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Best comments ever, vol. 2

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Due to overwhelming demand, "best comments ever" is back, and "evar" is now spelled "ever." ("Evar!" is the excited Valley Girl pronunciation of "ever," fwiw.) Yesterday we heard stories about people being sick, losing their sense of smell, sleepwalking and hoarding animals. Today we'll start by examining two posts about cars, which tend to elicit very passionate responses from our readership!

THE POST: Who gets the parking space?
Having posed the question of whether you can save a parking spot by standing in it, we got vehement responses on both sides of the issue, as well as a few harrowing stories, like this one from commenter Karen:

I experienced this firsthand many years ago as my mom and I were searching for a parking spot during the crazy day-after-Thanksgiving shopping rush. The situation escalated into one like your second experience - only my mom did not actually hit her and this girl DID call the police. She faked a limp and the officer believed her and arrested my mom.

THE POST: This really happens
Not long ago, a friend of mine drove away from a pumping station without removing the nozzle from his tank -- he wasn't paying attention -- and it snapped right off. Of course, the same thing had happened to several of our readers, with somewhat more dramatic results. Commenter Michael Wild:

Happened to me. Driving 1 ton Ford dually with trailer. Gas gauge unreliable and I was very worried about running out of diesel fuel. Pulled into truck stop and every pump but one had a bag over the pump handle. I pulled up to the one pump w/o a bag and put the nozzle in my tank. Nothing happened. I went inside and was informed that they had no diesel. I was pissed, got in the truck and drove off. Heard someone yelling, looked back and saw I was trailing the nozzle, hose and wiring from the pump. Owner was very upset and would not let me leave until I paid damages. At my suggestion he called law enforcement. They came, inspected my insurance papers and informed owner he was illegally restraining me. It was a matter for the insurance companies. Truck stop shut down and never reopened.

Pump jockey Petro Pierre was kind enough to provide some behind-the-scenes perspective:

Got my nickname "Petro" from the many years I spent pumping gas for a living. I saw this happen only a few times since it was a full service station. The first time was a really big deal! The customer asked for $20, which I starting pumping and left to finish on its own (since the pump was programmed for preset amounts at the push of a button, $20 being one of them). As I went to serve other customers, the fellow went inside to pay the cashier inside, who took his money once the pump automatically stopped at $20. It all happened very quickly, and he got back into his car and started driving away without waiting for me to remove the hose (obviously assuming it was already done). Unfortunately neither the handle nor the hose snapped off. It was a terrible sounds as the WHOLE FUEL PUMP came tearing off its foundation and crashed on its side, spewing a quick gusher of fuel before the shutoff valve kicked in. Needless to say, he didn't get very far, but I think our station swallowed the tab on that one.

THE POST: The not-silent killer: noise pollution
Our readers made a lot of noise over this one, sparking a mini-competition to see who lived in the loudest place. It was a toss up between itsabecky:

i live in what appears to be the average suburban community. we have the standard noises: children playing in the street, occasional dogs barking, birds chirping, etc. then there are all of the non-traditional suburban noises. my neighbor accross the street has 6 cars and seems to wash at least one every day then has to dry them with his leaf blower. my house is conviently situated in the middle of 3 quarrys so we often hear them blasting and on occasion feel the house shake. when we first moved in there was a race track 2 miles from our house and on race days it sounded like we were living inside a beehive.

inside the house often sounds like a circus. 4 dogs, 4 laptops, 4 adults, a screaming 4 year old and a TV that is always on (at full volume to try and combat the other noise in the house) all create so much noise and havoc that i often find myself looking for any excuse to get out of the house (i go for a lot of drives to no where just listening to the hum of the tires on the road). i seem to be the only one in the house that is bothered by the noise. sometimes i feel like all the noise scrambles my brain.

... and commenter Marta, whose noise is more neighbor-driven:

I live in a duplex. The lady on the other side had 2 emotionally handicappped foster children that, up until a few weeks ago, screamed, slammed doors, threw dirt on our cars, and would put the same annoying hip-hop or pop song on repeat on the porch stereo, crank it up, then disappear for hours. On top of that she has a tiny dog that the kids put outside for hours and it spends those hours continuously barking. I didn't think it was physically possible for a dog to bark for 5 hours straight without a rest.

THE POST: What's worse than snakes on a plane?
Speaking of people's tolerance for noise and annoyance, there was an outpouring of pure venom when I brought up the dilemma of mixing small children and large aircraft. There were plenty of arguments in favor of doping kids with Benadryl and Dimetapp, and several against. (Studies that have come out since this blog was posted indicate that it's a bad idea to give young kids cold medicine, so I'm going to have to side with the no-doping camp, no matter how annoying the transatlantic toddler.) We all felt the pain of commenter Ben Hubbard:

Allow me to set the stage. I'm flying from KY on the very first available flight (5:00a), so I'm a bit sleepy. My screaming offspring have been left with their grandparents for a week of splendor, sure to receive all of their needs, wants and desires. I'm snoozin' — just barely"¦you know that kind of awkward sleep that you get when the lady next to you smells funny because she did not bathe the night before and, in her slumber, she insists on trying to snuggle, not to mention the fact that the pressurized cabin gives me a headache from hell itself for which there is no known cure — and all seem right with the world. Suddenly, my sleep is broken by a pair of demons, er"¦I mean kids, who have both begun to frantically scream "WE'RE GOING TO DIE, OH NO, WE'RE GOING TO CRASH AND DIE". I, with one leg still in sleepy land, look out the window to see water quickly approaching (if you have ever landed in San Francisco you have seen the same sight, I swear it feels like you are going to crash). The revelation of imminent death startles stinky lady and I to the point of scrambling to brace ourselves for the impact (no, not by hugging). Once we realized that these two monsters (around age 4-6) were just being "mini jerks" we felt a little relieved and a little embarrassed (again, no, not because we were hugging). This single flight has prompted me to vow to never, ever, bring my kids on a plane until they are of ample age to be polite to the other passengers. I suggest the same for the rest of the world.

THE POST: Are smart kids more likely to be depressed?
We got lots of fascinating (and heartbreaking) responses to this post, but rather than reposting any one of them here, I urge you to check them out as a whole. Great stuff, guys, and thanks so much for sharing.

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science
4 Expert Tips on How to Get the Most Out of August's Total Solar Eclipse
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Richard Bouhet // Getty

As you might have heard, there’s a total solar eclipse crossing the U.S. on August 21. It’s the first total solar eclipse in the country since 1979, and the first coast-to-coast event since June 8, 1918, when eclipse coverage pushed World War I off the front page of national newspapers. Americans are just as excited today: Thousands are hitting the road to stake out prime spots for watching the last cross-country total solar eclipse until 2045. We’ve asked experts for tips on getting the most out of this celestial spectacle.

1. DON’T FRY YOUR EYES—OR BREAK THE BANK

To see the partial phases of the eclipse, you will need eclipse glasses because—surprise!—staring directly at the sun for even a minute or two will permanently damage your retinas. Make sure the glasses you buy meet the ISO 12312-2 safety standards. As eclipse frenzy nears its peak, shady retailers are selling knock-off glasses that will not adequately protect your eyes. The American Astronomical Society keeps a list of reputable vendors, but as a rule, if you can see anything other than the sun through your glasses, they might be bogus. There’s no need to splurge, however: You can order safe paper specs in bulk for as little as 90 cents each. In a pinch, you and your friends can take turns watching the partial phases through a shared pair of glasses. As eclipse chaser and author Kate Russo points out, “you only need to view occasionally—no need to sit and stare with them on the whole time.”

2. DON’T DIY YOUR EYE PROTECTION

There are plenty of urban legends about “alternative” ways to protect your eyes while watching a solar eclipse: smoked glass, CDs, several pairs of sunglasses stacked on top of each other. None works. If you’re feeling crafty, or don’t have a pair of safe eclipse glasses, you can use a pinhole projector to indirectly watch the eclipse. NASA produced a how-to video to walk you through it.

3. GET TO THE PATH OF TOTALITY

Bryan Brewer, who published a guidebook for solar eclipses, tells Mental Floss the difference between seeing a partial solar eclipse and a total solar eclipse is “like the difference between standing right outside the arena and being inside watching the game.”

During totality, observers can take off their glasses and look up at the blocked-out sun—and around at their eerily twilit surroundings. Kate Russo’s advice: Don’t just stare at the sun. “You need to make sure you look above you, and around you as well so you can notice the changes that are happening,” she says. For a brief moment, stars will appear next to the sun and animals will begin their nighttime routines. Once you’ve taken in the scenery, you can use a telescope or a pair of binoculars to get a close look at the tendrils of flame that make up the sun’s corona.

Only a 70-mile-wide band of the country stretching from Oregon to South Carolina will experience the total eclipse. Rooms in the path of totality are reportedly going for as much as $1000 a night, and news outlets across the country have raised the specter of traffic armageddon. But if you can find a ride and a room, you'll be in good shape for witnessing the spectacle.

4. PRESERVE YOUR NIGHT VISION

Your eyes need half an hour to fully adjust to darkness, but the total eclipse will last less than three minutes. If you’ve just been staring at the sun through the partial phases of the eclipse, your view of the corona during totality will be obscured by lousy night vision and annoying green afterimages. Eclipse chaser James McClean—who has trekked from Svalbard to Java to watch the moon blot out the sun—made this rookie mistake during one of his early eclipse sightings in Egypt in 2006. After watching the partial phases, with stray beams of sunlight reflecting into his eyes from the glittering sand and sea, McClean was snowblind throughout the totality.

Now he swears by a new method: blindfolding himself throughout the first phases of the eclipse to maximize his experience of the totality. He says he doesn’t mind “skipping the previews if it means getting a better view of the film.” Afterward, he pops on some eye protection to see the partial phases of the eclipse as the moon pulls away from the sun. If you do blindfold yourself, just remember to set an alarm for the time when the total eclipse begins so you don’t miss its cross-country journey. You'll have to wait 28 years for your next chance.

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HBO
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Pop Culture
IKEA Publishes Instructions for Turning Rugs Into Game of Thrones Capes
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HBO

Game of Thrones is one of the most expensive TV shows ever produced, but even the crew of the hit HBO series isn’t above using an humble IKEA hack behind the scenes. According to Mashable, the fur capes won by Jon Snow and other members of the Night’s Watch on the show are actually sheepskin rugs sold by the home goods chain.

The story behind the iconic garment was first revealed by head costume designer Michele Clapton at a presentation at Los Angeles’s Getty Museum in 2016. “[It’s] a bit of a trick,” she said at Designing the Middle Ages: The Costumes of GoT. “We take anything we can.”

Not one to dissuade customers from modifying its products, IKEA recently released a cape-making guide in the style of its visual furniture assembly instructions. To start you’ll need one of their Skold rugs, which can be bought online for $79. Using a pair of scissors cut a slit in the material and make a hole where your head will go. Slip it on and you’ll look ready for your Game of Thrones debut.

The costume team makes a few more changes to the rugs used on screen, like shaving them, adding leather straps, and waxing and “frosting” the fur to give it a weather-worn effect. Modern elements are used to make a variety of the medieval props used in Game of Thrones. The swords, for example, are made from aircraft aluminum, not steel. For more production design insights, check out these behind-the-scenes secrets of Game of Thrones weapons artists.

[h/t Mashable]

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