Now that's "Must See TV!"

So I was watching NASA TV over the weekend, live, through the link I just provided. It's amazing how many hours you can waste watching astronauts do the MOST mundane things.

Astronaut #1: "Okay, Bill, I'm going to move to your left now"¦ here I go"¦ okay, I'm moving to the left with this pipe thingy in my hand."

NASA TV Voice: (Whispering like a golf broadcaster) "He's moving to the left with a pipe thingy in his hand"¦"

Me: (Yelling to my wife several rooms away) "Honey! You've got to see this! He's moving to his left with a pipe thingy in his hand!"

And then the NASA TV cam zooms, closer, closer, closer, until you actually see the pipe thingy in his hand. And then it zooms out, out, out, until you see the earth, way off in the distance, rotating ever so slowly.

Well, anyway, it got me doing some research on NASA. Here's what I learned:

NASA invented the term "mission-critical"

NASA invented the first visco-elastic foam

NASA invented the Dust Buster

And, while I don't have hard proof on this one, some say NASA invented the disposable diaper. That would make sense, considering this fact:

If you piled up all the disposable diapers our society throws out each year, (18 billion) you could reach the moon and back 9 times.

The Secret World War II History Hidden in London's Fences

In South London, the remains of the UK’s World War II history are visible in an unlikely place—one that you might pass by regularly and never take a second look at. In a significant number of housing estates, the fences around the perimeter are actually upcycled medical stretchers from the war, as the design podcast 99% Invisible reports.

During the Blitz of 1940 and 1941, the UK’s Air Raid Precautions department worked to protect civilians from the bombings. The organization built 60,000 steel stretchers to carry injured people during attacks. The metal structures were designed to be easy to disinfect in case of a gas attack, but that design ended up making them perfect for reuse after the war.

Many London housing developments at the time had to remove their fences so that the metal could be used in the war effort, and once the war was over, they were looking to replace them. The London County Council came up with a solution that would benefit everyone: They repurposed the excess stretchers that the city no longer needed into residential railings.

You can tell a stretcher railing from a regular fence because of the curves in the poles at the top and bottom of the fence. They’re hand-holds, designed to make it easier to carry it.

Unfortunately, decades of being exposed to the elements have left some of these historic artifacts in poor shape, and some housing estates have removed them due to high levels of degradation. The Stretcher Railing Society is currently working to preserve these heritage pieces of London infrastructure.

As of right now, though, there are plenty of stretchers you can still find on the streets. If you're in the London area, this handy Google map shows where you can find the historic fencing.

[h/t 99% Invisible]

Custom-Design the Ugly Christmas Sweater of Your Dreams (or Nightmares)

For those of you aspiring to be the worst dressed person at your family's holiday dinner, sells—you guessed it—ugly Christmas sweaters to seasonal revelers possessing a sense of irony. But the Michigan-based online retailer has elevated kitsch to new heights by offering a create-your-own-sweater tool on its website.

Simply visit the site's homepage, and click on the Sweater Customizer link. There, you'll be provided with a basic sweater template, which you can decorate with festive snowflakes, reindeer, and other designs in five different colors. If you're feeling really creative, you can even upload photos, logos, hand-drawn pictures, and/or text. After you approve and purchase a mock-up of the final design, you can purchase the final result (prices start at under $70). But you'd better act quickly: due to high demand, orders will take about two weeks plus shipping time to arrive.


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