TIME technology

Here’s Why Asparagus Is Yet Another Thing We Should Not Deliver by Drone

Spoiler alert: Explosions

In the not-so-distant future, your dinner will probably be delivered straight to the window of your fifth floor apartment via drone.

Amazon is fighting with the FAA for the ability to test drone grocery deliveries, but drones have also been used less formally to delivery everything from burritos to pizza to champagne to… asparagus.

According to Dutch News, restauranteur Ronald Peijnenburg decided to celebrate asparagus season by using a drone to deliver the vegetable from the countryside to his Michelin-starred Netherlands restaurant. (He had previously delivered asparagus via Formula 1 cars and hot air balloons). But a video chronicling his attempted delivery shows a con of drones: Sometimes they crash and burn.

Between this and that one time a promotional drone in a TGI Friday’s accidentally lost control and cut off the tip of someone’s nose, can we maybe agree drones and the restaurant industry might not be a great fit?

TIME Bizarre

Sculptor Behind ‘Scary’ Lucille Ball Statue Offers to Replace it for Free

Lucille Ball Hometown Statue
The Post-Journal/AP A bronze sculpture of Lucille Ball is displayed in Lucille Ball Memorial Park in Celoron, N.Y.

The artist said it's "not befitting of Lucy’s beauty or my ability as a sculptor"

The sculptor behind an unflattering statue of Lucille Ball that has upset residents of the actress’ New York hometown for years has offered to replace it free of charge.

“I take full responsibility for ‘Scary Lucy,’ though by no means was that my intent or did I wish to disparage in any way the memories of the iconic Lucy image,” Dave Poulin said in a letter to The Hollywood Reporter.

Some locals of Celoron, N.Y., where the statue of the I Love Lucy star was unveiled in 2009, even started a Facebook group dedicated to getting rid of it. Poulin said he’ll return “with the promise of creating a new beautiful and charming ‘Lucy’ in its place.” Celoron officials said Poulin wanted around $10,000 to re-do the sculpture, according to the Associated Press.

“From the day of its installation, I have shared my disappointment in the final outcome and have always believed it to be by far my most unsettling sculpture, not befitting of Lucy’s beauty or my ability as a sculptor,” Poulin wrote. “Yes, in retrospect, it should have never been cast in bronze and made public, and I take complete ownership of that poor decision.”

[THR]

TIME Accident

A Bee Swarm in Florida Has Left Three Men Hospitalized

Honey bees
Kerstin Klaassen—Getty Images

The men were trying to get honey from a hive that may have contained up to 30,000 insects

Three men were swarmed by enraged bees and stung repeatedly outside of Tampa on Sunday, while trying to get honey from a wild hive. They were subsequently hospitalized, WTSP reports.

“They were covered in bees, their beards, their hair, their clothes — bees were everywhere,” a neighbor told WTSP.

Pasco County fire rescue fended the swarm off with a hose, but a local woman was also stung while leaving her home and officials are cautioning residents of New Port Richey to remain vigilant in case the bees return.

There could have been as many as 30,000 bees in the hive.

[WTSP]

TIME faith

Easter’s Ever-Changing Date and the People Who Tried to Fix It

Easter Eggs
Hulton Archive/Getty Images Three women holding armfuls of large Easter eggs, circa 1925

A trade association advocated for the change — unsuccessfully

This year, Easter falls on April 5 — but, as those who celebrate the major Christian holiday will know, the day doesn’t stay in one place for long. Easter is one of the “moveable feasts,” a holiday that falls on a different calendar date each year. It’s calculated as the first Sunday after the first full moon on or after the vernal equinox.

Though the beginning of spring generally happens around the same time every year — the church uses March 21 as the date — the lunar calendar and the Gregorian calendar don’t match up, which means the timing of the full moon can change quite a bit. (This year, that full moon came on April 4.) Easter thus has about a month’s worth of time in which to move around.

That system worked for hundreds of years, but as Easter became not only a religious holiday, but also an occasion for sales, shopping and parades, the mobility of the fête began to cause a problem.

Stocking Easter goodies and planning projected profits is difficult to do when the calendar moves around, and even more so if you use Easter to mark the start of the whole shopping season. So in 1926, a group of storekeepers came up with a solution: fix the date. Not fix as in “make better”; fix as in “fix in place.”

As TIME explained on Feb. 1 of that year:

This inconstancy of Eastertide has irritated money-grubbing merchants, who long have surreptitiously, indirectly exported the spirited, springtime surge of joy, light and purity felt by celebrants. People have stepped from decorating their altars to decking their bodies, until the Easter Sunday “parade” of fashionables and fops gets more notice in the lay press than does the sanctity of the holiday. This display of clothes and flowers and jewels and carriages, wily merchandisers have gloated over. None the less they have peered with squinted eye at the fluctuating date of the festival, even as they touted a robe as “hot from N’ York, lady,” or “new from Paris, madame.”

Last week the Manhattan Merchants’ Association stepped into the clear; advocated a constant Easter; stated in a bulletin that the second Sunday in April “will be” the date it believes will be adopted; said further: “A late Easter often proves disastrous to sellers of many lines of merchandise because it shortens the spring season, thereby reducing the volume of business, while the lengthened winter season is of little benefit. With the adoption of a fixed date, all such difficulties will disappear.

The church’s response to the proposal? “Clergymen,” TIME reported, “were vexed.” Nearly 90 years later we know that there was no need for such vexation: Though TIME didn’t follow up on the story, Easter is still moving around the same way it always has.

TIME Bizarre

New York Town Doesn’t Love ‘Nightmare’ Lucille Ball Statue

The people of Celoron, N.Y feel the bronze statue is an eyesore

Lucille Ball fans in Celoron, N.Y., which is just outside of Jamestown, aren’t feeling much “love” for a statue of the comedienne in her hometown.

The bronze sculpture looks so unlike the I Love Lucy creator (we’re thinking it’s something about the teeth… and the eyes… and the face) that Lucy Lovers actually think it does her a disservice. An especially vocal fan, who, according to Yahoo, wishes to remain anonymous, started a Facebook group to advocate for the statue’s removal. “The people of Celoron have erected this horrible statue of Lucy in her hometown,” the Facebook page reads. “It is a nightmare. We want them to replace it.”

The mayor of Jamestown, which is home to the Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum & Center for Comedy, told the Jamestown Post-Journal that it would cost the city between $8,000 and $10,000 to have Poulin re-cast the statue, and the city refuses to use tax dollars to do so.

“We’d like to work with the original sculptor,” Mayor Scott Schrecengost said, “and wish he would stand behind his work enough to step up and fix it for free.”

This article originally appeared on EW.com

TIME animals

Dog Lovers Come to Aid of Stray Mutt Bludgeoned and Left for Dead

Theia was victim of botched "mercy killiing" but is now on the road to recovery

A stray dog in Moses Lake, Wash. overcame incredible odds after being hit by a car, bludgeoned and left for dead—and now well-wishers have paid for much-needed surgery thanks to a crowdfunded campaign.

Theia, a bully breed mix, was believed to be hit in the head and left in a ditch as a “mercy killing” after her car accident, but wandered away hungry and covered in dirt, with injuries to her jaw, legs and sinus cavities. She has been temporarily taken in by Sara Mellado, whose friend posted about the dog on Facebook, and who brought Theia to the veterinary teaching hospital at Washington State University (WSU) in Pullman for treatment.

Charlie Powell, the public information officer at WSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine, calls the injuries to her head “very consistent with wounds that we see when people try to humanely euthanize a dog—they will routinely miss the brain and hit the sinuses.” Unable to breathe through her nose, she struggles to keep her mouth open when she puts her head down to sleep and needs surgery to fix her nasal passage.

Mellado started a GoFundMe campaign to pay for the surgery that has raised nearly $24,000 as Friday afternoon, more than double the needed amount. Powell says Mellado will donate the excess to the hospital’s Good Samaritan Fund, which paid for the dog’s initial treatment.

Theia will get her operation at WSU on April 21, and if all goes well, she’ll hopefully find a new, loving home after that. Powell says there has been a “tremendous outpouring of people who want to adopt this dog.”

TIME Sports

The Centuries-Old Good Friday Tradition You’ve Probably Never Heard About

Busmen from the Crawley, Sussex depot at the Tinsley Green, Surrey marbles match v Tinsley Green, 19th April 1935
Popperfoto/Getty Images Busmen from the Crawley, Sussex depot at the Tinsley Green, Surrey marbles match, April 19, 1935

This annual Good Friday event isn't exactly a religious rite

This year, on Good Friday, observers may mark the day with prayer and preparation for Easter.

But in Tinsley Green, a small town near London, a very different sort of Good Friday tradition will take place, just as it has for decades. The British and World Marbles Championship is held on that day every year and, as TIME described it in 1969, the annual event has been going for far longer than one might expect:

As legend has it, the British marbling tourney traces its heritage to the days of Elizabethan chivalry. For the hand of a maiden, two 16th century swains clashed in an “all known sports” tournament in which marbles, for reasons now obscure, became the dominant contest. By the 1700s the marble tournament had become an annual Good Friday ritual in Tinsley Green. The tourney began in the morning; at high noon (the hour Sussex taverns open), the referee cried “Smug!” and the tournament ended. The rules are wondrously simple: 49 marbles are placed in the “pitch” (ring) and each member of the competing teams takes his turn at trying to knock one out. Shooting is a thumbs-only proposition—a flick of the wrist constitutes a “fudge” (foul) and disqualifies the contestant for that round. As in pool, each successful shot merits another, and the team that picks up the most marbles wins.

According to the tournament’s website, the ritual fell away sometime around the year 1900 and was brought back in 1932. Though the first years of that era saw the matches as mostly local competitions, the tournament began to attract foreign teams as well. That 1969 story focused on a team from Chicago that threatened to take the title — except that they never showed up.

And even if they had, TIME ventured, they were unlikely to win. After all, the defending champions had a secret weapon: “marbles hand-carved from the finest porcelain commodes” because “only porcelain gives the ‘tolley’ (shooter) the proper heft and feel.”

TIME celebrity

The Only Thing Better Than a Chocolate Bunny Is This Life-Size Chocolate Benedict Cumberbatch

Matt Alexander/PA Wire Chocolatier Jen Lindsay-Clark makes final adjustments to a life-size chocolate sculpture of actor Benedict Cumberbatch

Just call him Benedict Chocobatch

Benedict Cumberbatch’s intense fans have another reason to drool over the famed actor.

In a bizarre stunt to promote its new Drama channel, UKTV commissioned a 6-foot, 88-pound Benedict Cumberbatch doppelgänger made entirely out of Belgian chocolate. And his name is Benedict Chocobatch.

“The striking thing about Benedict is that he’s got quite a thin face but he’s got a large head,” Tim Simpson, one of Chocobatch’s eight sculptors, said in a video about the building process. “So trying to get that look right is quite tricky.”

The hollow candy statue took 250 man hours to make.

Cumberbatch was chosen for the sweet stunt after he beat out actors like David Tennant, Idris Elba, Sean Bean and Damian Lewis in a poll that sought to name “Britain’s dishiest TV drama actor.”

Says Drama general manager Adrian Wills, “Hopefully he’ll make it through Easter weekend in one piece.”

 

TIME society

Try to Be Happy For the Couple That Just Won the Lottery for the Second Time

They also once won a Jaguar because...why not?

April Fools’ pranks might be everywhere on the Internet today, but this isn’t one of them.

A U.K. couple won £1 million ($1.22 million USD) from the EuroMillions lottery last week for the second time in as many years. They amazingly beat the 283-billion-to-one odds and made sure to celebrate accordingly.

David and Kathleen Long had been engaged for 12 years before purchasing their first winning ticket in 2013 that bankrolled their “smashing” wedding.

“David was always convinced he’d win big,” Kathleen told the Mirror. “It’s brilliant.”

Long, who also reportedly won a Jaguar because why not, got that feeling again last week. “I just knew it would be my turn again some day,” David Long told The Guardian.

His trick seems easy to replicate: “Just believe that one day you will do it.”

So that’s what you’ve been doing wrong.

TIME Holidays

How One of History’s Best April Fools’ Day Pranks Was Debunked

April 23, 1934
TIME From TIME's April 23, 1934, debunking of the lung-powered flight hoax

Don't believe everything you read

Although the exact origin of April Fools’ Day is uncertain, playing springtime pranks is a nearly universal custom, adopted around the globe and throughout history — perhaps, some have suggested, beginning with the Roman festival of Hilaria, which was celebrated by dressing up in disguise. Over the past century, April 1 hijinks have become a mainstay of Western culture.

One of the more legendary jokes came in 1934, when a German news magazine published a photo of a man on skis, propelling himself into the air by blowing into a straw to turn a pair of rotors. Many American newspapers were taken in by the hoax, including the New York Times, which ran the photo with the caption, “Man flies on his own power for the first time in history.”

TIME, however, was not fooled, as an article from later that month made clear:

Surely Pilot Kocher‘s exploit was major news, yet not one word of it had appeared in print in the U. S. until the pictures arrived. There was good reason why. Pilot Kocher had flown only in the fertile imaginations of the editors of Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung, who had cooked up the pictures for their magazine’s famed annual April Fool edition. Hearst’s International News had been gloriously hoaxed, and the U. S. Press with it. But in borrowing the Illustrirte Zeitung‘s feature, the International News editors missed two ingenious points: 1) The pilot did not simply blow the rotors around by sheer lung-power. He breathed normally into the box, in which a marvelous chemical contrivance converted the carbon dioxide of his breath into fuel to run a small motor which turned the rotors! (As everyone should know, carbon dioxide is anything but combustible.) 2) The pilot’s name, Koycher (not Kocher), was a freak spelling of Kencher which means “puffer” or “hot air merchant.”

But it wasn’t long before the kind of flight news that would have once been an obvious hoax began to seem feasible: in 1937, faux-pilot Koycher showed up again in the pages of TIME, but as a counterexample. “Three years ago, like many another newspaper, the New York Times carried an astonishing picture of a man on skis propelling himself off the ground by puffing into a pair of rotors. It turned out to be an April Fooler concocted by the editors of Germany’s Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung,” TIME noted. “Last week, however, the feat which Icarus and Leonardo da Vinci made famous by failure was finally achieved. In Milan, where Leonardo experimented with flapping wings 400 years ago, Pilot Vittorio Bonomi took off, flew five-eighths of a mile in a bicycle plane worked only by his own strength.”

Read TIME’s 1934 debunking of the lung-powered flight, here in the TIME Vault: Daedalus

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