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ThinkGeek
ThinkGeek

Avoid the Dark Side With This Death Star Desk Lamp

ThinkGeek
ThinkGeek

There are plenty of interesting lamps to illuminate your workspace—but why not opt for one that will inspire you to obliterate your work? This new Death Star lamp from ThinkGeek has arrived just in time for the release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. The officially licensed gadget uses the ominous space station's shape for the base, with a blueprint-style pattern for the shade design.

With a push of the superlaser, users can turn on the top of the lamp; with a second push, they can make the base glow; a third push turns off the top light and leaves the base illuminated. All the lights are long-lasting LEDs, which cannot be replaced by the customer. That said, the LED lights are meant to last 60,000 hours—roughly seven years of continual operation. You can get your own for $50 here.

[h/t io9]

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11 Gifts For the History Buff
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From ancient recipes to storied war ships, these 11 gifts will make the past come alive for your favorite history buff this holiday season.

1. USS CONSTITUTION MODEL SHIP; $400

USS Constitution Model Ship, sold by The New York Times Store

The New York Times Store

Launched in 1797, the USS Constitution became famous when it defeated the British warship HMS Guerriere off the coast of Nova Scotia during the War of 1812. This fatal battle earned the vessel the nickname of "Old Ironsides," as shots appeared to rebound off its hull. The USS Constitution is still intact to this day, and is considered the oldest U.S. warship still in commission. Fans of the boat can visit it in Boston, or keep this fully assembled 30-inch wooden model on their desks.

Find It: The New York Times Store

2. BECAUSE OF THEM WE CAN SIGNATURE BACKPACK; $50

Because Of Them We Can Signature Backpack
Because of Them We Can

Help your giftee pay homage to pioneering civil rights leaders with this backpack emblazoned with the first names of figures like Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, Frederick Douglass, and more. It comes equipped with a laptop pouch, a mesh zip pocket, a key pouch, and a back notebook pocket.

Find It: Because of Them We Can

3. KING SOLOMON'S TABLE: A CULINARY EXPLORATION OF JEWISH COOKING FROM AROUND THE WORLD; $24

"King Solomon's Table" by Joan Nathan
Courtesy of Pantheon Books

King Solomon's Table by Joan Nathan provides more than 170 historic Jewish recipes from around the globe, ranging from classic Yemenite Chicken Soup to modern takes on dishes like shakshuka.

Find It: Amazon

4. MEAD MAKING KIT; $55

Mead Making Kit, sold by Uncommon Goods
Uncommon Goods

Your giftee's next soiree will rival the drinking halls of Medieval Europe with this make-your-own mead kit. It includes instructions, ingredients, and basic equipment that can be reused to make multiple batches.

Find It: Uncommon Goods

5. NEW YORK TIMES SPECIAL DAY BOOK; $130

Special Day Book, sold by The New York Times Store

The New York Times Store

This personalized book by the New York Times lets purchasers remember an important day in their lives by reading what the world was like during that time. It contains New York Times headlines, photographs, advertisements, and articles from any date from 1851 onwards.

Find It: The New York Times

6. DEAD FEMINISTS: HISTORIC HEROINES IN LIVING COLOR; $17

"Dead Feminists: Historic Heroines in Living Color" by Chandler O'Leary and Jessica Spring
Courtesy of Sasquatch Books

History also includes plenty of "hers." Dead Feminists by Chandler O'Leary and Jessica Spring profiles 27 influential female figures whose actions changed the world, like Eleanor Roosevelt, Rachel Carson, and Gwendolyn Brooks.

Find It: Amazon

7. PRESIDENTIAL SOAP COLLECTION; $22

This Caswell-Massey soap collection allows bathers to suds up like American leaders. It includes George Washington's Number Six soap, Eisenhower's almond cold cream hand soap, and Jockey Club men's bath soap, rumored to have been a favorite of John F. Kennedy.

Find It: Amazon

8. DON'T GIVE UP THE SHIP RING; $170


Digby & Iona

War of 1812 buffs can wear history on their hands with this signet ring by Brooklyn jewelry studio Digby & Iona. It's engraved with the slogan "DON'T GIVE UP THE SHIP," which Captain James Lawrence of the United States frigate Chesapeake allegedly uttered with his dying breath during a bloody 1813 sea skirmish against the British frigate Shannon.

Find It: Digby & Iona

9. HISTORY OF ART T-SHIRT; $28

History of Art T-Shirt, sold by the MoMA Design Store
MoMA Design Store

This pre-shrunk T-shirt's design uses smiley faces to simplify hundreds of years of art history into a chronological timeline. Each smiley is designed in the style of various famous artists, many of whose works are featured in the MoMA's collections.

Find It: MoMA Design Store

10. AMERICAN SEAFOOD: HERITAGE, CULTURE & COOKERY FROM SEA TO SHINING SEA; $25

"American Seafood: Heritage, Culture & Cookery from Sea to Shining Sea" by Barton Seaver
Courtesy of Amazon

Your favorite history buff can explore the history of North American commercial seafood by cooking their way through Barton Seaver’s American Seafood. It lists the main characteristics of various types of fish, along with how to prep each one, while also providing an overview of their culinary legacy.

Find It: Amazon

11. PERSONALIZED PRINT OF A FAMILY HEIRLOOM; $450

A personalized print of a family heirloom typewriter by The Heirloomist
The Heirloomist

Thanks to still life photographer Shana Novak, nobody has to squabble over Grandpa's heirlooms. The New York-based shutterbug runs a business called The Heirloomist, which celebrates family history by photographing treasured relics and transforming them into large-scale works of art. Prints can be matted and framed, or delivered sans decorative casing.

Find It: The Heirloomist

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12 Gifts for the Traveler in Your Life
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Whether your favorite explorer travels by plane, train, or automobile (or kayak, cargo ship, or sled), they need thoughtful essentials to make every trip one to remember. Here are some of our latest favorites.

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. THULE SUBTERRA CARRY-ON; $280

thule subterra carry-on
Thule

With a durable exoskeleton, oversized wheels, and a 7-pound weight, this carry-on is both tough and easy to transport. The divided main compartment keeps clothes separated—clean from dirty, wet from dry, and work from play. A zippered mesh pocket makes for fast access to keys, cash, and passport.

Find It: Thule

2. COTOPAXI ALLPA TRAVEL PACK; $200

woman wearing cotopaxi allpa backpack
Cotopaxi

Adventurous travelers will love this next generation of backpack that's bursting with smart features. It's carry-on, trek-ready, and tech-savvy all at the same time. It has a durable outer cover, suitcase-style mesh zipper panels on the inside, padded hip straps to distribute weight off the shoulders, and a zippered laptop pocket. It comes with a high-visibility rain cover that stows away when not in use.

Find It: Cotopaxi

3. MOMA OSTRICH PILLOW GO; $60

moma ostrich travel pillow
MoMA

From the Museum of Modern Art's Design Store comes a contoured travel pillow for the person who never leaves style behind. Composed of high-sensitivity memory foam, it adjusts to three positions that secure in place, thanks to hidden buttons. The soft stretch-fabric outer layer is washable. Plus, it compresses for easy packability.

Find It: MoMA

4. TIMELESS JOURNEYS: TRAVELS TO THE WORLD'S LEGENDARY PLACES; $26

Inspire someone's next journey with this gorgeous new volume from National Geographic, the world's authority on global adventures. Packed with stunning photography and deep knowledge, the book visits 50 bucket list–ready locations on every continent, including Easter Island, Kyoto, Mesa Verde, Carthage, Pompeii, Victoria Falls, Cappadocia, and Chichen Itza, among dozens of others.

Find It: Amazon

5. EAGLE CREEK PACK-IT SPECTER TECH™ STRUCTURED CUBE M; $30

pack-it specter tech structured cube m
Eagle Creek

This ultralight packing organizer is especially designed to keep collared shirts, button-downs, dresses, and skirts crisply folded. It comes with a folding board you fold clothing around that's just the right size for the bag. Use the cube's compression zipper to reduce its size way down, then slip it in your suitcase or carry-on. It's made from durable ripstop that is water and stain repellent.

Find It: Eagle Creek

6. TRAVEL ESSENTIALS BEAUTY BOX BY ALLURE AND CONDÉ NAST TRAVELER; $40

Beauty box from Allure and Conde Nast Traveler
Shop Latitude

Stay fresh on the go with this loaded beauty box curated by Allure and Condé Nast Traveler. It includes Talika Eye Therapy Patch, Noxidoxi Face Mist, Sisley Express Gel Mask Packet, Canyon Ranch Conditioner, Canyon Ranch Shampoo, Spongelle - the Spongette in Coconut Verbena, Missoni EDT, Living Proof Dry Shampoo, WetBrush Pop Fold in Black, and Bite Multistick in Gelato.

Find It: Shop Latitude

7. WILDSAM FIELD GUIDES BOOK SERIES; $18


Amazon

These aren't your classic travel guides. Each of the nine volumes in this series is crafted by locals with insider knowledge, so your favorite explorer gets an authentic experience in each destination. Take Nashville: Of course the guide delves into country music, but it also explores songbirds, the Fugitive Poets, women's suffrage, comfort food, fly fishing, and homelessness. Other guides include Austin, San Francisco, Detroit, New Orleans, Brooklyn, Charleston, New England, and the Southwest.

Find It: Amazon

8. KODAK PRINTOMATIC INSTANT PRINT CAMERA; $70

kodak printomatic instant camera
Amazon

Skip the Instagram filter for the real thing: Kodak resurrects old-school instant photos in a modern way with the Printomatic. It instantly and automatically prints high-quality, full color photos on Zink (for "zero ink") photo paper. The 2x3-inch prints are made for traveling, sharing, and displaying: They're durable, water-resistant, and adhesive-backed.

Find It: Amazon

9. ULTIMATE EARS WONDERBOOM PORTABLE WATERPROOF BLUETOOTH SPEAKER; $80

wonderboom waterproof speaker in pool
Amazon

Planning a weekend away with friends? Whether you're headed to a winter cabin in the woods or a house in the Caribbean with a pool, you can create the right mood for the entire party with this portable speaker. Connect it to the music collection with Bluetooth—it provides clear, crisp sound for up to 10 hours on a single charge. It's waterproof, so don't worry about it getting wet—it even goes in the shower.

Find It: Amazon

10. WD BLACK MY PASSPORT PORTABLE EXTERNAL HARD DRIVE; $58

WD external hard drive in six colors
Amazon

A great tool for the avid photographer, music lover, or business traveler, this external hard drive holds essential files in a small, durable format. At just 4.3 x 3.2 inches, it's password protected with hardware encryption, and the included software offers automatic backup to ensure you don't lose files.

Find It: Amazon

11. ALLBIRDS MEN'S WOOL LOUNGERS; $95

allbird men's wool lounger
Allbirds

Allbirds bills their shoes as the "world's most comfortable." Fittingly for a company based in New Zealand, where sheep outnumber people 6 to 1, they've crafted these loungers from superfine Merino wool, each strand thinner than a human hair. The loungers are wickable and breathable, with a casually sophisticated silhouette. Now those long walks through far-off cities won't be so hard on the feet.

Find It: Allbirds

12. BERGTAGEN WOOLMESH SWEATER; $160

Ain't no mountain high enough to outdo this sweater from Swedish company Fjallraven. The layers are designed "to keep the cold out, to trap the warmth in and to be outdoors longer in extraordinarily wild places."

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