CLOSE

The Missing Links: This Whole Summer Thing Is A Bit Much

Knowing How A Magician Pulls Off A Trick Ruins the Show. Right?
According to the author of a new book that gives away a lot of illusionist secrets:

"Magic is a science as well as an art, and in science, knowledge serves only to deepen the mystery. Each new find opens vistas on an unchartered territory at the edge of human understanding. Nestled within each answer lies another riddle in an endless stream of unknowns.”

*

This Headline Right Here Has Exactly 140 Characters. Go Ahead & Count Them If You Don’t Believe Me I Will Just Wait Right Here As You Do It.
For Twitter users who aren't into the whole brevity thing, you might soon be set free to write a lot more.

*

“Darn You For Making Me Drop My Cynicism For 2 Minutes”
That was pretty much my reaction to the person I know that brought to my attention this collection of 21 Pictures That Will Restore Your Faith in Humanity.

*

Enough With the Summer Already
Sure, we just celebrated the beginning of Summer yesterday, but it’s hot. Here are a few movies that will get you in the mood to HATE this balmy season.

*

Add Some Variety to Your Mailman’s Day
Welcome him to your home with a mailbox shaped like a giant gun. Some of the unusual mailboxes aren’t even that tasteful.

*

Now That’s What I Call A Drive
You’ll realize what a terrible pun that headline is when you take a look at the video below, which documents a world record attempt at catching a golf ball with a moving car.

(Via Kottke)

arrow
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]

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
holidays
Custom-Design the Ugly Christmas Sweater of Your Dreams (or Nightmares)
iStock
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.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios