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March 7th, 2008

The Collected Controversies of William F. Buckley. The famous conservative smoked marijuana, hated the Beatles, and worked for the CIA.
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Silhouette Masterpiece Theater. Wilhelm Staehle created Victorian scenes by superimposing silhouettes over paintings, and gave them subversive captions.
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The legend of Hermaphroditus doesn't quite explain why some people are born intersexual, but it's a gripping tale anyway. Bonus: historical art slideshow included.
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Figuring out just how old the Grand Canyon is has challenged geologists for 150 years. New information from the canyon's caves puts the figure at 17 million years.
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Can animals create art? It's art only if they intend to create art. You'll still be impressed by the elephant that paints pictures of elephants.
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Animator Simon Tofield has a sequel to Cat Man Do. The same cunning cat now stars in Let Me In.
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A newsreel from the 1930s predicts the clothing of the year 2000. I'm still waiting for a belt that adapts the body to climate conditions.
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Destination Cemeteries. Yes, some people plan their vacations around famous boneyards.

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Bone Broth 101
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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

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Why Can Parrots Talk and Other Birds Can't?
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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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