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DragonflyDC via Wikimedia Commons // Fair Use
DragonflyDC via Wikimedia Commons // Fair Use

What's Wrong With This Stamp?

DragonflyDC via Wikimedia Commons // Fair Use
DragonflyDC via Wikimedia Commons // Fair Use

What could possibly be controversial about putting the Statue of Liberty on a stamp? Nothing, assuming you use the correct Lady Liberty's visage.

If you look closely at this example, however, you might notice that the statue on this stamp looks a bit more refreshed than the wise and weather-worn woman who has stood watch over Upper New York Bay for nearly 130 years. That's because the Liberty pictured on the stamp is actually a photo of the one who has stood watch over the New York-New York Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas since 1997. So while she may be welcoming the tired and the poor, it’s because they’ve been up all night playing craps as opposed to spending months on a boat in search of a better life.

Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

The United States Postal Service believed the photo they chose for a 2010 “Forever” stamp depicted the original sculpture, and only realized the mistake after a collector alerted Linn’s Stamp News to the error. The Post Office basically shrugged it off, saying they would have selected the photo anyway because the design was ideal for their needs.

That statement came back to haunt them in 2013, when the sculptor of the New York-New York Liberty sued the Postal Service for copyright infringement, alleging that they sold billions of stamps based on his design even after they realized the error. At the time, the USPS refused to comment on the litigation. But based on precedent that awarded the sculptor of the Korean War Memorial $685,000 after its image was used on a stamp without permission, the agency probably had to pay up.

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Photo composite, Mental Floss. Car, ticket, Simon Laprise. Background, iStock.
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Design
This Snow Sculpture of a Car Was So Convincing Cops Tried to Write It a Ticket
Photo composite, Mental Floss. Car, ticket, Simon Laprise. Background, iStock.
Photo composite, Mental Floss. Car, ticket, Simon Laprise. Background, iStock.

Winter is a frustrating time to be on the road, but one artist in Montreal has found a way to make the best of it. As CBS affiliate WGCL-TV reports, his snow sculpture of a DeLorean DMC-12 was so convincing that even the police were fooled.

Simon Laprise of L.S.D Laprise Simon Designs assembled the prank car using snow outside his home in Montreal. He positioned it so it appeared to be parked along the side of the road, and with the weather Montreal has been having lately, a car buried under snow wasn’t an unusual sight.

A police officer spotted the car and was prepared to write it a ticket before noticing it wasn’t what it seemed. He called in backup to confirm that the car wasn’t a car at all.

Instead of getting mad, the officers shared a good laugh over it. “You made our night hahahahaha :)" they wrote on a fake ticket left on the snow sculpture.

The masterpiece was plowed over the next morning, but you can appreciate Laprise’s handiwork in the photos below.

Snow sculpture.

Snow sculpture of car.

Snow sculpture of car.

Note written in French.

[h/t WGCL-TV]

All images courtesy of Simon Laprise.

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Douglas Grundy, Three Lions/Getty Images
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geography
This 1940 Film on Road Maps Will Make You Appreciate Map Apps Like Never Before
Douglas Grundy, Three Lions/Getty Images
Douglas Grundy, Three Lions/Getty Images

In the modern era, we take for granted having constantly updated, largely accurate maps of just about every road in the world at our fingertips. If you need to find your way through a city or across a country, Google Maps has your back. You no longer have to go out and buy a paper map.

But to appreciate just what a monstrous task making road maps and keeping them updated was in decades past, take a look at this vintage short film, "Caught Mapping," spotted at the Internet Archive by National Geographic.

The 1940 film, produced by the educational and promotional company Jam Handy Organization (which created films for corporations like Chevrolet), spotlights the difficult task of producing and revising maps to keep up with new road construction and repair.

The film is a major booster of the mapmaking industry, and those involved in it come off as near-miracle workers. The process of updating maps involved sending scouts out into the field to drive along every road and note conditions, compare the roads against topographical maps, and confirm mileage figures. Then, those scouts reported back to the draughtsmen responsible for producing revised maps every two weeks. The draughtsmen updated the data on road closures and other changes.

Once those maps were printed, they were "ready to give folks a good steer," as the film's narrator puts it, quietly determining the success of any road trip in the country.

"Presto! and right at their fingertips, modern motorists can have [information] on any road they wish to take." A modern marvel, really.

[h/t National Geographic]

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