Do not eat ... unless that's your thing, man

Hey you, with the finger up your nose. I see you. That's gross. Not nearly as gross, however, as those shnoz-prospectors who eat the proverbial motherlode -- and not nearly as interesting. It's not that these lost souls are hungry, per se, so much as they're suffering from mucophagy, the mild cousin in a family of behavioral appetite disorders known collectively as pica: a craving to eat the inedible (and we don't mean Twinkies).

We can only assume that Apple had a pica-sufferer on staff when they decided to render the advice highlighted above (that's a real screengrab from the iPod Shuffle website, by the way -- isn't Apple funny?); relative to other forms of pica, eating iPods ain't all that weird:

  • Geophagic picans eat clay and/or dirt, which some doctors argue has nutritional merit. This student as Chicago's noted Art Institue admitted to eating fresh-from-the-kiln teacups she had made.
  • Coniophagics prefer the dust from venetian blinds.
  • People who eat wood suffer from xylophagia (this designation excludes young kids, who like goats and magpies, have been known to eat just about anything). Wood toothpicks are a popular favorite among xylophagics, as are matchsticks -- though people who chew on the heads of matches haven't been classified yet.
  • They're not just circus freaks anymore: hyalophagics are just like you and me -- except they eat glass. (Ouch. I'll take the iPod Shuffle instead. With a side of boogery matchsticks.)
  • Yet-rarer pica disorders include the obsessive consumption of toilet air-freshener blocks, coal, foam rubber, and cigarette ashes. Of course, there's also coprophagia ("eating poo" is as scientific as we need to get here), but if you came to looking for more info on that, this ain't that kind of website, perv.
The Secret World War II History Hidden in London's Fences

In South London, the remains of the UK’s World War II history are visible in an unlikely place—one that you might pass by regularly and never take a second look at. In a significant number of housing estates, the fences around the perimeter are actually upcycled medical stretchers from the war, as the design podcast 99% Invisible reports.

During the Blitz of 1940 and 1941, the UK’s Air Raid Precautions department worked to protect civilians from the bombings. The organization built 60,000 steel stretchers to carry injured people during attacks. The metal structures were designed to be easy to disinfect in case of a gas attack, but that design ended up making them perfect for reuse after the war.

Many London housing developments at the time had to remove their fences so that the metal could be used in the war effort, and once the war was over, they were looking to replace them. The London County Council came up with a solution that would benefit everyone: They repurposed the excess stretchers that the city no longer needed into residential railings.

You can tell a stretcher railing from a regular fence because of the curves in the poles at the top and bottom of the fence. They’re hand-holds, designed to make it easier to carry it.

Unfortunately, decades of being exposed to the elements have left some of these historic artifacts in poor shape, and some housing estates have removed them due to high levels of degradation. The Stretcher Railing Society is currently working to preserve these heritage pieces of London infrastructure.

As of right now, though, there are plenty of stretchers you can still find on the streets. If you're in the London area, this handy Google map shows where you can find the historic fencing.

[h/t 99% Invisible]

Custom-Design the Ugly Christmas Sweater of Your Dreams (or Nightmares)

For those of you aspiring to be the worst dressed person at your family's holiday dinner, sells—you guessed it—ugly Christmas sweaters to seasonal revelers possessing a sense of irony. But the Michigan-based online retailer has elevated kitsch to new heights by offering a create-your-own-sweater tool on its website.

Simply visit the site's homepage, and click on the Sweater Customizer link. There, you'll be provided with a basic sweater template, which you can decorate with festive snowflakes, reindeer, and other designs in five different colors. If you're feeling really creative, you can even upload photos, logos, hand-drawn pictures, and/or text. After you approve and purchase a mock-up of the final design, you can purchase the final result (prices start at under $70). But you'd better act quickly: due to high demand, orders will take about two weeks plus shipping time to arrive.


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