Weekendish: Lettuces, models and scissors

Beverly Johnson

A collection of some of the best reads from the BBC News website this week, with an injection of your comments.

American Vogue's first black cover girl

When Beverly Johnson (pictured) achieved her dream and made it to the front cover for American Vogue in 1974, she was astonished to find that she was the fashion magazine's first black cover girl. The industry had little experience of black models, says Johnson. Hairdressers didn't know how to style her hair, she says, and photographers couldn't light her. Speaking about what her triumph might have meant to African-American women at the time, Johnson recalls: "I don't think they understand the impact they had on a nation of women, that they could finally look at someone and say, 'She's me and she's in the magazine and she's beautiful and we're finally accepted in mainstream America.'" Angela Wanhalla tweets: "American Vogue's first black cover girl, but father is Native American which is largely ignored in this story." Fresh tweets: "Here is American Vogue's first black cover girl... Progressive or Regressive?"

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Marrying the in-laws
Yemeni couple holding child

In Yemen, the practice of "Shegar" - when a brother and sister from one family marry a brother and sister from another - is often used to avoid punitive dowry payments. But the agreement can come to terrible grief - if one couple decides to divorce, the other couple is often separated by the respective families, even if they are happy with the arrangement. BBC Arabic's Mai Noman returned to her native country to speak to those who had been affected by so-called "swap marriages".

Read the full story

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33,000 lettuces...
A detail from the Ruhleben Horticultural Society, July 1917 olvwork423203, Historical & Special Collections, Harvard Law School Library

... and 18,000 radishes - that's just a portion of the vegetables grown by British POWs in the internment camp Ruhleben, in Berlin. When inmates realised they were stuck there at the outbreak of WW1, they decided to roll up their sleeves and make the best of it. Affiliation with the Royal Horticultural Society brought them precious resources of seeds and bulbs and their agricultural efforts in the grounds of the camp went from strength to strength. At the end of the war, they were eating better than Berliners, as Stephen Evans reports. Graham @B_BluesMonkey tweets: "You've got to love British eccentricity." Kahoover ‏adds: "Odd little story chock full of British behaving well and badly."

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France 1, England 0
The Battle of Bouvines

It was the battle that paved the way for Magna Carta - a document which formed the basis for English democracy. But you've probably never heard of Bouvines. And the reason for that is probably because the British lost the battle against the French. But in France - as Hugh Schofield reports - it's still a big deal, with a major anniversary taking place to mark 800 years since the conflict. Sara Barker @DrSKBarker tweets: "Some interesting points about why particular battles are remembered in this piece on Bouvines. And some bonus Lavisse." J D Davies @quintonjournals adds: "The most important battle you've never heard of'…. So not Castillon 1453, then, which BBC list somehow ignores?"

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Being Usain
Usain Holt

Whether or not Usain Bolt did get caught out criticising these Commonwealth Games - the reporter insists, the athlete denies - the subsequent headlines were another indication that life for the Jamaican sprinter is not like that for any other athlete, writes the BBC's chief sports writer Tom Fordyce. So what exactly is life like for the Lightning Bolt? When being the fastest man in the world becomes a bit too much, Bolt returns to the rural north-west of Jamaica and the tiny town of Sherwood Content, where he grew up. Out come the dominoes, out comes the Guinness. It might be mundane, but it's understandable, writes Fordyce in his profile of the athlete.

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Biohazard prosthetics
Prosthetic leg on the beach

On becoming an amputee, do you get a leg straight away? Can amputees wear high heels? These are just two questions that are answered by the Ouch disability team in its feature Lesser-known things about prosthetic legs. Apparently many amputees collect a stockpile of prosthetics over the years and some don't know what to do with them. In the UK a used prosthetic leg is seen as a biohazard and cannot be used again in the EU. Joe Preston ‏@upthewoodenhill tweets: "Nice little article answering some interesting questions people have about prosthetic legs."

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The scissor-maker
Scissor makers Ernest Wright and Son Ltd and the dying art of scissor-making

"I'm Eric Stones and I've been making scissors for 58 years." So says one of the two "Master Puttertogetherers" at the last factory in Britain that still makes them by hand. Earlier this year, Ernest Wright and Son Ltd was in danger of closing but a video by photographer Shaun Bloodworth showing how the implements are made went viral, resulting in a surge in orders. A few decades ago Sheffield boasted some 150 scissor manufacturers - now there are only two. Watch Eric at work and listen to him describing the intricacies of scissor making in this beautiful video by Susannah Reid. Ernest Wright reports that thanks to Friday's film, it received 100 new orders in an hour. Tim Hodges tweets: "Lovely film, spare 4 minutes of your time to watch it if you can."

Here are some things we've enjoyed this week from elsewhere around the web:

What's in a profile picture? Just about everything, actually - Washington Post

Where Does Ebola Come From? - The Atlantic

Here's A Simple, Sneaky Way To Win Any Argument - Business Insider

The Great Third-Pound Burger Ripoff - Mother Jones

This Guy Simultaneously Raised a Chimp and a Baby in Exactly the Same Way To See What Would Happen - Smithsonian Magazine

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