These Teenagers Just Don't Get Encyclopedias

When I was a kid, if I wanted to look something up, I couldn’t fire up the computer and hit up Google—it didn’t exist yet. Instead, kids of my generation turned to encyclopedias, a fact that horrifies the teenagers in the Fine Brothers’ latest video. “[Encyclopedias were] Google way back in the day,” one boy says. “It was the worst of times.”

Some have used them for projects, but only when they were very little, and some have no idea what they are—or how to use them. (And why would they, when they're used to typing something in a search engine and pressing enter?) When asked to look up “reading,” it takes a few of them a bit to realize they need to look in the book marked Q-R, and they’re puzzled when there’s not a table of contents or back index that would point them to the right page. “You just have to go about it on your own,” one girl says. “It takes forever—this is annoying! This is why I don’t use these.” Said another: “Five whole minutes of my life is gone when I could have found it in .00098 seconds with Google!” And their minds were blown by how much the books cost in the 1980s: $1500 to $2000 for a full set. “I value knowledge very highly, but I do think that’s a bit steep,” one girl says.

When asked about whether or not they could imagine having to use these books instead of using the Internet, most kids responded that yeah, they could probably do it. But, in the words of one guy, “I would hate it I would hate it I would hate it.” 

Still, the teens do recognize the benefits of books edited by experts over sites like Wikipedia, which can be edited by anyone, whether they’re knowledgeable or not—and, of course, you can always turn to books when your wi-fi is slow!

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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