar, precipitation-measuring satellites, and supercomputers crunching millions of weather observations worldwide, the atmosphere is ultimately chaotic and impossible to nail every time. We love to complain when the weather report gets it wrong, but we’d be lost without it. Coleman understood that better than anybody.
He also knew that, throughout the 300-year history of weather journalism, we’ve turned to weather reports for much more than data. We’ve always needed the human touch—trusted interpreters to explain the science, reassure us in the face of uncertainty, and entertain us along the way. Their story, which starts long before Coleman, is plenty entertaining itself.
Jenga is a fun party game. But perhaps you'd like for it to be a bit more exciting. The guys at Vat19 found a great way to do exactly that. They got a set of giant Jenga blocks and set them on fire. Then they played the game.
This was challenging, as the pieces had to be handled quickly. They were, you know, on fire.
It's a thrilling game and the basic principle could be used elsewhere. I'd like to try Twister on fire and Candy Land on fire.
Even as a child, I had this same idea. I saw Snow White and the Seven Dwarves and then played all the parts in the privacy of my bedroom, and the mirror always showed me the answer to the question. The real magic, I figured, was in asking the right question. If the Evil Queen had asked who was the most evil person in the kingdom, she would have gotten the same answer when looking in a mirror. This is the latest comic from Alex Culang and Raynato Castro of Buttersafe.
You may seen shoes tied together and hanging over steet lamps and poles in urban environments. But never like this! Pejac, a street artist from Spain, left 4 sculptures on London streets that look like hanging shoes, but they face the wrong way. He hopes to inspire child-like leaps of imagination. Street Art News quotes him:
You do not have to be an artist or a child to have a different view of reality. This work is for those who are looking to let their imagination drift away with gravity. Or possibly more for all those who have forgotten to do so.
YouTube user Darth Blender refreshed the trailer from the 2010 animated movie How to Train Your Dragon by replacing the video with clips from the HBO series Game of Thrones, while retaining the original audio. Let’s see how that turned out.
It’s a mashup that should have been done long ago, but waiting this long meant that more video footage was available from Game of Thrones. It also means that kids who watched How to Train Your Dragon six years ago may be grown up enough to enjoy Game of Thrones now. -via the A.V. Club
Instructables member Bart Goemaere is a man of genius. In the past, we examined his boomerang axe, which is a throwing axe that returns to you if your miss your target. Now he's back with an essential survival tool: the Bayonax.
Recently, there was heavy flooding where Goemaere lives in northern France. He had to drive home, but a tree had fallen across the road he had to travel on.
Goemaere had only his metalsmithing tools and survival knife with him. He didn't have a saw or axe. But he found a solution: Goemaere wrapped duct tape around his knife and a hammer, giving his knife greater leverage and weight in a swinging motion. 15 minutes later, he had cut up the tree and unblocked the road.
A pun-filled Facebook post from the Martin County (Florida) Sheriff's Office tells of an investigation into a report of an intruder. A homeowner called and said she returned home from walking her dog and the front door of her house was open. She could hear noises inside, so she called police.
Deputy Becky Brady and Deputy Erick Day entered the home and immediately located the suspect.
Deputy Brady advised that the suspect tried to duck out on her several times, but they were able to apprehend him wihtout ratteling any feathers. Despite a fowl attitude, the univited house guest was released and not charged. Another MCSO case quacked.
Yes, it was a duck. Its motives in the home intrusion were not disclosed. -via Arbroath
Chickens are the most underrated of all magical creatures, and even though we eat their eggs and then eat the chicken when we're tired of staring at their beaky faces and beady little eyes we still don't see them as that big a deal. But an old lunatic from the Ozarks once told me that if you pick up a chicken and it doesn't cluck all day long you'll have good luck...or maybe it was pick it up and have good cluck, I dunno, it was a long time ago and there aren't many chickens where I'm from...
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Roberta Mancina is a world record-holding skydiver, BASE jumper, and wingsuit pilot. In her spare time, she also works as a model and stuntwoman. She's pretty much amazing, so this is just another day at the office for her.
For a lark, Mancina decided to strap on a wingsuit and jump out of a helicopter directly over an active volcano in Chile. Villarrica has a lava lake that's clearly visible from the GoPro cameras that Mancina and her colleagues wore on their helmets.
How you feel about the Postal Service depends on whether they brought you a check or bills today. But these couriers keep their appointed rounds no matter what they are delivering. And they deliver 154 billion pieces of mail every year! On an individual level, you might know your postal carrier’s name, but probably not a lot about his or her job. For example,
1. YOUR MAILBOX IS HOME TO HIDDEN DANGER.
Cliches are clichés for a reason, and most postal workers will admit to having some concern over unfriendly dogs on their route. But a smaller, equally painful danger remains under-publicized. According to Kenny, a carrier in the Midwest, reaching into a mailbox to deposit your letters can sometimes be hazardous to his health. “Wasps like to get into mailboxes,” he says. “Especially if they have an outgoing mail slot. They build a nest in there. I’ve been stung quite a few times.”
2. THEIR SATCHEL HAS A HIDDEN PURPOSE.
The shoulder-slung sack of mail on a carrier’s shoulder isn’t just to tote credit card offers. During carrier orientation, workers are taught that the satchel is their first line of defense against aggressive dogs. (They can also use parcels to parry attacks.) “There’s a whole training program on it,” Kenny says. “You try to keep it between you and the dog.” Carriers are also issued pepper spray. “I hate to use it, but sometimes you have to,” Kenny admits. He estimates he’s been bit nine or 10 times. “I’ve never needed stitches, but I’ve known carriers who have.”