Education

# People can't believe a wavy brick wall uses fewer bricks than a straight one, but it's true

### The "crinkle crankle" wall is a testament to human ingenuity.

Karen Blaha/Wikimedia Commons

Crinkle crankle walls are more common the U.K., but they can be found in the U.S. as well.

If you were to draw a straight line and a wavy line from point A to point B, there would be no question which one used more ink. After all, "The shortest distance between two points (on a flat surface) is a straight line" has been baked into our brains since elementary school math class. Logically, a wavy line uses more ink because it covers more distance, right? Right.

So if that's true, how is it possible that a brick wall built in a wavy pattern could use fewer bricks than a straight one built between the exact same two points?

Not only is it possible, it's actually true, despite people's disbelief over the fact.

A post on X from @InternetHOF shows the claim that "corrugated brick fences" sometimes seen in England use fewer bricks than a straight wall, with the caption, "I don't believe this is true."

It does seem illogical from a pure geometry-on-paper standpoint, but what makes it true is how the structural integrity of brick walls works.

There are all kinds of nitty-gritty calculations a structural engineer could get into to explain, but thankfully, internet hero (and strangely popular X account) Greg came to everyone's rescue with an explanation that neatly fit into a single post on X.

"They're called crinkle crankles," wrote Greg. "A single leaf wall over that distance would need brick piers approx every 1.5-2m if it was a retaining wall it would need to be at least 9” wide (2 bricks). The crinkle crankle has more strength due to it’s curved nature so can be 4” wide or a single leaf of bricks.

"For the maths if we can assume they’re true semi-circles then each semi circle would be 1/2piD or 1.57D whereas a double leaf wall would be 2D for the same length D.

"Therefore using 21.5% less bricks than a double leaf wall hope that clears things up."

In even simpler terms, a long, straight brick wall only a single brick wide would not be able to stand without some kind of buttresses every couple of meters, which would actually take more bricks to build. Otherwise, it would need to be thicker, which would also increase the number of bricks needed. The curve of the crinkle crankle (best name ever) provides stability all on its own, so the wall doesn't need structured supports.

Crinkle crankle walls are usually referred to as serpentine walls in the U.S.

Karen Blaha/Wikimedia Commons

First of all, what a cool piece of human ingenuity that people actually figured this out hundreds of years ago. And second of all, why are there not more crinkle crankle walls everywhere? So much more fun and whimsical. And apparently, a better use of resources.

But before you go building your own crinkle crankle wall to make your house look super cool, make sure you've got the geometry correct. There are actual specifications for making a structurally sound serpentine wall, and if you don't do it correctly, you may find yourself with a pile of bricks and no wall, curvy or straight.

If you want to see some cool crinkle crankle walls in the U.S., head to the University of Virginia. Thomas Jefferson himself added them to the design of the Charlottesville, Virginia, campus.

Crinkle crankle wall at the University of Virginia

Carlin MacKenzie/Wikimedia Commons

More crinkle crankles everywhere, please.

Family

## Dad takes 7-week paternity leave after his second child is born and is stunned by the results

### "These past seven weeks really opened up my eyes on how the household has actually ran, and 110% of that is because of my wife."

@ustheremingtons/TikTok

There's a lot to be gleaned from this.

Participating in paternity leave offers fathers so much more than an opportunity to bond with their new kids. It also allows them to help around the house and take on domestic responsibilities that many new mothers have to face alone…while also tending to a newborn.

All in all, it enables couples to handle the daunting new chapter as a team, making it less stressful on both parties. Or at least equally stressful on both parties. Democracy!

TikTok creator and dad Caleb Remington, from the popular account @ustheremingtons, confesses that for baby number one, he wasn’t able to take a “single day of paternity leave.”

This time around, for baby number two, Remington had the privilege of taking seven weeks off (to be clear—his employer offered four weeks, and he used an additional three weeks of PTO).

The time off changed Remington’s entire outlook on parenting, and his insights are something all parents could probably use.

“It's unfortunately the end of my maternity —ahem— paternity leave,” Remington quips at the beginning of his video, via voiceover. “I only joke because my wife is truly the man of the house. And call me what you want, but I am totally okay with that.”

He then shares that after getting to spend quality time with his family to create precious memories—losing track of time to “watch ants cross the sidewalk,” for instance—he feels “guilty” about not doing so with their firstborn.

“[It] made me realize how many of those small moments I missed out the first time, but I'm looking past that guilt and grateful that I had some time to make it up,” he says.

You’ll notice that during this entire video, Remington is also doing chores. Sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, washing dishes, wiping the countertops…you get the picture.

@ustheremingtons I (caleb) am getting ready to go back into work and i am not ready. Grateful for my four weeks plus 3 weeks of PTO, but i feel like we were just getting into a groove and i was finally getting to have some 1 on 1 time with my son. Picking up the house today because we all function better with a clean space and we haven’t had time to do much of it while surviving these past 7 weeks. I do work from home and find that I have a little more flexibility in helping out here and there but i am also pretty glued and have to be zoned in during work hours. I do however have some pretty awesome and understanding coworkers and company!Shout out to @SAMBAZON Açaí 👊 Tiff is an all star: working and stay at home mom. I am dedicated in doing better to help balance more of the domestic responsibilities. #paternityleave #dadtok #dadsover30 #dadlife #fyp #foryoupage #ditl #ditlvlog #maternityleave #newbornlife #newbornbaby #secondbaby #2under2 #toddlerlife ♬ original sound - Tiffany + Caleb

Why is he doing this? His wife, aka “the lady with the milk bags,” has been so stressed with the house being messy that Remington decided to focus on doing all the housecleaning so that she could spend time with the kids.

Doing a fair share of the domestic labor is something Remington admits to failing at their first time around. Spending seven weeks taking on more responsibilities, however, opened his eyes to the fact that what he previously saw as doing his “fair share” was actually doing “the bare minimum.”

“It has taken multiple conversations — and many ongoing ones — to truly master how to take on more of the mental load of raising children, growing our marriage and taking care of our investments like our home.”

Proof that having difficult conversations can lead to better understanding!

Lastly, Remington reflects on how the emotional turbulence of being new parents challenged his relationship, even though he and his wife were good communicators and aware of how much effort would be required.

“I honestly hated how much we fought, how much I felt misunderstood, and how much I misunderstood her…so now as second-time parents, I feel like we're a little bit more prepared. Prepared in how we talk to each other, prepared in how I balance work, life, and personal life, and prepared to just let things go,” he says.

Definitely valuable insights for anyone navigating baby number one. Or number five, for that matter.

Remington’s story stands as a great example of just how beneficial paternity leave can be. It offers priceless bonding time, an equal balance of responsibilities, and more time for much needed reflection as parents begin a pivotal new chapter in their lives.

Family

## Mom shocked after daughter says Millenial names like Ashley and Amanda are for ‘old’ people

### Is Ashley the new Margret?

Millenial names are now "old" names.

You can’t turn back the hands of time and so it’s impossible to avoid being labeled “old” by younger generations, no matter how hard you try. For many of us, our names are tied to the times when we were born and can start to sound really dated, no matter how fashionable they were at one point.

TikTokker Amber Cimotti found this out the hard way when her daughter noted that she has an “old” person's name.

“My daughter told me the name Ashley or Amanda — or my name is Amber — are like old people names and I never thought about it this way,” Amber explained in a video with over 3 million views.

“She's like, ‘Yeah, my teacher's names are like Miss Erica, Miss Samantha, there's Amandas and Ashleys, and she's like, ‘Those are just old people's names.’ Whereas young people names like my daughter is Scarlett, there's Charlotte, there's Olivia, there's Penelopes, there's Isabellas, there's Bellas, there's Ellas, those are young people names,” she continued.

@ciaoamberc

TikTok · Ciao AmberC

The mom realized what was once young and hip is now just a big red flag that screams “Millenial” to the younger kids.

“So basically, ‘Ashley’ is always going to be my friend from elementary, so it just seems like a kid name to me but it's not. Ashley, Amanda, Amber — all of these names are like basically the new Margaret or Barbara,” she continued.

"If you got a shout-out in Mambo Number 5, congrats you now have a granny name lol," Christina commented, making a reference that most Gen Zers will never get, but Millenials and Gen Xers know instinctively.

Sorry, Ashleys, but the facts don’t lie, according to Mama Natural, Ashley was the 3rd most popular name for American babies between 1991 and 1996. In 2021, it was ranked 154.

Joy

## Woman who lives on a cruise ship shares the hardest part about her perfect life

### She's a little afraid to leave her cabin.

Christine Kesteloo has one big problem living on a cruise ship.

A lot of folks would love to trade lives with Christine Kesteloo. Her husband is the Chief Engineer on a cruise ship, so she gets to live on the boat pretty much for free as the “wife on board.” For Christine, life is a lot like living on a permanent vacation.

“I live on a cruise ship for half the year with my husband, and it's often as glamorous as it sounds,” she told Insider. “After all, I don't cook, clean, make my bed, do laundry or pay for food.“

Living an all-inclusive lifestyle seems like paradise, but it has some drawbacks. Having access to all-you-can-eat food all day long can really have an effect on one’s waistline. Kesteloo admits that living on a cruise ship takes a lot of self-discipline because the temptation is always right under her nose.

“One of the hardest things about living on a cruise ship is that I know right now, if I just leave my cabin, I can go and have cookies, pizza, a shake, I could have anything I wanted, and I want it, I absolutely want it,” she said in a TikTok video that received over 400,000 views.

@dutchworld_americangirl

The hardest part about living on a cruise ship is that I am surrounded by free food all of the time anything I want I just had lunch but it’s 2 o’clock in my body tells me it’s either cookie time or time for a hamburger. The hardest part is telling myself not to eat. #hardestpart #cruiseship #livingatsea #koningsdam #weliveonacruiseship #cruisefoodie #foodtok #itsaproblem #halcruises #hollandamericaline

“I am laying here. It is 2 pm. I had a salad for lunch, I had some fresh fruit, but that didn’t fill me up,” she continued. “Right now, all I can think about is eating a burger with some French fries and some mayonnaise.”

“And that, folks, is the absolute hardest part about living on a cruise ship,” she said. “I am surrounded by food all the time.”

She added, "The hardest part is telling myself not to eat.”

Kesteloo’s trouble is a common problem among people on cruise ships. A study by Admiral Travel Insurance found that over 60% of people who go on a week-long cruise anticipate gaining weight. Seventeen percent of people say they gain 2 to 3 pounds on a cruise, while 14% say they gain 4 to 5 pounds.

Other estimates show that the average cruiser will put on 5 to 10 pounds on a weeklong cruise. Imagine living on a cruise ship for half the year, like Kesteloo. She could quickly put on 100 pounds a year if she's not careful.

"I’d be huge if I lived there. I would feel like I’m on a constant vacation, and who diets on vacation?" Theresa Gramelsapcker-Wilson wrote in the comments.

"This is my main reason why I couldn’t do this HHAHAHAHAHAA," Cara Mia added.

"I never thought about those who actually live on a cruise ship. I would be 500 pounds," Lucky Penny2468 said.

Kesteloo’s battle with temptation shows that in every life, a little rain must fall. Nobody ever truly has it perfect. Kesteloo seems to be living the perfect life on board a cruise ship, but she still has to fight temptation every moment of the day or make good use of the ship’s gym facilities. But, obviously, having access to too much food is far better than having too little.

## Woman shows cat 'the trenches' after he misbehaves in comedic video

### "Scared Straight: Cat Edition!!!"

Woman shows her misbehaving cat to 'the trenches'

You always hear about a "bad dog," giving the furry goofballs a reputation for getting into mischief, but what about bad cats. Not all cats are angels just lounging around the house until someone gives them food while fanning them with a giant palm leaf. Some cats have a sketchy "catigree" and every once in a while they let that wild streak show. When that happens, what is a cat owner to do?

A cat mom that goes by the user name Lambo Licia on Instagram posted a video showing exactly how she gets her cat in line when he's misbehaving. No, it's not with a spray bottle. She shows him what life is like in "the trenches." You know, the area of town where homeless cats roam and cat burglars have real whiskers and thumbs that don't work, leaving a strange fish smell wherever they lurk.

If Scared Straight: Cat Edition was an actual thing, Mega, the orange tabby would be the first to turn his life around. He looks absolutely petrified from all of the unruly cat behavior he sees out the window and his mom's commentary.

"You be in the kitchen begging me for food. You see those cats over there? They ain't eat at all, they ain't eat at all. There's cats out here struggling and you stressing me at home like I don't feed you," Licia pretends to cry to the cat. Commenters can't get enough of Mega being shown the bad side of cat town and share their own ungrateful cat stories.

"I take pictures of the less fortunate cats to show mine how good she really has it. Another cat got in our house and played in her toy bin and she was pissed! I told her some cats don't have toys and she needs to share idc if the neighborhood cat came over. She's been an indoor cat since," one cat mom writes.

"Scared Straight: Cat Edition!!! I’m here for it. You is a Cat of God in a black household… you know better. Now stop this foolishness and be great. My speech to my orange tabby, Toby Jawan Walker," someone else laughs.

"Cat: Wait, they really out here living like this!!! Oh no, take me home now," another commenter jokes.

One thing is for sure, Mega will never forget his ride to the wrong side of town and hopefully will start having a more grateful attitude. Watch the entire video below:

Science

## College students use AI to decode ancient scroll burned in Mount Vesuvius

### “Some of these texts could completely rewrite the history of key periods of the ancient world."

When Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 C.E., it buried entire cities in volcanic materials. While Pompeii is the most famous site affected by the natural disaster, the nearby villa of Herculaneum was also laid to waste—including over 800 precious scrolls found inside Herculaneum’s library, which were carbonized by the heat, making them impossible to open and recover their contents.

Which brings us to the Vesuvius challenge, started by computer scientist Brent Seales and entrepreneurs Nat Friedman and Daniel Gross in March 2023. The contest would award \$1 million in prizes to whoever could use machine learning to successfully read from the scrolls without damaging them.

On February 5, the prize-winning team was announced.

The team consisted of three savvy college students— Youssef Nader in Germany, Luke Farritor in the US, and Julian Schilliger in Switzerland—working with each other from across the globe.

Each student had a prior individual accomplishment in the challenge before teaming up. Farritor first deciphered a word from the scroll ((ΠΟΡΦΥΡΑϹ, or “porphyras,” which means “purple” in ancient Greek), after which Nader was able to read multiple column from the scroll, in addition to Julian Schilliger creating 3D map renderings of the papyrus.

Nader, Farritor and Schillinger eventually combined their talents to train machine-learning algorithms to decipher more than 2,000 characters. Contest organizers estimated a less than 30% success rate for even less characters.

So, what exactly did the scrolls say? Turns out, the ancient cultures were just as curious about what makes us truly happy in life as we are today.

From the Vesuvius Challenge/ scrollprize.org

The translated text, thought to be written by Epicurean philosopher Philodemus, appears to be a philosophical discussion on pleasure, and how it’s affected by things like music and food. And quite possibly “throwing shade” as stoicism by calling it “an incomplete philosophy because it has ‘nothing to say about pleasure.”

“We can’t escape the feeling that the first text we’ve uncovered is a 2,000-year-old blog post about how to enjoy life,” the Vesuvius Challenge website writes.

The first Vesuvius Challenge resulted in 5% of one scroll being read. For 2024, the goalpost has been moved to being able to read 90% of all four scrolls currently scanned, and to lay the foundation to read all 800 scrolls, and possibly other texts found at the Herculaneum library.

“Some of these texts could completely rewrite the history of key periods of the ancient world,” Robert Fowler, a classicist and the chair of the Herculaneum Society, told Bloomberg. “This is the society from which the modern Western world is descended.”

Using artificial intelligence to create a future has been a prime topic of conversation as of late, but this story is a great example of how AI can give us rare glimpses into the past as well. It's pretty incredible to think about how many ancient mysteries could be solved as technology continues to advance in the years to come.

But no matter how much knowledge we gain, it feels safe to say that pleasure might always an enigma.

Pop Culture

## Shaquille O'Neal gives the best explanation for refusing the perks of being a celebrity

### "That's what we need more of in this world."

Keith Allison/Wikimedia Commons

Shaquille O'Neal retired from pro basketball in 2011, but he's still one of the most famous players ever.

Fame comes with a lot of challenges, but it also comes with some pretty obvious perks. There's the money that frequently follows fame, of course, but there's also the special treatment people automatically offer you.

Some famous folks might revel in that special treatment and some might even express gratitude for it. But occasionally, you find a celebrity who refuses it altogether.

Take basketball legend Shaquille O'Neal, for instance.

Shaq has been known to share his wealth with the average Joe without any expectation, just out of the goodness of his heart. He also has a refreshingly down-to-earth attitude about his own importance compared to other people, which he shared in an interview.

Not only does Shaq give generous tips to McDonald's workers out of appreciation for their service, but he said he can't even bring himself to skip to the front of the line when he knows he could—a fact that always blows the mind of people he goes to restaurants with.

"I know I'm 'the Shaq' and I can eat free, I just can't i can't do it. Because remember, these people right here make this world go around, not me. But it's my job to entertain them, and then when they pay, that's how I get paid. So it's all a certain ecosystem that can never be broken. A lot of people break it…but you got to protect the people that make you who you are."

Watch:

It's a refreshingly humble attitude from someone who could easily take advantage of his fame, and people in the comments love to see it.

"A true gentleman," wrote one person. "The more I see of him..the more I respect him.. Thank you for being a great person!!"

"Shaq is the kind of man who should be one's role model," shared another.

"'You gotta protect the people who made you who you are' that's why this man is respected by all," offered another.

"This is why Shaq is my fav! He never let the fame kill the goodness in his heart. He stayed pure," wrote another."

Some people shared their own personal encounters with Shaq as further examples that he genuinely is as he describes himself—no entourage, no perks expected or accepted, generous to the people serving him.

"I saw Shaq at a ice cream shop in a Boston suburb and he was alone and didn’t expect any special treatment and was very personable to everyone. His humility was incredible! He’s someone that kids should look up to! He’s a true gentleman!"

"I can personally vouch that Shaq is 100% correct here. I met him at a Subway in Florida. Shaq got in line waited while people was taking pictures of him and I started a conversation with him. He ordered his food and tip both workers \$100 each. Very humble guy."

Humility is a quality that people who aren't in the spotlight don't always develop, much less people who are showered with attention and accolades all the time. Many people said Shaq's parents raised him right, but whether it's a result of nurture or nature or both, his attitude is one we can all take inspiration from.