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Watch Brits Play the Oldest Board Game On Earth

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BabelStone // CC0 (Public Domain)

The Royal Game of Ur is the oldest known board game—it's at least 4000 years old! The British Museum has a copy, complete with wooden board, seven black markers, seven white markers, and four tetrahedral dice.

Although the game was discovered in the 1920s, its rules were deciphered later by British Museum curator Irving Finkel. He translated a cuneiform tablet found separately in order to puzzle out how it worked. (There's a terrific video describing this process.) In the video below, Finkel teaches YouTuber Tom Scott to play. Have a look:

If you're curious, the game is on BoardGameGeek and you can read about the British Museum's copy.

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politics
The Secret Procedure for the Queen's Death
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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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