Meet the Man Who Owns Over 5000 Toy Dinosaurs


Like many of us, Randy Knol enjoyed playing with toy dinosaurs as a kid. He received a Flintstones playset from his grandfather as a Christmas present in the 1960s, and his collection of prehistoric figurines has been growing ever since.

As Smithsonian recently reported, Knol owns “probably around five or six thousand” toy dinosaurs stored in boxes, bags, and plastic containers throughout his home. He’s not sure of the exact number, but he guesses that his is the largest collection in the world, considering that every collector he’s known to own more is now dead (a fact he's gathered from seeing their collections pop up on eBay).

Knol’s love of dinosaur toys is more than just an eccentric hobby. He’s found a way to channel his passion into a learning experience for children by teaching summer classes for Smithsonian Associates. In each session, kids construct their own dinosaur dioramas to take home at the end of class. Knol takes care to select toy models that represent accurate depictions of dinosaurs—something that’s still hard to come by, despite all the advancements that have been made in paleontology in the past few decades.

According to Knol, dinosaur toy makers are notorious for basing their designs on long-outdated artwork. He recalled to Smithsonian the reception one toy company faced after releasing a scientifically accurate T.Rex:

“Retailers insisted that they keep the old one because it still sold better. And because what is in all the children's books? They don't have feathers, they don't have their tails up the air! The kids want things that look like the books that their parents are giving them to read.”

To address these issues, some dino enthusiasts have taken it upon themselves to produce a more genuine toy. This past May, a Kickstarter project featuring a line of scientifically accurate, feathered, raptor action figures received over $350,000 in funding. But products like that are the exception, while tail-dragging tyrannosaurs and scaly velociraptors are much more common.

In Knol’s eyes, even the antiquated dinosaur designs can serve an educational purpose. He told Smithsonian, “Science is not just measuring factoids; it's really the whole process of 'we had this information and we thought this, and now we have this other piece of information, so now we think these other things.’”

The ultimate fate of his impressive collection is still up in the air. Knol says he’d ideally like to have the toys displayed in a museum, and if that doesn’t pan out, his son has promised to have the dinosaurs buried with him.

[h/t Smithsonian]

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Kodak’s New Cameras Don't Just Take Photos—They Also Print Them

Your Instagram account wishes it had this clout.
Your Instagram account wishes it had this clout.

Snapping a photo and immediately sharing it on social media is definitely convenient, but there’s still something so satisfying about having the printed photo—like you’re actually holding the memory in your hands. Kodak’s new STEP cameras now offer the best of both worlds.

As its name implies, the Kodak STEP Instant Print Digital Camera, available for $70 on Amazon, lets you take a picture and print it out on that very same device. Not only do you get to skip the irksome process of uploading photos to your computer and printing them on your bulky, non-portable printer (or worse yet, having to wait for your local pharmacy to print them for you), but you never need to bother with ink cartridges or toner, either. The Kodak STEP comes with special 2-inch-by-3-inch printing paper inlaid with color crystals that bring your image to life. There’s also an adhesive layer on the back, so you can easily stick your photos to laptop covers, scrapbooks, or whatever else could use a little adornment.

There's a 10-second self-timer, so you don't have to ask strangers to take your group photos.Kodak

For those of you who want to give your photos some added flair, you might like the Kodak STEP Touch, available for $130 from Amazon. It’s similar to the regular Kodak STEP, but the LCD touch screen allows you to edit your photos before you print them; you can also shoot short videos and even share your content straight to social media.

If you want to print photos from your smartphone gallery, there's the Kodak STEP Instant Mobile Photo Printer. This portable $80 printer connects to any iOS or Android device with Bluetooth capabilities and can print whatever photos you send to it.

The Kodak STEP Instant Mobile Photo Printer connects to an app that allows you to add filters and other effects to your photos. Kodak

All three Kodak STEP devices come with some of that magical printer paper, but you can order additional refills, too—a 20-sheet set costs $8 on Amazon.

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Looking to Downsize? You Can Buy a 5-Room DIY Cabin on Amazon for Less Than $33,000

Five rooms of one's own.
Five rooms of one's own.

If you’ve already mastered DIY houses for birds and dogs, maybe it’s time you built one for yourself.

As Simplemost reports, there are a number of house kits that you can order on Amazon, and the Allwood Avalon Cabin Kit is one of the quaintest—and, at $32,990, most affordable—options. The 540-square-foot structure has enough space for a kitchen, a bathroom, a bedroom, and a sitting room—and there’s an additional 218-square-foot loft with the potential to be the coziest reading nook of all time.

You can opt for three larger rooms if you're willing to skip the kitchen and bathroom.Allwood/Amazon

The construction process might not be a great idea for someone who’s never picked up a hammer, but you don’t need an architectural degree to tackle it. Step-by-step instructions and all materials are included, so it’s a little like a high-level IKEA project. According to the Amazon listing, it takes two adults about a week to complete. Since the Nordic wood walls are reinforced with steel rods, the house can withstand winds up to 120 mph, and you can pay an extra $1000 to upgrade from double-glass windows and doors to triple-glass for added fortification.

Sadly, the cool ceiling lamp is not included.Allwood/Amazon

Though everything you need for the shell of the house comes in the kit, you will need to purchase whatever goes inside it: toilet, shower, sink, stove, insulation, and all other furnishings. You can also customize the blueprint to fit your own plans for the space; maybe, for example, you’re going to use the house as a small event venue, and you’d rather have two or three large, airy rooms and no kitchen or bedroom.

Intrigued? Find out more here.

[h/t Simplemost]

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