Four Celebrities You Wouldn't Expect to Testify Before Congress (but still did)

With baseball's steroids scandal hitting Washington, Roger Clemens is among the stars being asked to testify before Congress. If you're thinking that Congress maybe has better people to talk to than aging baseball legends, you're probably right. But that hasn't stopped them from inviting some decidedly non-political faces to meet with them. Here's a look at some other names you wouldn't expect to see on Capitol Hill.


Can you tell me how to get, how to get to K Street? In one of the more bizarre Congressional visits, the Muppet Elmo of Sesame Street and Tickle-Me fame spoke to the Education Appropriations Subcommittee to lobby for increased funding for school music programs. Dressed in a suit with a snappy red tie, Elmo appeared because he wanted to make sure that "when Elmo goes to school, there will be the instruments to play." A fellow lobbyist praised Elmo's appearance because it represented the feelings of children everywhere, but he did neglect to recognize that most children can speak independently and aren't controlled by wires.

Jewel Kilcher

jewel002.jpgFolksy musician and poet Jewel is probably the most authoritative of the celebrities on this list, but that doesn't make her Congressional appearance any less surprising. She spoke to the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Income Security and Family Support on the issue of youth homelessness. Among the goals of the meeting was to name November National Homeless Youth Awareness Month. Jewel represented the charity Virgin Unite, but was really called because of her experience as a homeless youth in San Diego. Video of her address is available here.

Kevin Richardson

kevin richardson.jpgUnless one of the New Kids on the Block had a successful senatorial run that I'm not aware of, it's safe to say Kevin Richardson is probably the only boy band member to appear in the Capitol. The former singer/heart-throb testified about, of all things, mountaintop removal mining. Richardson's appearance infuriated Ohio Congressman George Voinovich, who boycotted the hearings because he felt they were becoming a sideshow merely to promote glamour. It should be noted that Richardson actually did have some credibility on the issue, since his environmental group has actively fought the mining strategy. However, Richardson ended up almost entirely agreeing with Voinovich when he admitted that he was trying to just attract media attention to the issue.

Christie Brinkley

christie brinkley.jpgSupermodel Christie Brinkley, famous for her Sports Illustrated covers and inspiring Billy Joel's Uptown Girl, testified before Congress in 2002. Besides boosting the hotness factor of Capitol Hill by a significant margin, she was there to discuss the risks of nuclear reactors. Not only are they terrorist targets, she said, but she and then-husband Peter Cook feared for their children's lives since they lived near three reactors. She admitted that she even kept potassium iodide pills stowed away to counter the effects of radiation. Brinkley has continued the fight against nuclear power, even recently taking it to the UN.

Take a Rare Glimpse Inside the World's Largest Seed Reserve

Since 2008, the remote Arctic island of Spitsbergen has been home to the world’s largest seed storage facility, known as the Svalbard Global Seed Vault.

The 11,000-square-foot facility contains nearly 865,000 seed samples—many of which are crops—and functions as both a reserve in the event of a catastrophe and as a backup for other seed banks around the world. Countries can send samples for preservation and access the reserves as needed (the effort is funded by Norway in conjunction with the organization Crop Trust). The vault was opened for the first time last year in light of the destruction caused by the Syrian War.

Access to the fault is notoriously limited, but AJ+ has a glimpse inside on its YouTube page. It’s a rare look at a place that isn’t known for its looks, but holds some of the planet’s most beautiful and valuable offerings.

[h/t The Kid Should See This]

This Infographic Explains the Difference Between Perfume and Eau de Toilette

Ever wondered why you can't smell the perfume you dabbed on earlier this morning? Maybe it's because you aren't actually wearing perfume. Instead, you likely applied eau de toilette, cologne, or another type of fragrance.

These sprays contain different concentrations of fragrance oil dissolved in solutions of alcohol and water. Scents with a heavier amount of oil are stronger, they're more expensive, and they also last for longer periods of time. Even the most discerning shopper might not know whether to opt for parfum or eu de parfum when perusing bottles of Chanel No. 5 at the fragrance counter—or even realize there's a difference. 

If you'd prefer to smell like a few roses instead of a field of them, it's handy to know the difference between perfume, eau de parfum, eau de toilette, cologne, and eau fraiche when you're out shopping for a new scent. Lifehacker recently ran this handy infographic by Real Men Real Style, which breaks down the strength of each fragrance along with how long it lasts. Use it as a guide to purchase the perfect product for you.

[h/t Lifehacker]


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