CLOSE

Was Martin Luther King a Trekkie?

I was doing some editing work for our next magazine this weekend (it's our annual 10 Issue!), when I read through Mark Juddery's fascinating piece on 10 TV Shows that Changed the World. And while a ton of the entries were pretty intriguing ("Dallas" made the list for helping to knock off a dictator!), I was particularly impressed by his entry on "Star Trek"—which I figured would just be about how it influenced inventors or something. It was far more intriguing than that, though.

"Star Trek" was also an inspiration to minorities and women, not just tech junkies. Lieutenant Uhura, played by African-American jazz singer Nichelle Nichols, showed audiences that black women could be senior officers and hold positions of power. In fact, when Nichols contemplated quitting the series during its first year, she was persuaded to keep the role by none other than Dr. Martin Luther King, who said, "don't you realize how important your character is?" Years later, women ranging from Whoopi Goldberg to Dr. Mae Jemison, the first African-American female astronaut, cited Lieutenant Uhura as a major inspiration in their careers. Nichols even spent time working for NASA on an astronaut-recruitment program—an initiative that roped in such people as Sally Ride and Guy Bluford, the first American woman and African-American in space, respectively.

Of course, the article has to go through the editing process (to our fact checkers and copy editors), but I thought the Martin Luther King bit, in particular, was too interesting not to post about. I had no idea the show was influencing anyone other than my bizarre next door neighbor.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
arrow
video
What Koalas and Humans Have in Common
5664632945001

There's something strange about koala fingerprints. Read more bizarre koala facts here.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
fun
Don't Have Space For a Christmas Tree? Decorate a Pineapple Instead
iStock
iStock

Christmas trees aren't for everyone. Some people can't fit a fir inside their cramped abodes, while others are turned off by the expense, or by the idea of bugs hitchhiking their way inside. Fake trees are always an option, but a new trend sweeping Instagram—pineapples as mini-Christmas "trees"—might convince you to forego the forest vibe for a more tropical aesthetic.

As Thrillist reports, the pineapple-as-Christmas-tree idea appears to have originated on Pinterest before it, uh, ripened into a social media sensation. Transforming a pineapple into a Halloween “pumpkin” requires carving and tea lights, but to make the fruit festive for Christmas all one needs are lights, ornaments, swaths of garland, and any other tiny tchotchkes that remind you of the holidays. The final result is a tabletop decoration that's equal parts Blue Hawaii and Miracle on 34th Street.

In need of some decorating inspiration? Check out a variety of “Christmas tree” pineapples below.

[h/t Thrillist]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios