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Dating Your Blood

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The CSI franchise makes it seem like detectives only need a few drops of blood, some saliva, or a strand of hair to close a murder investigation within 24 hours. Some of the techniques on the shows do not exist—or if they do, it takes weeks, not minutes, to get results. But many of these fantasies are tools investigators dream of using, and scientists continue to search for new ways to solve crimes using DNA evidence. Researchers at Erasmus MC University Medical Center Rotterdam in the Netherlands were able to determine a person’s age by running a DNA test on a drop of blood.


Investigator Manfred Kayser designed a test that looks for spliced remnants of T cells in the blood. When bacteria or viruses invade a body, the immune system triggers T cells in the blood. As the T cells activate, they produce small, spherical cells called signal joint TCR excision circles (sjTRECs). Researchers know that sjTRECs decrease at a constant rate each year, making easy to quantify age.

Kayser analyzed 200 blood samples from infants to 80-year-olds.

Using florescent DNA, which binds to sjTRECs, Kayser determined the amount of sjTRECs in the blood, estimating a person’s age within nine years. He notes that this test worked just as accurately on samples, which sat in storage for a year, meaning this could be an affective tool in reducing cold case backlogs. This test is one of the most accurate phenotypic DNA tests. The other frequently noted phenotypic test determines whether a person’s eye color is blue or brown, but is far less accurate.

And while guessing an age within nine years may not seem accurate enough, it can be useful to investigators who have no information about suspects.

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Little Baby's Ice Cream
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Food
Pizza and Cricket Cake Are Just Some of the Odd Flavors You'll Find at This Philadelphia Ice Cream Shop
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Little Baby's Ice Cream

Ice cream flavors can get pretty out-there, thanks to the growing number of creative scoop shops willing to take risks and broaden their customers’ horizons beyond chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry. Intrepid foodies can cool off with frozen treats that taste like horseradish, foie gras, and avocado, while Philadelphia's Little Baby’s Ice Cream is pushing the boundaries of taste with chilly offerings like everything bagel, Maryland BBQ, ranch, and cricket cake.

Cricket-flavored ice cream, created by Philadelphia-based Little Baby's Ice Cream
Little Baby's Ice Cream

Everything Bagel-flavored ice cream, created by Philadelphia-based Little Baby's Ice Cream
Little Baby's Ice Cream

As Lonely Planet News reports, Little Baby’s Ice Cream launched its first signature “oddball” ice cream—Earl Grey sriracha—in 2011. Since then, its rotating menu has only gotten quirkier. In addition to the aforementioned flavors, customers who swing by Little Baby’s this summer can even try pizza ice cream.

The store created the savory flavor in 2011, to celebrate neighborhood eatery Pizza Brain’s inclusion into Guinness World Records for its vast collection of pizza memorabilia. The savory, Italian-esque snack is made from ingredients like tomato, basil, oregano, salt, and garlic—and yes, it actually tastes like pizza, Little Baby’s co-owner Pete Angevine told Lonely Planet News.

Pizza-flavored ice cream, made by Philadelphia-based Little Baby's Ice Cream
Little Baby's Ice Cream

“Frequently, folks will see it on the menu and be incredulous, then be convinced to taste it, giggle, talk about how surprised they are that it really tastes just like pizza … and then order something else,” Angevine said. “That’s just fine. Just as often though, they’ll end up getting a pizza milkshake!”

Little Baby’s flagship location is in Philadelphia's East Kensington neighborhood, but customers can also sample their unconventional goods at additional outposts in West Philadelphia, Baltimore, and a pop-up stand in Washington, D.C.’s Union Market. Just make sure to bring along a sense of adventure, and to leave your preconceived notions of what ice cream should taste like at home.

[h/t Lonely Planet]

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Warby Parker
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Space
Warby Parker Is Giving Away Free Eclipse Glasses in August
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Warby Parker

When this year’s rare “all-American” total solar eclipse comes around on August 21, you’ll want to be prepared. Whether you’re chasing the eclipse to Kentucky or viewing it from your backyard, you’ll need a way to watch it safely. That means an eclipse filter over your telescope, or specially designed eclipse glasses.

For the latter, you can just show up at your nearest Warby Parker, and their eye experts will hand over a pair of eclipse glasses. The stores are giving out the free eye protectors throughout August. The company’s Nashville store is also having an eclipse party to view the celestial event on the day-of.

Get your glasses early, because you don’t want to miss out on this eclipse, which will cross the continental U.S. from Oregon to South Carolina. There are only so many total solar eclipses you’ll get to see in your lifetime, after all.

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