+
More

During WWII, he helped free a French town. His reaction to seeing it almost 70 years later was beautiful.

virtual reality, veterans, WWII, France
Images pulled from YouTube video.

Frank Mouqué uses virtual reality to explore a town he liberated in 1944.

From a chair in his nursing home, 91-year-old veteran Frank Mouqué virtually stood in the town square of Armentières, France — the town he helped liberate during WWII.

"We were bombed, shelled, sniped, fired at constantly," Mouque recalled of his time in the war. "There were quite a number of casualties. I lost a lot of my friends."


With a virtual reality headset strapped to his head, Mouqué was transported to the site of his most vivid memories: seeing in rich detail the town he first stepped foot in back in 1944 and hearing the voices of people who are free, in part, because of him.

It was weeks after D-Day and the allied troops were marching their way through France, Belgium, Holland, and Germany, freeing every city they could from Nazi occupation. One of those cities was Armentières, a tiny village in Northern France, just below the Belgian border.

After a hard fight, allied troops successfully liberated Armentières. What Mouqué remembers more than anything is the warm reception he and his company received from the people there. The families that took him in and the people who came out to thank him and his fellow soldiers are memories that have stayed with Mouqué for over 70 years.

In honor of Remembrance Day 2016, Twine, a U.K.-based network of innovators and creatives, decided to honor Mouqué with a one-of-a-kind virtual reality experience.

They, along with Mutiny Media travelled to modern day Armentières and made a video for Mouqué in which members of the town personally thanked him for his service.

Watch Frank's virtual experience here:

The film was shot using 360-degree video technology, so when Mouqué viewed it through a virtual reality visor, it was like he was really there — walking through the streets, hearing a chorus of children sing to him, and even receiving a medal from the mayor. Mouqué was also given the medal in real life, which he said he was honored to receive on behalf of everyone who was there.

technology, science, multi media, war veterans

A virtual reality video of the mayor presenting Frank with a medal.

Image pulled from YouTube video.

"We saw the potential of virtual reality, but had not yet come across anyone using it for the benefit of veterans," Stuart Logan, CEO and co-founder of Twine explained via email.

awards, world events, mental health, Nazis

Frank watches the video of his medal presentation wearing a VR headset.

Image pulled from YouTube video.

Virtual reality is relatively new, meaning the boundaries of its ability to truly affect people are still being explored.

"I think this project shows just how powerful VR can be as a tool to transport people — physically and emotionally," Logan explained. "From the response of the people of Armentières when we first explained our idea — they immediately understood how poignant and important project this was going to be — all the way through to Frank’s incredible reaction to the experience, it’s been very moving."

soldiers, elderly, technology, inovation

Frank shares about his VR experience.

Image pulled from YouTube video.

"My grandfather fought in the war, so it’s personally a very significant project for me," Logan said. "It was incredibly important to recognize [veterans] and how their actions created the world we enjoy today," Logan said.

Frank Mouqué probably thought he'd never see Armentières in person again.

With a little creativity, ingenuity, and technology, he was not only able to see it, but feel like he was really there. That's a gift that is more than just a novelty. It's the heartwarming conclusion to a story that began decades ago and will echo through years to come.

Watch Frank's reaction to the virtual reality experience here:


Finally, someone explains why we all need subtitles

It seems everyone needs subtitles nowadays in order to "hear" the television. This is something that has become more common over the past decade and it's caused people to question if their hearing is going bad or if perhaps actors have gotten lazy with enunciation.

So if you've been wondering if it's just you who needs subtitles in order to watch the latest marathon-worthy show, worry no more. Vox video producer Edward Vega interviewed dialogue editor Austin Olivia Kendrick to get to the bottom of why we can't seem to make out what the actors are saying anymore. It turns out it's technology's fault, and to get to how we got here, Vega and Kendrick took us back in time.

They first explained that way back when movies were first moving from silent film to spoken dialogue, actors had to enunciate and project loudly while speaking directly into a large microphone. If they spoke and moved like actors do today, it would sound almost as if someone were giving a drive-by soliloquy while circling the block. You'd only hear every other sentence or two.

Keep ReadingShow less

Bengals wide receiver Chad Johnson in 2006.

A startling number of professional athletes face financial hardships after they retire. The big reason is that even though they make a lot of money, the average sports career is relatively short: 3.3 years in the NFL; 4.6 years in the NBA; and 5.6 years in MLB. During that time, athletes often dole out money to friends and family members who helped them along the way and can fall victim to living lavish, unsustainable lifestyles.

After the athlete retires they are likely to earn a lot less money, and if they don’t adjust their spending, they’re in for some serious trouble.

In a candid interview with NFL Hall of Famer and TV personality Shannon Sharpe, Chad Ochocinco (legally Chad Johnson) revealed that he saved 80 to 83% of the $48 million he made in the NFL by faking his lavish lifestyle because it made no sense to him.

Keep ReadingShow less
Nature

Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave that’s been closed for 70 years

You can only access the cave from the basement of the home and it’s open for business.

This Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave.

Have you ever seen something in a movie or online and thought, "That's totally fake," only to find out it's absolutely a real thing? That's sort of how this house in Pennsylvania comes across. It just seems too fantastical to be real, and yet somehow it actually exists.

The home sits between Greencastle and Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, and houses a pretty unique public secret. There's a cave in the basement. Not a man cave or a basement that makes you feel like you're in a cave, but an actual cave that you can't get to unless you go through the house.

Turns out the cave was discovered in the 1830s on the land of John Coffey, according to Uncovering PA, but the story of how it was found is unclear. People would climb down into the cave to explore occasionally until the land was leased about 100 years later and a small structure was built over the cave opening.

Keep ReadingShow less
Family

American mom living in Germany lists postpartum support and women are gobsmacked

“Every video you make gets me closer to actually moving to Germany.”

U.S. mom living in Germany shares postpartum support she received.

Having a baby is not an easy feat no matter which way they come out. The pregnant person is either laboring for hours and then pushing for what feels like even more hours, or they're getting cut from hip to hip to bring about their bundle of joy. (Unless you're one of those lucky—or rather not-so-lucky—folks who get to labor for hours only to still end up in surgery.)

Giving birth is hard and healing afterward can feel dang near impossible, especially given that most states in the U.S. only offer six weeks of maternity leave and it's typically unpaid. But did you know that not everyone has that experience?

A mom who had her first child in the U.S. before meeting her current husband and relocating to Germany is shedding light on postpartum care in her new country. The stark contrast is beyond shocking to women living in the U.S. and she's got a few considering crossing the ocean for a better quality of life.

Keep ReadingShow less

Meghan Elinor chimes in on the Starbucks tipping debate.

Tipping culture is rapidly changing in America, so understandably a lot of people aren’t sure what to do when they buy a coffee and the debit card reader asks for a tip. It used to be that people only tipped bartenders, drivers, servers and hairdressers.

Now people are being asked to tip just about any time they encounter a point-of-sale system. There is a big difference between tipping a server who lugged around hot plates of food for an hour-long meal and someone who simply handed you an ice cream cone.

"We're living in an era of inflation, but on top of that, we've got tipping everywhere—tipflation. I take it a step further and call it a tipping invasion. Because that's really what I think it is," etiquette expert Thomas Farley (aka Mister Manners) told CBS 8.

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

One moment in history shot Tracy Chapman to music stardom. Watch it now.

She captivated millions with nothing but her guitar and an iconic voice.

Imagine being in the crowd and hearing "Fast Car" for the first time

While a catchy hook might make a song go viral, very few songs create such a unifying impact that they achieve timeless resonance. Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car” is one of those songs.

So much courage and raw honesty is packed into the lyrics, only to be elevated by Chapman’s signature androgynous and soulful voice. Imagine being in the crowd and seeing her as a relatively unknown talent and hearing that song for the first time. Would you instantly recognize that you were witnessing a pivotal moment in musical history?

For concert goers at Wembley Stadium in the late 80s, this was the scenario.

Keep ReadingShow less