Make Your Walls Smarter With These Rock Stars of Science Posters

It’s so cliché having posters and photos of musicians on your walls; your walls could be smarter if they sported some rock stars of science, instead

In early 2010, Megan Lee achieved inspiration via channel surfing when she came across a television documentary on the life of Nikola Tesla. Megan knew little about Tesla prior to watching the program but she found his rock-star brilliance incredibly interesting. Not sure exactly of where her research would take her, she began to read more about Tesla’s life.

When the answer came, it came Eureka-style and in the form of a mental image. She pulled out a notebook and quickly sketched the image in her head—a rectangle with a lightbulb inside and Tesla's name and year of birth written underneath it. 

She knew exactly how she wanted it to look, could see it perfectly in her head. An artist who had previously employed worked primarily in photography and acrylic paints, Megan did not have experience or training in graphic design—but she surely figured it out.

Her Tesla design was based off of an old diagram she had found while researching and she kept the lines looking a little rough, layering the image under textures and smudges to give it an aged steampunk look.

She hung it in her apartment, pleased and with the task seemingly complete. But after some positive feedback from friends, she decided to sell her Tesla rock star print on Etsy.

According to Megan, “It sold. And then more sold. Ideas were pouring in while I continued exploring my new interest in science, so I started creating more designs and selling them as prints on Etsy, too. And that's how it all started.”

Today, the Rock Stars of Science collection has grown considerably. But Megan’s process is mostly unchanged from when she was first inspired by Tesla’s genius. “I get an idea or suggestion, I research the subject, and then I have fun playing until I like what I have.”

“It's really amazing for me to see that what started as a small personal project has now turned into a full-time business—as well as put me in touch with really fun and amazing people all over the world," she says. "Thanks to customers and passionate fans spreading the word about my work, I get contacted by scientists, schools and businesses about different opportunities just about every week. A few months ago I was contacted by the USA Science & Engineering Festival in Washington DC, who I'm now collaborating with and just a couple months ago I got an email from mental_floss! It's rather exciting waking up and never knowing who I'm going to hear from that day.”

Of course, we think Megan is pretty much a rock star herself and we have stocked four of our favorites of her prints: Einstein, Curie, Newton and, of course, Megan’s original inspiration, Tesla—pick one or get the full set of four!

Bleat Along to Classic Holiday Tunes With This Goat Christmas Album

Feeling a little Grinchy this month? The Sweden branch of ActionAid, an international charity dedicated to fighting global poverty, wants to goat—errr ... goad—you into the Christmas spirit with their animal-focused holiday album: All I Want for Christmas is a Goat.

Fittingly, it features the shriek-filled vocal stylings of a group of festive farm animals bleating out classics like “Jingle Bells,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” and “O Come All Ye Faithful.” The recording may sound like a silly novelty release, but there's a serious cause behind it: It’s intended to remind listeners how the animals benefit impoverished communities. Goats can live in arid nations that are too dry for farming, and they provide their owners with milk and wool. In fact, the only thing they can't seem to do is, well, sing. 

You can purchase All I Want for Christmas is a Goat on iTunes and Spotify, or listen to a few songs from its eight-track selection below.

What Are the 12 Days of Christmas?

Everyone knows to expect a partridge in a pear tree from your true love on the first day of Christmas ... But when is the first day of Christmas?

You'd think that the 12 days of Christmas would lead up to the big day—that's how countdowns work, as any year-end list would illustrate—but in Western Christianity, "Christmas" actually begins on December 25th and ends on January 5th. According to liturgy, the 12 days signify the time in between the birth of Christ and the night before Epiphany, which is the day the Magi visited bearing gifts. This is also called "Twelfth Night." (Epiphany is marked in most Western Christian traditions as happening on January 6th, and in some countries, the 12 days begin on December 26th.)

As for the ubiquitous song, it is said to be French in origin and was first printed in England in 1780. Rumors spread that it was a coded guide for Catholics who had to study their faith in secret in 16th-century England when Catholicism was against the law. According to the Christian Resource Institute, the legend is that "The 'true love' mentioned in the song is not an earthly suitor, but refers to God Himself. The 'me' who receives the presents refers to every baptized person who is part of the Christian Faith. Each of the 'days' represents some aspect of the Christian Faith that was important for children to learn."

In debunking that story, Snopes excerpted a 1998 email that lists what each object in the song supposedly symbolizes:

2 Turtle Doves = the Old and New Testaments
3 French Hens = Faith, Hope and Charity, the Theological Virtues
4 Calling Birds = the Four Gospels and/or the Four Evangelists
5 Golden Rings = the first Five Books of the Old Testament, the "Pentateuch", which gives the history of man's fall from grace.
6 Geese A-laying = the six days of creation
7 Swans A-swimming = the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, the seven sacraments
8 Maids A-milking = the eight beatitudes
9 Ladies Dancing = the nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit
10 Lords A-leaping = the ten commandments
11 Pipers Piping = the eleven faithful apostles
12 Drummers Drumming = the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle's Creed

There is pretty much no historical evidence pointing to the song's secret history, although the arguments for the legend are compelling. In all likelihood, the song's "code" was invented retroactively.

Hidden meaning or not, one thing is definitely certain: You have "The Twelve Days of Christmas" stuck in your head right now.


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