Up Your Sunbathing Game This Summer With a Round Beach Towel

Here's the simple truth: Round beach towels are amazing.

If you haven't heard of round beach towels (a.k.a. roundies), they are large, circular beach towels usually featuring cute designs, including round foods like watermelons and doughnuts. According to The Cut, this Instagram-worthy trend originated in 2013 when Australian brand The Beach People invented roundies and saw them immediately sell out. The craze spread to the U.S. a few years later, when roundies went viral on the internet.

ROUND TOWEL #today #beachday #whitesandbeach #roundbeachtowel

A post shared by MYRIAM KATJA (@myriamkatja) on

So, why are roundies superior to your average rectangular towel? From a practical point of view, the large size and circular shape mean you have lots of room to move around and flip over. With a rectangular towel, you're always struggling to stay on a narrow strip of terrycloth to avoid the sand surrounding you on every side, threatening to stick to your wet skin. If you want to turn over, you pretty much have to do it in place. Who decided that a tiny rectangle was the best size and shape for a towel anyway? Why have we put up with this nonsense for so long? Round towels are logically the better choice.

You may be asking yourself: Why not just have a large square towel? Why does it have to be a circle? And the answer is: Stop being a Debbie Downer. They're round because it's fun and whimsical and it means you can have a pizza-shaped towel. (In all seriousness, though, big square beach towels do exist, and they're great. They just haven't blown up on Instagram the way roundies have.)

Having a round towel makes it easy to spot your group at the beach: Your roundie will stand out among all those regular ones. It's also big enough to share. What's more, it can easily double as a picnic blanket, a tablecloth, or even a shawl for walking on the beach (just fold it in half first).

In conclusion, save yourself from the clutches of your tiny, rectangular towel and buy a roundie. Here are a few of our favorites:

WATERMELON; $68

watermelon round towel
ban.do

Find It: ban.do

DOUGHNUT; $20.99

doughnut round towel
Amazon

Find It: Amazon

MANDALA; $19.99

round mandala towel
Amazon

Find It: Amazon

PIZZA; $21.99

A round beach towel in the shape of a pizza
Amazon

Find It: Amazon

Climate Change Is Threatening Nearly All UNESCO Sites Around the Mediterranean

iStock.com/tunart
iStock.com/tunart

The Mediterranean is home to some of the world's most famous cultural wonders, with 49 UNESCO-recognized world heritage sites in the region in total. Now, the organization warns that all but two of these sites are threatened by flooding and erosion linked to climate change, Artnet News reports.

For a recent study, published in the journal Nature Communications, a team of researchers looked at how various possible outcomes of rising sea levels could impact the Mediterranean coast between now and 2100. They found that even if global temperatures rise just 2°C (about 3.6°F) above pre-industrial numbers, the area's most treasured sites will still be at risk.

The places most vulnerable to rising sea levels include the Patriarchal Basilica of Aquileia, the Renaissance city of Ferrara, and the city of Venice. When it comes to erosion, Tyre in Lebanon, the archaeological sites of Tárraco in Spain, and the Ephesus in Turkey face the most pressing danger.

A handful of world heritage sites along the Mediterranean Sea, like the Early Christian Monuments of Ravenna and the Cathedral of St. James, could potentially be relocated as an extreme final option. Only two sites on the list—Medina of Tunis and Xanthos-Letoon—would be safe from the flooding and erosion spurred by climate change.

Rising global temperatures are on track to reshape coasts, not just in the Mediterranean, but around the world. In addition to historic sites, homes and airports are also under threat.

[h/t Artnet News]

Today is National Necktie Day in Croatia—Birthplace of the Necktie

Srdjan Stevanovic, Getty Images
Srdjan Stevanovic, Getty Images

If you're wearing a necktie to work today, you can thank (or blame) the Croatians for this stylish invention. The necktie's predecessor, a short knotted garment called the cravat, is a source of pride in this Western Balkan nation—so much so that they celebrate Cravat Day each year on October 18.

It's unclear when exactly the necktie was invented, but Croatian soldiers wore red cravats as part of their uniform during the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648). According to The Atlantic, Croatian mercenaries carried it to Western Europe that same century, and the French borrowed the idea and dubbed it the cravate. It became even more stylish when Louis XIV of France started wearing a lace cravat in 1646 at the tender age of 7, according to The Dubrovnik Times. The English eventually helped spread the accessory around the world, and it morphed into the elongated form we're most familiar with today.

In 1997, a nonprofit organization called the Academia Cravatica was founded to promote the cravat as a symbol of Croatian ingenuity. "By spreading the truth about the cravat, we improve Croatia's image in the international public," the organization states. "The fact that Croats invented the Cravat makes us proud to be Croats." (According to Time Out, Croatia also invented the first MP3 player, the zeppelin, the parachute, and fingerprint identification.)

The cravat is also tied up with national identity. The words Croat and cravat are etymologically linked, and were once different spellings of the same word. One sample sentence by David Hume in 1752 reads, "The troops are filled with Cravates and Tartars, Hussars, and Cossacs."

The holiday isn't normally a big to-do, but the county's capital city, Zagreb, occasionally gets pretty festive. In 2003, when the holiday first debuted in Croatia, the Academia Cravatica wrapped an oversized red necktie around Pula Arena, a Roman amphitheater. It took two years to prepare and five days to install—and at 2650 feet long, it ended up being the largest necktie in the world, as recognized by Guinness World Records.

Cravat Day was formally declared a holiday by Croatian Parliament in 2008, and it's been a hallmark of Croatian culture ever since. A few events were planned in Zagreb today, including a march featuring the "city's famous Cravat Regiment." So if you happen to be in the Croatian capital, now you know why more than 50 historic statues are looking dapper in their red cravats.

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