Loch Ness Monster Spotted on British Coin Series

The Royal Mint
The Royal Mint

The latest British icon to be immortalized on currency isn’t human (or real, for that matter). As Atlas Obscura reports, the Loch Ness Monster is the face of a new 10-pence piece from the British Royal Mint.

The nickel-plated steel coin depicts Nessie swimming in her natural habitat, with her tail curled around the letter L. The cryptid (a creature that hasn’t been confirmed to exist by science) has been described as everything from a prehistoric marine reptile to a giant salamander, but the version on the coin shows a serpentine creature with a humped back.

The Nessie coin is one of 26 10-pence pieces in the new Quintessentially British A to Z series. Each coin represents a different letter of the alphabet and a corresponding piece of British culture. Along with L for Loch Ness, there’s B for Bond … James Bond, F for Fish and Chips, S for Stonehenge, and Q for Queuing. Britons are encouraged to take part in the “Great British Coin Hunt” by looking for the coins in their change and collecting all 26.

For coin collectors more interested in currency adorned with non-existent beasts than British treasures, there are many options. In 2011, the Canadian Mint produced a Bigfoot coin and a series of 25-cent coins commemorating legendary lake dragons and aquatic panthers. Though the pieces were limited-edition, they’re still easier to track down than an actual cryptid.

[h/t Atlas Obscura]

New LEGO Sets Let You Recreate the Iconic Skylines of San Francisco and Paris

In 2016, LEGO began releasing architecture-themed sets that let toy-loving designers recreate the world’s most famous skylines in their own homes, beginning with re-creations of New York, Venice, and Berlin. And now, the company is adding Paris and San Francisco to the mix, according to Archinect.

The new LEGO Architecture kit for Paris will feature the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe (both already available as stand-alone skyscraper kits) as well as the Louvre, the Tour Montparnasse, and other famous buildings. The LEGO San Francisco kit features the Golden Gate Bridge, the Transamerica Pyramid, Coit Tower, 555 California (formerly the Bank of America Center), Alcatraz Island, and the new Salesforce Tower, which recently became the city’s tallest building.

LEGO sets of the Paris and San Francisco skylines
LEGO

No doubt residents of both cities will have some gripes about which buildings were included and which were nixed from the kits. The Tour Montparnasse, in particular, was so deeply loathed upon its completion in the 1970s that the city of Paris promptly imposed a strict height restriction on buildings taller than 11 stories. Meanwhile, many San Francisco residents are still adjusting to the sight of the Salesforce Tower, which opened in 2018—it has been called “an atrocious spectacle,” its height described as “really offensive.”

You can check out all the kits from LEGO’s Architecture line here. Keep an eye out for the San Francisco and Paris versions starting early next year.

[h/t Architect]

Aquarium Points Out Anatomical Error in Apple's Squid Emoji

iStock.com
iStock.com

When an inaccurate image makes it into Apple's emoji keyboard, the backlash is usually swift. But the squid emoji had been around for more than two years before the Monterey Bay Aquarium pointed out a major anatomical error on Twitter. As The Verge reports, the emoji depicts a squid with a siphon on its face—not on the back of its head, where it should be.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium dragged Apple for the misstep on Wednesday, December 5. "Not even squidding the siphon should be behind the head," the aquarium tweeted, "rn it just looks like a weirdo nose."

A squid's siphon serves some vital purposes. It pumps water over the gills, allowing it to breathe, and it blasts water away when the squid needs to propel through the sea. It's also the orifice out of which waste is expelled, making its placement right between the eyes in the emoji version especially unfortunate.

Emojis have incited outrage from marine biology experts in the past. When the Unicode Consortium released an early design of its lobster emoji earlier this year, people were quick to point out that it was missing a set of legs. Luckily the situation was rectified in time for the emoji's official release.

Apple has been known to revise designs to appease the public, but getting the squid's siphon moved to the other side of its head may be a long shot: Until the most recent backlash, the emoji had existed controversy-free since 2016.

[h/t The Verge]

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