Calling All Photographers!

Mental_floss needs you in a big way! We're working on a great new concept for a photo gallery column, but the only way it's going to work is if we can recruit a small army of citizen photographers ... like yourselves. You don't have to be Ansel Adams or anything; we're looking for a mix of amateur and professional photos, and these days almost everyone has a digital camera of some sort or another.

Here's how it'll work: every couple of weeks, we'll choose a topic (feel free to suggest one here) and send an email to our photographer ranks asking them to snap a photo of something and send it in. Assignments will be quick and fun; some already suggested include:

"¢ your worst school portrait
"¢ the strangest decor item in your home
"¢ the oldest photo you own
"¢ weird public art in your town (my town, for instance, has a 30-foot-tall animatronic ballerina clown -- who wouldn't like to see a picture of that?)
"¢ what do you collect?
"¢ what's in your fridge?
"¢ your best spontaneous cell phone picture

... and so on. The greater variety of submissions we receive, the more fun the posts will be, and naturally we'll give you credit (and you'll get internet-famous; sweet!). So if you own a camera and think you might have a spare 20 minutes every few weeks to participate, we'd be thrilled to have your photos and publish them on the site! (We might even start a floss Flickr page and archive everything permanently there, organized by topic.)

If you're interested in joining our photo-army, just leave a comment on this post saying so!
(We flossers can see the email addresses you enter when leaving a comment, though other readers can't. And don't worry, we won't spam you.) The more the merrier!

Attention Flickr Users: Read our Addendum to enter your pics in our 'mental_floss reader photo of the week' contest.

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.


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