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The New Issue is Out (and it's twice as shiny as before!)

The new issue is finally (FINALLY!) on newsstands, and we're so excited to talk about it. This month, mental_floss is covering all sorts of things, including exciting new cures for blindness, Crohn's disease and MS; America's next top energy source (icy methane bricks mined from the bottom of the ocean); and why Kashmiri men carry pumpkins on their bellies. We've even got great stories on the incredibly bizarre life of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and a little peek at all the skeletons hiding inside IKEA's well organized closet. In fact, there's so much great content that we'll be previewing it here all week.

But today we're focusing on Ethan Trex's wonderful piece on Tools. Here are our 2 favorite stories from the piece:

The 9/11 Squeegee

imagesOn September 11, 2001, a window washer named Jan Demczur found himself in a perilous spot. He was riding an elevator in the World Trade Center's North Tower when a jet struck the building and the elevator stalled out at the 50th floor. Luckily, Demczur and his five fellow riders had the foresight to pry open the elevator doors. But when they finally got them open, they found something grim on the other side: a solid wall. Rather than give up, Demczur grabbed his brass squeegee and began hacking at the wall. He eventually broke through, and all six passengers escaped to safety. Demczur's tool, meanwhile, ended up in the Smithsonian.

The Swiss Army Scalpel

While most Swiss Army knives are relegated to a mundane existence of tightening screws and opening beer bottles, Dr. John Ross' pocket knife has some better stories to tell. In 1989, the Canadian surgeon had a spot of bad luck when he arrived in Uganda. Before he could start practicing medicine, thieves stole his surgical saw. Thankfully, he'd also packed a Swiss Army knife. Whenever Ross needed to perform an amputation, he sterilized his trusty tool in boiling water and then used the saw blade to take off the injured limb. Ross praises the knife's high-quality steel for working "faultlessly," and by his count, he used the tool to perform at least six Swiss Army amputations.

In any case, there's tons more great stuff in the issue. Make our editors happy and pick up an issue on the newsstands. Or better yet, pick up a t-shirt and a subscription for a very low price here.

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The Origins of 36 Marvel Characters, Illustrated
Pop Chart Lab
Pop Chart Lab

No matter what their powers, every super hero has an origin story, from Spider-Man’s radioactive bite to Iron Man’s life-threatening chest shrapnel. In their latest poster, the designers at Pop Chart Lab have taken their infographic savvy to the Marvel Universe, charting the heroic origins of 36 different Marvel characters through miniature, minimalist comics.

Without using any words, they’ve managed to illustrate Bucky Barnes's plane explosion and subsequent transformation into the Winter Soldier, Jessica Jones’s car crash, the death of the Punisher’s family, and other classic stories from the major Marvel canon while paying tribute to the comic book form.

Explore the poster below, and see a zoomable version on Pop Chart Lab’s website.

A poster featuring 36 minimalist illustrations of superhero origin stories.
Pop Chart Lab

Keep your eyes open for future Marvel-Pop Chart crossovers. The Marvel Origins: A Sequential Compendium poster is “the first release of what we hope to be a marvelous partnership,” as Pop Chart Lab’s Galvin Chow puts it. Prints are available for pre-order starting at $37 and are scheduled to start shipping on March 8.

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