Stand-up Comedy: Funny Urinals of the World

I embarked on a recent trip to New Zealand fully expecting to be wowed by breathtaking landscapes and sublime vistas. What I didn't expect was to walk into the bathroom of a Wellington bar and find two gaping, lipsticked mouths waiting for me. I'm referring, of course, to the urinals:

Apparently, I wasn't the only one to be taken off-guard by these urinals: "Virgin Airways had to cancel their plans to use the Kisses urinals at their John F. Kennedy airport lounge in New York after fliers complained that they looked like the shape of a woman's mouth." That's when I realized, there's a whole world of wacky urinals out there just waiting to be micturated in! Like this one, also in New Zealand (the Queenstown Sofitel, if you simply must pee there):
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It's a bit tough to see in the photo, but the women are armed with measuring sticks, magnifying glasses and other humiliating implements. (Nothing like a trip to the loo to make you feel small.)

This photo of musical urinal has been making its way around the internet:
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If you're in a sporting mood, these interactive soccer urinals, found by Flickr user OndraSoukup at a McDonald's. (If you want one for yourself, check out the Wee-Goal company's website.)
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You can flush with pride in the Southwestern Chinese city of Chongqing, which has opened a four-story, 1,000-toilet bathroom facility they hope to have designated the world's largest by the Guinness Book. In a perhaps misguided attempt to beguile foreigners of all persuasions, they included a row of Virgin Mary-themed urinals:
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Well, that's sure to piss a few people off.

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Feeling Down? Lifting Weights Can Lift Your Mood, Too
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There’s plenty of research that suggests that exercise can be an effective treatment for depression. In some cases of depression, in fact—particularly less-severe ones—scientists have found that exercise can be as effective as antidepressants, which don’t work for everyone and can come with some annoying side effects. Previous studies have largely concentrated on aerobic exercise, like running, but new research shows that weight lifting can be a useful depression treatment, too.

The study in JAMA Psychiatry, led by sports scientists at the University of Limerick in Ireland, examined the results of 33 previous clinical trials that analyzed a total of 1877 participants. It found that resistance training—lifting weights, using resistance bands, doing push ups, and any other exercises targeted at strengthening muscles rather than increasing heart rate—significantly reduced symptoms of depression.

This held true regardless of how healthy people were overall, how much of the exercises they were assigned to do, or how much stronger they got as a result. While the effect wasn’t as strong in blinded trials—where the assessors don’t know who is in the control group and who isn’t, as is the case in higher-quality studies—it was still notable. According to first author Brett Gordon, these trials showed a medium effect, while others showed a large effect, but both were statistically significant.

The studies in the paper all looked at the effects of these training regimes on people with mild to moderate depression, and the results might not translate to people with severe depression. Unfortunately, many of the studies analyzed didn’t include information on whether or not the patients were taking antidepressants, so the researchers weren’t able to determine what role medications might play in this. However, Gordon tells Mental Floss in an email that “the available evidence supports that [resistance training] may be an effective alternative and/or adjuvant therapy for depressive symptoms that could be prescribed on its own and/or in conjunction with other depression treatments,” like therapy or medication.

There haven’t been a lot of studies yet comparing whether aerobic exercise or resistance training might be better at alleviating depressive symptoms, and future research might tackle that question. Even if one does turn out to be better than the other, though, it seems that just getting to the gym can make a big difference.

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