15 Things You Might Not Know About Oregon


1. You might think that a crack team of high-paid designers came up with Nike’s renowned “swoosh” logo. In fact, it was Portland State University student and Oregon native Carly Davidson who thought up the design in 1971. She sold it to Nike’s co-founder (Phil Knight, another Oregon native and an accounting professor at the college) for only $35.

2. Knight is also co-founder and chairman of the animation studio Laika, which operates in Portland under the management of his son Travis. Laika, the brand behind Coraline, ParaNorman, and The Boxtrolls, is just one of many animation companies situated in Portland, which is considered one of the top cities in America to pursue a career in the field. ADi, Happy Trails Animation, BENT IMAGE LAB, Hinge Digital, Wallace Creative, and several others call the Oregon city their home.

3. Without one particular Oregon invention, you’d have had an awful hard time clicking on this article. In 1970, Portland’s most delightfully named scientist Douglas Engelbart patented his long gestating invention, the computer mouse.

4. Also born in Oregon: the hacky sack. The game—and partnership of co-inventors Mike Marshall and John Stalberger—came to be in 1972, when Marshall introduced a makeshift beanbag to Stalberger, who was nursing a knee injury and was seeking a fun and stress-free means of rehabilitation. Following Marshall’s death, Stalberger sold the idea to the Wham-O toy company in 1983.

5.With a bed resting 1,943 feet below the surface, Oregon’s Crater Lake enjoys distinction as the deepest lake in the United States (and the ninth deepest on Earth). The 6-mile-long, 5-mile-wide body of water was formed as a result of the collapse of the cascade volcano Mount Mazama.

 around 5000 BCE. Crater Lake is also noteworthy for remarkable water clarity and purity, and for its sacred significance to the Klamath Native Americans.

6. The state also hits another landmark in nautical depth. Hells Canyon, which sits on Oregon’s border with Idaho, is the deepest river gorge in North America. A distance just shy of 8,000 feet (7,993, to be precise) separates the peak of the He Devil mountain and the pit of the ravine.

7. The last of Oregon’s achievements in maritime grandeur concerns its Sea Lion Caves, the longest sea caves in America … or anywhere, for that matter, outside of New Zealand (which claims the only five sea caves in the world longer than Oregon’s).

8. The mother of all “biggests” has got to be Oregon’s Armillaria solidipes, a single specimen of mushroom that scientists consider to be the largest living organism on Earth. Known colloquially as the “Humungous Fungus,” the Malheur National Forest resident measures approximately 2,400 acres (though the bulk of its area exists underground) and is between 2,000 and 8,000 years old.

9. But Oregon also abides by the “good things come in small packages” dictum. In 1971, the state became the proud recipient of a Guinness World Record for the smallest park on the planet. The tiny Mill Ends Park stands proud in Portland with a 452 square inch area, hosting little more than a hole filled with hand-planted flowers … though locals swear that the diminutive locale is home to an elusive leprechaun. In 2012, Great Britain challenged the record on the grounds that an area so small couldn’t appropriately be deemed a park, insisting that the true victor of the title is the two-feet-in-diameter Prince’s Park in Burntwood, Staffordshire. But the ruling went unchanged, as it was determined that a plot of land need neither trees nor benches to be called a park … just leprechauns.

10. Oregon may also be home to the world’s shortest river, although that also depends on whom you ask. Up until 1989, the Guinness Book of World Records recognized Oregon’s D River, which spans only 440 feet, as the world's shortest river. However, once the state of Montana brought its own 201-foot Roe River to the book’s attention, the honor was passed over. But Oregon did not give up. Following the shift, citizens of Lincoln City took it upon themselves to wait until a remarkably high tide to again measure the D River, calculating the length at just 120 feet. All was ultimately for naught, unfortunately, as Guinness discontinued its documentation of shortest rivers in 2006.

11. If movies have taught us anything about the FBI, it’s that discretion is a characteristic of great merit. And yet there’s something about a 26-foot-tall rabbit-man hybrid that doesn’t exactly scream “inconspicuous.” Nevertheless, marine retail salesman Ed Harvey’s store mascot—the aforementioned fiberglass giant that stands roadside in Aloha, Oregon—has been an alleged meeting ground for federal agents … and the source of nightmares for many a local child.

12. Oregon plays a part in a number of Nickelodeon cartoons. The cult series Angry Beavers is set explicitly in the fictional rural city of Wayoutatown, Oregon, and the ever popular Hey Arnold! drew inspiration from its creator’s upbringing in Portland (combining elements of the city with New York and Seattle). Additionally, CatDog is suggested to have based its fictional Nearberg on the Northwestern state.

13. If you’re look for a West Coast pen pal, Oregon’s Barbara Blackburn should be a speedy correspondent. In 2005, the Guinness Book of World Records named the Salem writer the fastest English language typist in the world; she can maintain a rapid 150 words per minute for 50-minute spans. Her fastest recorded speed was the impressive 212 words per minute (just over three-and-a-half words per second).

14. A tip of the hat to Portland for its impressive beer scene. Strewn throughout Oregon’s hip metropolis are more breweries than any other city in the world has to its name—56 in the city itself, and 76 in the Portland metropolitan area.

15. And all that drinking is actually for a good cause! Portland is home to the world’s first non-profit pub, Oregon Public House, that donates its income to a variety of charities all in the name of (their joke, not ours) “ale-truism.”

7 Historic European Castles Virtually Rebuilt Before Your Very Eyes

A reconstruction of Spiš Castle in eastern Slovakia.
A reconstruction of Spiš Castle in eastern Slovakia.
Budget Direct

While some centuries-old castles are still standing tall, others haven’t withstood the ravages of time, war, or natural disaster quite as well. To give you an idea of what once was, Australia-based insurance company Budget Direct has digitally reconstructed seven of them for its blog, Simply Savvy.

Watch below as ruins across Europe transform back into the formidable forts and turreted castles they used to be, courtesy of a little modern-day magic we call GIF technology.

1. Samobor Castle // Samobor, Croatia

samobor castle
Samobor Castle in Samobor, Croatia
Budget Direct

The only remaining piece of the 13th-century castle built by Bohemia’s King Ottokar II is the base of the guard tower—the rest of the ruins are from an expansion that happened about 300 years later. It’s just a 10-minute walk from the Croatian city of Samobor, which bought the property in 1902.

2. Château Gaillard // Les Andelys, France

Château Gaillard in Les Andelys, France
Château Gaillard in Les Andelys, France
Budget Direct

King Richard I of England built Château Gaillard in just two years during the late 12th century as a fortress to protect the Duchy of Normandy, which belonged to England at the time, from French invasion. It didn’t last very long—France’s King Philip II captured it six years later.

3. Dunnottar Castle // Stonehaven, Scotland

Dunnottar Castle in Stonehaven, Scotland
Dunnottar Castle in Stonehaven, Scotland
Budget Direct

Dunnottar Castle overlooks the North Sea and is perhaps best known as the fortress that William Wallace (portrayed by Mel Gibson in 1995’s Braveheart) and Scottish forces won back from English occupation in 1297. Later, it became the place where the Scottish monarchy stored their crown jewels, which were smuggled to safety when Oliver Cromwell invaded during the 17th century.

4. Menlo Castle // Galway City, Ireland

Menlo Castle in Galway City, Ireland
Menlo Castle in Galway City, Ireland
Budget Direct

This ivy-covered Irish castle was built during the 16th century and all but destroyed in a fire in 1910. For those few centuries, it was home to the Blake family, English nobles who owned property all over the region.

5. Olsztyn Castle // Olsztyn, Poland

Olsztyn Castle in Olsztyn, Poland
Olsztyn Castle in Olsztyn, Poland
Budget Direct

The earliest known mention of Olsztyn Castle was in 1306, so we know it was constructed some time before then and expanded later that century by King Casimir III of Poland. It was severely damaged during wars with Sweden in the 17th and 18th centuries, but its highest tower—once a prison—still stands.

6. Spiš Castle // Spišské Podhradie, Slovakia

Spiš Castle in Spišské Podhradie, Slovakia
Spiš Castle in Spišské Podhradie, Slovakia
Budget Direct

Slovakia’s massive Spiš Castle was built in the 12th century to mark the boundary of the Hungarian kingdom and fell to ruin after a fire in 1780. However, 20th-century restoration efforts helped fortify the remaining rooms, and it was even used as a filming location for parts of 1996’s DragonHeart.

7. Poenari Castle // Valachia, Romania

Poenari Castle in Valachia, Romania
Poenari Castle in Valachia, Romania
Budget Direct

This 13th-century Romanian castle boasts one previous resident of some celebrity: Vlad the Impaler, or Vlad Dracula, who may have been an early influence for Bram Stoker’s vampire, Dracula. It also boasts a staggering 1480 stone steps, which you can still climb today.

[h/t Simply Savvy]

America’s 10 Most Hated Easter Candies

Peeps are all out of cluck when it comes to confectionery popularity contests.
Peeps are all out of cluck when it comes to confectionery popularity contests.
William Thomas Cain/Getty Images

Whether you celebrate Easter as a religious holiday or not, it’s an opportune time to welcome the sunny, flora-filled season of spring with a basket or two of your favorite candy. And when it comes to deciding which Easter-themed confections belong in that basket, people have pretty strong opinions.

This year, CandyStore.com surveyed more than 19,000 customers to find out which sugary treats are widely considered the worst. If you’re a traditionalist, this may come as a shock: Cadbury Creme Eggs, Peeps, and solid chocolate bunnies are the top three on the list, and generic jelly beans landed in the ninth spot. While Peeps have long been polarizing, it’s a little surprising that the other three classics have so few supporters. Based on some comments left by participants, it seems like people are just really particular about the distinctions between certain types of candy.

Generic jelly beans, for example, were deemed old and bland, but people adore gourmet jelly beans, which were the fifth most popular Easter candy. Similarly, people thought Cadbury Creme Eggs were messy and low-quality, while Cadbury Mini Eggs—which topped the list of best candies—were considered inexplicably delicious and even “addictive.” And many candy lovers prefer hollow chocolate bunnies to solid ones, which people explained were simply “too much.” One participant even likened solid bunnies to bricks.

candystore.com's worst easter candies
The pretty pastel shades of bunny corn don't seem to be fooling the large contingent of candy corn haters.

If there’s one undeniable takeaway from the list of worst candies, it’s that a large portion of the population isn’t keen on chewy marshmallow treats in general. The eighth spot went to Hot Tamales Peeps, and Brach’s Marshmallow Chicks & Rabbits—which one person christened “the zombie bunny catacomb statue candy”—sits at number six.

Take a look at the full list below, and read more enlightening (and entertaining) survey comments here.

  1. Cadbury Creme Eggs
  1. Peeps
  1. Solid chocolate bunnies
  1. Bunny Corn
  1. Marshmallow Chicks & Rabbits
  1. Chocolate crosses
  1. Twix Eggs
  1. Hot Tamales Peeps
  1. Generic jelly beans
  1. Fluffy Stuff Cotton Tails

[h/t CandyStore.com]