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14 Fancy Lamps for Your Home

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Firebox

The right lamp can add ambience, charm, and a warm glow to any room. And for anyone that likes a little light to help them read, draw, and work on projects, a dependable lamp is essential for your home or office. Take a look at 14 quirky lamp designs that you can pick up today.

1. HOUSE; $80

This clever little lamp doubles as an oversized bookmark shaped like a house. When you’re done reading, you can place your book over the lamp to create a roof for the house-shaped light. As long as you use the correct bulb, the lamp will make an excellent light to read beside. You can turn the house on and off using a switch on the cord.

Find it: Amazon

2. BUNNY; $79

This adorable rabbit is the perfect addition to any nightstand. The porcelain lamp comes with a softly-glowing LED bulb that doubles as a little cotton tail.

Find it: Amazon

3. GLOWING UNICORN; $17

Illuminate your room with the magic glow of a unicorn. These fun, squishy lamps give off a green, pink, or white light with the help of an LED bulb and AAA batteries. The little light can fit right in the palm of your hand, making it perfect for portability.

Find it: Amazon

4. DINOSAURS; $41

Here's something cool for our UK readers: Origami-style dinosaur lamps. You can get a glowing T. rex, Triceratops, or Diplodocus, each with a little LED light inside. The polyresin lights come with a UK plug, but if you really want to use it state-side, you can always buy an adaptor.

Find it: Firebox

5. STACKING BLOCKS; $25

This LEGO-inspired light encourages you to build your own lamp. The base works as a power source, so as you click on bricks, they begin to glow. Each brick stays lit for 15 minutes, making it an excellent nightlight for people who fall asleep quickly.

Find it: Urban Outfitters

6. ANIMAL BUSTS; $20

If you want something more humane than real taxidermy in your house, consider one of these hangable trophy lights. Available in deer, elephant, or buffalo shapes, they offer a stylish ambiance to any room. They’re motion-sensored, so they turn on for 20 seconds every time they detect movement. The glowing animals run on watch batteries and can be hung with screws or magnets.

Find it: Firebox

7. SKULL ILLUSION; $16

This light might look three-dimensional, but it’s actually completely flat. This unique lamp is made from a thick acrylic sheet and is powered with an LED light, along with etchings on the plastic that create the illusion of a 3D skull. With a touch of your finger, you can change the lamp color to red, green, blue, white, yellow, pink, or sky blue.

Find it: Amazon

8. SUPER MARIO QUESTION BLOCK; $35

Finding a question mark block while playing any Super Mario Bros. game has always been a delight (especially when you get a fire flower), so why not bring that same feeling home with you? These special lights capture the magic of the Mario world without having to pick up a controller. The block can be turned on and off by giving it a little tap, and when you boop it, it even plays the classic sound effect (ba-ding!). It’s powered by three AA batteries or a miniature USB cord.

Find it: ThinkGeek

9. R2-D2; $60

This amazing desk lamp is modeled after everybody's favorite astromech droid from the Star Wars franchise. The officially licensed product is the perfect desk lamp to shed light on whatever project you’re hard at work on.

Find it: ThinkGeek

10. SPILLED PAINT; $27

This playful lamp makes it look like a floating bucket is dumping paint onto your desk. The bucket handily doubles as a lampshade, and a lightbulb can be screwed inside.

Find it: Amazon

11. QUARTZ; $120

Having a chunk of agate in your room might look cool, but wouldn't it be more useful if it gave off some light? This lamp is made with a mixture of agate, glass, and plastic to light up any room with a little style. The hollow crystal comes with a lightbulb and cord that turns it on and off.

Find it: Modcloth

12. FLAMINGO MARQUEE; $36

Marquee lights are most commonly used for letters, but they’re also a lot of fun in animal form. This one is particularly impressive as it is made of pink metal and holds 11 LED lights that make the flamingo glow.

Find it: Amazon

13. LEVITATING LIGHT BULB; $350+

Guests will be amazed by this lightbulb that floats in the air, seemingly ignoring the laws of gravity. The magic trick is actually the work of magnets that keep the lightbulb floating. An electro-magnetic base powers the light bulb through the air, so there is no need for any wires. A simple tap of the finger can turn the light on and off, and when there isn't a lightbulb floating over the base, it can also be used to charge a smartphone.

Find it: Flyte

14. GIANT HORSE; $8583

If you find yourself in a Brewster's Millions situation (or you’re Joey Tribbiani), this pricey horse lamp is for you. The 56 pound horse—named Ramsay—is made of polyester corpus and covered in a matte black finish. As you might have noticed, a lamp sits on top of the horse's head that fits an E26 bulb.

Find it: Lumens

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15 Confusing Plant and Animal Misnomers
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People have always given names to the plants and animals around us. But as our study of the natural world has developed, we've realized that many of these names are wildly inaccurate. In fact, they often have less to say about nature than about the people who did the naming. Here’s a batch of these befuddling names.

1. COMMON NIGHTHAWK

There are two problems with this bird’s name. First, the common nighthawk doesn’t fly at night—it’s active at dawn and dusk. Second, it’s not a hawk. Native to North and South America, it belongs to a group of birds with an even stranger name: Goatsuckers. People used to think that these birds flew into barns at night and drank from the teats of goats. (In fact, they eat insects.)

2. IRISH MOSS

It’s not a moss—it’s a red alga that lives along the rocky shores of the northern Atlantic Ocean. Irish moss and other red algae give us carrageenan, a cheap food thickener that you may have eaten in gummy candies, soy milk, ice cream, veggie hot dogs, and more.

3. FISHER-CAT

Native to North America, the fisher-cat isn’t a cat at all: It’s a cousin of the weasel. It also doesn’t fish. Nobody’s sure where the fisher cat’s name came from. One possibility is that early naturalists confused it with the sea mink, a similar-looking creature that was an expert fisher. But the fisher-cat prefers to eat land animals. In fact, it’s one of the few creatures that can tackle a porcupine.

4. AMERICAN BLUE-EYED GRASS

American blue-eyed grass doesn’t have eyes (which is good, because that would be super creepy). Its blue “eyes” are flowers that peek up at you from a meadow. It’s also not a grass—it’s a member of the iris family.

5. MUDPUPPY

The mudpuppy isn’t a cute, fluffy puppy that scampered into some mud. It’s a big, mucus-covered salamander that spends all of its life underwater. (It’s still adorable, though.) The mudpuppy isn’t the only aquatic salamander with a weird name—there are many more, including the greater siren, the Alabama waterdog, and the world’s most metal amphibian, the hellbender.

6. WINGED DRAGONFISH

This weird creature has other fantastic and inaccurate names: brick seamoth, long-tailed dragonfish, and more. It’s really just a cool-looking fish. Found in the waters off of Asia, it has wing-like fins, and spends its time on the muddy seafloor.

7. NAVAL SHIPWORM

The naval shipworm is not a worm. It’s something much, much weirder: a kind of clam with a long, wormlike body that doesn’t fit in its tiny shell. It uses this modified shell to dig into wood, which it eats. The naval shipworm, and other shipworms, burrow through all sorts of submerged wood—including wooden ships.

8. WHIP SPIDERS

These leggy creatures are not spiders; they’re in a separate scientific family. They also don’t whip anything. Whip spiders have two long legs that look whip-like, but that are used as sense organs—sort of like an insect’s antennae. Despite their intimidating appearance, whip spiders are harmless to humans.

9. VELVET ANTS

A photograph of a velvet ant
Craig Pemberton, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0

There are thousands of species of velvet ants … and all are wasps, not ants. These insects have a fuzzy, velvety look. Don’t pat them, though—velvet ants aren’t aggressive, but the females pack a powerful sting.

10. SLOW WORM

The slow worm is not a worm. It’s a legless reptile that lives in parts of Europe and Asia. Though it looks like a snake, it became legless through a totally separate evolutionary path from the one snakes took. It has many traits in common with lizards, such as eyelids and external ear holes.

11. TRAVELER'S PALM

This beautiful tree from Madagascar has been planted in tropical gardens all around the world. It’s not actually a palm, but belongs to a family that includes the bird of paradise flower. In its native home, the traveler’s palm reproduces with the help of lemurs that guzzle its nectar and spread pollen from tree to tree.

12. VAMPIRE SQUID

Drawing of a vampire squid
Carl Chun, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

This deep-sea critter isn’t a squid. It’s the only surviving member of a scientific order that has characteristics of both octopuses and squids. And don’t let the word “vampire” scare you; it only eats bits of falling marine debris (dead stuff, poop, and so on), and it’s only about 11 inches long.

13. MALE FERN & LADY FERN

Early botanists thought that these two ferns belonged to the same species. They figured that the male fern was the male of the species because of its coarse appearance. The lady fern, on the other hand, has lacy fronds and seemed more ladylike. Gender stereotypes aside, male and lady Ferns belong to entirely separate species, and almost all ferns can make both male and female reproductive cells. If ferns start looking manly or womanly to you, maybe you should take a break from botany.

14. TENNESSEE WARBLER

You will never find a single Tennessee warbler nest in Tennessee. This bird breeds mostly in Canada, and spends the winter in Mexico and more southern places. But early ornithologist Alexander Wilson shot one in 1811 in Tennessee during its migration, and the name stuck.

15. CANADA THISTLE

Though it’s found across much of Canada, this spiky plant comes from Europe and Asia. Early European settlers brought Canada thistle seeds to the New World, possibly as accidental hitchhikers in grain shipments. A tough weed, the plant soon spread across the continent, taking root in fields and pushing aside crops. So why does it have this inaccurate name? Americans may have been looking for someone to blame for this plant—so they blamed Canada.

A version of this story originally ran in 2015.

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18 Tea Infusers to Make Teatime More Exciting
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Cost Plus World Market

Make steeping tea more fun with these quirky tea infusers.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we only get commission on items you buy and don’t return, so we’re only happy if you’re happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

1. SOAKING IT UP; $7.49

man-shaped tea infuser
Amazon

That mug of hot water might eventually be a drink for you, but first it’s a hot bath for your new friend, who has special pants filled with tea.

Buy on Amazon.

2. A FLYING TEA BOX; $25.98

There’s no superlaser on this Death Star, just tea.

Buy on Amazon.

3. SPACE STATION; $9.99

astronaut tea infuser
ThinkGeek

This astronaut's mission? Orbit the rim of your mug until you're ready to pull the space station diffuser out.

Buy on ThinkGeek.

4. BE REFINED; $12.99

This pipe works best with Earl Grey.

Buy on Amazon.

5. A RIBBITING OPTION; $10.93

This frog hangs on to the side of your mug with a retractable tongue. When the tea is ready, you can put him back on his lily pad.

Buy on Amazon.

6. ‘TEA’ ALL LIVE IN A YELLOW SUBMARINE; $5.95

It’s just like the movie, only with tea instead of Beatles.

Buy on Amazon.

7. SHARK ATTACK; $6.99

shark tea infuser
Cost Plus World Market

This fearsome shark patrols the bottom of your mug waiting for prey. For extra fun, use red tea to look like the end of a feeding frenzy.

Buy at Cost Plus World Market.

8. PERFECT FOR A RAINY DAY; $12.40

This umbrella’s handle conveniently hooks to the side of your mug.

Buy on Amazon.

9. AN EGGCELLENT INFUSER; $5.75

cracked egg tea infuser
Amazon

Sometimes infusers are called tea eggs, and this one takes the term to a new, literal level.

Buy on Amazon.

10. FOR SQUIRRELY DRINKERS; $8.95

If you’re all right with a rodent dunking its tail into your drink, this is the infuser for you.

Buy on Amazon.

11. HANGING OUT; $12.85

This pug is happy to hang onto your mug and keep you company while you wait for the tea to be ready.

Buy on Amazon.

12. ANOTHER SHARK OPTION; $5.99

If you thought letting that other shark infuser swim around in the deep water of your glass was too scary, this one perches on the edge, too busy chomping on your mug to worry about humans.

Buy on Amazon.

13. RUBBER DUCKIE, YOU’RE THE ONE; $8.95

Let this rubber duckie peacefully float in your cup and make teatime lots of fun.

Buy on Amazon.

14. DIVING DEEP; $8.25

This old-timey deep-sea diver comes with an oxygen tank that you can use to pull it out.

Buy on Amazon.

15. MAKE SWEET TEA; $10

This lollipop won't actually make your tea any sweeter, but you can always add some sugar after.

Buy on Amazon.

16. A SEASONAL FAVORITE; $7.67

When Santa comes, give him some tea to go with the cookies.

Buy on Amazon.

17. FLORAL TEA; $14.99

Liven up any cup of tea with this charming flower. When you’re done, you can pop it right back into its pot.

Buy on Live Infused.

18. KEEP IT TRADITIONAL; $7.97

If you’re nostalgic for the regular kind of tea bag, you can get reusable silicon ones that look almost the same.

Buy on Amazon.

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