Crayola Crayons

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Crayola brand crayons were the first kids crayons ever made, invented by cousins, Edwin Binney and C. Harold Smith. They had already invented a new wax crayon used to mark crates, but it contained carbon and was too toxic for children. This started research into nontoxic drawing tools for kids. They were confident that the safe pigment and wax mixing techniques they had developed could be used for a variety of colors.

The brand’s first box of eight Crayola crayons made its debut in 1903. The crayons were sold for a nickel and the colors were black, brown, blue, red, purple, orange, yellow, and green.

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Some of these photographs were taken by Bryan Derballa, and show the inside of the Crayola factory which produces around 12 million crayons every day.

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Today, there over one hundred different types of crayons being made by Crayola including crayons that: sparkle with glitter, glow in the dark, smell like flowers, change colors, and wash off walls and other surfaces and materials.

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The modern crayon, originating in Europe, was a man-made cylinder that resembled contemporary sticks.  The word Crayola was created by taking the French words for chalk and oily and combined them. Later, powdered pigments of different colors replaced the charcoal. Later substituting wax for the oil made the sticks sturdier and easier to handle.

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Burning Man Festival

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Originally held in 1986 at San Francisco’s Baker Beach, the week-long Burning Man Festival now takes place in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. The festival is a week-long event that starts on the last Monday in August, and ends on the first Monday in September. Up to 68,000 people from around the world gather at the festival and spend a week in the remote desert isolated from the outside world.Burning_Man_Swar_16x9_992

The festival gets its name from the ritual burning of a large wooden effigy, which is set ablaze on Saturday evening. The event is considered an experiment in self-expression, art, and self-reliance. It’s become a gathering for hippies, artists, musicians and dancers who can for a week explore artistic expression. Money is never exchanged at the event, instead the participants gift each other to get what they need. The main attractions of Burning Man include massive art installations, all-night dance parties, marathon kite-flying sessions, unconventional fashion shows, and classes where festival goers can learn things like Hula Hooping.

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They head off one week later, having left no mark whatsoever and wait for the next Burning Man.

http://www.burningman.com/

 

 

Ventriloquist Dummy

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Ventriloquism was originally a religious practice that got its start in ancient times, somewhere around the sixth century. The name “ventriloquist” means “belly speaker” in Latin. It supposedly was used to communicate with the dead. The noises made by the stomach were thought to be the voices of the dead, who took up residence in the stomach of the ventriloquist. For a long time, it was viewed negatively by the Christian church.

 

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The change from being a sign of spiritual forces to being considered entertainment happened in the eighteenth century at travelling fairs. It came of age as entertainment with the help of vaudeville in the United States.

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Ventriloquism is the illusion of creating life, but the fear of ventriloquist’s dummies is called automatonophobia.

Ed Fairburn – Human Geography

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Artist  Ed Fairburn has some very odd habits. Once as a bored 15-year-old, during a long school break, he glued a stamp on a slice of toast and mailed it as a postcard. Since then, he has used the postal system as an alternative gallery space, although his talents have outgrown the mailbox. His most current work has him bringing new life to a series of maps. Fairburn seems to prefer the kind of art that’s easy to fold away, possibly because it makes them easier to put into a mailbox.

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Ed Fairburn is a Welsh artist, who has the ability to combine the geography of facial features with the geography of the earth. Combining the two has a completely natural feel. built and natural echo the human form. Like a sculptor, Fairburn uses patterns to cut away unnecessary details showing form in a new way.

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Today we’re living in a new age of map making, with interactive, electronic mapping technology that gives us real time detail. But it is nice to be reminded that, despite the benefits of this Google-era reality, maps can speak to more than how to get from one place to another.Ed-Fairburn-Retratos-Cartográficos5

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road

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A road winding to the top of a North Carolina mountain is the entrance to Oz, a 1970s theme park that closed less than 10 years after it opened. Back when it started, the Land of Oz would attract up to 20,000 visitors a day, but now the Yellow Brick Road is missing some bricks, and the Wicked Witch’s castle is empty.

Grover Robbins developed the Beech Mountain theme park as a way of attracting families to the  resort town. Robbins never lived to see his masterpiece, dying at the age of 50 of bone cancer only six months before  the park was complete. The park opened on June 15, 1970 with Debbie Reynolds making an appearance, along with her daughter, Carrie Fisher. In its  first summer 400,000 visitors came to the Land of Oz.

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The Yellow Brick Road wound its way through the park, leading tourists to a replica Emerald City (destroyed in a fire), Dorothy’s house, the castle of the Wicked Witch and the Munchkin village all accurately recreated on over 450 acres.

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After a decline in amusement park visitors in the 1970s and a lack of modernization and updates in the park itself, the Land of Oz closed in 1980. The park was left to vandals and decay, but there was enough interest in its restoration that it was eventually restored as a private garden in the Eagle Mountain community built at that property near the top of Beech Mountain.

The park does open to the public one week-end a year in the beginning of October.

http://www.ourstate.com/north-carolinas-land-of-oz/

Mini Key Guns for Jailers

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Most guards today don’t actually carry firearms, unless they’re isolated away from the prison population. In the old days however, prison guards needed a little backup power while using both hands to open cell doors. Hence the creation of jailer key guns, a cell door key that doubled as a primitive one-shooter. These “turnkeys” were filled with gunpowder that would fire the miniature key-pistol in case there was any trouble from the prisoner when the cell door was opened. They may not have been too effective, having only one shot, but it was enough to discourage the plans of potentially dangerous prisoners.key-guns-jailers-used-keep-prisoners-check_w654
Since most of the key guns were thrown in rivers and swamps after prisoners took them during escapes, they are now very rare and only line the pockets of antique collectors.keyj

Mate, The Drink Of Argentina

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Mate is the national drink of Argentina. “Maté” literally means “I killed” in Spanish. Later the word was used by people who colonized the region of the Río de la Plata to describe the natives rough and sour drink, always consumed with nothing added to soften the taste. Traditionally the beverage is prepared in the same gourd cup, also called mate or guampa.

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The initial preparation involves an arrangement of the yerba within the gourd before adding hot water. In this method, the gourd is first filled half to three-quarters of the way with yerba The mate is then shaken very gently in a side-to-side motion. Now the mate is ready to receive the straw.mate bombilla

Some people pour warm water into the mate before adding the straw, while others say that the straw is best inserted into dry yerba. If the straw was inserted into dry yerba, the mate must first be filled once with cool water, then be allowed to absorb it completely (which generally takes no more than two or three minutes).Gaucho Drinking Mate, Fiesta de la Tradición, San Antonio de Areco, Provincia de Buenos Aires, Argentina

Mate is traditionally drunk in a social setting, like a family gathering or among a group of friends. The same gourd (cuia) and straw (bomba/bombilla) are passed around and used by everyone drinking .