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"Neon is wonderful, but it's old school."

Indeed, it is. Maybe you've heard of MJ's plans to memorialize himself in the sands of outer Vegas. Rush & Molloy confirmed yesterday that:

"It would be in the desert sands," said Mike Luckman of Luckman Van Pier, consultants to large entertainment companies. "Laser beams would shoot out of it so it would be the first thing people flying would see. Neon is wonderful, but it's old school." Luckman's partner, Andre Van Pier, who designed the futuristic spacesuits worn recently by Bono and U2 at a benefit concert in New Orleans, designed the robot.

No blueprints have been leaked as of yet, but perhaps the betas will show up here. Maybe he's trying to jump the gun on the Elvis statue set to go up in Honolulu later this year? And why hate on neon? The noble gas has amazing refrigeration capacity while in liquid form, and has rocked the scientific world since 1675, when barometric light was stumbled upon by Jean Picard. In 1855 the geissler tube continued to experiment with trapped gas under pressure, and Georges Claude debuted the first neon lamp in 1910. His company, Claude Neon, took those lamps across the ocean in 1923 and sold them for 24k to an LA car dealership. Which I'm sure have nothing on this bad boy eBay bargain.

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History
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]

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holidays
Custom-Design the Ugly Christmas Sweater of Your Dreams (or Nightmares)
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For those of you aspiring to be the worst dressed person at your family's holiday dinner, UglyChristmasSweater.com 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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