Up Your Sunbathing Game This Summer With a Round Beach Towel

Here's the simple truth: Round beach towels are amazing.

If you haven't heard of round beach towels (a.k.a. roundies), they are large, circular beach towels usually featuring cute designs, including round foods like watermelons and doughnuts. According to The Cut, this Instagram-worthy trend originated in 2013 when Australian brand The Beach People invented roundies and saw them immediately sell out. The craze spread to the U.S. a few years later, when roundies went viral on the internet.

ROUND TOWEL #today #beachday #whitesandbeach #roundbeachtowel

A post shared by MYRIAM KATJA (@myriamkatja) on

So, why are roundies superior to your average rectangular towel? From a practical point of view, the large size and circular shape mean you have lots of room to move around and flip over. With a rectangular towel, you're always struggling to stay on a narrow strip of terrycloth to avoid the sand surrounding you on every side, threatening to stick to your wet skin. If you want to turn over, you pretty much have to do it in place. Who decided that a tiny rectangle was the best size and shape for a towel anyway? Why have we put up with this nonsense for so long? Round towels are logically the better choice.

You may be asking yourself: Why not just have a large square towel? Why does it have to be a circle? And the answer is: Stop being a Debbie Downer. They're round because it's fun and whimsical and it means you can have a pizza-shaped towel. (In all seriousness, though, big square beach towels do exist, and they're great. They just haven't blown up on Instagram the way roundies have.)

Having a round towel makes it easy to spot your group at the beach: Your roundie will stand out among all those regular ones. It's also big enough to share. What's more, it can easily double as a picnic blanket, a tablecloth, or even a shawl for walking on the beach (just fold it in half first).

In conclusion, save yourself from the clutches of your tiny, rectangular towel and buy a roundie. Here are a few of our favorites:

WATERMELON; $68

watermelon round towel
ban.do

Find It: ban.do

DOUGHNUT; $20.99

doughnut round towel
Amazon

Find It: Amazon

MANDALA; $19.99

round mandala towel
Amazon

Find It: Amazon

PIZZA; $21.99

A round beach towel in the shape of a pizza
Amazon

Find It: Amazon

Paris Responds to Its Public Urination Problem By Installing Open-Air Urinals

Thomas Samson, AFP/Getty Images
Thomas Samson, AFP/Getty Images

In between stops at the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower, sightseers in Paris might notice some unusual new landmarks marking the city's streets: bright red, open-air urinals. As NPR reports, the so-called "Uritrottoir" (a mashup of the French words for urinal and pavement) have been installed in response to the city's public urination problem, and residents aren't happy about it.

Peeing openly on the streets has been an unofficial tradition in the French capital since the pre-Napoleon era. Relieving oneself on city property is a fineable offense, but that hasn't stopped both tourists and locals from continuing to do it, subjecting bystanders to both the unwelcome sight and the lingering smell.

Now, Paris is taking an if-you-can't-beat-'em-join-'em approach to the issue. Uritrottoir have popped up near some of the city's most famous spots, such as Île Saint-Louis, overlooking the Seine, and Notre-Dame Cathedral. They're about the height and size of trash cans, with a receptacle that's meant to catch pee, not litter. Inside the Uritrottoir, straw and other composting materials absorb the urine and its odors, eventually breaking down into a compost that will feed the plants growing from the top of the box. A conspicuous sign of a man peeing posted above the urinal lets passersby know exactly what the contraption is for.

The built-in planters are meant to present the public urinals as something beautiful and functional, but many of the people who have to look at them every day aren't buying it. Fabienne Bonnat, a local art gallery owner, told CBC Radio, "It's an open door to exhibitionism. Who likes to see that?"

Another Île Saint-Louis gallery owner, who didn't wish to be named, told Reuters, “We’re told we have to accept this but this is absolutely unacceptable. It’s destroying the legacy of the island. Can’t people behave?"

The first three toilets were installed in March with a fourth appearing in July. The city has plans to add a fifth urinal, despite the uproar they've already caused.

[h/t NPR]

After Seven Years, Melbourne Has Been Displaced as the World's Most Liveable City

iStock
iStock

We should all move to Vienna. That's what the Economist Intelligence Unit recommends: In a new report, it ranked Austria's capital as the world's most liveable city. With a score of 99.1 out of 100, Vienna beat out Melbourne for the top spot, which the Australian city had held onto for the past seven consecutive years. This is the City of Music's first time being number one.

The survey ranks 140 cities worldwide based on five categories: stability (including crime and terrorism); healthcare; culture and environment (including level of censorship, temperature, and cultural offerings); education; and infrastructure (including public transportation, housing, energy, and water). Overall, there were improvements in safety and stability this year for the countries surveyed.

Vienna scored a perfect 100 in four out of five categories. The only area in which the city could use a tiny bit of improvement is in culture and environment—though its 96.3 score is still pretty impressive.

The cities that scored best on the list tend to be mid-sized with low population densities and located in wealthy countries. The world's biggest urban centers, such as New York, London, and Paris, may be popular places to live for their unbeatable food and culture, but high levels of crime, congestion, and public transportation issues make quality of life less desirable and drag them down in the rankings.

The top 10 most liveable cities are:

1. Vienna, Austria
2. Melbourne, Australia
3. Osaka, Japan
4. Calgary, Canada
5. Sydney, Australia
6. Vancouver, Canada
7. Toronto, Canada
8. Tokyo, Japan
9. Copenhagen, Denmark
10. Adelaide, Australia

And here are the 10 least liveable cities:

131. Dakar, Senegal
132. Algiers, Algeria
133. Douala, Cameroon
134. Tripoli, Libya
135. Harare, Zimbabwe
136. Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
137. Karachi, Pakistan
138. Lagos, Nigeria
139. Dhaka, Bangladesh
140. Damascus, Syria

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