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Walruses: apparently NSFW

This blog is mostly written by guys, and I bet you guys don't read the New York Times Styles section, and hey, I can understand that, because you're guys, but -- this is the lede of the Times' current "Critical Shopper" column:

The first time I ever came across the term "penis bone" — in JT Leroy's novel "Sarah," the main character wears such a bone on a necklace — I thought it was made up, a novelist's surreal fictional version of perma-Viagra.

Later it turned out that JT Leroy was made up, but the bone is real, the animal world's answer to successful propagation. Many mammals (homo sapiens excluded) have a bone within the erectile tissue, called a baculum, which helps during copulation. The largest baculum in the animal world belongs to the walrus, and it can grow as long as 30 inches.

Who said smarts and shopping don't mix? I can personally testify that the store being reviewed here (Evolution, in NYC's SoHo) is fantastic, as is the rest of the article, particularly the part where Alex Kuczynski wonders if there's a sister store in Dover, PA called "Intelligent Design," and figures it probably sells office furniture.

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History
A Very Brief History of Chamber Pots

Some of the oldest chamber pots found by archeologists have been discovered in ancient Greece, but portable toilets have come a long way since then. Whether referred to as "the Jordan" (possibly a reference to the river), "Oliver's Skull" (maybe a nod to Oliver Cromwell's perambulating cranium), or "the Looking Glass" (because doctors would examine urine for diagnosis), they were an essential fact of life in houses and on the road for centuries. In this video from the Wellcome Collection, Visitor Experience Assistant Rob Bidder discusses two 19th century chamber pots in the museum while offering a brief survey of the use of chamber pots in Britain (including why they were particularly useful in wartime).

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A Tour of the New York Academy of Medicine's Rare Book Room
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The Rare Book Room at the New York Academy of Medicine documents the evolution of our medical knowledge. Its books and artifacts are as bizarre as they are fascinating. Read more here.

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