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Barbie's Dream House Now Has Wi-Fi

Barbie’s Dream House is getting a technological upgrade. Until now, Barbie and her family have been living in the pre-Internet era, but toymaker Mattel is finally bringing the doll into the 21st century. The new Hello Barbie Dream House will have an elevator, customizable lights, a fireplace, a fridge, and, of course, be able to connect to an accompanying app via Wi-Fi.

The goal, according to The Atlantic, is to create a home that better reflects modern-day aspirations. While the Dream House of the past—with it spacious closets and sliding doors—reflected a distinctly 1960s middle class ideal, the new Dream House will mimic the Smart House of the future. 

Mattel first unveiled the updated Dream House at the International Toy Fair earlier this month. According to Mashable, kids can talk directly to the house, ordering it to perform household tasks like turning on the lights or operating the elevator. But kids can also interact with the house as part of their narrative of play. For instance, announcing it’s “time for school” prompts a recording of Barbie's voice and activates the shower. (It's not all fun and games—there's also a "Party Mode" for when Barbie and her friends want to dance.)

The Hello Barbie Dreamhouse will be released sometime this fall and retail for $299. Check out the demo from the International Toy Fair above.

[h/t The Atlantic]

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By Ben Wittick (1845–1903) - Brian Lebel's Old West Show and Auction, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons
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History
Photo of Billy the Kid and Pat Garrett, Purchased for $10, Could Be Worth Millions
By Ben Wittick (1845–1903) - Brian Lebel's Old West Show and Auction, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons
By Ben Wittick (1845–1903) - Brian Lebel's Old West Show and Auction, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

Several years ago, Randy Guijarro paid $2 for a few old photographs he found in an antiques shop in Fresno, California. In 2015, it was determined that one of those photos—said to be the second verified picture ever found of Billy the Kid—could fetch the lucky thrifter as much as $5 million. That story now sounds familiar to Frank Abrams, a lawyer from North Carolina who purchased his own photo of the legendary outlaw at a flea market in 2011. It turns out that the tintype, which he paid $10 for, is thought to be an image of Billy and Pat Garrett (the sheriff who would eventually kill him) taken in 1880. Like Guijarro’s find, experts say Abrams’s photo could be worth millions.

The discovery is as much a surprise to Abrams as anyone. As The New York Times reports, what drew Abrams to the photo was the fact that it was a tintype, a metal photographic image that was popular in the Wild West. Abrams didn’t recognize any of the men in the image, but he liked it and hung it on a wall in his home, which is where it was when an Airbnb guest joked that it might be a photo of Jesse James. He wasn’t too far off.

Using Google as his main research tool, Abrams attempted to find out if there was any famous face in that photo, and quickly realized that it was Pat Garrett. According to The New York Times:

Then, Mr. Abrams began to wonder about the man in the back with the prominent Adam’s apple. He eventually showed the tintype to Robert Stahl, a retired professor at Arizona State University and an expert on Billy the Kid.

Mr. Stahl encouraged Mr. Abrams to show the image to experts.

William Dunniway, a tintype expert, said the photograph was almost certainly taken between 1875 and 1880. “Everything matches: the plate, the clothing, the firearm,” he said in a phone interview. Mr. Dunniway worked with a forensics expert, Kent Gibson, to conclude that Billy the Kid and Mr. Garrett were indeed pictured.

Abrams, who is a criminal defense lawyer, described the process of investigating the history of the photo as akin to “taking on the biggest case you could ever imagine.” And while he’s thrilled that his epic flea market find could produce a major monetary windfall, don’t expect to see the image hitting the auction block any time soon. 

"Other people, they want to speculate from here to kingdom come,” Abrams told The New York Times of how much the photo, which he has not yet had valuated, might be worth. “I don’t know what it’s worth. I love history. It’s a privilege to have something like this.”

[h/t: The New York Times]

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