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Mike the headless chicken

As long as we're on the subject of surviving horrendous injuries (see our earlier post on Phineas Gage, and last week's list of strange things removed from the human body), we feel compelled to share with you the story of Mike, the headless chicken. Mike was a Wyandotte rooster, one of many owned by the Olsen family of Fruita, Colorado in the 1940s. One day Mike was headed for the dinner table, with a quick trip to the chopping block and the cooking pot first. After losing his head, Mike ran around, well, like a chicken with its head cut off, but unlike most victims of the axe, he never stopped running. He ran back to his fellow chickens in the barnyard, and calmly resumed the business of being a chicken, albeit without a head.

Turns out the axe-wielding farmer had left just enough brain stem for Mike to continue most of his normal body functions, save crowing and preening. (Oh, and he had to be fed with an eyedropper.) Needless to say, the farmers didn't have the heart to finish the job (to the ire of some animal rights groups), and instead began touring the country with their rare bird, who by 1946 was earning the family around $50,000 a week in today's money. Mike was displayed standing by a pickled chicken head, though sadly not his own, as the family cat had eaten it. Mike finally met his own demise one night in 1947, when he choked on his own mucous while he and the family were in between gigs and staying at a motel. Inevitable? Perhaps. Strange? Most definitely.

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Tips For Baking Perfect Cookies
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Perfect cookies are within your grasp. Just grab your measuring cups and get started. Special thanks to the Institute of Culinary Education.

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Netflix's Most-Binged Shows of 2017, Ranked
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Netflix might know your TV habits better than you do. Recently, the entertainment company's normally tight-lipped number-crunchers looked at user data collected between November 1, 2016 and November 1, 2017 to see which series people were powering through and which ones they were digesting more slowly. By analyzing members’ average daily viewing habits, they were able to determine which programs were more likely to be “binged” (or watched for more than two hours per day) and which were more often “savored” (or watched for less than two hours per day) by viewers.

They found that the highest number of Netflix bingers glutted themselves on the true crime parody American Vandal, followed by the Brazilian sci-fi series 3%, and the drama-mystery 13 Reasons Why. Other shows that had viewers glued to the couch in 2017 included Anne with an E, the Canadian series based on L. M. Montgomery's 1908 novel Anne of Green Gables, and the live-action Archie comics-inspired Riverdale.

In contrast, TV shows that viewers enjoyed more slowly included the Emmy-winning drama The Crown, followed by Big Mouth, Neo Yokio, A Series of Unfortunate Events, GLOW, Friends from College, and Ozark.

There's a dark side to this data, though: While the company isn't around to judge your sweatpants and the chip crumbs stuck to your couch, Netflix is privy to even your most embarrassing viewing habits. The company recently used this info to publicly call out a small group of users who turned their binges into full-fledged benders:

Oh, and if you're the one person in Antarctica binging Shameless, the streaming giant just outed you, too.

Netflix broke down their full findings in the infographic below and, Big Brother vibes aside, the data is pretty fascinating. It even includes survey data on which shows prompted viewers to “Netflix cheat” on their significant others and which shows were enjoyed by the entire family.

Netflix infographic "The Year in Bingeing"
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