Thomassons Are Functionally Useless Architectural Relics
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Stroll about your city, and you'll likely notice a few staircases leading to nowhere, doors opening to brick walls, or pipes filled with nothing at all. Why have these useless vestiges been saved—or even, in some cases, maintained? The architectural relics scattered throughout your town that are purposefully preserved despite being functionally useless are known as "Thomassons," and they have an interesting backstory.
How Alonzo Clemons Overcame A Brain Injury To Become A World-Class Sculptor
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You've probably dabbled with Play-Doh as a kid. Most people's sculpting experience ends around there, but that wasn't the case for Alonzo Clemons. Severely disabled as a young child, Clemons could barely speak, nor could he feed himself or tie his own shoes. But his disability brought on one important gift—acquired savant syndrome, a condition where high-level, often prodigious skills appear after a brain injury. This gave Clemons an uncanny ability to create hyper-accurate sculptures of animals that started from a young age and only sharpened as he grew up. Today, he can simply glance at a horse on TV and, in just 20 minutes, sculpt a clay figure of that horse that is anatomically correct down to every muscle. Despite his still very limited vocabulary, Clemons has shown his work throughout the world. Hear Clemons speak about his work in the video below.
The Rube Goldberg Machine Is A Complicated Machine That Does Simple Tasks
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You may have heard a convoluted concept described as a "Rube Goldberg" before...then wondered what in the world that meant. The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines Rube Goldberg as "doing something simple in a very complicated way that is not necessary." Rube Goldberg was also a Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist, who made some pretty complicated machines.The cartoon in the image below, called "Professor Butts and the Self-Operating Napkin," is one of the most famous Rube Goldberg machines. As Wonderopolis explains, this cartoon "sums up what Rube Goldberg machines are all about: creating a machine (or contraption or invention or device or apparatus) that uses a chain reaction to accomplish a very simple task in a very complicated manner." Through a convoluted series of events, the self-operating napkin accomplishes the simple task of wiping his chin.
Nobody Knows Who Designed The Taj Mahal
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If someone asked you to list the most important architecture in the world, the Taj Mahal would likely make your list. For this reason, it may be surprising to learn that NO ONE can say for sure who designed this famous structure. The identity of its architect remains a mystery to this day.The name most often attached to the Taj Mahal is that of Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan. But he only commissioned the structure. The Taj Mahal was originally created to hold the remains of his wife, Mumtaz Mahal (translated as "Chosen One of the Palace"). Mahal died tragically after the birth of their 14th child, and Jahan ordered the mausoleum to be built in honor of the favorite of his three queens.
This Font Depicts What Dyslexia Is Like
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Daniel Britton was diagnosed with dyslexia in his final year as a graphic design student at the London School of Communications. He quickly found that the public perception of this learning disability was far from the reality. His classmates and teachers just thought he was slow, or at the very least lazy, and even public awareness campaigns often got depictions of dyslexia wrong. So he designed a font, called Dyslexia, meant to simulate the difficulty dyslexics have when they try to read. He erased roughly 40% of the lines from a classic Helvetica typeface, turning a clear, standard font into something that's quite difficult to make out. The 40% wasn't a scientific figure, but one Britton came to organically in his efforts to make a font that was hard to read, but not impossible. He's also not trying to recreate the visual experience of dyslexia. "...awareness ads will represent text as seen by dyslexics as a bunch of blurry letters, or an upside-down letter form," Britton told Fast Co.Design. "At least for me, that's not what it's like at all. It's more like text looks normal, but the part of my brain that decodes it just isn't awake." The good news is that his font worked: not only did it help his classmates understand his learning disability, it got him a job creating public awareness ads for the UK Parliament. Learn more about dyslexia in the videos below.