CLOSE
Original image

It's not just a ski mask

Original image

I love you, Wikipedia. The reasons are just...manifold. In a book I was recently reading, I came to a passage in which a character suddenly dons a balaclava helmet. I was at a loss. Baklava? Chef hats? What? So when I ran crying to Wikipedia, I was immediately supplied with an image, shown, that was graceful and bizarre and immediately comforting to my ignorance. This, Becky, is a balaclava helmet. You might know it as a ski mask. Its more formal name comes from the Crimean town of, yes, Balaclava, and the helmets were gifted to British troops during the Crimean War (1853-56) to stave off the wind chill. The mighty W also directed me to another interpretation of this shapeshifting headgear:

  • In the Indian subcontinent, balaclavas are commonly referred to as monkey caps, due to their typical earth tone colours, and the fact that they blot out most human facial features. Monkey caps sometimes have a small, decorative, woollen pom pom on top. They are commonly worn by troops on Himalayan duty.

Balaclava is cool, but I'll have to go with monkey cap. As in, excuse me now while I put on my monkey cap. I love any hat that can accommodate my varying appetites for public exposure.

Original image
iStock
China Launches Crowdfunding Campaign to Restore the Great Wall
Original image
iStock

The Great Wall of China has been standing proudly for thousands of years—but now, it needs your help. CNN reports that the wall has fallen into disrepair and the China Foundation for Cultural Heritage Conservation has launched an online crowdfunding campaign to raise money for restorations.

Stretching 13,000 miles across northern China, the Great Wall was built in stages starting from the third century BCE and reaching completion in the 16th century. To some degree, though, it’s always been under construction. For centuries, individuals and organizations have periodically repaired and rebuilt damaged sections. However, the crowdfunding campaign marks the first time the internet has gotten involved in the preservation of the ancient icon. The China Foundation for Cultural Heritage Conservation is trying to raise $1.6 million (11 million yuan) to restore the wall, and has so far raised $45,000 (or 300,000 yuan).

Fundraising coordinator Dong Yaohui tells the BBC that, although the Chinese government provides some funds for wall repairs, it’s not enough to fix all of the damage: "By pooling the contribution of every single individual, however small it is, we will be able to form a great wall to protect the Great Wall," he said.

[h/t CNN]

Know of something you think we should cover? Email us at tips@mentalfloss.com.

Original image
YouTube // Deep Look
These Glowing Worms Mimic Shining Stars
Original image
YouTube // Deep Look

The glow worms of New Zealand's Waitomo caves produce light, mimicking the starry night sky. Using sticky goop, they catch moths and other flying creatures unfortunate enough to flutter into the "starry" cavern. Beautiful and icky in equal parts, this Deep Look video takes you inside the cave, and up close with these worms. Enjoy:

There's also a nice write-up with animated GIFs if you're not in the mood for video. Want more glow worms? Check out this beautiful timelapse in a similar cave, or our list of 19 Places You Won't Believe Exist topped by—you guessed it—New Zealand's Glowworm Caves!

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios