After over five decades of wearing wedges and stilleto heels, the always fashionable Barbie will get articulated ankles. These will permit the doll to wear different types of shoes comfortably. This is the latest change thanks to Mattel's new "Fashionista" line. CTV reports:
It’s the first time in the iconic doll’s history that she will be able to step out in relative comfort. Past incarnations have always featured heeled-shoe accessories for the ever-youthful party girl, whose feet were perpetually frozen in an angled position.
But Mattel figured it only made sense that the new “Film Director Barbie” would wear “running-around-the-set flats.” Don’t worry though, she can still put on a pair of heels for the movie premiere, the ad reads.
There are times of the year on which tradition demands that we cease from our work to enjoy the fruits of our labors. Yes, Christmas and New Year's Day are important. But let us not forget National Donut Day, which is today. To mark the occasion, Incredible Things rounded up photos of the most artful donuts you've ever seen, including these bacon and egg donuts by Dixie Donuts in Richmond, Virginia. Resident donut artist Carol Brown whipped up these wonders that look like a complete breakfast. Check out the rest at Incredible Things.
While many people would guess that English is the second most commonly spoken language in a majority of countries, that’s only true for some areas. For example, despite its proximity to North America, the only Central American countries to list English as their second most spoken language are Costa Rica and Panama. Similarly, in South America, Chile is the only country to have English as its second most spoken language, which just over 10% of the population claims to speak as a primary language. Throughout the rest of South America, regional indigenous languages are commonly the second most spoken, replacing English as a second language. […]
Interestingly, the area of the world where English is the second most commonly spoken language is Asia, especially Southeast Asia. Countries such as Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nepal, and India are becoming increasingly common, especially as speakers of various ethnic languages and dialect use English as a common language. Many schools in Japan and South Korea also teach English from a very early age, increasing its prevalence throughout the country.
This may be a risky proposal approach, as it assumes that someone other than the editor and peer reviewers will actually read the article--especially the notes. But for paleontologist Caleb M. Brown of the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology in Drumheller, Alberta, it was completely successful. Lorna O'Brien said yes!
Brown's article in Current Biology was about the dinosaur Regaliceratops peterhewsi, of which an artist rendering is pictured above. Here's Brown's smooth move in the acknowledgements portion:
Retraction Watch reports that the editors of Current Biology were aware of the proposal (as one would hope). This is the first time that the publication has printed such a romantic overture.
As we've previously noted in 17 Facts You Might Not Know about Gilligan's Island, producer Sherwood Schwartz had to make many changes to the premise of the show to get it on the air. Studio executives were very skeptical that it could work. At one point, an executive known as "the Smiling Cobra" told Schwartz that he had to turn in the lyrics to a theme song for the show . . . the next morning! Schwartz was no song writer, but he realized that with a deadline like that, he'd have to do the work himself:
I has several friends who were songwriters, but who could I call at 8:00 p.m. to write a song by morning? I would have to explain the whole idea of the show and get someone to incorporate in the lyrics all the exposition I wanted in the song. No, that was hopeless.
Ignoring the fact that I was trying to do something that couldn’t possibly be done, I began to write the lyrics for Gilligan’s Island.
Colin Furze, the mad British inventor, must be clearing a space in his home for his Nobel Prize. He’s sure to win one after building the FurzoToasto—an electric knife that cuts through bread and toasts it at the same time. It uses electric power to make the blade extremely hot. Furze uses it to easily cut through a loaf of bread. He can also toast pre-sliced bread by scraping the knife blade over it.
This man, allegedly found in a Liverpool pub, is a master of the saxophone. Watch him play the opening bars to Henry Mancini’s Pink Panther theme, even though he doesn’t have a saxophone. I’d like to see him lead a jazz band.
Master woodworker Barry Shields has become internet famous for making coffee tables that look like the Enterprisefrom Star Trek. But he’s more than just a Trekkie. He also loves Star Wars, so he built a table that looks like an X-wing fighter. It took him 6 months of work, off and on. It’s sturdy, elegant, and comes with a pre-installed R2 unit to assist on complicated missions. Shields offers it for sale at a price of $5,500.
Some people wear swim caps to protect their hair from the ravages of water, to keep hair out of pool filters, or reduce water drag while racing. The first of these is, of course, a concern for men with high-grade beards. They don’t want their perfectly designed facial arrangements to be harmed.
So it was inevitable that Virgin Trains, a British railroad company, would invent a device to protect the beards of swimmers. The beard cap is a Lycra swim cap that includes a wrap for beards and mustaches. PSFK reports that it’s a necessity for bearded athletic swimmers:
Virgin Trains, the official train partner to the Great North Swim, commissioned research after reading debates on swimming forums about beards causing drag. The findings revealed that 12 percent of men connect their beard to slower swim times and nearly a quarter feel their beards hinder their sports performance. Sporting men reported the reasons for this, with 11 percent saying their beard is irritating, 32 percent claiming it is a source of discomfort, and 42 percent saying they find it distracting.
We’re living in a Nintendo world and this dog is totally cool with it. In this video from the marketing channel Petcentric, a German Shepherd journeys from the Mushroom Neighborhood in search of his bone. Hopefully we can someday see him play Mario Kart, too.
I’ve never done this, but now I really want to! Of course, I’ll have to wait until winter and go someplace other than Texas. But the satisfying thud at the end of this quick video will make the journey worth it. YouTube user Patrick Kienzler, who enjoys blowing things up with rockets, understands.
During the 8.1-magnitude earthquake in Tokyo last Saturday, 14 people got stuck in elevators. Some of them had to wait up to 70 minutes before getting out. Many elevators in Japan already provide water, blankets, and boxes that can serve as toilets if absolutely necessary, and trapped people can make use of them.
Elevator toilets have already existed for years, such as the bucket seat featured in the video above. But now the Japanese government wants to make running water available to people trapped in elevators for extended periods of time.
What have you accomplished in your life? What must you accomplish in order to feel satisfied with the summation of your experience on earth? This is your bucket list. For Walter Thomas, 90, of Woodstock, Illinois, this list consisted of one task: backing a car out of a garage without opening the door first.
His family convinced a body shop to donate an SUV for this purpose. One of his relatives provided a garage with a closed door for the special event.
Ashraful Arefin is a photographer in Dkaha, Bangladesh. For the past year, he’s owned two rabbits. The couple recently welcomed a litter of four kits into the world. So Arefin has been busy photographing the baby rabbits, documenting their lives from the day they were born. He writes:
Each and every day from their birth was special to me. Watching them growing up everyday, opening their eyes for the first time, wiggling their tiny feet… everything was just so special and magical to me! I thought I’d try to capture those moments and share the happiness with other people.
The Sak Yant tattooing tradition from Cambodia is shrouded in mystery. The ink is said to contain snake venom, among other ingredients:
Sak Yant (or Sak Yan and Yantra) were tattoos engraved by Buddhist monks, Brahman masters and Ruesi ascetics into the warriors who sought protection and strength in battle. These are believed to give the warrior good health, luck, strength, and protection against evil. The Sak Yant artist punctures the skin with the use of a sharpened long steel rod or bamboo called mai sak dipped in ink that may be made of snake venom, charcoal, herbs, or cigarette ash. But no one really knows what’s in the ink since it’s a secret only known by the monks.
Ozzy is fantastic! He and his human, Nick, live in Norwich, UK. He’s a cross between a Welsh Border Collie and Kelpie. Ozzy holds the Guinness World Record for the fastest crossing of a tightrope by a dog. You can watch him set that record here.
In this video, he’s doing a handstand, which is something that we’ve seen before. But he’s doing it on a tightrope! Ozzy can also do a parkour trick that Nick calls tree bouncing.
Before World War II, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby was out of print and almost unknown—a forgotten work of a previous generation. Then, in 1945, it was republished for distribution to American soldiers. Now The Great Gatsby is regarded as a treasure of American literature.
The solution was to distribute paperbacks, which had been introduced to the United States by Pocket Books in 1939. At a time when most hardbacks cost two dollars or more—$33 in today’s dollars—Pocket Books printed 38 million 25-cent paperbacks in 1943 alone. Its success persuaded other publishers that it would make commercial sense to work with the military on a program to print books for soldiers, the assumption being that to do so would create a new market for inexpensive paperback reprints after the war. Thinking along closely similar lines, Time, the New Yorker, and other magazines created miniaturized “pony editions” for servicemen.
Thus, the Armed Services Editions, which were published by a civilian organization called the Council on Books in Wartime—compact, oblong, two-column-wide paperbacks that were designed to slip easily into the pockets of a uniform. They were sold to the military for six cents per volume.
These Armed Services Editions (ASEs) altered the thinking and literary experiences of a generation of American men:
Witness, for instance, the testimony of a G.I. who wrote to Helen MacInnes, the author of the espionage novel While Still We Live, long after the war. According to MacInnes: “He had read little until [the ASE edition] got him enjoying literature. From there, he read constantly, and after his service went to college. He ended with a Ph.D. and sent me a copy. It was dedicated to me, the writer of the novel that started his reading.” […]
No less suggestive was the experience of the New Yorker, whose wartime “pony edition” jumped in circulation from 20,000 in 1943 to 150,000 in 1944. The magazine’s domestic circulation, which had been 171,000 in 1941, reached 325,000 a decade later, a leap that the editors attributed to the fact that so many servicemen had read it for the first time in the pony edition. Most important of all, commercial mass-market paperback reprints—not just of mysteries but of every possible kind of book, lowbrow and highbrow alike—became ubiquitous after 1945, undoubtedly because of the popularity of the ASEs among returning servicemen.
Everyone at the ball will stop in awe and wonder when Princess Leia arrives in this incredible gown by cosplayer Elizabeth Oldak. The skirt alone has 20 feet of fabric in it and her hair is styled perfectly as Leia appeared in Episode IV. No other Disney princess will be able to say that she is underdressed for formal parties, which in this case was Star Wars Celebration 2015.