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Call for Photos: Our Magazine, out in the World

If you turn to page 9 of the March-April issue of mental_floss, you'll find a great photo of the magazine in its natural habitat, sent in by reader Sarah from Mountain View, California.

Photos of people with our magazine or wearing our t-shirts make us happy. If you take an interesting shot, send it to flossypics@gmail.com. Perhaps you'll end up on the Letters page or here on the blog.

(Note: I think we've met our quota of on-the-toilet photos, so let's keep the camera out of the bathroom.)

Here are some of my favorite pictures we've received over the years:

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The pics above are from Carrie and Steve. They enjoy a good _floss on the beach near their home in Curacao, where we hope to one day open a satellite office.

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Here's John, a dentist from Kilmarnock, Virginia, reading mental_floss on Mental Floss. If you choose to name your vessel after our publication (or if, like John, you named your boat long before you heard about the magazine), we'll happily display your photo here. If you name a non-aquatic vehicle after us, we'll evaluate those on a case-by-case basis.

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Lilah created such a masterpiece in her "My First Jackson Pollock" onesie, her parents framed her outfit along with her painting.

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I started my daughter young. She's coming around.
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If you read this before 11:59pm EST on March 3rd, 2010, you can take advantage of our buy-2-get-1-free t-shirt sale. Then go do something interesting while wearing your shirt(s), take a photo, and email it to flossypics@gmail.com.

Can't wait to see what you guys come up with!

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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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