CLOSE

Morning Cup of Links: Girl Scout Cookie Copycats

Those of you who lament the fact that you can’t get your hands on a Trefoil or Thin Mint or Somoa for most of the year may want to whip up a batch of one of these Girl Scout Cookie copycats.
*
In yet another piece of evidence pointing to the high intelligence of their species, wild chimpanzees in Africa have figured out how to disable human-set traps – and pass the knowledge on to younger generations.
*
In this TED lecture, John Hodgman rambles on as only he can about aliens, love and everything in between.
*
It’s Women in Comedy Week at Splitsider – featuring a variety of comedienne-related pieces covering topics such as The Groundbreaking Women of Sketch Comedy and In Defense of Judd Apatow’s Female Characters.
*
You may already be an organ donor. But, in the unfortunate event of your untimely demise, who gets possession of all your ideas? Why not become an Intellectual Property Donor? (Via Digg)
*
Rogert Ebert really hates 3D technology. Possibly even more than he hates the movie North (Check the third paragraph from the bottom). In this article he explains why 3D technology “doesn't work with our brains and it never will.”
*
Yesterday was Virginia Woolf's birthday. Here's a list of 59 things you might not know about her. Next year, perhaps you can celebrate with a bowling party (see #7).
*
The goal of Sober February is “to abstain from alcohol for the month of February.” Seems simple enough, right? After all, it is the shortest month. Check out the idea behind the movement and see if you’re up for the challenge.
*
And since we’re knee-deep in award season, let’s take a look at 7 Historic Hollywood Landmarks.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
Animals
Why Tiny 'Hedgehog Highways' Are Popping Up Around London
iStock
iStock

Hedgehogs as pets have gained popularity in recent years, but in many parts of the world, they're still wild animals. That includes London, where close to a million of the creatures roam streets, parks, and gardens, seeking out wood and vegetation to take refuge in. Now, Atlas Obscura reports that animal activists are transforming the city into a more hospitable environment for hedgehogs.

Barnes Hedgehogs, a group founded by Michel Birkenwald in the London neighborhood of Barnes four years ago, is responsible for drilling tiny "hedgehog highways" through walls around London. The passages are just wide enough for the animals to climb through, making it easier for them to travel from one green space to the next.

London's wild hedgehog population has seen a sharp decline in recent decades. Though it's hard to pin down accurate numbers for the elusive animals, surveys have shown that the British population has dwindled by tens of millions since the 1950s. This is due to factors like human development and habitat destruction by farmers who aren't fond of the unattractive shrubs, hedges, and dead wood that hedgehogs use as their homes.

When such environments are left to grow, they can still be hard for hedgehogs to access. Carving hedgehog highways through the stone partitions and wooden fences bordering parks and gardens is one way Barnes Hedgehogs is making life in the big city a little easier for its most prickly residents.

[h/t Atlas Obscura]

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
Big Questions
Where Should You Place the Apostrophe in President's Day?
iStock
iStock

Happy Presidents’ Day! Or is it President’s Day? Or Presidents Day? What you call the national holiday depends on where you are, who you’re honoring, and how you think we’re celebrating.

Saying "President’s Day" infers that the day belongs to a singular president, such as George Washington or Abraham Lincoln, whose birthdays are the basis for the holiday. On the other hand, referring to it as "Presidents’ Day" means that the day belongs to all of the presidents—that it’s their day collectively. Finally, calling the day "Presidents Day"—plural with no apostrophe—would indicate that we’re honoring all POTUSes past and present (yes, even Andrew Johnson), but that no one president actually owns the day.

You would think that in the nearly 140 years since "Washington’s Birthday" was declared a holiday in 1879, someone would have officially declared a way to spell the day. But in fact, even the White House itself hasn’t chosen a single variation for its style guide. They spelled it “President’s Day” here and “Presidents’ Day” here.


Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Maybe that indecision comes from the fact that Presidents Day isn’t even a federal holiday. The federal holiday is technically still called “Washington’s Birthday,” and states can choose to call it whatever they want. Some states, like Iowa, don’t officially acknowledge the day at all. And the location of the punctuation mark is a moot point when individual states choose to call it something else entirely, like “George Washington’s Birthday and Daisy Gatson Bates Day” in Arkansas, or “Birthdays of George Washington/Thomas Jefferson” in Alabama. (Alabama loves to split birthday celebrations, by the way; the third Monday in January celebrates both Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert E. Lee.)

You can look to official grammar sources to declare the right way, but even they don’t agree. The AP Stylebook prefers “Presidents Day,” while Chicago Style uses “Presidents’ Day.”

The bottom line: There’s no rhyme or reason to any of it. Go with what feels right. And even then, if you’re in one of those states that has chosen to spell it “President’s Day”—Washington, for example—and you use one of the grammar book stylings instead, you’re still technically wrong.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios