Carvel Made Mental Floss a Gritty Ice Cream Cake

Erin McCarthy
Erin McCarthy

When Gritty, the new mascot of the Philadelphia Flyers hockey team, made his debut on September 24, the internet reacted with horror that quickly turned to delight. The googly-eyed mascot filled a void the internet didn’t know it had, and he was quickly memefied, deified, and Jimmy Fallon-ified. Mental Floss even wished him luck in a list about short-lived mascots. We love Gritty.

Despite her devotion to the New York Rangers, Mental Floss’s editor in chief Erin McCarthy is as obsessed with Gritty as the rest of the world, frequently posting his latest antics to Slack. On November 9, she was thinking about Gritty and also Carvel ice cream cakes when something occurred to her. Take Carvel’s Cookie Puss, remove the nose, add a gaping mouth, make it orange, and BAM, it’s Gritty. So, naturally, she tweeted about it:

Mental Floss senior editor Jennifer Wood (also a Gritty enthusiast) boosted the signal to the mascot himself, as well as Carvel—which at first responded with confusion:

Then they went silent. Erin and Jenn still thought the idea was brilliant, but they recognized that they had to move on.

And then, Carvel began tweeting to Erin about the Gritty cake again.

Until finally, they revealed … GRITTY ICE CREAM CAKE.

The eyes! The helmet! The beard! This dead ringer for the best mascot on the ice was designed by Alexandra Soranno, Carvel Culinary Trend and Innovation Specialist, and here's how it came together:

Start with a classic Cookie Puss cake base ...

A Cookie Puss base about to made into a Gritty Cake.
Carvel

... Add the eyes, the hELMET, and the mouth ...

Cookie Puss on the way to becoming a Gritty Ice Cream Cake.
Carvel

... Pipe on that orange fur. It's Gritty!

A Gritty Ice Cream Cake.
Carvel

You can see a video of the cake being made here:

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To our delight, Carvel sent the cake to the Mental Floss offices, where we devoured it—but not before taking a few detail shots, which we now present for your enjoyment:

A close-up of a Gritty ice cream cake eye.
Erin McCarthy

An image of a Gritty Ice Cream cake.
Erin McCarthy

The beard of a Gritty ice cream cake.
Erin McCarthy

A detail shot of the Gritty cake's mouth and tongue.
Erin McCarthy

A detail shot of the Gritty cake's eye and hat.
Erin McCarthy

Gritty Ice Cream Cake tastes exactly how you'd expect—like chaos and sugar and the color orange, like if Fudgy the Whale met the void. Gritty Ice Cream Cake tastes incredible.

So how does our editor-in-chief feel about this whole situation?


View this post on Instagram

Dreams do come true! Thanks to @carvelicecream for the @grittynhl cake!

A post shared by erincmccarthy (@erincmccarthy) on

Editor's note: Jenn Wood did not get to partake in the deliciousness of this Gritty ice cream cake party, and is currently not speaking to her co-workers as a result.

103-Year-Old Julia 'Hurricane' Hawkins Just Set a New World Record for the 50-Meter Dash

Julia “Hurricane” Hawkins participates in the 2019 Senior Games,
Julia “Hurricane” Hawkins participates in the 2019 Senior Games,
All images copyright NSGA

Here she is, as the Scorpions would say, rocking the 50-meter dash like a hurricane. On Monday, 103-year-old Baton Rouge native Julia "Hurricane" Hawkins set a new world record in her division—the women's 100-plus—by completing the 50-meter dash at the Senior Games in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in just 46.07 seconds.

Amazingly, this isn't the only world record Hawkins holds: In 2017, the former teacher set her first world record (which she still holds) by finishing the 100-meter race in less than 40 seconds. "I thought it’d be neat to run at 100, and do the 100-yard dash,” Hawkins told KRQE. Although family members say she has always been active, she only started running fairly recently—lacing up her sneakers for the first time at the age of 101.

Hawkins, who credits the sport with keeping her mind and body sharp, says she has no plans of slowing down any time soon. Her preferred method of training? Walking around her garden. "I have an acre of land and I have 50 kinds of trees, and I’m working on them all the time,” Hawkins said.

While the "Hurricane" nickname is certainly befitting, the world-class athlete has a better suggestion: "I like the flower lady better."

Aside from maintaining her personal health, Hawkins has a more noble goal each time she picks up the pace. "I hope I’m inspiring [other people] to be healthy,” she said, "and to realize you can still be doing it at this kind of an age.”

[h/t KRQE]

4 Reasons Why Climbing Everest Is Deadlier Than Ever

Prakash Mathema/Getty Images
Prakash Mathema/Getty Images

On April 18, 2014, an avalanche killed 16 Sherpas on Mount Everest, making it the deadliest day in the mountain’s history. But one year later, a 7.8-magnitude earthquake triggered another fatal avalanche that killed more than 20 climbers and shut the mountain down for the 2015 season. During this year's season, at least 11 climbers have died on Everest experts say.

At 29,029 feet, Everest is known for its dangers; that's part of the allure. But in recent years, tragedies have spiked, and frozen bodies scattered across the mountain are an eerie reminder of the growing hazards. So why is the world’s tallest mountain claiming more lives than ever before?

1. Climate change makes Mount Everest unpredictable.

Everest tragedies are nothing new; since 1990, at least one climber has died in pursuit of the summit every year. But each climbing season, Everest is getting more unstable. Kent Clement, a professor of outdoor studies at Colorado Mountain College, argues that climate change is possibly the most imminent risk for climbers.

“As temperatures rise, Everest’s thousands of feet of ice and water are becoming unstable, making the mountain even more volatile,” Clement said.

Collapsing seracs—50- to 100-foot columns of ice formed by intersecting glacier crevasses—are a growing threat. Seracs can stand perfectly still for decades, then spontaneously fall over, killing those nearby and, in some cases, triggering avalanches further down the mountain. Case in point: The deadly 2014 avalanche that killed 16 Sherpas was caused by a serac collapse in the Khumbu Icefall, the most dangerous section of the route up Everest's southeastern face.

As you’d expect, climate-related risks are the new norm. A study in the journal The Cryosphere [PDF] predicts that Mount Everest’s glaciers could shrink by 70 percent this century, making currently unstable sections of the routes even more so.

2. Human biology is at odds with high altitudes on Mount Everest.

Climbers ascending the Khumbu Icefall on Mount Everest
Prakash Mathema/Getty Images

In addition to natural disasters, Everest climbers face a number of life-threatening health risks.

In high-altitude settings, there is less oxygen in the atmosphere, and oxygen doesn’t diffuse into a climber’s blood as well as it would at sea level. That can lead to serious medical problems. The two most common illnesses on Everest are high-altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE), in which constricted blood vessels cause fluid to leak into the lungs' air sacs; and high-altitude cerebral edema (HACE), in which fluid leaks from blood vessels in the brain, causing headaches, neurologic dysfunction, coma, and eventually death if not treated (and in some cases, even when treated).

“Altitude illness impacts people in different ways, and we don’t really know who is susceptible until they have altitude illness,” Christopher Van Tilburg, an expert in travel medicine and a physician Oregon's Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital, told Mental Floss. “High-altitude pulmonary edemas can hit people suddenly—even highly trained, fit mountaineers.”

3. Neurological and psychological factors can impair Everest climbers' judgment.

Another health risk that affects a climber’s cognition is hypoxia, which is simply when the brain doesn’t get enough oxygen. According to Clement, hypoxia can drastically impair judgment, making it one of the most dangerous Everest risks.

“The higher you climb, the more your judgment gets impaired,” Clement said. “It’s amazing how hard it is for smart people to do simple math and memory problems at high altitudes.”

In addition to causing treacherous missteps, hypoxia can drive climbers to push harder and go farther than they normally would—but not in a good way. These “cognitive traps” often happen when a climber gets closer to the top and replace logic and safety with stubborn determination, putting everything at risk to reach their goal. Another word for it? Summit fever.

According to Clement, the cure is setting a strict turnaround time: an ironclad moment when a climber promises to turn around and forego the summit to save their life. Turnaround times are decided before setting foot on Everest, and should be agreed upon between climbers, guides, and expedition leaders. But hypoxia, exposure, and inexperience can encourage climbers to ignore the protocol.

“Every time you ignore your turnaround time, you’re putting yourself at risk,” Clement said. “Professional guides are also supposed to follow these rules, but they get stuck in cognitive traps, too, because the more clients they get to the top, the more clients they’ll have next season.”

4. Medicine can reduce—but not eliminate—Mount Everest's dangers.

Any climb above 19,000 feet—the altitude known as “the death zone”—will have associated health risks, but there are treatments that can help climbers survive. Medicines include acetazolamide (sold under the brand name Diamox), a diuretic that helps prevent a mild edema, and dexamethasone (brand name Decadron), a steroid used to treat a brain edema and reverse the symptoms of acute mountain sickness. The only true fix for acute mountain sickness is immediate descent.

The best way to stay alive on Everest is proper training, fitness, and organization, but even those steps can't guarantee safety.

“Training doesn’t really offset objective hazards like rock falls, ice falls, avalanches, and earthquakes,” said Van Tilburg. “And while we have medicine for altitude illness to help people acclimatize, we don’t have medicines for the myriad other risks on Everest.”

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