Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

Princess of Monaco Is Expecting Twins. Who Will Be the Heir?

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

In 2002, with the middle-aged Prince Albert II of Monaco still a bachelor without an eligible heir (previous children born out of wedlock didn't count), Monaco's parliament amended the constitution to allow royal power to pass from a reigning prince with no descendants to his siblings. Parliament was worried, it seemed, that the Prince would remain unmarried and never father an heir. He tackled the first item with his 2011 marriage to former Olympic swimmer Charlene Wittstock, and now is about to check off the latter, twice over.

Her Serene Highness Princess Charlene is due to give birth to twins later this month—the first twins in the royal family history—giving Monaco not one but two eligible heirs. But although they'll share a birthday, the babies won't have equal claim to the throne. As would have been the case if Kate Middleton had given birth to twins and not just baby George, succession follows a strict seniority rule: Whichever baby is born first is the heir. The royal family of Monaco differs from the British monarchy on some of the specifics, though.

British Commonwealth leaders passed a law in 2011 that allowed women born into the royal family the same right to the throne as men, so even if the first twin born was a girl, she would still be the heir. Monaco, however, has made no such amendment and still abides by male priority. So if the twins turn out to be a girl first and a boy second, he gets bumped above his sister in the succession line. The Prince and Princess have abstained from finding out the babies' sexes, so it's not known if this will come up.

There's also the issue of cesarean section, should it prove necessary.

"The obstetrician will always deliver first the twin that presents itself first when the uterus is opened at the time of cesarean section," Dr. Patrick O'Brien, spokesman for Britain's Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, told the Associated Press. "We don't decide in advance which twin to deliver first."

Either way, two babies means twice as many gunshots. The palace has already announced that when the twins are born 42 cannon shots will sound, instead of the 21 that would boom for a single baby.

George Washington’s Incredible Hair Routine

America's Founding Fathers had some truly defining locks, but we tend to think of those well-coiffed white curls—with their black ribbon hair ties and perfectly-managed frizz—as being wigs. Not so in the case of the main man himself, George Washington.

As Robert Krulwich reported at National Geographic, a 2010 biography on our first president—Washington: A Life, by Ron Chernow—reveals that the man “never wore a wig.” In fact, his signature style was simply the result of an elaborately constructed coiffure that far surpasses most morning hair routines, and even some “fancy” hair routines.

The style Washington was sporting was actually a tough look for his day. In the late 18th century, such a hairdo would have been worn by military men.

While the hair itself was all real, the color was not. Washington’s true hue was a reddish brown color, which he powdered in a fashion that’s truly delightful to imagine. George would (likely) don a powdering robe, dip a puff made of silk strips into his powder of choice (there are a few options for what he might have used), bend his head over, and shake the puff out over his scalp in a big cloud.

To achieve the actual ‘do, Washington kept his hair long and would then pull it back into a tight braid or simply tie it at the back. This helped to showcase the forehead, which was very in vogue at the time. On occasion, he—or an attendant—would bunch the slack into a black silk bag at the nape of the neck, perhaps to help protect his clothing from the powder. Then he would fluff the hair on each side of his head to make “wings” and secure the look with pomade or good old natural oils.

To get a better sense of the play-by-play, check out the awesome illustrations by Wendy MacNaughton that accompany Krulwich’s post.

"American Mall," Bloomberg
Unwinnable Video Game Challenges You to Keep a Shopping Mall in Business
"American Mall," Bloomberg
"American Mall," Bloomberg

Shopping malls, once the cultural hub of every suburb in America, have become a punchline in the e-commerce era. There are plenty of malls around today, but they tend to be money pits, considering the hundreds of "dead malls" haunting the landscape. Just how hard is it to keep a mall afloat in the current economy? American Mall, a new video game from Bloomberg, attempts to give an answer.

After choosing which tycoon character you want as your stand-in, you're thrown into a mall—rendered in 1980s-style graphics—already struggling to stay in business. The building is filled with rats and garbage you have to clean up if you want to keep shoppers happy. Every few seconds you're contacted by another store owner begging you to lower their rent, and you must either take the loss or risk them packing up for good. When stores are vacated, it's your job to fill them, but it turns out there aren't too many businesses interested in setting up shop in a dying mall.

You can try gimmicks like food trucks and indoor playgrounds to keep customers interested, but in the end your mall will bleed too much money to support itself. You can try playing the bleak game for yourself here—maybe it will put some of the retail casualties of the last decade into perspective.

[h/t Co.Design]


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