Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Scientist: Zhang Zhihe

Oh, yeah, baby, gimme some of that sweet, sweet video action. No, really -- apparently, the reason for the incredible panda baby boom of the last two years is, um, porn:

"It works," Zhang Zhihe, a leading Chinese expert, said about showing uninitiated males DVDs of fellow pandas mating.

It is one of many techniques tried over the decades to get captive pandas -- notoriously poor breeders -- to do it, and do it right. The efforts to understand and simulate conditions for mating have paid off in China, the panda's native habitat.

The audio-visual approach "is the same idea as chimpanzees seeing people smoke and then copying it," says Prasertsak Buntragulpoontawee, a Thai researcher.

I think the Bloodhound Gang would approve of this development.

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).

A Tour of the New York Academy of Medicine's Rare Book Room

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.


More from mental floss studios