Last Call: I'll Keep The Change, But You Can Count It

I like to work in exotic locations, like the commuter bus and a basement couch that's not near an outlet. So now that my MacBook battery is failing, it's time to cash in my bucket o' change and head to the Apple Store.

But before I visit the coin-counting machine at my local Commerce Bank, let's see if someone can guess the total. (We've done this once before, back in June of 2007. It was great fun.) Let's use Price is Right rules, meaning the closest guess without going over wins! Now, let me be clear: the winner does not win the change. The change will pay for my battery, and I'll invest the rest in diapers. But you'll get a mental_floss prize pack, which includes:

"¢ One (1) mental_floss t-shirt
"¢ One (1) back issue of mental_floss magazine
"¢ One (1) autographed copy of David Israel's critically acclaimed novel, Behind Everyman

Three runners-up will each win a free back issue.

You can guess up to five times, but you must leave your guesses in separate comments, and let us know which t-shirt you'd like. I'll plan to bring in my change on Friday and announce a winner that evening.

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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