The Quick 10: 10 Statues of Liberty (other than the original)

iStock/TriggerPhoto
iStock/TriggerPhoto

It was recently announced that as of July 4, 2009, tourists (and non-tourists, I suppose) will once again be able to perch in the Statue of Liberty's crown to gaze out across the land. It's been closed since 9/11, so this will mark the first time in nearly eight years that the public has been allowed such access. But just because you haven't been able to see the original statue up close and personal doesn't mean it has to elude you altogether "“ there are replicas of the Bartholdi piece peppered liberally across the world. Here are 10 you can check out if you won't be making it to New York anytime soon.

 1. Billund, Denmark, the home of the original Legoland theme park, boasts a Lego replica of the old gal. She's still pretty large, as you can tell by the people in the picture. (Click for a close-up; the Statue is in the bottom row.)
2. Las Vegas, of course. Because you can find just about anything in Vegas. It's reportedly 1:3 scale and presides over fake skyscrapers and a roller coaster themed to look like taxi cabs. If you're on the Strip, you really can't miss her.
3. Paragould, Arkansas, claims it is home to the oldest Statue Of Liberty in America other than the original. Measuring in at a mere seven feet tall, it's shorter than the real statue's index finger (eight feet tall). But it means a lot to the residents of Paragould, who refer to it as the Paragould War Memorial honoring WWI vets.

4. There are three replicas of Lady Liberty in Paris, but the one that is probably best known is the one that holds court in the middle of the Seine. She's about 22 meters tall (a little more than 72 feet) and has been there almost as long as her taller counterpart on Liberty Island "“ the statue was inaugurated in 1889, three years after the New York Liberty.

5. Visnes in Rogaland, Norway, may seem like a pretty random place for a Statue of Liberty replica, but truth be told, there would be no Statue of Liberty without Visnes: it was the place where the copper used to construct her was mined. The mine has been closed since 1972, but the statue is there as a reminder of the town's contribution to a great work of art and international symbol.

6. If you're visiting Webster, Massachusetts, head down to Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg and check out the statue there. She's just a little thing, but she's pretty, and the lake she watches over has a fun name to say. OK, I can't actually pronounce it, but it looks like fun.

7. There's a 115-foot replica of Miss Liberty at the Heide-Park in Soltau, Lower Saxony, Germany. It's one of the biggest theme parks in Germany, so it makes sense that it has one of the biggest Statue of Liberty replicas. It's half the size of the real thing and took a year and a half for artist Gerla Spee to construct. The Heide-Park website says "everything in America is just that little bit bigger than anywhere else. And higher and wider and faster," so to celebrate that spirit and the similar spirit of their theme park, they constructed one of the most well-known symbols of America.

8. "Strengthen the Arm of Liberty" was a campaign undertaken by the Boy Scouts of America in 1950. They purchased about 200 small replicas of the statue and then donated them to various cities across the U.S., covering 39 states. Where the cities erected the statues was left to their discretion, so you'll find them in a variety of displays across the country. Although a bunch of them have been destroyed or lost, at least 100 still stand and have been logged by the Boy Scouts of Cheyenne, Wyoming. You can find them here "“ it's pretty cool to look through and see how the statues were used differently. I was pleasantly surprised to notice that the statue that inspired this Q10 "“ the one at the Des Moines capitol "“ was the product of this campaign.

9. Can you imagine being an unsuspecting bystander at the University of Wisconsin- Madison during the winter of 1979? I'm pretty sure seeing the Statue of Liberty sticking up from the iced-over Lake Mendota, Planet-of-the-Apes-style, would probably stop you dead in your tracks. It started as a joke: two students promised that if they were elected to student government, they would get the Statue of Liberty relocated to campus. And they held true to their word, but sadly, the helicopters bringing her in floundered just as they entered campus and dropped our dear Liberty into the lake. Whoops. The poor thing was set ablaze just a few days later, but she returned in a fireproof format the next year. She was relegated to a storage silo for the next 19 years or so, but just this winter the students dragged her out to the frozen lake again just for kicks. You can see the process here.

10. OK, so you can't actually visit this one, but it's pretty cool nonetheless. In 1918, 18,000 soldiers gathered at Camp Dodge in Des Moines to recreate the statue using people as a promotion to sell war bonds. It was a terribly hot day "“ temperatures reached at least 105 degrees Fahrenheit "“ and the soldiers were wearing wool uniforms. Several men fainted. Sadly, the photo was never actually used to promote war bonds, but it's still a neat picture. The whole thing is about a quarter of a mile long and 12,000 people were needed for the flame of the torch alone.

Do you have a little Statue of Liberty in your town, or have you seen one in an odd spot? (The people who dress up to promote Liberty Tax don't count.) Share with us in the comments!

The ChopBox Smart Cutting Board Has a Food Scale, Timer, and Knife Sharper Built Right Into It

ChopBox
ChopBox

When it comes to furnishing your kitchen with all of the appliances necessary to cook night in and night out, you’ll probably find yourself running out of counter space in a hurry. The ChopBox, which is available on Indiegogo and dubs itself “The World’s First Smart Cutting Board,” looks to fix that by cramming a bunch of kitchen necessities right into one cutting board.

In addition to giving you a knife-resistant bamboo surface to slice and dice on, the ChopBox features a built-in digital scale that weighs up to 6.6 pounds of food, a nine-hour kitchen timer, and two knife sharpeners. It also sports a groove on its surface to catch any liquid runoff that may be produced by the food and has a second pull-out cutting board that doubles as a serving tray.

There’s a 254nm UVC light featured on the board, which the company says “is guaranteed to kill 99.99% of germs and bacteria" after a minute of exposure. If you’re more of a traditionalist when it comes to cleanliness, the ChopBox is completely waterproof (but not dishwasher-safe) so you can wash and scrub to your heart’s content without worry. 

According to the company, a single one-hour charge will give you 30 days of battery life, and can be recharged through a Micro USB port.

The ChopBox reached its $10,000 crowdfunding goal just 10 minutes after launching its campaign, but you can still contribute at different tiers. Once it’s officially released, the ChopBox will retail for $200, but you can get one for $100 if you pledge now. You can purchase the ChopBox on Indiegogo here.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

11 Fascinating Facts About Tamagotchi

Tamagotchi is the toy that launched a thousand digital pet competitors.
Tamagotchi is the toy that launched a thousand digital pet competitors.
Chesnot/Getty Images News

They blooped and beeped and ate, played, and pooped, and, for ‘90s kids, the egg-shaped Tamagotchi toys were magic. They taught the responsibility of tending to a “pet,” even though their shrill sounds were annoying to parents and teachers and school administrators. Nearly-real funerals were held for expired Tamagotchi, and they’ve even been immortalized in a museum (of sorts). Here are 11 things you should know about the keychain toy that was once stashed in every kid’s backpack.

1. The idea for the Tamagotchi came from a female office worker at Bandai.

Aki Maita was a 30-year-old “office lady” at the Japanese toy company Bandai when inspiration struck. She wanted to create a pet for kids—one that wouldn't bark or meow, make a mess in the house, or lead to large vet bills, according to Culture Trip. Maita took her idea to Akihiro Yokoi, a toy designer at another company, and the duo came up with a name and backstory for their toy: Tamagotchis were aliens, and their egg served as protection from the Earth’s atmosphere. They gave prototype Tamagotchis to high school girls in Shibuya, and tweaked and honed the design of the toy based on their feedback.

2. The name Tamagotchi is a blend of two Japanese words.

The name Tamagotchi is a mashup between the Japanese words tamago and tomodachi, or egg and friend, according to Culture Trip. (Other sources have the name meaning "cute little egg" or "loveable egg.")

3. Tamagotchis were released in Japan in 1996.

A picture of a tamagotchi toy.
Tamagotchis came from a faraway planet called "Planet Tamagotchi."
Museum Rotterdam, Wikimedia Commons//CC BY-SA 3.0

Bandai released the Tamagotchi in Japan in November 1996. The tiny plastic keychain egg was equipped with a monochrome LCD screen that contained a “digital pet,” which hatched from an egg and grew quickly from there—one day for a Tamagotchi was equivalent to one year for a human. Their owners used three buttons to feed, discipline, play with, give medicine to, and clean up after their digital pet. It would make its demands known at all hours of the day through bloops and bleeps, and owners would have to feed it or bathe it or entertain it.

Owners that successfully raised their Tamagotchi to adulthood would get one of seven characters, depending on how they'd raised it; owners that were less attentive faced a sadder scenario. “Leave one unattended for a few hours and you'll return to find that it has pooped on the floor or, worse, died,” Wired wrote. The digital pets would eventually die of old age at around the 28-day mark, and owners could start fresh with a new Tamagotchi.

4. Tamagotchis were an immediate hit.

The toys were a huge success—4 million units were reportedly sold in Japan during their first four months on shelves. By 1997, Tamagotchis had made their way to the United States. They sold for $17.99, or around $29 in today's dollars. One (adult) reviewer noted that while he was "drawn in by [the Tamagotchi's] cleverness," after several days with the toy, "the thrill faded quickly. I'm betting the Tamagotchi will be the Pet Rock of the 1990s—overwhelmingly popular for a few months, and then abandoned in the fickle rush to some even cuter toy."

The toy was, in fact, overwhelmingly popular: By June 1997, 10 million of the toys had been shipped around the world. And according to a 2017 NME article, a whopping 82 million Tamagotchi had been sold since their release into the market in 1997.

5. Aki Maita and Akihiro Yokoi won an award for inventing the Tamagotchi.

In 1997, the duo won an Ig Nobel Prize in economics, a satiric prize that’s nonetheless presented by Nobel laureates at Harvard, for "diverting millions of person-hours of work into the husbandry of virtual pets" by creating the Tamagotchi.

6. Tamagotchis weren't popular with teachers.

Some who grew up with Tamagotchi remember sneaking the toys into school in their book bags. The toys were eventually banned in some schools because they were too distracting and, in some cases, upsetting for students. In a 1997 Baltimore Sun article titled “The Tamagotchi Generation,” Andrew Ratner wrote that the principal at his son’s elementary school sent out a memo forbidding the toys “because some pupils got so despondent after their Tamagotchis died that they needed consoling, even care from the school nurse.”

7. One pet cemetery served as a burial ground for expired Tamagotchi.

Terry Squires set aside a small portion of his pet cemetery in southern England for dead Tamagotchi. He told CNN in 1998 that he had performed burials for Tamagotchi owners from Germany, Switzerland, France, the United States, and Canada, all of whom ostensibly shipped their dead by postal mail. CNN noted that "After the Tamagotchis are placed in their coffins, they are buried as mourners look on, their final resting places topped with flowers."

8. There were many copycat Tamagotchi.

The success of the Tamagotchi resulted in both spin-offs and copycat toys, leading PC Mag to dub the late ’90s “The Golden Age of Virtual Pets.” There was the Digimon, a Tamagotchi spin-off by Bandai that featured monsters and was marketed to boys. (There were also Tamagotchi video games.) And in 1997, Tiger Electronics launched Giga Pets, which featured real animals (and, later, dinosaurs and fictional pets from TV shows). According to PC Mag, Giga Pets were very popular in the United States but “never held the same mystique as the original Tamagotchi units.” Toymaker Playmates's Nano Pets were also a huge success, though PC Mag noted they were “some of the least satisfying to take care of."

9. Rare Tamagotchis can be worth a lot of money.

According to Business Insider, most vintage Tamagotchis won't fetch big bucks on the secondary market. (On eBay, most are priced at around $50.) The exception are rare editions like “Yasashii Blue” and “Tamagotchi Ocean,” which go for $300 to $450 on eBay. As Complex notes, "There were over 40 versions (lines) of Tamagotchi released, and each line featured a variety of colors and variations ... yours would have to be one of the rarest models to be worth the effort of resale."

10. A new generation of Tamagotchis were released in 2017 for the toy's 20th anniversary.

The 2017 re-release of the Tamagotchi in its packaging.
Bandai came to the aid of nostalgic '90s kids when it re-released a version of the original Tamagotchis for the toy's 20th anniversary.
Chesnot/Getty Images

In November 2017, Bandai released a 20th anniversary Tamagotchi that, according to a press release [PDF], was "a first-of-its-kind-anywhere exact replica of the original Tamagotchi handheld digital pet launched ... in 1996." However, as The Verge reported, the toys weren't an exact replica: "They're about half the size, the LCD display is square rather than rectangle, and those helpful icons on the top and bottom of the screen seem to be gone now." In 2019, new Tamagotchis were released; they were larger than the originals, featured full-color displays, and retailed for $60.

11. The original Tamagotchi’s sound has been immortalized in a virtual museum.

The Museum of Endangered Sounds is a website that seeks to immortalize the digital sounds that become extinct as we hurtle through the evolution of technology. “The crackle of a dial-up modem. The metallic clack of a 3.5-inch floppy slotting into a Macintosh disk drive. The squeal of the newborn Tamagotchi. They are vintage sounds that no oldies station is ever going to touch,” The Washington Post wrote in a 2012 profile of the museum. So, yes, the sound of that little Tamagotchi is forever preserved, should it someday, very sadly, cease to exist completely.