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October 2, 2007

The truth about Sputnik. The first artificial satellite launch was not quite as well-planned or scientific as it should have been, because the entire purpose was to beat the Americans.

Weight-loss tips from the Food Lab at Cornell. Buy new dishes, put the serving bowl away, and whatever you do, don't eat while you email!

The history of Ranch Dressing. Why do Americans love it? How can you not love a condiment that makes salad taste like junk food?

Iceland had exactly one troop in Iraq. But now he's going home, and leaves us a farewell song. The Loneliest Icelander.

Contortionists in training. These girls can do things with their bodies that others never dream of! I bet they don't eat ranch dressing while emailing.

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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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