Retro Kit-Cat Klocks Are Getting an 'Exotic' Makeover

Kit-Cat Klock
Kit-Cat Klock

In the middle of The Great Depression, inventor Earl Arnault decided that the country needed was a fun little pick-me-up. He had hoped his Kit-Cat Klock—a cat-shaped clock with moving eyes, a wagging tail, and a pleasant smile—could create some small moments of happiness during troubled times. Now, 86 years after the first Kit-Cat Klock was sold by the Allied Clock Company, the Art Deco-style timepieces are bringing joy to a new generation.

Aside from the bow tie and top paws (at the 10 and 2 markers) being added in the 1950s, Kit-Cat’s appearance hasn’t changed much over the years. She just gets a refreshed wardrobe every now and then. The California Clock Company (formerly Allied Clock) continues to dress Kit-Cat in new yet vintage-inspired patterns, and their latest Exotic Pet Collection includes tiger stripes, camouflage, leopard spots, a giraffe print, and other playful designs.

“Each clock is made in California and one-of-a-kind,” the company explains on its website. “To get their wild new look, the clocks are then dipped in premium hydrographic patterns in the Ozark Mountains of Missouri, ensuring no two clocks will ever be the same.”

For each Exotic Pet Collection purchase, customers can go online and download a certificate to “adopt” their Kit-Cat Klock. They’ll receive a lifetime membership card (valued at $10) and they can also choose a charity to benefit from their purchase. The company donates at least $1 to organizations like Big Cat Rescue and The Humane Society with each clock sold.

Although it might seem as if the clocks are making somewhat of a comeback, the truth is that they never really went away. According to the company, someone buys a Kit-Cat Klock once every three minutes. The novelty wall decorations have appeared in several movies, television series, and music videos, including the beginning of Back to the Future and Taylor Swift’s music video for We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.

The New iPhone 11 Is Triggering People With Trypophobia

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

People with trypophobia, or a fear of clusters of small holes, know which triggers to avoid. Soap bubbles, lotus seed pods, and the insides of cantaloupes can all induce panic and revulsion in people who are sensitive to the pattern. Now, they have a new item to add to their list. As Gizmodo points out, the new iPhone has a design feature that's turning off trypophobes.

Apple debuted the iPhone 11 at an event on September 10 ahead of its release on September 20. This latest model comes with many upgrades, including a super-powered processor and longer battery life, but the biggest change has been met with a mixed reception.

The iPhone 11 Pro has three camera lenses where there would normally be one. People who prefer Apple's sleek, minimalist style have criticized the design, while those with trypophobia have had even stronger reactions. Some scientists think the fear of clusters of holes originally developed as a survival mechanism to steer people away from infectious diseases. When someone gets nauseous at the sight of three cameras grouped on the back of a smart phone, it's because it reminds them of decaying flesh.

Presentation launching iPhone 11.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The iPhone likely looks the way it does today thanks to another highly specific fear that afflicted Steve Jobs. The Apple founder suffered from koumpounophobia, or a fear of buttons—an incredibly rare phobia that's only been documented once in all of psychiatric literature. His fear may have lead to the popularization of the smooth, buttonless touch screen. It also explains why the tech giant preferred black turtlenecks to button-down shirts.

Though similar to trypophobia, a fear of buttons and fear of clusters of circles aren't quite the same thing. So while triggering to many, the updated iPhone doesn't necessarily conflict with Jobs's original design aesthetic.

[h/t Gizmodo]

The Reason Why Ships Are Often Painted Red on the Bottom

75tiks/iStock via Getty Images
75tiks/iStock via Getty Images

If you’ve ever salvaged a sea vessel, you might have noticed that ship hulls are often red. If you haven’t dealt with a shipwreck—and chances are you haven’t—you may have still seen a red hull in pictures or in partial view at a shipyard. Since that portion of the ship is below the waterline, it seems strange to opt for a specific color.

The reason is tradition. And worms.

In a piece for Jalopnik, Andrew P. Collins explains that early sailing ships protected themselves against barnacles and wood-eating worms by covering their hulls in a copper or copper oxide paint that acted as a biocide. The copper gave the paint a red tint. By reducing the muck that naturally collects on the hull, ships can maintain their structural integrity and avoid being weighed down by gunk like seaweed that would reduce drag.

These days, biocides can be mixed with virtually any color of paint. But the hulls are often painted red to maintain a nautical tradition. Collins also points out that the red may help observers gauge the load of a ship’s cargo. The more weight on board, the lower in the water it will be. That's why you often see numbers positioned vertically on the side of the hull.

No matter what’s covering the hull, it’s never going to completely eliminate growth. Often, ports will prohibit ship owners from scraping hulls while docked, since ships traveling in outside waters might have picked up a non-native species of weed that could prove problematic in a new environment.

[h/t Jalopnik]

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