Thursday, October 22, 2015

Lady Gaga to Jimmy Fallon: Fiancé Bought Huge Diamond to Scare Off Other Guys

In an entertaining 20-second repartee, Lady Gaga revealed to Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon and 3.7 million home viewers the real reason her fiancé, Taylor Kinney, bought her such an enormous heart-shaped diamond engagement ring. It was to scare off other guys.


Fallon was about 90 seconds into his interview with the 29-year-old "Poker Face" diva — chatting about her February engagement — when he accidentally placed his right hand on her left.

"I just put my hand on top of yours and I felt that rock," Fallon said. "Ooh, la, la, lee."

"I think that's why he got me such a big one," Gaga responded. "So if men touch my hand they'll be like, 'Oh, I feel something.'"

"Oh my gosh," added Fallon. "That is a beautiful diamond ring there."

"Thank you," she said.


So for the record, Gaga believes her 8-carat heart-shaped diamond delivers a powerful and unambiguous message to other suitors to keep their distance.


Gaga fans may remember how she surprised her 5.6 million Instagram followers (currently 11.4 million) with the announcement of her Valentine’s Day engagement to Kinney. A crystal clear black-and-white shot of her stunning ring was captioned, “He gave me his heart on Valentines’s Day, and I said YES!”


Jewelry industry experts at the time estimated that the 34-year-old Chicago Fire actor spent upwards of $500,000 for the ring.

About a week after her engagement, Gaga revealed a secret design detail of the heart-shaped diamond engagement ring — a sweet and sentimental element she called her "favorite part” of the ring.


Instead of adding an inscription, fiancé Kinney arranged for a neat enhancement to the band — “T [heart] S” spelled out in pavé diamonds. The “S” is for Stefani, Gaga’s birth name.


"I'm such a happy bride-to-be!" Gaga wrote on Instagram. "I can't stop smiling!!"

Check out Gaga's cute exchange with Fallon on The Tonight Show. Her engagement ring becomes the focus of the conversation at the 1:30 mark.

Photos: Screen capture via YouTube; Instagram/LadyGaga; Instagram/TaylorKinney.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Appeals Court to Decide the Fate of $80M in Double Eagle Coins That Shouldn't Have Seen the Light of Day

Behold the $20 gold coin that wasn't meant to see the light of day — the stunning 1933 Double Eagle.


Although 445,500 Double Eagle gold coins were struck by the Philadelphia Mint in 1933, none of them were intended for circulation. In the midst of The Great Depression and faced with a banking crisis that spooked consumers into hoarding gold, the federal government outlawed the possession of gold coins.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt insisted that all Double Eagle coins — except for two museum specimens — were to be melted into gold bars. Under illicit circumstances, at least 20 additional Double Eagles survived.

Last Wednesday, a federal appeals court heard arguments regarding whether the U.S. government had the rights to confiscate 10 Double Eagles discovered by the Philadelphia Langbord family at the bottom of an old safe deposit box in 2003. The coins were estimated to be worth nearly $8 million each.

The final ruling, which is expected within a month, will close the books on a 10-year dispute that has seen the court favor both sides.

doubleeagle3 “The 1933 Double Eagle is one of the most intriguing coins of all time,” Jay Brahin, an investment adviser and coin collector, told Bloomberg News in 2011. “It’s a freak. The coins shouldn’t have been minted, but they were. They weren’t meant to circulate, but some did."

The family of Israel Switt, a coin dealer and jewelry store owner who died in 1990 at the age of 95, lost possession of the coins in 2004 when the family went to the Mint to prove their authenticity. The government confiscated the coins from Switt's daughter, Joan Langbord, arguing that the she had not obtained them legally. The Langbord family countered that they were entitled to the coins because there was no sufficient evidence that the coins were stolen or embezzled.

In April of this year, a three-judge appellate court ruled 2-1 in favor of the Langbord family, reversing a 2012 decision that said the U.S. government had the rights to the Double Eagles that were allegedly stolen. In 2009, a judge had ruled that the government improperly seized the coins and denied the family due process.

The federal government had been aware early on that there was a breach in security and that a handful of 1933 Double Eagles escaped the Philadelphia Mint. The U.S. Secret Service in the 1940s finally traced the leak to George McCann, a Philadelphia Mint cashier, and Switt. The pair was never prosecuted because the statute of limitations had expired. Switt did admitted to the Secret Service in 1944 that he sold 10 Double Eagle coins to dealers and collectors. Agents were able to track down and recover nine of the 10. Each of them was melted.


King Farouk of Egypt

Before the discovery of the Switt coins, it was assumed that only a few 1933 Double Eagles remained in existence. Two had been set aside to be part of the National Numismatic Collection and one coin had been the property of King Farouk of Egypt, who had obtained it in 1944. When the King was deposed in 1952, many of his possessions were liquidated at auction, including his prized 1933 Double Eagle.

The coin remained under the radar until 1996, when it resurfaced in the possession of British coin dealer Stephen Fenton. He was arrested by U.S. Secret Service agents at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York as part of a sting operation. Fenton testified that the 1933 Double Eagle was from the Farouk collection and the charges against Fenton were subsequently dropped. The case was settled in 2001 when the defendant agreed to relinquish ownership to the U.S. government and the coin could be sold at auction.

In 2002, the coin was sold to an anonymous bidder at a Sotheby's auction for $7.59 million. The U.S. government and Fenton shared the proceeds. If the courts rule in favor of the Langbord family, the financial windfall is expected to be $80 million or more. The coins are currently secured at Fort Knox, Ky.

The design for the $20 Double Eagle was the work of famous sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens, who chose an advancing figure of Liberty for the obverse and a flying eagle on the reverse. The coin was nicknamed "Double Eagle" because $10 coins at that time were called "eagles."

Coin images courtesy of United States Mint; Farouk photo, public domain.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Impossibly Stuck Rings Are No Match for This Surprising Dental Floss Remedy

Did you know that impossibly stuck rings are no match for common dental floss and a paper clip. This low-cost home remedy has become a favorite topic on YouTube and promises to save many a precious keepsake from a costly repair or premature demise.

We bet you know someone who's finger became so swollen that a wedding band or engagement ring had to be snapped off with a ring cutter. But, the next time you're confronted by a ring that won't budge, try this solution. Thirty inches of dental floss.

The internet is teeming with self-help videos that demonstrate a simple, inexpensive, quick and painless way of getting mis-sized rings to come off. Here's the concept: By tightly wrapping dental floss around the soft tissue of the finger, the ring has just enough room to advance over the knuckle.

In a video viewed by more than 3.7 million YouTube fans, the folks at UrbanHowToDo outline a step-by-step method that removes rings in minutes. The only tools necessary are a roll of dental floss and a small nail file or paper clip. (Caution: A doctor told us that this method will restrict the blood flow to the finger and should be completed quickly — in less than five minutes.)

• The first step is to take 2 1/2 feet of dental floss and lay one end parallel with the stuck ring.


• Then, using a small nail file or a paper clip, push the end of the dental floss under the ring (from the finger side to the palm side). Be extremely careful not to poke your skin. The video actually shows the use of a safety pin, which is potentially dangerous and not recommended.

• When the floss emerges on the palm side of the ring, pull through six inches and leave two feet of floss on the finger side. Hold the shorter end under your thumb to secure it in place.


• Then use the longer length of floss to tightly wrap the finger, starting close to the ring and working up past the knuckle. If the ring is extremely tight, the wraps need to be very close together.


• At the end of the two-foot length, create a loop and tuck the end under the loop to secure it.

• To remove the ring, grab the end of the six-inch length and slowly pull the floss through from the finger side to the palm side.


• The ring will start to move up the finger toward the knuckle, wobbling back and forth with the unwinding of each wrap. As soon as it passes the knuckle, it should easily slide off.

Other YouTube videos provide variations on this method. Some recommend starting the floss wrapping from the finger above the knuckle and moving down toward the ring. The justification is that the blood should be moving away from the extremity. In another video, the doctor uses string instead of dental floss.

We must emphasize that this method may not work for every person and every type of ring. Rings with large center stones that jut out from the mounting tend to get hung up in the dental floss and make the process much tougher.

Also, some rings can get so tight (especially after an injury) that medical intervention is advised.

Nevertheless, YouTube viewers have written glowing reviews, and comments are nearly universally positive.

One YouTube user who suffered from the discomfort of a stuck ring for 10 years wrote the following and posted a video of a successful attempt to duplicate the "How To" solution: "My ring... has been ... irremovable for at least 10 years. Not a chance, will never come off! So my wonderful friend Colleen says, "Just YouTube 'ring removal with dental floss.' And here are the magical results! This video is dedicated to my beautiful friend. You are AWESOME!"

Credit: YouTube screen captures.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Tiny Screen Necklace Makes It Possible to Wear Your Favorite Video Clip As a Fashion Accessory

Two Ohio college professors have devised a way to make your favorite video clip into an animated fashion accessory. Dubbed "Tiny Screen Jewelry," the latest innovation in wearable tech is essentially a one-inch-wide LED screen encased in a necklace.


Margarita Benitez, assistant professor in Kent State University’s School of Fashion Design and Merchandising, and Markus Vogl, assistant professor from the University of Akron, designed the innovative necklace using the video components of a startup called TinyCircuits, which is also based in Akron.


“It’s just too cool for school,” Benitez told Kent State's web site. “It’s so adorable.”

Packed within the block-shaped necklace case are all the video components, as well as an SD card to store the video content and a USB connection to charge the battery. The screen measures 1.02″ x 0.98″ with a 0.96″ viewable area that features a 96×64 OLED display and 16-bit color depth.


The prototype's plastic casing is produced by a 3-D printer, but the makers intend to introduce upgraded versions that will be clad in more luxurious materials, including gold leaf. Prices will start at about $125.


The exciting part of being able to wear a video around one's neck is that it can be an ever-changing expression of the wearer's mood and creativity.


“This is a way to augment your style, by adding a different color video or mood or emotion, or what’s trending that season or that day,” Benitez told “You can adapt your accessories that way.”

While some wearers might want to display a clip from the latest Hollywood blockbuster or favorite music video, others might want to show original works, or videos of their friends, families or pets.

“It would be fun to see what people do with it and what they play on it,” Benitez said.

Credit: Youtube screen captures.