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Wesley / Stringer / Getty Images
Wesley / Stringer / Getty Images

What 1969 Thought the Office of the Future Looked Like

Wesley / Stringer / Getty Images
Wesley / Stringer / Getty Images

On April 16, 1969, the BBC show Tomorrow's World showed James Burke's vision for the office of the future. In the short film, Burke's office is computerized, "quiet, cool, very efficient." There's no telephone, but there is a "BJ-39" computer on wheels, ready to provide messages, distractions, and a form of FOMO. Also, Burke is the only man in the building, surrounded by women. Hmm.

Overall, it's a surprisingly prescient vision. Burke's office contains automated single-serving coffee, video messaging, computerized cameras, voice-to-text transcription, and a distracting executive desk toy. But more than the technology, Burke nails the anxiety of the lonely workplace. He demonstrates that the biggest obstacle to solo work is not technology, but a distracted inner monologue wondering what to work on next, what's going on outside, and what might be lying around to fiddle with. His attitude is spot-on for the modern urge to refresh social media and news, particularly for remote workers.

Tune in, and try to spot yourself in this. Be aware that the Burke segment only lasts until about 3:30 in the video below; the rest is an unrelated segment on Ray Davis Jr.'s neutrino research (he would eventually win a Nobel Prize for it!) and very early LED manufacturing.

If you enjoyed that, you'll love Burke's TV series Connections.

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The Secret Procedure for the Queen's Death
Chris Radburn—WPA Pool/Getty Images
Chris Radburn—WPA Pool/Getty Images

The queen's private secretary will start an urgent phone tree. Parliament will call an emergency session. Commercial radio stations will watch special blue lights flash, then switch to pre-prepared playlists of somber music. As a new video from Half As Interesting relates, the British media and government have been preparing for decades for the death of Queen Elizabeth II—a procedure codenamed "London Bridge is Down."

There's plenty at stake when a British monarch dies. And as the Guardian explains, royal deaths haven't always gone smoothly. When the Queen Mother passed away in 2002, the blue "obit lights" installed at commercial radio stations didn’t come on because someone failed to depress the button fully. That's why it's worth it to practice: As Half as Interesting notes, experts have already signed contracts agreeing to be interviewed upon the queen's death, and several stations have done run-throughs substituting "Mrs. Robinson" for the queen's name.

You can learn more about "London Bridge is Down" by watching the video below—or read the Guardian piece for even more detail, including the plans for her funeral and burial. ("There may be corgis," they note.)

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How to Shuck an Oyster
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Shucking oysters doesn't have to be intimidating. Chef Dave Seigal of Cull & Pistol Oyster Bar teaches Mental Floss the proper technique for safe and easy oyster shucking. 

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