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Fox Steals Everyone's Shoes

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Missing one of your shoes and just can't seem to find it? If any foxes live in your area, perhaps you should check their holes. At least, that was the lesson recently learned by residents of the German town of Foehren.

A mother fox stole over 100 shoes from residents throughout the town and brought them back to her home for her youngsters to play with. Most of the shoes were still in good condition and the residents were happy to have them back, so it sounds like no one will be getting revenge in the form of fox slippers.

[Image courtesy of Kris *V*'s Flickr stream.]

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The Funniest Word in the English Language? 'Booty,' According to New Survey
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Some words, regardless of their meaning, are simply more chuckle-worthy than others. To determine which expressions in the English language are truly the most comical, Smithsonian reports that psychologists at the University of Warwick in the UK conducted a survey in which they asked people to rate the “humor value” of a sampling of chosen words. They recently published their findings in the journal Behavior Research Methods.

The researchers selected nearly 5000 words, and then used Amazon’s online crowdsourcing tool Mechanical Turk to ask more than 800 individuals to rank the humor value of 211 randomly chosen words from the list, on a scale from 1 (humorless) to 5 (humorous). Likely not surprising to anyone with younger siblings, the funniest word ended up being “booty,” with an average ranking of 4.32. In descending order, the remaining top 12 words—which all received a score of 3.9 or higher—were “tit,” “booby,” “hooter,” “nitwit,” “twit,” “waddle,” “tinkle,” “bebop,” “egghead,” “ass,” and “twerp.”

Why these words are so funny remains fuzzy. But when they analyzed their findings according to age and gender, the researchers did find that sexually suggestive words like “orgy” and “bondage” tended to tickle the funny bones of men, as did the words “birthmark,” “brand,” “chauffeur,” “doze,” “buzzard,” “czar,” “weld,” “prod,” “corn,” and “raccoon.”

Meanwhile, women tended to laugh at the words “giggle,” “beast,” “circus,” “grand,” “juju,” “humbug,” “slicker,” “sweat,” “ennui,” “holder,” “momma,” and “sod.” As for people under the age of 32, they were amused by “goatee,” “joint,” and “gangster,” while older participants liked “squint,” “jingle,” “burlesque,” and “pong.” Across the board, all parties were least amused by words like “rape,” “torture,” and “torment.”

Although humor is complex and dependent on elements like syntax and delivery, the study's researchers say that breaking comedy down to single-word units could demystify its essence.

“The research initially came about as a result of our curiosity,” said Tomas Engelthaler, the study’s lead author, in a press release. “We were wondering if certain words are perceived as funnier, even when read on their own. It turns out that indeed is the case. Humor is an everyday aspects of our lives and we hope this publicly available dataset allows future researchers to better understand its foundations.”

[h/t Smithsonian]

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Welcome to the Dull Men’s Club, a Group Dedicated to the Blander Things in Life
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Do you enjoy such riveting activities as sitting on porches, sorting loose change, and watching paint dry? If so, you may qualify to join the Dull Men’s Club. Co-founded by Grover Click, the Dull Men’s Club celebrates the aspects of life some may call boring. The group comprises thousands of members with colorful hobbies like collecting milk bottles, appreciating roundabouts, and tracking down water pumps. There are even some women in the group, one of whom spends her free time following brown street signs.

Great Big Story recently spoke with some of the club's most ordinary members. After watching the video below, you can read about more spectacularly dull hobbies—like drain spotting, traffic cone collecting, and mailbox photography—here.

[h/t Great Big Story]

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