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The story behind Steve Jobs’s iconic black turtleneck Add to ...

That black turtleneck

“Steve Jobs’s most iconic look has been his black mock turtleneck, Levi’s 501 jeans and New Balance sneakers,” The Christian Science Monitor says. “… According to Walter Isaacson, Jobs’s official biographer, it all started when Jobs visited Japan in the early eighties.” The Apple CEO was impressed by the uniform for Sony employees that was created by famous designer Issey Miyake. A proposed vest for Apple employees proved unpopular (“Oh man, did I get booed off the stage,” Jobs recalled), but “Jobs apparently got stuck on the concept of having a uniform for himself. According to Isaacson, he wanted both the convenience of not having to pick out a new outfit each day, and the ‘ability to convey a signature style.’ Jobs had become friends with Miyake, and the designer had a black turtleneck that had caught the Apple CEO’s eye. He asked Miyake to make him some of them, and the designer sent him ‘like a hundred.’ Isaacson reports that Jobs kept them stacked in the closet and, just like that, the iconic look began.”

Criminals picking stun guns

“Criminals [in Britain] are increasingly choosing illegally acquired stun guns as their weapon of choice, a Sky News investigation has revealed. The devices are sold openly on market stalls in the Far East – and some appear to be smuggled into the U.K.,” Sky News reports. “Assistant Chief Constable Sue Fish, of the Association of Chief Police Officers, said there was anecdotal evidence that some criminals may be turning to stun guns in the belief they might escape a jail term if caught. … ‘[T]here does seem to be a misguided perception that they are seen as less serious than conventional firearms, when in fact the law views them exactly the same as an illegal gun.’ ”

Ever see two turtles yawn?

“Yawning can be contagious, not just in humans but also in other primates,” says the New Scientist. “Reading about yawning can make you yawn, which is why you’re probably thinking of yawning right now. The same is true for writing about it, and for Anna Wilkinson of the University of Lincoln, U.K., that made it exhausting to write the paper that won her the Ig Nobel physiology prize: ‘No evidence of contagious yawning in the red-footed tortoise Geochelone carbonaria.’ ” It was published in the journal Current Zoology, with three co-authors from the Messerli Institute in Vienna. “The cause of contagious yawning is a mystery, but Wilkinson didn’t believe one leading theory – that empathy was involved. … ‘I was totally convinced that tortoises would yawn contagiously,’ she says. She spent six months training one tortoise to yawn, and when she finally succeeded, she watched the response of other tortoises – or, rather, their lack of response. She tried a series of different experiments, but nothing worked. Tortoises don’t yawn contagiously.”

Shark surfing

“Doug Niblack was trying to catch another wave before going to work, when his longboard hit something hard as rock off the Oregon Coast and he suddenly found himself standing on the back of a thrashing great white shark,” says Associated Press. “Looking down, he could see a dorsal fin in front of his feet as he stood on what he described as 10 feet of back as wide as his surfboard and as black as his own Neoprene wetsuit. A tail thrashed back and forth and the water churned around him like a depth charge went off. … The several seconds Niblack spent on the back of the great white Monday off Seaside, Ore., was a rare encounter, though not unprecedented, according to Ralph Collier, president of the Shark Research Committee in Canoga Park, Calif., and director of the Global Shark Attack File in Princeton, N.J. He said he spoke to a woman who was kayaking off Catalina Island, Calif., in 2008 when a shark slammed her kayak from underneath and sent her flying into the air. She then landed on the back of the shark, Collier said. ‘At that point the shark started to swim out to sea, so she jumped off its back,’ Collier said.”

Thought du jour

“I have always believed that writing advertisements is the second most profitable form of publishing. The first, of course, is ransom notes.”

Philip Dusenberry (1936-2007), U.S. advertising executive

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