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The World's Most Disgusting Flower

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We tend to think of flowers as beautiful things with a lovely scent, but not all flowers comply to these standards. Take, for example, the Hydnora africana, which smells like dung. While the corpse lily might be the most famous of smelly, ugly flowers, the parasitic Hydnora deserves the trophy for most unpleasant.

But there's a very good reason for this flower's stench—it's fertilized by dung beetles and, as you may have guessed, no smell attracts these insects more than feces. While the plant looks like it may be carnivorous, it's actually designed in such a manner so the beetles have an easy time getting in, but a hard time getting out, meaning they pick up a lot of pollen and deposit it on the stigma before exiting.

While Hydnora africana might not be the most attractive plant in the world, it certainly has its survival strategy down and that's something worth our admiration—even if most of us would prefer to admire it from a distance.

[via io9]

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Weird
The Origins of 25 Monsters, Ghosts, and Spooky Things
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Though dressing up as an angel is acceptable, it’s ghouls and goblins that truly capture our imaginations during the Halloween season. As lit jack-o’-lanterns beckon and monsters lurk in the shadows, we explore the origins of 25 frightful things that go bump—or boo—in the night.

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Food
Thanks to a Wet Winter, New Zealand Faces a Potential Potato Chip Shortage
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New Zealand has plenty of unique and tasty snacks, but kiwis also love potato chips. The universal comfort food is in danger Down Under, however, as an unusually wet winter has devastated the island country’s tuber crops, according to BBC News.

Twenty percent of New Zealand’s annual potato crop was wiped out from a series of major storms and floods that ravaged the nation’s North and South Islands, The Guardian reports. In some regions, up to 30 percent of potato crops were affected, with the varieties used to make chips bearing the brunt of the damage.

Potato prices spiked as farmers struggled, but the crisis—now dubbed “chipocalypse” by media outlets—didn't really make the mainstream news until supermarket chain Pak’nSave posted announcements in potato chip aisles that warned customers of a salty snack shortage until the New Year.

Pak’nSave has since rescinded this explanation, claiming instead that they made an ordering error. However, other supermarket chains say they’re working directly with potato chip suppliers to avoid any potential shortfalls, and are aware that supplies might be limited for the foreseeable future.

New Zealand’s potato farming crisis extends far beyond the snack bars at rugby matches and vending machines. Last year’s potato crops either rotted or remained un-harvested, and the ground is still too wet to plant new ones. This hurts New Zealand’s economy: The nation is the world’s ninth-largest exporter of potatoes.

Plus, potatoes “are a food staple, and this is becoming a food security issue as the effects of climate change take their toll on our potato crop,” says Chris Claridge, the chief executive of industry group Potatoes New Zealand, according to The Guardian.

In the meantime, New Zealanders are preparing to hunker down for a few long months of potential potato peril—and according to some social media users, kale chips are not a suitable alternative. “Chipocalypse” indeed.

[h/t BBC News]

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