Long before canoes were constructed from plastic, fiberglass, or aluminum, they were made from wood. In the video below, you can follow craftsman Rihards Vidzickis, who belongs to a Northern European artisan guild called Northmen, as he fashions a seaworthy vessel from a single log.
The process is long and arduous: First, Vidzickis scrapes off the bark and marks where the boat's hollow will go. Then, he scrapes, chops, and burns the wood, using mostly traditional methods and tools.
Mental Floss editor-in-chief Erin McCarthy hosts "The List Show."
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If you've ever played a game of bingo in North Carolina, you may have been a party to a crime without even knowing it. And if you've ever eavesdropped on a neighbor in Oklahoma and shared any of that juicy gossip, you might just want to go ahead and turn yourself into the police.
From coast to coast, America is full of bizarre laws that you've probably broken at one time or another. Join Mental Floss editor-in-chief Erin McCarthy as she digs into the history of 23 of the strangest of them—like why you can't eat fried chicken with a knife and fork in Gainesville, Georgia. You can watch the full episode below.
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Violinist Dagmar Turner played George Gershwin's "Summertime" and other selections during her brain surgery performance.
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When 53-year-old Dagmar Turner told neurosurgeons she was right-handed, they said that was no problem—the brain surgery they were planning to remove a tumor only ran the risk of affecting fine motor skills in her left hand. To Turner, a lifelong violinist and member of the Isle of Wight Symphony Orchestra, that was still very much a problem.
Turner told ITV News she suggested playing the violin during the procedure so the surgeons at King’s College Hospital in London could ensure they weren’t damaging coordination in either hand. They agreed.
According to NBC News, the violinist played George Gershwin's “Summertime” and selections by Gustav Mahler and Julio Iglesias while surgeons extracted the tumor from the right frontal lobe of her brain. BBC News reports that she’s been living with the growth since 2013, and doctors decided it was time to operate in November 2019.
You can watch her play in the video below. (The top of Turner’s head is completely obscured by plastic and other surgical materials, so there’s nothing graphic in the clip. Having said that, anyone who’s especially squeamish about the inside of an operating room should proceed with caution.)
Professor Keyoumars Ashkan, a neurosurgeon who helped plan the procedure, said in a statement from the hospital that the mid-surgery performance was a first for him.
“We perform around 400 resections (tumor removals) each year, which often involves rousing patients to carry out language tests, but this was the first time I’ve had a patient play an instrument,” he said. “We managed to remove over 90 percent of the tumor, including all the areas suspicious of aggressive activity, while retaining full function in her left hand.”