What's the story with "gross?"

Linguist Arika Okrent, author of On the Land of Invented Languages: Esperanto Rock Stars, Klingon Poets, Loglan Lovers, and the Mad Dreamers Who Tried to Build A Perfect Language, explores the etymology of the word "Gross." Art by Sean O'Neill.

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Jackass neighbor unplugs bouncy house at child's birthday party, trapping toddlers inside

Thanks to surveillance video, Port St. Lucie, Florida police have identified the imbecile who yanked the plug of a bouncy house at a kid's birthday party, deflating it with toddlers inside. From Today:

"We believe that he thinks that he was pulling the plug to the DJ booth, but it didn't, it pulled the plug to the bounce house," Master Sgt. Frank Sabol of the Port St. Lucie Police Department said...

Police have identified the man but have not released his name. They attempted to question him, but said he was uncooperative. He could potentially be charged with trespassing.

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Who makes the clips that keep bread bags closed?

How many plastic bread bag clips does Yakima, Washington's Kwik Lok sell annually? "It’s in the billions," says the company's sales coordinator Leigh Anne Whathen. According to Kwik Lok, company founder Floyd Paxton dreamt up the idea in 1954. I wonder if he imagined their other popular use as a makeshift guitar pick. From Atlas Obscura:

As the story goes, while he was on the plane, Paxton was eating a package of complimentary nuts, and he realized he didn’t have a way to close them if he wanted to save some for later. As a solution, he took out a pen knife and hand-carved the first bread clip out of a credit card (in some tellings, it was an expired credit card)...

According to Whathen, Kwik Lok secured a patent on their little innovation in the early days of the company, and to this day, Kwik Lok remains one of the only manufacturers of bread clips in the world. Whathen says that the only other firm she’s aware of is a European competitor called Schutte. Kwik Lok also has the distinction of still being owned by Paxton’s descendants. Floyd’s son, Jerre, ran the company until his death in 2015, and today it is owned by two of Jerre’s daughters. “We’re still going strong,” says Whathen.

"Most of the World’s Bread Clips Are Made by a Single Company" (Atlas Obscura)

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Why are doughnut boxes usually pink?

At the Los Angeles Times, David Pierson unties the story of why doughnut boxes are so frequently pink, particularly in southern California. It's a story of Cambodian refugees who emigrated to the US in the 1970s and built the donut market. But why pink? From the LA Times:

According to (Bakemark, formerly Westco) company lore, a Cambodian doughnut shop owner asked Westco some four decades ago if there were any cheaper boxes available other than the standard white cardboard. So Westco found leftover pink cardboard stock and formed a 9-by-9-by-4-inch container with four semicircle flaps to fold together. To this day, people in the business refer to the box as the “9-9-4.”

“It’s the perfect fit for a dozen doughnuts,” said Jim Parker, BakeMark’s president and chief executive.

More importantly to the thrifty refugees, it cost a few cents less than the standard white. That’s a big deal for shops that go through hundreds, if not thousands, of boxes a week. It didn’t hurt either that pink was a few shades short of red, a lucky color for the refugees, many of whom are ethnic Chinese. White, on the other hand, is the color of mourning.

Len Bell, president of Evergreen Packaging in La Mirada, first noticed the proliferation of pink boxes as a regional manager for Winchell’s in the early 1980s. Back in the Southland after a few years in Minnesota, Bell was amazed to see the doughnut business seemingly transformed overnight by Cambodian refugees, who proved quick studies and skillful businesspeople.

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New documentary in production about electronic music pioneer Morton Subotnick

Morton Subotnick is an 84-year-old avant-garde composer whose pioneering electronic music, and approach to musicmaking, influenced the likes of Daft Punk, Kraftwerk, Four Tet, and countless techno artists. Subotnick helped Don Buchla design what was likely the first analog music synthesizer and used it to create his seminal psychedelic masterpiece, Silver Apples of the Moon (1967), the first electronic music work commissioned by a major record company, Nonesuch/Elektra. (Fan-made video below.) Just a few years before, Subotnick co-founded the iconic San Francisco Tape Music Center that became a creative home for Terry Riley, Pauline Oliveros, Steve Reich, and so many more incredible composers. And he's still making sounds. Now, Toronto's Waveshaper Media, the production company behind “I Dream Of Wires" and the forthcoming “Electronic Voyager" film about Bob Moog are working on a documentary about Subotnick. Support it on Indiegogo.

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Teaser for Castlevania series on Netflix

With the classic 1980s Nintendo Entertainment System continuing to rack up extra lives thanks to the retro videogame resurgence, the thirty year-old game Castlevania has been ported to Netflix with a new animated series. Warren Ellis wrote it, which almost guarantees that it will be the best TV program based on a videogame ever, and that includes Hanna-Barbera's Pac-Man.

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UK juice company Crushed tweeted product pitch pegged on Manchester attack

Bad taste. And I'm not just talking about the drink. Crushed has just deleted the Tweet.

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Pope Francis doesn't want to hold Donald Trump's hand either

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Animated interviews with "futurists" Ayn Rand, Kurt Vonnegut, and Aldous Huxley

The first law of futurism is that there are no facts about the future, only fictions.

(Blank on Blank)

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When the TSA got suspicious of a scientist's 3D-printed mouse penis

Sometimes, in the course of his work, University of Florida molecular geneticist Martin Cohn must travel with unusual items like a 3D-printed mouse penis. Similarly, University of Massachusetts biologist Diane Kelly totes around anatomical models like a mold of a dolphin vagina. They're not alone in the odd science-related items they must fly with, from bottles of monkey piss to a stash of 5,000-year-old human bones. At The Atlantic, Ed Yong explores what happens when objects of science meet airport security:

The TSA once stopped Michael Polito, an Antarctic researcher from Louisiana State University, because his bag contained 50 vials of white powder. When he explained that the powder was freeze-dried Antarctic fur seal milk, he got a mixed reaction. “Some officers just wanted to just wave me on,” he says. “Others wanted me to stay and answer their questions, like: How do you milk a fur seal? I was almost late for my flight.”

Airport security lines, it turns out, are a fantastic venue for scientists to try their hand at outreach. Various scientists are said to have claimed that you don’t really understand something if you can’t explain it to your grandmother, a barmaid, a six-year-old, and other such sexist or ageist variants. But how about this: can you successfully explain it to an TSA official—someone who not only might have no background in science, but also strongly suspects that you might be a national security threat? Can you justify your research in the face of questions like “What are you doing?” or “Why are you doing it?” or “Why are you taking that onto a plane?”

Cohn did pretty well to the four assembled TSA agents who started quizzing him about his mouse penis.

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Watch a boxer beat up a tennis ball hanging from his hat

Ukrainian professional boxer Vasyl Lomachenko jabs with incredible precision at a tennis ball attached to his hat. It's a neat training technique! All that's missing, of course, is a soundtrack of "Gonna Fly Now/Theme from Rocky."

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USPS issues circular, textured sports ball stamps

The USPS's new "Have a Ball!" stamp series include eight circular designs of sports balls I like the design of these stamps more than the sports they celebrate!

Each of the 16 self-adhesive circular stamps showcases illustrations of one of eight sports balls: baseball, basketball, football, golf, kickball, soccer, tennis, and volleyball. A special coating applied to selected areas of the stamps during the printing process gives them a textured feel. The sheet features two of each design.

Mike Ryan designed the stamps and Greg Breeding served as the art director of the project. Artist Daniel Nyari created the colorful, stylized stamp art.

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Big, sweet dog interrupts newscast

And that's the way it is. (via Laughing Squid)

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Crosby, Stills & Nash's unused theme song for War Games (1983)

Crosby, Stills & Nash recorded this theme song for War Games, the seminal hacker film of 1983. The tune was heard in movie trailers and in this promotional video that aired on MTV but was apparently pulled from the film. The song, "War Games," was included on the band's album Allies. From the lyrics:

I am not so sure What you want me for Either your machine Is a fool, or me

Now there is no time to wait No time to think it over Take the path, believe the math You'll tell me when it's over

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There are only three of these turtles left

This is the Yangtze giant softshell turtle, one of the most endangered species on Earth. There are two at China's Suzhou Zoo and one in the wild in Vietnam's lake Dong Mo. Conservationists really need to find a fourth to aid their efforts to rebuild the species. National Geographic spoke with Aimin Wang, director of the China division of the Wildlife Conservation Society, about the group's efforts to find another elusive Yangtze turtle:

What would it mean for the species if one were to be found?

It increases our opportunity [for successful breeding] quite a bit. The male in China is quite old, but the female is young. The turtles are bred using artificial insemination. The last four attempts with the breeding pair in China were unsuccessful. We just tried for a fifth time and got high-quality sperm. We won't know for another month if our results were successful.

Why are these turtles so important to save?

This is a flagship species, and for biodiversity, they're quite important. They serve as an important [indicator of environmental health]. If we can help them survive, that means our ecological system is quite good. If they disappear, that means our ecological system is quite bad.

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Why peeing on a jellyfish sting is actually a terrible idea

Acidic solutions can help neutralize the toxins from a jellyfish sting so why shouldn't you try to piss the pain away? (Reactions)

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Bentley's SUV built for falconry

The Bentley Bentayga Falconry is a poshmobile built out for falconry, hunting wild quarry with the aid of a trained falcon. This vehicle is the sequel to the Bentayga Fly Fishing vehicle. The price is not listed but if you have to ask... From Bentley:

Inside the master flight station, you will find a stowage tray with individual compartments, which can hold your GPS bird tracking unit, binoculars and hand-crafted leather bird hoods and gauntlets.

A beautiful Piano Black veneered drawer features a striking Saker falcon crest. This stores your own GPS tracking antennas, along with various tools and tethers for your birds.

Inside the refreshment case are three metal flasks with durable cups, for tea, coffee or other beverage of your choice. There is also warm blanket and refreshing face cloths for your comfort.

The cork fabric boot-floor and rear-sill protection cover is neatly integrated into the rear of your Bentayga. This reversible feature, together with the in-car perch, gives you a safe and comfortable space to prepare your bird for flight, with everything you need in easy reach.

There is also a removable perch and tether that fits on the central armrest inside the car, making transporting your falcon safe and comfortable.

(via Uncrate)

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