Lean on me

Think the Leaning Tower of Pisa is impressive? It's not the only leaning building out there, and according to the venerable Guinness Book, it's not even the leaning-est.

The Leaning Pub of Himley

Dubbed "the Leaning Tower of Pilsner" by regulars, this British pub was built on unstable coal mining land. "Severe subsidence over time caused a 15 degree shift from the left wall to the right. Faced with the choice of repairing the damage or abandoning the structure, the owners took a different tack - buttresses now hold the building in place, and it remains at a permanent slant." (Via metafilter and Sharpo's world.)

Leaning church of Suurhusen, Germany
The Guinness Book recently judged the tower of this crooked house of worship to be the leaning-est in the world, knocking Pisa's famous tower from its long-held (if precarious) perch. The church was built in middle of the 13th century but a 90 foot tower was added in 1450 -- but the latter was built on wooden foundations that have rotted away over the years, causing the structure to lean a startling 5.19 degrees (compared to Pisa's 3.97).

King's School Shop, Canterbury
shop.jpgFlickr user Diversey Harbor shot this photo of a crooked shop in Canterbury, England dating from 1647 -- plenty of time for any structural irregularities to show their true colors. Though the doorway was built to accentuate the crookedness of the building, the building is by no means perfect: locals suspect an improperly-installed chimney stack, added to the building years after it was first constructed, is to blame for the structural weakness. Apparently shored up now, it's a lot safer than it looks.

Bone Broth 101

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

Why Can Parrots Talk and Other Birds Can't?

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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