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Robin Marchant/Getty Images for Cantor Fitzgerald
Robin Marchant/Getty Images for Cantor Fitzgerald

Dr. Ruth, Killing Machine?

Robin Marchant/Getty Images for Cantor Fitzgerald
Robin Marchant/Getty Images for Cantor Fitzgerald

On the short and unimpressive list of celebrities I've spotted, Dr. Ruth's name appears twice. Once in 1989, on a field trip to the Museum of Natural History (or possibly a different museum), and again at Newark Airport in 2001. That second sighting was followed moments later by a run-in with pitcher Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez. And if you'd asked me which one was trained as a sniper, I probably wouldn't have chosen the 4'7" sex therapist.

Before she was Dr. Ruth, she was a killing machine. So says Snopes:

"When I was in my routine training for the Israeli army as a teenager," Dr. Ruth said, "they discovered completely by chance that I was a lethal sniper. I could hit the target smack in the center further away than anyone could believe. Not just that, even though I was tiny and not even much of an athlete, I was incredibly accurate throwing hand grenades too. Even today I can load a Sten automatic rifle in a single minute, blindfolded."

Blindfolded? Really? Someone needs to challenge her on that. Could be a great summer reality show.

The Good Doctor's military career was cut short by cannon ball shrapnel on her 20th birthday in 1948, during the Arab-Israeli War. Two years later, she moved to Paris to study psychology. Thirty years later, she debuted her Sexually Speaking program. And nine years later, she ran into my fourth-grade class.

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Bob Ross’s Happy Little Menagerie Is Getting the Funko Treatment, Too
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Amazon

Back in August, the pop culture-loving toy fiends at Funko introduced a happy little Pop! Vinyl figurine of beloved painter/television icon Bob Ross, decked out in his trademark jeans and button-down shirt with a painter’s palette in his hand and his legendary perm (which he hated) atop his tiny little vinyl head. This Joy of Painting-themed addition to the Funko lineup proved to be an instant hit, so the company added a couple of additional toys to its roster—this time incorporating members of Ross’s happy little menagerie of pets, who were almost as integral to the long-running series as the painter himself.


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If you’re looking to score one of these toys before Christmas, it’s going to have to be a limited edition one—and it’s going to cost you. In collaboration with Target, Funko paired Ross with his favorite pocket squirrel, Pea Pod, which will set you back about $40. For just a few dollars more, you can opt to have the happy accident-prone painter come with Hoot the owl.


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On Friday, December 8, the company will release a Funko two-pack that includes Ross with a paintbrush and Ross with an adorable little raccoon.


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If you’d prefer to save a few dollars, and are willing to wait out the holiday season, you can pre-order Ross with just the raccoon for delivery around December 29.

So many happy little options, so little time.

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See How to Grow Snowflakes Inside a Soda Bottle
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iStock

While it's too soon to know what the real chances are of having a white Christmas, even if it's 70 degrees and sunny, there’s still a way to experience the seasonal beauty of snow without ever having to put on a winter coat.

In a video for Science Friday, Caltech physicist and snowflake expert Ken Libbrecht illustrated how to grow snowflake-like ice crystals inside a two-liter soda bottle. To start, you need to assemble your materials. Most of the items—including a plastic bottle, bucket, sponge, fishing line, paper clip, and pins—can be easily found around your home. The most important component, though, is dry ice—which also happens to be the hardest one to find (Libbrecht recommends checking your local grocery store).

The dry ice goes around the outside of the bottle, which is outfitted with a string hanging from a wet sponge on the inside. The warm air around the top of the bottle, where the sponge is, creates water vapor, which crystallizes around the string. Within an hour, you'll have cultivated a large, feathery crystal in the center of your makeshift snowflake machine.

Even though the final product resembles a snowflake, it's technically frost (snowflakes form in clouds from thousands of water droplets, not from vapor). Libbrecht has been growing his own snowflakes for years, though the system he uses in his lab is slightly more sophisticated. After learning how to grow a snowflake at home, be sure to check out some of Libbrecht’s own exquisite creations on his website.

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