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neatorama presents: HDYK? – {day 1}

It’s an all-new 5-day trivia hunt!

Josh Halbur and I bring you the next How Did You Know? sponsored by our friends over at neatorama.com.


Here’s how it works: Starting today, and every day the rest of this week, we’ll be presenting two challenges at noon ET. They’ll be very similar to the kinds of puzzles you’ve come to expect from me and Josh, and, yes, they will feed into the Day 5 puzzle, as normal. Each evening, at 8pm ET, we’ll be putting up a third challenge loosely based on the day’s previous two challenges. You won’t need to solve the first two to solve the third, but knowing the day’s theme might help you be the first to crack Level 3. Also: note that you’ll have to solve Level 3–the bonus–to compete on Day 5

>> Prizes! Each day, one person will win one item from the neatoshop worth $25 or less. Shipping is on the house but the item you pick must be in stock. Oh, and no credit if you don’t use up the full $25. To be eligible for the prize, you need to leave the correct answer to Level 3 on the correct neatorama page before 10pm ET. You also need to tell us in that comment what you want if you’re selected at random.

>> So what’s in it for the person/team who finishes first with all the correct answers? Bragging rights, as always, with your photo/bio posted on our site. But also the chance to win the Day 5 neatorama prize, and, as has been tradition here for the last 30 months of HDYK?, your pick of any one of the amazing t-shirts from our store.

As always, if you’re not a Fan of our Facebook page, be sure to add us so we can keep you updated, and you can get in on some additional nifty clues throughout the week. If you’re new to our five-day hunt, you can read up on our new Rules page here. Oh, and last month’s challenges can be found here if you’re curious. Okay, ready to get your Hunt on? Click on through.

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History
The Secret World War II History Hidden in London's Fences

In South London, the remains of the UK’s World War II history are visible in an unlikely place—one that you might pass by regularly and never take a second look at. In a significant number of housing estates, the fences around the perimeter are actually upcycled medical stretchers from the war, as the design podcast 99% Invisible reports.

During the Blitz of 1940 and 1941, the UK’s Air Raid Precautions department worked to protect civilians from the bombings. The organization built 60,000 steel stretchers to carry injured people during attacks. The metal structures were designed to be easy to disinfect in case of a gas attack, but that design ended up making them perfect for reuse after the war.

Many London housing developments at the time had to remove their fences so that the metal could be used in the war effort, and once the war was over, they were looking to replace them. The London County Council came up with a solution that would benefit everyone: They repurposed the excess stretchers that the city no longer needed into residential railings.

You can tell a stretcher railing from a regular fence because of the curves in the poles at the top and bottom of the fence. They’re hand-holds, designed to make it easier to carry it.

Unfortunately, decades of being exposed to the elements have left some of these historic artifacts in poor shape, and some housing estates have removed them due to high levels of degradation. The Stretcher Railing Society is currently working to preserve these heritage pieces of London infrastructure.

As of right now, though, there are plenty of stretchers you can still find on the streets. If you're in the London area, this handy Google map shows where you can find the historic fencing.

[h/t 99% Invisible]

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holidays
Custom-Design the Ugly Christmas Sweater of Your Dreams (or Nightmares)
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iStock

For those of you aspiring to be the worst dressed person at your family's holiday dinner, UglyChristmasSweater.com sells—you guessed it—ugly Christmas sweaters to seasonal revelers possessing a sense of irony. But the Michigan-based online retailer has elevated kitsch to new heights by offering a create-your-own-sweater tool on its website.

Simply visit the site's homepage, and click on the Sweater Customizer link. There, you'll be provided with a basic sweater template, which you can decorate with festive snowflakes, reindeer, and other designs in five different colors. If you're feeling really creative, you can even upload photos, logos, hand-drawn pictures, and/or text. After you approve and purchase a mock-up of the final design, you can purchase the final result (prices start at under $70). But you'd better act quickly: due to high demand, orders will take about two weeks plus shipping time to arrive.

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