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Engineering students created a life-size 'Operation' game—with a fun twist on the fail buzzer

The game trades in tweezers for tongs and the anxiety-producing buzzer for an audio meme.

Students at Washington State University created a life-size Operation game.

Anyone who has ever played the game Operation likely feels a teensy bit of anxiety just thinking about it. The experience of painstakingly trying to extract the Charlie Horse with those tiny, wired tweezers with a steady hand, only to accidentally touch the metal side and get the lightning-like jolt of the buzzer is hard to shake. That's the stuff of core memories right there.

But what if you had a humongous game board the size of a real human, with life-size bones and organs to extract? What if instead of tweezers, you had large tongs as tools to perform your operation? What if instead of Pavlovian-style fail buzzers, the game produced a much less traumatic womp womp womp sound when you mess up?

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Sara BogushThis article first appeared on 9.15.17.


Cavemen must have been perpetually late, given that humans didn't get around to inventing the sundial until 1500 BCE. The first attempts at measuring time via sun movement were shadow clocks created by the Egyptians and Babylonians. These led to the sundial, an instrument that tells time by measuring shadows cast by the sun on a dial plate. Sundials were our preferred method of timekeeping until the mechanical clock was invented in 14th-century Europe.

Photo via (cc) Flickr user Sara Bogush

In 1972, Hamilton introduced the world's first digital watch. Its $2,000 price tag was hefty, but by the '80s, digital watches became affordable for the average person. Now, both technologies have merged in a cool invention, the digital sundial. Created by French Etsy seller Mojoptix, this outdoor clock uses the patterns on a suspended wand to mold natural shadows into a digital-looking time readout. The digital sundial has two major drawbacks: It only reports the time in 20-minute intervals, and it's not very effective after sundown. But it sure does look cool.

Here's the digital sundial in action!


It's not often you see a bowling alley promotional video in general, much less one that grabs the attention of millions of people. But that's exactly what a video made for Bryant-Lake Bowl, a bowling alley in Minneapolis, has done. Not only has the spot gone viral on social media, but it's also caught the eye of top Hollywood directors who are praising the tricky direction and camerawork it involves.

The almost-90-second footage begins with a drone camera hovering above the street outside the bowling alley before swooping down through the front doors and zooming around inside the building. It starts off "Okay, this is cool," but by the time it's halfway through it's clear that this isn't your average drone camera work.

With impressive speed, we're taken through small openings above the bowling lanes, back behind the pin machines, through narrow corridors no one ever gets to see, under people's legs, through people's conversations, around the bar and theater, and ultimately right smack dab in the middle of some flying bowling pins. It's impressive.

So impressive, in fact, that it caught the eye of Lee Unkrich (director of the hit Pixar film Coco), who retweeted the video from James Gunn (director of Guardians of the Galaxy), with both men sharing their gobsmacked reactions to it.

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Editor's Note: In May 2021, Frito-o-Lay disputed aspects of Montañez's story, which are collected in this story reported by the Los Angeles Times. Montañez stood by his story in a follow-up interview with Variety. The original story begins below.


Occasionally you read a story that sounds so much like a movie script you question whether it's real or fake. The tale of how Flamin' Hot Cheetos was invented is one of those stories.

Ankith Harathi shared how the beloved spicy snack came about in a viral Twitter thread, and it's a must-read.

Harathi wrote:

"A janitor making $4/hour walked into a Fortune 500 company boardroom. Shaking, he took a seat opposite the CEO.

'So I had an idea...' he nervously began.

Years later, that idea would become an iconic consumer brand and make him worth ~$20M.

Here's how that meeting went 🧶👇

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