CLOSE
Original image

7 Toys (and T's) Definitely Made for Sharing!

Original image

For some reason I can't stop seeing "Red." From Chairman Mao skateboards to Frederich Engels comic books, socialism seems to be taking over over the kid's aisle. In fact, I have no doubt that Senator McCarthy (bless his soul) is rolling over and over in his grave just thinking about these products. Oh well. I guess one good turn deserves another. The following are 7 faux-socialist products definitely worth waiting in line for.

1. Create-A-Commie

If you love fascism's facial features, you'll probably love this. Equipped with a magic wand, and plenty of metal shavings, you can turn an ordinary Joe into Joseph "Man of Steel" Stalin. And speaking of steals, the thing retails for just $6.95 at stupid.com!

2. Be the Life of the Soviet Party
If you're more the type to wear your political ideology on your sleeve, this shirt from threadless.com might fit just right.

minizoom.jpgview1.jpg

3. The Last Last Unicorns
Looking to indulge your fantasies and put the rod back in the Iron Curtain? These magical Cold War Unicorns from Archie McPhee are perfect for nostalgic boys, girls and politicians of all ages.
11674.jpg

Finger puppets, plush toys and (re)action figures after the jump!

4. Che Guevara Puppet
0155.jpg Get your finger on the pulse already! The revolution might not be televised, but it can definitely be rebroadcast for small audiences thanks to the help of this Che Guevara Finger Puppet (available at the Unemployed Philosopher's Guild).

0077.gif5. Karl Marx the Spot
Sick of Beanie Babies that ain't worth beans? Then wrap your arms (and mind) around one of these 11'' tall Karl Marx dolls.

Dog-eating-Kim-1.gif6. Lil' Kim Chew Toy
Sure, there's plenty above to corrupt your kids, but if corrupting your canine is what you're looking to do, this Dear Leader Chew Toy might just fit the bill (assuming Fido wants cut his teeth on a little dictatorial ideology).

7. Fidel Castro Action Figure
castro8.jpgWho's the 4-star general with the 5-star Amazon.com reviewer rating? None other than El Comandante Fidel Castro. Perfect for using to protect your imported cigar collection.

Did I miss any (other than our own Karl Marx t-shirt, located here)? Drop a note in the comments if there are other socialist-inspired toys, gadgets and t's we need on our radar.

Original image
iStock
arrow
politics
Why America Has So Many Empty Parking Spaces
Original image
iStock

When you’re driving around looking for a spot to park on tight downtown streets, you’re probably not cursing city planners for mandating too much parking space. (You’re probably thinking the opposite.) But while some areas, depending on the time of day, are inundated with more cars than spaces, for the most part Americans lead lives of parking privilege, surrounded by empty spaces they don’t need to use. By one estimate, there are eight parking spots for every car in the U.S. (Others say it's more like three, which is still a lot considering that number doesn't take into account home parking.)

Why does the U.S. have so much extra parking? A new video explainer from Vox (spotted by Arch Daily) has the answer. It’s because laws mandate it.

In the video, Will Chilton and Paul Mackie of the transportation research initiative Mobility Lab explain the rise of the parking meter, which was invented in the 1930s, and the regulations that soon followed, called mandatory parking minimums. These city laws require that those building an apartment complex or shopping center or store have to provide a minimum number of spaces in off-street parking for customers to use. The cost of providing this service is carried by building developers—giving the city a free way to get new parking without having to manage their street parking situation closely. Go to any suburb in America, and the parking lots you leave your car in are probably the result of these parking minimum rules.

The ease of parking in America isn’t a good thing—though it may feel like it when you slide into an open spot right in front of the grocery store. Experts have been calling for an end to zoning laws like these for years, arguing that excess parking encourages unnecessary driving (why take the bus or carpool if it’s easy to drive yourself and park for free?) while simultaneously making it harder to walk around a city, since parking takes up a ton of land that’s difficult to traverse on foot, interrupting the urban fabric.

These parking minimum regulations take very specific forms by building type, including number of spaces required per hole at a golf course, per gallons of water in a public pool, and per beds in a nursing home. Before you cheer for free, plentiful parking, let the experts at Vox explain just why this is a problem for cities:

[h/t Arch Daily]

Original image
iStock
arrow
Design
A Microsoft Font Might Have Revealed Political Corruption in Pakistan
Original image
iStock

Note to wrongdoers: Check your fonts. Right now in Pakistan, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family are in legal hot water over what might be falsified government disclosures, according to Slate. The proof? The typeface used in the documents, as the investigative report submitted to Pakistan's Supreme Court notes.

Calibri, the sans-serif typeface that serves as the default for Microsoft applications, was designed in the early 2000s. But it didn't become widely available to the public until Microsoft Vista and its accompanying Office update were released in 2007.

This is where things have gotten tricky for the prime minister. His daughter may have fabricated documents that would show that she and her family had made the proper official disclosures on their finances. The documents, which were supposedly signed in 2006, were written with Calibri—a year before it was released to the public.

Defense lawyers argue, of course, that Maryam Nawaz Sharif could have just had access to Calibri before Windows Vista came out, since it was designed before 2007. The typeface's designer, Lucas de Groot, has said that the very first release he was aware of came out in 2006 as part of beta testing for the Vista operating system. But based on the sheer size of the files involved in such a beta product, it would have required "serious effort to get," a representative for LucasFonts told the Pakistani news outlet Dawn. And that would have been a super early test version, since the first public beta didn't come out until June 2006, four months after the documents were supposedly signed. Unless she was a huge computer nerd, Maryam probably didn't have access to Calibri back in early 2006, indicating the documents were faked. 

Whether you're turning in a term paper or falsifying legal documents, you're always better off going with Times New Roman.

[h/t Slate]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios