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The Mad Scientist Behind That Creepy, Viral, Long-Legged Bear Explains Himself

The Mad Scientist Behind That Creepy, Viral, Long-Legged Bear Explains Himself
From Gizmodo - November 10, 2017

This week, cursed images of an enormous stuffed animal with legs seemingly made to strangle you in your sleep spread across the internet after a Twitter user shared some Amazon reviews of the six-and-a-half-foot Joyfay Giant Teddy Bear. Some shoppers assumed they were ordering a larger version of a childhood teddy, but were disturbed to receive a furry creature with disproportionally long legs.

Posts about the Lovecraftian plushie soon followed from outlets like Boing Boing and Teen Vogue, which described the bear as nothing short of completely, utterly horrifying. As one disappointed Amazon customer described the toy:

Hideous! The legs are like 4 feet long making the bear look like a creepy gumby thing. I got this for Valentines Day and would have rather had a cheaper more proportional bear...I mean this isnt even cute.

Who could possibly be behind such a nightmare creature? As it turns out, four scientistsan electrochemist, a photo-chemist, a physicist, and a laser spectroscopist. The co-founders of Joyfay, which sells the bear, were all working on their PhDs at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland when then-photochemistry student Junwei Wang came up with the idea to sell things on Amazon.

I was doing an XPS [X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy] experiment, and Junwei came to my lab and tells me that we can maybe start to sell things online and we could actually make more money than we would through this PhD program, Joyfay co-founderand electrochemist Nikola Matic told Gizmodo. And while he was working on samples for a photochemical generation of hydrogen, we had two hours to kill since the machine really takes some time so we opened up an Amazon account.

They listed some items that sold immediately. Soon they began selling anything and everything online, including these teddy bears, Matic said. Their business, Joyfay, took off. And once they all graduated around 2014, they stuck with it, and didnt bother pursuing jobs in the scientific community.

But they havent abandoned science altogether, according to Matic. Theres definitely a science behind these giant teddy bears, he said.

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