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 9â€ť wide (2 bricks). The crinkle crankle has more strength due to itâ€™s curved nature so can be 4â€ť wide or a single leaf of bricks.

"For the maths if we can assume theyâ€™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

popular

## Scientists tested 3 popular bottled water brands for nanoplastics using new tech, and yikes

### The results were alarmingâ€”an average of 240,000 nanoplastics per 1 liter bottleâ€”but what does it mean for our health?

Suzy Hazelwood/Canva

Columbia University researchers tested bottled water for nanoplastics and found hundreds of thousands of them.

Evian, Fiji, Voss, SmartWater, Aquafina, Dasaniâ€”it's impressive how many brands we have for something humans have been consuming for millennia. Despite years of studies showing that bottled water is no safer to drink than tap water, Americans are more consuming more bottled water than ever, to the tune of billions of dollars in bottled water sales.

People cite convenience and taste in addition to perceived safety for reasons they prefer bottle to tap, but the fear factor surrounding tap water is still a driving force. It doesn't help when emergencies like floods cause tap water contamination or when investigations reveal issues with lead pipes in some communities, but municipal water supplies are tested regularly, and in the vast majority of the U.S., you can safely grab a glass of water from a tap.

And now, a new study on nanoplastics found in three popular bottled water brands is throwing more data into the bottled vs. tap water choice.

Researchers from Columbia University used a new laser-guided technology to detect nanoplastics that had previously evaded detection due to their miniscule size. The new technology can detect, count and analyze and chemical structure of nanoparticles, and they found seven different major types of plastic: polyamide, polypropylene, polyethylene, polymethyl methacrylate, polyvinyl chloride, polystyrene, and polyethylene terephthalate.

In contrast to a 2018 study that found around 300 plastic particles in an average liter of bottled water, the study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in January of 2024 found 240,000 nanoplastic particles per liter bottle on average between the three brands studied. (The name of the brands were not indicated in the study.)

As opposed to microplastics, nanoplastics are too small to be seen by microscope. Their size is exactly why experts are concerned about them, as they are small enough to invade human cells and potentially disrupt cellular processes.

â€śMicro and nanoplastics have been found in the human placenta at this point. Theyâ€™ve been found in human lung tissues. Theyâ€™ve been found in human feces; theyâ€™ve been found in human blood,â€ť study coauthor Phoebe Stapleton, associate professor of pharmacology and toxicology at Rutgers Universityâ€™s Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy told CNN Health,

We know that nanoplastics are making their way into our bodies. We just don't have enough research yet on what that means for our health, and we still have more questions than answers. How many nanoplastics does it take to do damage and/or cause disease? What kinds of damage or disease might they cause? Is whatever effect they might have cumulative? We simply don't have answers to these questions yet.

That's not to say there's no cause for concern. We do know that certain levels of microplastic exposure have been shown to adversely affect the viability of cells. Nanoplastics are even smallerâ€”does that mean they are more likely to cause cellular damage? Science is still working that out.

According to Dr. Sara BenedĂ© of the Spanish National Research Councilâ€™s Institute of Food Science Research, it's not just the plastics themselves that might cause damage, but what they may bring along with them. â€ś[Microparticles and nanoparticles] have the ability to bind all kinds of compounds when they come into contact with fluids, thus acting as carriers of all kinds of substances including environmental pollutants, toxins, antibiotics, or microorganisms,â€ť Dr. BenedĂ© told Medical News Today.

Where is this plastic in water coming from? This study focused on bottled water, which is almost always packaged in plastic. The filters used to filter the water before bottling are also frequently made from plastic.

Is it possible that some of these nanoplastics were already present in the water from their original sources? Again, research is always evolving on this front, but microplastics have been detected in lakes, streams and other freshwater sources, so it's not a big stretch to imagine that nanoplastics may be making their way into freshwater ecosystems as well. However, microplastics are found at much higher levels in bottled water than tap water, so it's also not a stretch to assume that most of the nanoplastics are likely coming from the bottling process and packaging rather than from freshwater sources.

The reality is, though, we simply don't know yet.

â€śBased on other studies we expected most of the microplastics in bottled water would come from leakage of the plastic bottle itself, which is typically made of PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic,â€ť lead author Naixin Qian, a doctoral student in chemistry at Columbia University, told CNN Health. â€śHowever, we found thereâ€™s actually many diverse types of plastics in a bottle of water, and that different plastic types have different size distributions. The PET particles were larger, while others were down to 200 nanometers, which is much, much smaller.â€ť

We need to drink water, and we need to drink safe water. At this point, we have plenty of environmental reasons for avoiding bottled water unless absolutely necessary and opting for tap water instead. Even if there's still more research to be done, the presence of hundreds of thousands of nanoplastics in bottled water might just be another reason to make the switch.

Family

## Mom creates 'how to be a person' camp for her kids that teaches real life skills all summer

### Finally, a camp that's suited for every kid.

@our.mama.guide/Instagram

Thereâ€™s a wide variety of summer camps out there with activities ranging from classics like bonfires and water balloon fights to the uber niche, ala putting on musicals or prepping for space adventures.

Still, even with the plentiful themes in existence, people are calling one momâ€™s unique but oh-so-practical camp idea pure genius.

Kaitlyn Rowe, mom of four and content creator in Utah, gave her kiddos a list of super basic, but very important life skills to learn at home throughout summer, in what she calls â€śHow To Be A Personâ€ť camp.

The difficulty level of each task would be age dependent. Roweâ€™s 3-year-old son learned things like making the bed, safely using scissors and glue, introducing himself to a new friend and organizing his toys. Whereas Roweâ€™s eldest daughter, age 6, would learn slightly more complex things like scrambling an egg on the stove, blow-drying her hair and packing an overnight bag. There was also a list of skills the siblings would learn together, like putting away groceries, pool safety and talking on the phone.

As Rowe shared in an interview with Good Morning America, she actually got the idea from fellow mom Emily Ley, who created this alternative camp during the peak days of COVID-19.

Overwhelmed with homeschooling, Ley thought if she could teach her kids â€śsome age-appropriate independence,â€ť it would take the load off of her as well. Rowe borrowed the idea and the â€śHow To Be A Personâ€ť camp title as she compiled her own list of activities in lieu of sending her kids to an actual camp. So far, her kids have loved it. And with her post currently having over 54,000 views on Instagram, it seems other parents are in love with the idea as well.

Itâ€™s no secret that many of us reach adulthood having learned obscure academic subjects and somehow skimming over the things we would actually incorporate into everyday life. Nothing against algebra and trigonometry, but it sure would have been nice to have learned about doing taxes instead, you know what Iâ€™m saying?

Plus, itâ€™s well documented that kids genuinely enjoy mimicking adults, so having them engage in grown-up duties is not only a rewarding activity in the moment, it potentially creates a positive relationship with household chores that they can hold onto throughout their life.

Another cool thing about the â€śHow To Be A Personâ€ť camp idea is that itâ€™s fully customizable. It can be a list that parents create, or it can be child-led. It can be 100% practical or silly. A healthy mix is probably the best of both worlds.

Per some suggestions in the comments, it seems that Rowe will be changing the name to â€śHow To Do The Important Stuffâ€ť camp to be more inclusive towards those with special needs. Point being: this camp can be for every kid. And honestly, probably should be.

To see Roweâ€™s complete â€śHow To Be A Personâ€ť camp list, go to Instagram.

Mental Health

## Semicolon tattoo: Here's what it means and why it matters.

A semicolon tattoo

### Have you seen anyone with a semicolon tattoo like the one above?

Semicolon Tattoo

Photo by The Semicolon Tattoo Project.

...everywhere.

Photo by The Semicolon Tattoo Project.

That's right: the semicolon. It's a tattoo that has gained popularity in recent years, but unlike other random or mystifying trends, this one has a serious meaning behind it. (And no, it's not just the mark of a really committed grammar nerd.)

The semicolon tattoo represents mental health struggles and the importance of suicide prevention.

Photo by The Semicolon Tattoo Project.

### Project Semicolon was born from a social media movement in 2013.

They describe themselves as a "movement dedicated to presenting hope and love to those who are struggling with depression, suicide, addiction, and self-injury. Project Semicolon exists to encourage, love, and inspire."

But why a semicolon?

### "A semicolon is used when an author could've chosen to end their sentence, but chose not to. The author is you and the sentence is your life."

Originally created as a day where people were encouraged to draw a semicolon on their bodies and photograph it, it quickly grew into something greater and more permanent. Today, people all over the world are tattooing the mark as a reminder of their struggle, victory, and survival.

Photos by The Semicolon Tattoo Project.

I spoke with Jenn Brown and Jeremy Jaramillo of The Semicolon Tattoo Project, an organization inspired by the semicolon movement. Along with some friends, Jenn and Jeremy saw an opportunity to both help the community and reduce the stigma around mental illness.

In 2012, over 43 million Americans dealt with a mental illness. Mental illness is not uncommon, yet there is a stigma around it that prevents a lot of people from talking about it â€” and that's a barrier to getting help.

"[The tattoo] is a conversation starter," explains Jenn. "People ask what it is and we get to tell them the purpose."

"I think if you see someone's tattoo that you're interested in, that's fair game to start a conversation with someone you don't know," adds Jeremy. "It provides a great opportunity to talk. Tattoos are interesting â€” marks we put on our bodies that are important to us."

In 2014, The Semicolon Tattoo Project held an event at several tattoo shops where people could get a semicolon tattoo for a flat rate. "That money was a fundraiser for our crisis center," said Jenn. In total, over 400 people received semicolon tattoos in one day. Even better, what began as a local event has spread far and wide, and people all over the world are getting semicolon tattoos.

### And it's not just about the conversation â€” it's about providing tangible support and help too.

Jenn and Jeremy work with the Agora Crisis Center. Founded in 1970, it's one of the oldest crisis centers in the country. Through The Semicolon Tattoo Project, they've been able to connect even more people with the help they need during times of crisis. (If you need someone to talk to, scroll to the end of the article for the center's contact information.)

### So next time you see this small punctuation tattoo, remember the words of Upworthy writer Parker Molloy:

"I recently decided to get a semicolon tattoo. Not because it's trendy (though, it certainly seems to be at the moment), but because it's a reminder of the things I've overcome in my life. I've dealt with anxiety, depression, and gender dysphoria for the better part of my life, and at times, that led me down a path that included self-harm and suicide attempts.

But here I am, years later, finally fitting the pieces of my life together in a way I never thought they could before. The semicolon (and the message that goes along with it) is a reminder that I've faced dark times, but I'm still here."

No matter how we get there, the end result is so important: help and support for more people to also be able to say " I'm still here."

### If you want to see more incredible semicolon tattoos, check out nine photos and stories that our readers shared with us!

This article was written by Laura Willard and originally appeared on 7.7.15

Pop Culture

## Michael Che played a hilarious April Fool's prank on Colin Jost and they couldn't keep it together

### "That's the meanest thing you've ever done to me."

Michael Che pulls a prank on Colin Jost.

Many great comedians have sat at the helm of the â€śWeekend Updateâ€ť desk on â€śSaturday Night Liveâ€ť over the showâ€™s 48 seasons. Chevy Chase was known for his cool deadpan. Dennis Miller was the hip intellectual. Norm Macdonald will go down in history for his endless OJ jokes that eventually got him removed from the desk. Tina Fey and Jimmy Fallon were a great double act that was a fun mix of high-brow and low-brow humor.

The current anchors, Michael Che and Colin Jost, will probably best be known for making fun of each other. Over the years, one of the duoâ€™s signature bits has been writing jokes for each other and reading them live for the first time. It seems like every time they do that bit, Che finds a new way to embarrass Jost.

On Saturday, April 1, Che was at it again, this time with a brutal April Foolâ€™s prank where he secretly asked the audience not to laugh at any of Jostâ€™s jokes.

Che and Jost opened their segment with jokes about the indictment of former president Donald Trump, but the audience laughed much harder at Che than at Jost. A few minutes into the bit, Jost made a joke at his own expense and it received only a smattering of laughter.

"At this point, it feels like even pro-Trump people have moved on," Jost said, referring to the trial before a superimposed image of him wearing a "Make America Great Again" hat and a sign that read, "LET OUR BOY GO!" appeared on the screen.

The gag was met with an audience member screaming, â€śYou stink!" The heckle was the last straw for Jost, who hung his head in his hand in shame. At that point, Che gave up the gag.

"I told them not to laugh at you for April Fools,'" Che told Jost, and the two couldnâ€™t keep it together. "That's the meanest thing you've ever done to me. I'm covered in sweat,â€ť Jost told Che through fits of laughter.

"I was truly like, 'Am I not mic'd?' And then I was like, 'Oh, I just suck," Jost joked.

The crowd broke out in applause for Jost, but he wouldnâ€™t give them the satisfaction of acknowledging them after they refused to laugh at his jokes. "No, no! Don't even dare! Don't you even dare try now."

When it was Jostâ€™s turn to tell his next joke, a bit about Florida Ron DeSantis, Che said, â€śTheyâ€™ll probably laugh at this next one.â€ť And the audience did.

The episode was hosted by Abbot Elementaryâ€™s Quinta Brunson, who shined in â€śTraffic Altercation,â€ť a sketch where she and Mikey Day played motorists screaming at each other in traffic. The crux of the bit was that they couldnâ€™t hear what each other was saying, so they had to argue using hand signals.

Pets

## Squirrel is absolutely terrified of an itty bitty frog and she demands mom take her seriously

### "He's the size of a blueberry, honey."

Squirrel terrified of tiny frog refuses to leave mom's bed

Apparently frogs are mortal enemies of squirrels. Well, at least for a squirrel named Thumbelina that's true. The squirrel is a rescue that cannot be released into the wild due to her medical conditions so she's a house squirrel. A house squirrel that has big beef with a teeny tiny frog outside...far away from where Thumbelina sits.

Distance doesn't seem to matter to the bushy tailed girl, she knows he exists and that is simply unacceptable to her so she tells her mom. Or mom has super squirrel mind reading powers because Thumbelina was nearly too shocked to speak...squeak. She stood there frozen on her human's bed staring straight ahead like she was in some sort of trance.

It was when her mom got close to her that she tried to communicate the unthinkableâ€“she spotted a frog. Her arch nemesis from the other day was back to torment her with his presence near her house where she's supposed to be safe.

"Honey, you saw the frog again? I know but what did we talk about, how the frog doesn't eat squirrels" the woman reassures Thumbelina. "No, he doesn't eat squirrels, he's a tiny frog."

It didn't seem to matter what her mom said, Thumbelina was having none of it. She wanted that monster gone and never to be seen from again. The nervous squirrel continued her pitiful sounding squeaks as if she was telling her mom that she wasn't listening. Again, the woman tries to convince Thumbelina that the frog is the size of a blueberry and cannot get into their house to eat her. There was no use, she was sure she knew the plans of the itty bitty frog.

Pop Culture

## A guy found an unused \$8 Disney World ticket from 1978 and tried to get into the park

### He didn't see any expiration date.

An old Disney World ticket.

Matthew Ablesâ€™ family had a Magic Kingdom coupon book from 1978 sitting in a desk drawer and he thought it was an old souvenir.

"It's been collecting dust since before I was born and I always assumed it was an old family keepsake until I realized that it's never been used and there's no expiration date," he said while inspecting the ticket book with a magnifying glass, in a TikTok video with over 9 million views.

â€śWhich means I've either found the golden ticket here, or I'm delusional thinking that the Mouse is going to let me use it to get inside nearly half a century later,â€ť he continued.

So, he flew to Orlando, Florida, to see if it would work.

### I tried getting into Disney World using a 46 year old ticket #disneyworld #disney #themepark #funny #fyp

@matthewables

I tried getting into Disney World using a 46 year old ticket #disneyworld #disney #themepark #funny #fyp

Upon arriving at a ticket booth at the Magic Kingdom, Matthew got nervous because the woman who worked there began "aggressively" stamping â€śVOIDâ€ť on his coupon book and then left. Luckily, she returned with a yellow ticket he could use to get into the park.

Itâ€™s fantastic that Disney honored the ticket even though it was 46 years old. Especially because today, that would have cost \$164, which shows that Disney World prices have risen much, much higher than inflation.

If ticket prices rose with inflation, it would only cost \$37.64 to get into the Magic Kingdom in 2024.

Some of the commenters on the video noted that people showing up with extremely old tickets isnâ€™t uncommon at Disney parks. "I used to work Magic Kingdom Guest Relations. This exact scenario would happen a few times a week!" Allison wrote.