There is at least one person in the world who's paid to be a wizard. The city of Christchurch, New Zealand, contracts with him to "provide acts of wizardry and other wizard-like-services as part of promotional work for the city of Christchurch." Plus: there's a museum exhibit in Switzerland featuring works of art that showcase imaginary or invented languages.
We don’t have the Olympic Games right now, but we can still mark a big Olympic moment that happened on this day in 1948: the day Alice Coachman became the first Black woman to win Olympic gold. Plus: a chocolate company and an engineer say they've redesigned the chocolate chip. Is it more efficient? I don't know, but I'll be happy to test it out.
Your Phone Can Tell You If That’s A Dangerous Spider Or Just The Regular Kind (Cool Weird Awesome 353)
There are parts of the world where some of the local spiders are very dangerous to humans. A new app called Critterpedia can scan your spider photos and tell you which spider is which. Plus: on National Root Beer Float Day, a root beer maker in Wisconsin is trying to set a world record for biggest root beer float drive-thru.
On this day in 1999 a court rules in a case involving a guy who tried to use a huge number of points in a Pepsi reward program to buy a fighter jet, which the soda maker had jokingly offered in one of its ads. It didn't work, but still, an A for effort. Plus: there's a new uncuttable substance that might make for a great bike lock.
Maybe everyone in junior high was right: the clothes you wear really can make you cool! At least if those clothes are the new fabric developed in China with a kind of cooling system embedded inside. Plus: it's National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day, so let's find out about the largest chocolate chip cookie of all time.
Researchers at the University of Washington call it a "GoPro for beetles" - a ultralight, wireless, steerable camera that can ride on the back of a bug. And it's pretty effective at letting us see what these bugs see. Plus: a new online chart tracks the vocal range of famous pop singers, by measuring the highest and lowest notes they ever sung on a recording.
Change is in the air in the border region between Spain and France. A small island there called Pheasant Island is about to change countries, as it does twice a year. Plus: some enterprising race fans in Poland use construction cranes to help them get a good view of their favorite drivers even while physical distancing.
On this day in 1988, the Ostry family of Bruno, Nebraska got 328 people to lift a barn - a real, actual barn - and moved it 110 feet by hand. That's some impressive crowdsourcing. Plus:
A team of engineering students at Harvard is teaming with a startup called Savormetrics to develop a device that can tell us when avocados will be ripe. It's one step on the way to solving the costly problem of food waste. Plus: a project in Belgium called #ArtGenetics is learning about the evolution of fruits and vegetables through classic paintings.
Today is said to be the day in 1858 that a colonial magistrate in India began using fingerprints for identification. But that's just one part of the history of how and why our prints are such a valuable bit of biometric information today. Plus: a guy in Jamaica showed up to collect a big lottery prize in a Darth Vader costume, because why not?