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7 Classic Sports Moments Recreated in Lego

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Sometimes, a single moment in sports is so transcendentally classic, that the only way to recapture in its full glory is to rebuild it brick by brick. Literally. Using Lego building blocks as their medium, here are seven sporting events (from football, America's version, to football, the rest of the world's version) retold by meticulous architects in a pint-sized format.

1. Andy Murray's Wimbledon Victory

Andy Murray's dispatching of Novak Djokovic in July of 2013—the first time in 77 years that a native Brit won the men's singles tournament and defended his home turf—was immortalized by British publication The Guardian in the form of a stop-motion Lego animation capturing the final two minutes of Murray's victory on Wimbledon's hallowed center court. 

Brick-by-brick videos are something of a calling card for The Guardian's sports page: The Lego-wielding crew has Lego-fied all things athletic, from highlights from the London 2012 Olympic Games (both Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt got the Lego treatment) to Champions League soccer matches. And, for Lego enthusiasts rather than sport ones, designer Fabian Moritz screened a behind-the-scenes glance of the crew's Lego animation project, including the woes of using figures that don't have elbows.

2. David Beckham's Entire Career

Since Becks once confessed in an interview that he'd finagle a career as a Lego architect if being a footballer didn't pan out, a homage filmed and animated with Lego bricks as a highlight reel of sorts spanning the soccer star's career feels appropriate.

Wrapping up the four-and-a-half minute project in two weeks, Japanese animation studio Mori Pictures snapped some 1000 still photographs of a well-coiffed brick Beckham doppelganger standing in for the superstar's biggest moments, including the highs (a bending free kick over an awkwardly-smiling Greek defense) and the lows (Beckham's smiling Lego face being replaced with an angry smirk when flashed a red card).

3. The 2008 Beijing Olympic Games

What it lacks in animation, it makes up for in volume: In 2008, Lego enthusiasts from Hong Kong unpacked more than 300,000 Lego bricks and 4500 Lego citizens to construct a replica of Beijing's Olympic Village during the Summer Games. Measuring in at 10 feet by 26 feet, the construction includes the Bird's Nest Stadium, the Water Cube, and a host of athletes mid-competition.

The exhibition, built by the aptly named Hong Kong Lego Users Group, went on display at Hong Kong's Grand Century Place during August of 2008.

4. Chris Webber's Infamous March Madness Timeout Call

As a crash course for March Madness neophytes, Tauntr (a website that has also chronicled World Cup and classic NBA playoff highlights in Lego form) animated four classic moments from NCAA college basketball history using Lego bricks. The video, clocking in at just over two minutes, includes "One Shining Moment" highlight reel staples like Christian Laettner's late game heroics in 1992 to help Duke polish off Kentucky, Tyrus Edney's mad dash for a shot as Missouri toppled UCLA in 1996, and, most recently, Butler's Gordon Heyward's missed desperation shot in 2010's title game loss to Duke.

The highlight here is a Lego recounting of University of Michigan superstar Chris Webber's poorly orchestrated timeout in 1993's tournament game against the North Carolina Tar Heels. In a stroke of clever inspiration, the folks at Tauntr include a fan waving a sign that points out, "This Won't Count Anyways," referencing NCAA sanctions against the Wolverines when Webber was found to have received illegal benefits.

5. A Brief, Lego-ized History of FIFA's European Championship

A teenage England national football team supporter, 18-year-old Graham Love, preempted FIFA's 2012 European Championship with a YouTube video retelling some of the tournament's most storied moments with Lego figures. Love was aware of his national side's woes in the tournament when he shot the video: He spotlighted a handful of moments from the tourney most England fans would probably like to forget, including England's failure to qualify on their home field (historic Wembley Stadium) against Croatia in 2008.

The optimistic Love capped his video—which spanned from Cristiano Ronaldo's bawl after losing in the 2004 final to a cameo of Ireland's Ray Houghton scoring on a header in Euro 1988—with a graphic asking, "Hodgson's Heroes 2012?" Alas, Love's beloved Three Lions (nicknamed for skipper Roy Hodgson) lost in the quarterfinals in a penalty kick shootout against Italy. 

6. Super Bowl XLV

German website Bricksports.de dipped its toes into the Lego animation pool, initially only recreating football matches including Bundesliga club Hannover 96. After tackling more major sporting events—2008's European Championship and the 2010 World Cup—Brick Sports finally crossed over to cover the holy grail of competitions across the Atlantic: Super Bowl XLV. Brick Sports captures the game's signature plays, right down to the teams' pre-game tunnel sprint. Their reimagining of the Super Bowl captured the interest of The Guardian, and Brick Sports teamed up with the publication for the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

7. The Red Sox' 2013 World Series Win

OK, so it's not quite Lego, but after the Boston Red Sox trumped the St. Louis Cardinals to win the 2013 World Series, Sports Illustrated for Kids used Lego-esque OYO Sportstoys to recreate pivotal moments from the series in painstaking detail. The figurines also gave SI Kids some joints that The Guardian's Moritz lamented that Lego lacked (OYO Sportstoys are more flexible).

Using what Sports Illustrated For Kids deemed "stunning OYO brickimation," the magazine also recapped the most memorable plays from the American League Championship Series and its National League counterpart. The players are OYO, but as CBS Sports sleuthed, the playing surface is made of Lego.

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15 Confusing Plant and Animal Misnomers
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People have always given names to the plants and animals around us. But as our study of the natural world has developed, we've realized that many of these names are wildly inaccurate. In fact, they often have less to say about nature than about the people who did the naming. Here’s a batch of these befuddling names.

1. COMMON NIGHTHAWK

There are two problems with this bird’s name. First, the common nighthawk doesn’t fly at night—it’s active at dawn and dusk. Second, it’s not a hawk. Native to North and South America, it belongs to a group of birds with an even stranger name: Goatsuckers. People used to think that these birds flew into barns at night and drank from the teats of goats. (In fact, they eat insects.)

2. IRISH MOSS

It’s not a moss—it’s a red alga that lives along the rocky shores of the northern Atlantic Ocean. Irish moss and other red algae give us carrageenan, a cheap food thickener that you may have eaten in gummy candies, soy milk, ice cream, veggie hot dogs, and more.

3. FISHER-CAT

Native to North America, the fisher-cat isn’t a cat at all: It’s a cousin of the weasel. It also doesn’t fish. Nobody’s sure where the fisher cat’s name came from. One possibility is that early naturalists confused it with the sea mink, a similar-looking creature that was an expert fisher. But the fisher-cat prefers to eat land animals. In fact, it’s one of the few creatures that can tackle a porcupine.

4. AMERICAN BLUE-EYED GRASS

American blue-eyed grass doesn’t have eyes (which is good, because that would be super creepy). Its blue “eyes” are flowers that peek up at you from a meadow. It’s also not a grass—it’s a member of the iris family.

5. MUDPUPPY

The mudpuppy isn’t a cute, fluffy puppy that scampered into some mud. It’s a big, mucus-covered salamander that spends all of its life underwater. (It’s still adorable, though.) The mudpuppy isn’t the only aquatic salamander with a weird name—there are many more, including the greater siren, the Alabama waterdog, and the world’s most metal amphibian, the hellbender.

6. WINGED DRAGONFISH

This weird creature has other fantastic and inaccurate names: brick seamoth, long-tailed dragonfish, and more. It’s really just a cool-looking fish. Found in the waters off of Asia, it has wing-like fins, and spends its time on the muddy seafloor.

7. NAVAL SHIPWORM

The naval shipworm is not a worm. It’s something much, much weirder: a kind of clam with a long, wormlike body that doesn’t fit in its tiny shell. It uses this modified shell to dig into wood, which it eats. The naval shipworm, and other shipworms, burrow through all sorts of submerged wood—including wooden ships.

8. WHIP SPIDERS

These leggy creatures are not spiders; they’re in a separate scientific family. They also don’t whip anything. Whip spiders have two long legs that look whip-like, but that are used as sense organs—sort of like an insect’s antennae. Despite their intimidating appearance, whip spiders are harmless to humans.

9. VELVET ANTS

A photograph of a velvet ant
Craig Pemberton, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0

There are thousands of species of velvet ants … and all are wasps, not ants. These insects have a fuzzy, velvety look. Don’t pat them, though—velvet ants aren’t aggressive, but the females pack a powerful sting.

10. SLOW WORM

The slow worm is not a worm. It’s a legless reptile that lives in parts of Europe and Asia. Though it looks like a snake, it became legless through a totally separate evolutionary path from the one snakes took. It has many traits in common with lizards, such as eyelids and external ear holes.

11. TRAVELER'S PALM

This beautiful tree from Madagascar has been planted in tropical gardens all around the world. It’s not actually a palm, but belongs to a family that includes the bird of paradise flower. In its native home, the traveler’s palm reproduces with the help of lemurs that guzzle its nectar and spread pollen from tree to tree.

12. VAMPIRE SQUID

Drawing of a vampire squid
Carl Chun, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

This deep-sea critter isn’t a squid. It’s the only surviving member of a scientific order that has characteristics of both octopuses and squids. And don’t let the word “vampire” scare you; it only eats bits of falling marine debris (dead stuff, poop, and so on), and it’s only about 11 inches long.

13. MALE FERN & LADY FERN

Early botanists thought that these two ferns belonged to the same species. They figured that the male fern was the male of the species because of its coarse appearance. The lady fern, on the other hand, has lacy fronds and seemed more ladylike. Gender stereotypes aside, male and lady Ferns belong to entirely separate species, and almost all ferns can make both male and female reproductive cells. If ferns start looking manly or womanly to you, maybe you should take a break from botany.

14. TENNESSEE WARBLER

You will never find a single Tennessee warbler nest in Tennessee. This bird breeds mostly in Canada, and spends the winter in Mexico and more southern places. But early ornithologist Alexander Wilson shot one in 1811 in Tennessee during its migration, and the name stuck.

15. CANADA THISTLE

Though it’s found across much of Canada, this spiky plant comes from Europe and Asia. Early European settlers brought Canada thistle seeds to the New World, possibly as accidental hitchhikers in grain shipments. A tough weed, the plant soon spread across the continent, taking root in fields and pushing aside crops. So why does it have this inaccurate name? Americans may have been looking for someone to blame for this plant—so they blamed Canada.

A version of this story originally ran in 2015.

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18 Tea Infusers to Make Teatime More Exciting
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Make steeping tea more fun with these quirky tea infusers.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we only get commission on items you buy and don’t return, so we’re only happy if you’re happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

1. SOAKING IT UP; $7.49

man-shaped tea infuser
Amazon

That mug of hot water might eventually be a drink for you, but first it’s a hot bath for your new friend, who has special pants filled with tea.

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2. A FLYING TEA BOX; $25.98

There’s no superlaser on this Death Star, just tea.

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3. SPACE STATION; $9.99

astronaut tea infuser
ThinkGeek

This astronaut's mission? Orbit the rim of your mug until you're ready to pull the space station diffuser out.

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4. BE REFINED; $12.99

This pipe works best with Earl Grey.

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5. A RIBBITING OPTION; $10.93

This frog hangs on to the side of your mug with a retractable tongue. When the tea is ready, you can put him back on his lily pad.

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6. ‘TEA’ ALL LIVE IN A YELLOW SUBMARINE; $5.95

It’s just like the movie, only with tea instead of Beatles.

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7. SHARK ATTACK; $6.99

shark tea infuser
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This fearsome shark patrols the bottom of your mug waiting for prey. For extra fun, use red tea to look like the end of a feeding frenzy.

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8. PERFECT FOR A RAINY DAY; $12.40

This umbrella’s handle conveniently hooks to the side of your mug.

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9. AN EGGCELLENT INFUSER; $5.75

cracked egg tea infuser
Amazon

Sometimes infusers are called tea eggs, and this one takes the term to a new, literal level.

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10. FOR SQUIRRELY DRINKERS; $8.95

If you’re all right with a rodent dunking its tail into your drink, this is the infuser for you.

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11. HANGING OUT; $12.85

This pug is happy to hang onto your mug and keep you company while you wait for the tea to be ready.

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12. ANOTHER SHARK OPTION; $5.99

If you thought letting that other shark infuser swim around in the deep water of your glass was too scary, this one perches on the edge, too busy comping on your mug to worry about humans.

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13. RUBBER DUCKIE, YOU’RE THE ONE; $8.95

Let this rubber duckie peacefully float in your cup and make teatime lots of fun.

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14. DIVING DEEP; $8.25

This old-timey deep-sea diver comes with an oxygen tank that you can use to pull it out.

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15. MAKE SWEET TEA; $10

This lollipop won't actually make your tea any sweeter, but you can always add some sugar after.

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16. A SEASONAL FAVORITE; $7.67

When Santa comes, give him some tea to go with the cookies.

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17. FLORAL TEA; $14.99

Liven up any cup of tea with this charming flower. When you’re done, you can pop it right back into its pot.

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18. KEEP IT TRADITIONAL; $7.97

If you’re nostalgic for the regular kind of tea bag, you can get reusable silicon ones that look almost the same.

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