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The Quick 9: 9 Bad Parents

No one ever said being a parent was easy, but these parents aren't even trying. OK, in some cases, that isn't fair "“ circumstances of the day probably dictated the actions of certain parents, like Jack Nicholson's mom. I've got nine bad parents "“ who do you think the #10 bad mom or dad should be? I almost added Joan Crawford but decided that since she was the bad parent, it didn't count. Leave your suggestions in the comments!

1. When the movie Anatomy of a Murder came out, Jimmy Stewart's dad was so upset by the content that he took an ad out in the newspaper imploring people to avoid his son's filthy movie.
2. Mickey Hart, the drummer for the Grateful Dead, got his dad hired on as the band's manager when the band was just starting out. The problem? Lenny Hart stole thousands of dollars from the then-struggling group. There was no love lost after he was fired: "He was an absolute rotten human being," Mickey said when his father died.

king3. Stephen King's dad pulled the cliché "I'm going for cigarettes" move when Stephen was two and never came back.
4. Cary Grant's dad told him his mother was dead when she really wasn't. Well, Grant was told that his mother was on a "long holiday" and was never given any other explanation; he assumed she was dead. After their first child died, Elise Leach couldn't overcome her depression, so her husband had her institutionalized when Cary was nine: she was at home when he went to school and was missing when he came home the same day. It wasn't until Cary was in his 30s that he discovered that his mother was still around and living in an asylum ("The Country Home for Mental Defectives").

5. Balzac's parents really didn't have much to do with him until he was five. Immediately after he was born, he was sent to live with a wet nurse. His parents were said to have been cold to him in the few years that he spent there and at the age of eight, sent him away to grammar school until he was 15.

bow6. Clara Bow's parents didn't want kids "“ the first two they had died within days of their births, presumably from neglect, and Clara herself came pretty close. She was born during a heat wave and her mother did nothing to try to help Clara survive the boiling temperature. She didn't even call a doctor. Clara's grandma found the baby and assumed it to be dead, but it cried when she picked it up. Thus, Clara was born. Her dad was nowhere to be found for the first few years of her life, and her mom turned to prostitution to make ends meet. When her father finally did show back up, it was apparently just so he could sexually molest her.

7. Louise Brooks grew up in Cherryvale, Kansas, no thanks to her parents. Although her mother was present in her childhood, she barely lifted a finger to raise her children and freely admitted it "“ she had better things to do and her husband was too busy with his law practice to be involved. When Louise told her mother years later that she had been molested at the age of nine by one of the Brooks' neighbors, her mother shrugged and said Louise must have led him on.

8. Jack Nicholson was raised thinking his grandparents were actually his parents and that his mother was his older sister. His mother wasn't married to his father (in fact, he still doesn't know who his father is, although there are several candidates) and she wanted to pursue a dancing career, so his grandparents raised him as their own. He didn't know about his sordid family history until 1974, when a Time magazine reporter asked him about it and Jack was rather bewildered. By this time, both his mother and his grandmother were dead.

capote9. Truman Capote's mother sent him off to live with relatives in Alabama after she divorced Truman's dad. That was where he met and became friends with Harper Lee, incidentally. In 1933, he moved to New York to live with his mom and her new hubby, but it turned out that the new husband was actually embezzling money. Truman's mom couldn't deal with it and killed herself by overdosing on sleeping pills.

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Big Questions
Why Does Turkey Make You Tired?
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iStock

Why do people have such a hard time staying awake after Thanksgiving dinner? Most people blame tryptophan, but that's not really the main culprit. And what is tryptophan, anyway?

Tryptophan is an amino acid that the body uses in the processes of making vitamin B3 and serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate sleep. It can't be produced by our bodies, so we need to get it through our diet. From which foods, exactly? Turkey, of course, but also other meats, chocolate, bananas, mangoes, dairy products, eggs, chickpeas, peanuts, and a slew of other foods. Some of these foods, like cheddar cheese, have more tryptophan per gram than turkey. Tryptophan doesn't have much of an impact unless it's taken on an empty stomach and in an amount larger than what we're getting from our drumstick. So why does turkey get the rap as a one-way ticket to a nap?

The urge to snooze is more the fault of the average Thanksgiving meal and all the food and booze that go with it. Here are a few things that play into the nap factor:

Fats: That turkey skin is delicious, but fats take a lot of energy to digest, so the body redirects blood to the digestive system. Reduced blood flow in the rest of the body means reduced energy.

Alcohol: What Homer Simpson called the cause of—and solution to—all of life's problems is also a central nervous system depressant.

Overeating: Same deal as fats. It takes a lot of energy to digest a big feast (the average Thanksgiving meal contains 3000 calories and 229 grams of fat), so blood is sent to the digestive process system, leaving the brain a little tired.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

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Space
More Details Emerge About 'Oumuamua, Earth's First-Recorded Interstellar Visitor
 NASA/JPL-Caltech
NASA/JPL-Caltech

In October, scientists using the University of Hawaii's Pan-STARRS 1 telescope sighted something extraordinary: Earth's first confirmed interstellar visitor. Originally called A/2017 U1, the once-mysterious object has a new name—'Oumuamua, according to Scientific American—and researchers continue to learn more about its physical properties. Now, a team from the University of Hawaii's Institute of Astronomy has published a detailed report of what they know so far in Nature.

Fittingly, "'Oumuamua" is Hawaiian for "a messenger from afar arriving first." 'Oumuamua's astronomical designation is 1I/2017 U1. The "I" in 1I/2017 stands for "interstellar." Until now, objects similar to 'Oumuamua were always given "C" and "A" names, which stand for either comet or asteroid. New observations have researchers concluding that 'Oumuamua is unusual for more than its far-flung origins.

It's a cigar-shaped object 10 times longer than it is wide, stretching to a half-mile long. It's also reddish in color, and is similar in some ways to some asteroids in own solar system, the BBC reports. But it's much faster, zipping through our system, and has a totally different orbit from any of those objects.

After initial indecision about whether the object was a comet or an asteroid, the researchers now believe it's an asteroid. Long ago, it might have hurtled from an unknown star system into our own.

'Oumuamua may provide astronomers with new insights into how stars and planets form. The 750,000 asteroids we know of are leftovers from the formation of our solar system, trapped by the Sun's gravity. But what if, billions of years ago, other objects escaped? 'Oumuamua shows us that it's possible; perhaps there are bits and pieces from the early years of our solar system currently visiting other stars.

The researchers say it's surprising that 'Oumuamua is an asteroid instead of a comet, given that in the Oort Cloud—an icy bubble of debris thought to surround our solar system—comets are predicted to outnumber asteroids 200 to 1 and perhaps even as high as 10,000 to 1. If our own solar system is any indication, it's more likely that a comet would take off before an asteroid would.

So where did 'Oumuamua come from? That's still unknown. It's possible it could've been bumped into our realm by a close encounter with a planet—either a smaller, nearby one, or a larger, farther one. If that's the case, the planet remains to be discovered. They believe it's more likely that 'Oumuamua was ejected from a young stellar system, location unknown. And yet, they write, "the possibility that 'Oumuamua has been orbiting the galaxy for billions of years cannot be ruled out."

As for where it's headed, The Atlantic's Marina Koren notes, "It will pass the orbit of Jupiter next May, then Neptune in 2022, and Pluto in 2024. By 2025, it will coast beyond the outer edge of the Kuiper Belt, a field of icy and rocky objects."

Last week, University of Wisconsin–Madison astronomer Ralf Kotulla and scientists from UCLA and the National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO) used the WIYN Telescope on Kitt Peak, Arizona, to take some of the first pictures of 'Oumuamua. You can check them out below.

Images of an interloper from beyond the solar system — an asteroid or a comet — were captured on Oct. 27 by the 3.5-meter WIYN Telescope on Kitt Peak, Ariz.
Images of 'Oumuamua—an asteroid or a comet—were captured on October 27.
WIYN OBSERVATORY/RALF KOTULLA

U1 spotted whizzing through the Solar System in images taken with the WIYN telescope. The faint streaks are background stars. The green circles highlight the position of U1 in each image. In these images U1 is about 10 million times fainter than the faint
The green circles highlight the position of U1 in each image against faint streaks of background stars. In these images, U1 is about 10 million times fainter than the faintest visible stars.
R. Kotulla (University of Wisconsin) & WIYN/NOAO/AURA/NSF

Color image of U1, compiled from observations taken through filters centered at 4750A, 6250A, and 7500A.
Color image of U1.
R. Kotulla (University of Wisconsin) & WIYN/NOAO/AURA/NSF

Editor's note: This story has been updated.

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