London's Big Ben to Cease Chiming Until 2021

iStock
iStock

Starting in late August, one of London’s largest—and noisiest—national symbols will go silent: As BBC News reports, Big Ben (which has rung on the hour for 157 years) will cease chiming until 2021. The measure is intended to protect workers completing restoration work on both the clock and its surrounding structure.

Big Ben will still chime on New Year’s Eve, Remembrance Sunday (a UK holiday that honors veterans), and other special occasions, but its last hourly bong will sound on Monday, August 21. Meanwhile, scaffolding has already been erected around the clock tower, and repairs have begun.

The clock tower last received extensive conservation work in the early 1980s. Officials say that the clock’s hands, pendulum, and inner workings all have problems “which need to be dealt with immediately to ensure that the clock can continue to work properly,” according to Parliament’s official website.

“Surveys are still being carried out to identify the extent of the works required to the tower itself, but we have already identified areas of concern, including cracks in masonry, leaks, erosion, and severe rusting of metalwork,” officials added. “There is a risk that if not addressed as a matter of urgency, the clock may fail or [structural] problems may become acute.”

Big Ben’s clock will be dismantled piece by piece, so its four dials can be cleaned and fixed. Its faces will be temporarily covered, but an electric motor will continue to drive the clock hands so it can keep telling time. Architects also plan to modernize the clock tower by making it more energy-efficient, and adding an elevator, toilet, and kitchen.

"This essential program of works will safeguard the clock on a long-term basis, as well as protecting and preserving its home—the Elizabeth Tower," the clock's keeper Steve Jaggs told the BBC.

For the uninitiated, the name “Big Ben” is often used to describe the tower, the clock, and the bell, but it originally described the largest of the clock’s five bells, which stands more than 7 feet tall and weighs more than 14 tons. As for the clock’s surrounding tower, it was dubbed Elizabeth Tower in 2012, to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s 60-year reign.

We're Hiring a Videographer/Editor!

iStock.com/filo
iStock.com/filo

Mental Floss is seeking a full-time videographer/editor to join our team in New York City. This person will shoot and edit multiple videos a week for our site and other platforms, contribute to brainstorming sessions, and see each video through every stage of production to the final product. This includes:

- Pitching video ideas and planning their execution
- Shooting in studio and on location
- Lighting shoots in studio and on location
- Recording audio
- Editing video
- Creating text and basic motion graphics

Ideal candidates will be ambitious, detail-oriented, and deadline-driven, and comfortable being a key player on a team as well as managing independent projects. They will have solid technical and production skills, and are equally comfortable shooting and editing. A sense of humor, wit, and the proclivity to pitch in and do whatever needs doing to get the job done are essential.

REQUIREMENTS

- 2-4 years making short-form digital video
- Experience shooting, lighting, and audio recording in the studio and on location
- Experience editing videos
- Proficiency in Adobe Premiere, After Effects, and Photoshop
- A knowledge of "what works" across platforms—but also an inclination to push the boundaries and innovate
- Strong writing skills
- Bonus points if you have animation and graphic design experience

TO APPLY

Send an email with the subject "Mental Floss Editor/Videographer" to anna@minutemedia.com. In your cover letter, tell us why you're a fit for our team and what a perfect Mental Floss video would be. Tell us about your most relevant work experience. Include a link to your portfolio and/or at least three links to short-form videos you shot or edited (specify your role). Please include your resume and salary requirements.

If we bring you in for an interview, we'll also ask you to do a video editing test. Please note that this is not a remote position; our offices are in midtown Manhattan.

America's Divorce Rate is Declining—and We Have Millennials to Thank for It

iStock/Jason_Lee_Hughes
iStock/Jason_Lee_Hughes

Millennials are reportedly killing off yet another cultural mainstay, but this time, it may be a good thing. According to Bloomberg, divorce rates are going down, thanks to the commitment powers of younger generations.

Between 2008 and 2016, the divorce rate in the U.S. dropped by 18 percent, according to a new analysis of data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. Controlling for related factors like age (older people are less likely to get divorced than younger couples), the rate still dropped by 8 percent. By contrast, Baby Boomers have consistently divorced at higher rates than previous generations.

Many declines that Millennials are blamed for—like rates of homeownership or having kids—can actually be attributed to the dismal finances of a generation that came of age in a recession, is saddled with crushing student debt, and faces high costs of living and low wage growth. Divorces can be expensive, too. Yet several trends point to a higher likelihood of marriage stability for the Millennial generation that has nothing to do with finances. On average, Millennials are marrying later in life, and spending more time dating partners prior to marriage than earlier generations, both of which correlate with a lower chance of divorce, according to social scientists.

“The U.S. is progressing toward a system in which marriage is rarer, and more stable, than it was in the past,” author Philip Cohen writes in the paper.

Sorry, law school students, but it looks like being a divorce lawyer is going to get a little less lucrative in the future.

[h/t Bloomberg]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER