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Watching Abbey Road

A quick Google Images search for Abbey Road returns the iconic photograph of four Liverpool lads engaging in a famous stroll through a crosswalk of the London street.

As Miss Cellania revealed previously, Google also returns a number of other incarnations of the images; the Simpsons making the famous walk with Homer in Lennon’s famous white suit, album covers by other bands recreating the image, and many, many photos of tourists taking their turn.

In fact, I would venture to say (with absolutely no data to back me up) that Abbey Road photos may be the world's second most common staged tourist group photo – right behind the picture of a group of people holding up the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

Now, thanks to this live webcam posted on Abbey Road, it’s possible to see just how often this actually occurs. And from watching for just a few minutes, it seems that it happens pretty much constantly. The fact that Abbey Road is actually a busy street bustling with cars and busses makes it all the more entertaining to witness, as eager tourists must carefully calculate and quickly execute their Beatles pic and then quickly dance out of the way of traffic.

Here is a screenshot of two people I witnessed that didn't let the fact that they were missing Ringo and George stop them:

The people who live in the area and frequently travel down that street must have long since just accepted the daily necessity of slamming on their brakes to prevent mowing down a smiling, fanny-packed traveler. Such is the reality of living in birthplace of some of the world's most famous and beloved music.

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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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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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