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COVID-19 Inspires 1,200 New German Words, Like ‘Gesichtskondom,’ Or ‘Face Condom’

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The COVID-19 pandemic has inspired a linguistic shift across the globe, introducing many phrases to the English lexicon, from “social distancing” to “super-spreader event.”

In German, however, the number of new words inspired by the pandemic exceeds 1,200, according to a list compiled by the Leibniz Institute for the German Language. This is a dramatic increase from the normal 200 or so words that annually enter the German language, according to the institute.

The lengthy list, assembled via careful monitoring of new terms as they appear in articles, is due to German’s tendency to combine words together — for instance, “Coronamutationsgebiet,” which is a mashup of the words for “corona,” “mutation” and “area,” and refers to a place where coronavirus variants are quickly spreading.

Other intriguing combinations include the uniquely German “CoronaFußgruß,” which translates to “corona foot greeting” and describes the alternative to handshakes that many were forced to adopt during the early stages of the pandemic. “Gesichtskondom,” or “face condom,” is one of several new words for masks, while “Maskentrottel” refers to a “mask idiot,” or someone who fails to wear a face mask properly. “Abstandsbier” directly translates to “distance beer,” the now-common way of safely socializing.

A sign that says "mask requirement" hangs at the entrance to a public playground in Hamburg, Germany, in February. In certain



A sign that says “mask requirement” hangs at the entrance to a public playground in Hamburg, Germany, in February. In certain areas and at certain times, masks are required outdoors in the city.

Christine Möhrs, who worked on the Leibniz Institute list, told the Guardian that, when viewed together, these words reflected the history of the pandemic.

“Things that do not have a name can cause people to feel fear and insecurity,” she said. “However, if we can talk about things and name them, then we can communicate with each other. Especially in times of crisis, this is important.”

Anatol Stefanowitsch, a linguistics professor at Freie Universität Berlin, told NPR and The Washington Post that even though many of these words will likely fade away as oddities borne of a pandemic, the sheer number that had been coined to describe life with COVID-19 was extraordinary.

“I can’t think of anything, at least since the Second World War, that would have changed the vocabulary as drastically, and at the same time as quickly, as the corona pandemic,” Stefanowitsch told the Post. “I can think of many other examples of a huge cultural shift that changed the German vocabulary. But they didn’t happen within a few months.”



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They Were Stuck Atop Britain’s Tallest Coaster, Then Had To Walk 200+ Feet Down

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Thrill-seekers at a theme park in the U.K. got a little more than they bargained for earlier this week when their roller coaster stopped right near the top.

Eventually, as the footage above and below shows, they had to be escorted off The Big One at Blackpool Pleasure Beach by foot ― step by careful step down a steel staircase in the open air, from near the ride’s 213-foot summit.

The Big One was the tallest and faster coaster in the world when it opened in 1994, according to Coaster Grotto.

It’s since been far surpassed. The current tallest, Kingda Ka at Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey, is more than twice as high at 456 feet.

But as the footage from the Big One shows, being stuck in the open air about 15 stories up and then having to walk down is still quite the thrill ― so much, that the park actually charges a fee for a tour that takes tourists to the top via the stairs.



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A Big Duck Named Long Boi Went Viral For All The Wrong Reasons

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Long Boi the duck certainly is long, but he may not be the longest boi.

On Thursday a photo of a duck that lives near University of York in England — and dubbed Long Boi by some adoring students — went viral after a tweet claimed that he was “The tallest mallard duck to have ever lived (since records began).”

The claim, which seems to have stemmed from Reddit, is unfortunately not true, which Snopes was quick to point out. 

Long Boi is not a full mallard, according to the duck’s Instagram account; he is actually a cross between a mallard and an Indian Runner, which is a larger species of bird. The Twitter caption also claims that Long Boi stands over “1m tall (3.5ft)” tall. But the University of York students who run Long Boi’s Instagram account (who said they wanted to remain anonymous because “long boi is truly the star of the show”) told HuffPost via Instagram that they measured the fowl.

He is only 70 centimeters (about 28 inches) tall, according to the students. And sure, mallards are typically 24 inches in length, but Long Boi is half Indian Runner — and they grow to be about 32 inches high.

Snopes also found that there is no database that tracks the height of mallard ducks.

Yet, despite all this, people still had a lot of fun with Long Boi’s viral photo ― and the false information.

Long Boi has had a real underdog, er, underduck story as well. The students who run his fan account told HuffPost that Long Boi just appeared on campus a few years ago and they “believe he was abandoned here as an unwanted pet.”

“When we first saw him he didn’t really fit in with the other ducks and was shunned by them a bit,” they said.

The students said they began feeding him because he used to hang out near their dorms. And it seems like the nurturing helped. 

“Now he has really flourished and integrated with the others,” they told HuffPost. “He’s quite friendly and loves being fed by visitors … in fact our on-campus shop even stocks bird seed specifically for all the waterfowl.”

Thanks to the bird’s stature and more outgoing personality, Long Boi became a sensation on campus. And in 2018, the duck got his own Instagram account.

“We thought it would be fun to share his photos on Instagram for others to see,” the students said. Now other Long Boi fans contribute their photos to the duck’s account.

“He’s super well loved here on campus,” they said.





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Mark Zuckerberg Reveals Reason For Putting Cartoonish Amount Of Sunscreen On Face

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This is as ridiculous as the amount of sunscreen that was on Mark Zuckerberg’s face.

Last summer, the Facebook CEO was photographed surfing in Hawaii with what can only be described as an entire bottle’s worth of sunscreen slathered all over his face. 



Mark Zuckerberg in July 2020.

And although the Facebook CEO’s skin was certainly safe, he got a ton of burns on Twitter.

In an Instagram Live chat Monday with Instagram head Adam Mosseri, Zuckerberg revealed why he looked like the Joker took up a watersport, and it’s, um, bizarre.

Basically, he said he saw paparazzi following him and used the sunblock to disguise himself.

“I noticed there was this paparazzi guy following us, and, so I was like, ‘Oh, I don’t want him to recognize me, so you know what I’m gonna do? I’m just gonna put a ton of sunscreen on my face,’” Zuckerberg said. “And that backfired.”

Zuckerberg also admitted he’s a “pretty pale person,” gets burned easily doing outside activities in places like Hawaii, and “wants to stay healthy.”

And although his reasoning is about as logical as creating a disguise so outlandish that it attracts even more attention, we suppose he’s trying to have a good sense of humor about that whole thing.

“If someone wants to post a sunscreen meme, it’s cool. I’m happy to give the internet some laughs,” he said … although that had clearly already been done.





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Canadian Woman’s New World Record Hits A Low Note For Guinness

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A Canadian woman has set a very high bar by singing a very low note.

Chapman’s noteworthy achievement came in February after she hit a C# note at 34.21 hertz (cycles per second) with her talented pipes. 

Chapman has been singing all her life and noticed her voice was more versatile than the voices of other singers.

“I was in choirs throughout school and church, but when they scaled my voice for placement, it was realized that I not only could go extremely high but also low,” she told Guinness World Records. “Choirs are notoriously short on male voices, and so ‘Joylow’ was born.”

But it was only in the last few years that Chapman decided to take a deep dive into doing low notes.

“Working with many vocal coaches over the years, I found it strange that they did not want me to continue scaling down the piano,” she said. “They always stopped part way and just said, ‘that’s low enough, you’re freaking me out now.’ I didn’t realize why they stopped me or that what I had was so unique.”  

But with the help of her niece, who is also a singer, Chapman began researching the lowest possible note a human being could sing.

Her niece discovered that in 2019, British singer Helen Leahey sang from a D5 to a D2 note at 72.5 hertz, but she was confident her Aunt Joy could beat that.

You can see Chapman win the high honor for the low note in the video below, but don’t get too attached to that record.

Chapman said she’s confident she can sing even lower and plans to raise the bar even higher in the future.



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Just Joshin’: Mighty 4-Year-Old Wins Wild Noodle-Bashing Battle Of Hundreds Of Joshes

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An adventurous 4-year-old was the surprise winner in a massive, wacky brawl Saturday among hundreds of Joshes armed with pool noodles.

The goofy event, organized by a college student on the chilling fields of Air Park in Lincoln, Nebraska, was aimed at finding a single victorious Josh to stand for all Joshes.

The high-spirited bash was apparently the perfect anecdote for Americans sick of ugly political back-biting, judging by the social media explosion over the event.

The victor was Josh Vinson Jr. (#LittleJosh), still armed with his red pool noodle, who was awarded a plastic trophy and a Burger King crown that quickly slipped over his eyes. Asked for any words of wisdom, Josh replied: “I fight everyone” — and the crowd roared.

Josh’s dad, Josh Vinson Sr., told local ABC affiliate KLKN Channel 8 TV that his boy is “going to remember this for the rest of his life.”

The whack-a-noodle battle was the brainchild of 22-year-old engineering student Josh Swain, of Tucson, Arizona. (Swain has been vaccinated against COVID-19, and many participants wore masks.)

Swain came up with the idea when he was struck by how often his full name would already be in use when he tried to sign up on various internet accounts, he told The Lincoln Star.

So he sent out a Facebook message a year ago noodling about a “Josh Swain Fight” to dozens of others with the same name. Only a few replied. “It was entirely a joke,” said Swain.

But then the message went viral on Twitter and Reddit, with followers growing over the year. He decided to go ahead with the event, suggesting pool noodles for friendly jousts among Josh Swains and just Joshes.

He picked the “coordinates” for the event at random. “It was like throwing a dart at Google Maps,” he told the Star. He had no idea Thursday if anyone would show up.

The rest is Josh history.

The event raised money for the Children’s Hospital and Medical Center Foundation Fund in Omaha (“It’s not just an act of utter absurdity!” Swain explained), and collected food donations for the Food Bank of Lincoln.

Swain tweeted after the event that “there is only one,” in homage to mighty Josh Vinson, or maybe to himself.





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Florida Woman Survives Being Hit By Flying Turtle

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — It’s not unusual for rocks and other debris to crash through a windshield and injure a driver or passenger — but a turtle?

A 71-year-old woman riding with her daughter on Florida’s Interstate 95 suffered a gashed forehead Wednesday when a turtle smashed through the windshield of their car, striking her, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.

The daughter pulled over and got help from another motorist. According to a 911 recording, both were surprised by what they found.

“There is a turtle in there,” the man can be overheard saying.

“A turtle!” the daughter exclaimed. “An actual turtle?”

The gash drew a lot of blood, but the woman was not seriously hurt. The turtle was likely crossing the interstate and got knocked into the air by another vehicle.

“I swear to God this lady has the worst luck of anything,” the daughter told the 911 operator as she tended to her injured mother.

The turtle, on the other hand, had the best luck of anything — it just had a few scratches on its shell and was released back into the nearby woods, Port Orange police officer Andre Fleming said.



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Pesky Turtle Messes With Some Lions And Totally Gets Away With It, Too

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A pair of lions that were trying to get a drink found themselves face-to-face with an unexpected interloper as a curious turtle popped up from the water and started poking at them.

Safari guide Reggi Barreto told Kruger Sightings, which posted the footage on YouTube, that the lions had stopped for some water after feasting on a zebra at the MalaMala Private Game Reserve in South Africa.

“It was an incredibly rare sighting for me to film,” Barreto wrote. “Watching the terrapin approach the lions that had blood on their chins from the zebra. It seems as though the terrapin was actually more interested in getting some of that blood as opposed to ‘chasing the lions away.’”

As the footage shows, the lions seemed a tad annoyed by the determined turtle, but largely let it be:



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