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Man in the box

Meet Jeremy Bentham. One of 18th century England's foremost thinkers, he was by most standards a genius, and by all accounts, a pretty eccentric fella. Despite being one of the most radical liberals of his time -- he advocated the abolition of slavery, seperation of church and state and equal rights for women -- he is best remembered for dreaming up a new kind of prison, the Panopticon. Its design was meant to create a feeling of "invisible omniscience" among the prisoners, who could never be sure whether they were being watched or not. (Though his design was never implemented during his lifetime, a number of notorious modern-day prisons follow its lead, including California's Pelican Bay.)

Unable to realize his Panopticon in life, he settled for a stripped-down, weirded-out version of it in death: his will mandated that his body be preserved and stored in a wooden cabinet at University College London, which he founded. It sits there today, at the end of a hall, wearing the same clothes he wore when he was alive. His head, badly damaged in the preservation process, sits in a jar at his feet. The "Auto-Icon," as it is known, is hauled out for University Council meetings from time to time, at which Bentham is listed on the official register as "present but not voting."

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Bone Broth 101
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Whether you drink it on its own or use it as stock, bone broth is the perfect recipe to master this winter. Special thanks to the Institute of Culinary Education

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Why Can Parrots Talk and Other Birds Can't?
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If you've ever seen a pirate movie (or had the privilege of listening to this avian-fronted metal band), you're aware that parrots have the gift of human-sounding gab. Their brains—not their beaks—might be behind the birds' ability to produce mock-human voices, the Sci Show's latest video explains below.

While parrots do have articulate tongues, they also appear to be hardwired to mimic other species, and to create new vocalizations. The only other birds that are capable of vocal learning are hummingbirds and songbirds. While examining the brains of these avians, researchers noted that their brains contain clusters of neurons, which they've dubbed song nuclei. Since other birds don't possess song nuclei, they think that these structures probably play a key role in vocal learning.

Parrots might be better at mimicry than hummingbirds and songbirds thanks to a variation in these neurons: a special shell layer that surrounds each one. Birds with larger shell regions appear to be better at imitating other creatures, although it's still unclear why.

Learn more about parrot speech below (after you're done jamming out to Hatebeak).

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