A list of curious facts
One: Did you know that spandex is a jumbled version of ‘expands’—because that’s exactly what the fabric does? It was first invented by DuPont which was looking for a way to make the ghastly rubberized girdle a little more comfortable. Spandex was named Lycra and rolled out to women in 1960.
But when ladies started to burn not just girdles but also bras, DuPont moved on to repurpose lycra as blended exercise wear—i.e Jane Fonda’s flashy leotards. Of course, we’re back to squeezing ourselves into girdles shapewear—so spandex is guaranteed to never go out of style. Popular Science has lots more on the history of corsets—and the starring role of spandex in fashion history.
Bonus fact: The dudes started embracing spandex around the same time as women—except as the outfit of choice for superheroes on screen. But in this case, the skin-tight look was all about emphasising those muscles. And the concept preceded the actual fabric—first debuted by The Phantom comics in 1936. The first superhero to actually wear a spandex suit was Adam West as Batman in the 1960s. Inverse has more on the spandex-suited superhero.
Two: Birdwatchers in Kerala were recently overjoyed at the sight of a rather innocuous looking bird: the Buff-breasted Sandpiper—which has only been sighted a couple of times in Asia. The daring bird flew 12000 km from the tundra—and is likely on its way to South America. This is only the second sighting in India. The bird is so special to Kannur that it’s plastered all over the wall at the airport:
The Hindu has more on the sighting—and Cornell Lab has more on the bird—which you can see hanging around Kannur below. The photo was taken by ornithologist Jayan Thomas—who first spotted the bird in 2011:
Three: If you want a break from the relentless noise of X/Twitter, be sure to follow Adam Sharp. He offers delightful lists of equivalents for common slang phrases. For example: A Spanish version of “in a while, crocodile” is “me las piro, vampiro.” It means “I’m outta here, vampire” Or what about “let’s get this show on the road” in Icelandic: “On with the butter!” Our faves are the two Finnish alternatives: either “Let’s go, bedbugs, the bed’s on fire!” or even better: “Let’s go, cows, the bull’s got a boner!” Adam Sharp’s essay on why he does what he does is over at The New European—or check out his book 'The Wheel is Spinning but the Hamster is Dead: A Journey Around the World in Idioms, Proverbs and General Nonsense'.