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12 Underappreciated (But Equally Precious) Bodily Fluids

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Blood, sweat, tears? Classic bodily fluids. And then there’s mucus, spit, semen, and urine—well known to juvenile minds everywhere. But blood, for instance, only makes up 9% of your total bodily fluid. What else is oozing around inside you?

1. Interstitial Fluid

Interstitial Fluid, AKA tissue fluid, works in conjunction with lymph and plasma (the liquid part of your blood) to maintain your body’s internal pressure and make sure your organs and other fluids properly interact. Most interstitial fluids have a specific job and a specific name, like peritoneal fluid, which lubricates everything inside the abdomen, or pleural fluid, which coats the lungs to allow them to do that whole oxygen exchange thing so you can live. And you were giving air all the credit.

2. Lymph

Lymph is pale and doesn’t look like much, but it plays a huge role in keeping you from dying. Several roles, in fact. It runs throughout your entire body, identifies bacteria and viruses, carries them to your lymph nodes to activate the immune system, then meets up with your blood stream to deliver important items like proteins and infection-fighting white blood cells. It delivers fats from your digestive system to wherever your body needs them (fatty lymph is called chyle), and toxins to the excretory system for disposal. And all the while it helps interstitial fluid maintain that fluid balance. Imbalanced fluids result in swelling, like in the ankles of pregnant ladies.

3. Serum

If plasma is blood without the red blood cells, serum is plasma without the clotting agents like fibrin and platelets. Of its many roles, it’s best known as “the stuff inside a blister.” Blood and lymph both contain serum, but all three exist separately in the body, and serve different purposes at different times. But serum is the most basic of the three, which kind of explains its all-purpose, old-timey name.

4. Aqueous and Vitreous Humors

And speaking of old-timey names—yes, you have humors. But these aren’t the “black,” “yellow,” “phlegm” and “blood” humors, the imbalance of which ancient docs claimed were the source of all malady. These fluids are humors in name only, and are necessary to eye function: The aqueous humor is a clear fluid that brings nutrients to the lens area of your eye, so that you’re not—you know—looking at blood all the time. The vitreous humor (or vitreous body) is the gelatinous goop that fills the inside of your eyeball.

5. Bile

Bile is another term misused by physicians of yesteryear—the black and yellow humors were called “yellow bile” and “black bile,” too much of which would make a person overly idealistic or melancholy, respectively. Real bile, or gall, is produced by the liver, held in the gallbladder (Greco-Romans were right about that part) and it squirts into the beginning of the small intestine when you eat. Its salts act kind of like soap, breaking down fats into more absorbable/digestible bits. Along with urine, bile helps the body excrete most of its toxins and other undesirables.

6. Cerebrospinal fluid

Cerebrospinal fluid—or CSF to the cool kids in the know—surrounds the spinal cord and brain, and fills the hollow spaces all up inside them. Not only does it cushion your all-important central nervous system from potential trauma, it also removes cell waste, and delivers hormones that help the brain and spinal cord communicate with the rest of the body.

7. Endolymph

Endolymph is not really lymph in the aforementioned sense. It’s the fluid in your inner ear that helps you keep your balance. Like the bubble in a level, your endolymph holds its place in relation to gravity, while your body moves. Small hairs in the ear detect the position of the endolymph, and tell the brain how best to maintain your equilibrium, so you don’t wind up hurling that...other...bodily fluid.

8. Sebum

Sebum is a fancy word for skin oil—that stuff you have way too much of when you’re going through puberty. Secreted by sebaceous glands, sebum is odorless, but can collect zit-causing bacteria, which stinks as it decomposes.

9. Milk

Milk only occurs in some humans of course, but the mammary glands that produce it are similar to other glands in the body. Scientists believe they probably evolved from either sweat glands or the aforementioned sebaceous glands. What you’ve heard is true: Men have the right hardware for lactation, and if the necessary hormones happen to be present, they, too, can nurse their young.

10. Female Ejaculate

Female Ejaculate is another lady secretion that has the scientific community pretty baffled. Studies strongly suggest that the fluid most closely resembles prostate plasma, and may originate in lady glands analogous to the male prostate.

11. Cytosol

Cytosol, or intracellular fluid, is the fluid inside a given cell—unlike all the other fluids we’ve mentioned here, which work outside and around cells. Remember those cell cross-sections you had to draw in middle school biology? Cytosol is the gunk in which all the other parts of the cell are suspended. You may never lay eyes on your intracellular fluid, but it makes up a whole third of your total fluid volume.

12. Cerumen

Cerumen is just the fancy name for earwax, a combination of sebaceous and modified sweat-like secretions that protect the ear canal from potentially harmful foreign bodies. There are actually two kinds of earwax: the brown, sticky “wet” kind, and the grey, flaky “dry” kind. Turns out there's a genetic difference between the two, identifiable in a single DNA base pair. Wet-type cerumen is the dominant type, more common in people of European and African heritage. Dry-type cerumen is recessive, and more common in people of Asian and Native American decent. Tracing the earwax gene has recently given researchers a window into the history of human distribution.

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16 Geeky Coasters to Keep Your Coffee Table Safe
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Avoid unsightly ring stains on your coffee table with this delightful selection of coasters:

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we only get commission on items you buy and don’t return, so we’re only happy if you’re happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

1. FLOPPY DISKS; $22.79

Floppy disks are not obsolete—at least in your living room area.

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2. MARIO; $20

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Etsy

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3. GAME OF THRONES; $12.99

Game of Thrones coasters
HBO Shop

Avoid a royal mess with house sigils of houses Targaryen, Stark, Baratheon, and Lannister.

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4. PACMAN; $20.95

Use these on a black table to recreate the retro video game.

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5. AGATE; $35

Rock on: These fancy agate coasters will look solid resting under your glass.

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These glowing coasters are perfect for chemists, Breaking Bad fans, and anyone who forgot to pay their electric bill.

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7. BUILDING BLOCKS; $19.99

Build your own coaster with this LEGO-esque design.

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8. STAR TREK; $16.63

Star Trek ship coasters
Amazon

This ceramic set celebrates all the best ships from Star Trek.

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9. DR. WHO; $22.99

Just make sure you don’t accidentally send your glass into a different time period when you set it down.

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Rilakkuma coaster
Bonanza

Cover your counter space with the cute face of Rilakkuma.

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11. HARRY POTTER; $50

Set of wood burned coasters featuring the crest of each Harry Potter house
Etsy

All the houses are present in this set of wood coasters.

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fallout coasters
Etsy

Just because it’s the end of the world doesn’t mean all manners go out the door: Never forget to use a coaster!

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13. BRAIN; $19.99

This set comes with 10 coasters, each with a slice of brain specimen. When you’re not using them, you can stack them together to create a full brain.

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14. THE LAST AIRBENDER; FROM $13

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Studio Ghibli Stone Tile Coasters
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These coasters feature scenes from the classics My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, and Howl's Moving Castle.

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15 Educational Facts About Old School
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DreamWorks

Old School starred Luke Wilson as Mitch Martin, an attorney who—after catching his girlfriend cheating, and through some real estate and bitter dean-related circumstances—becomes the leader of a not-quite-official college fraternity. Along with his fellow thirtysomething friends Bernard (Vince Vaughn) and newlywed Frank (Will Ferrell), they end up having to fight for their right to maintain their status as a party-loving frat on campus.

The film, which was released 15 years ago today, marked Vaughn’s return to major comedies and Ferrell’s first major starring role after seven years on Saturday Night Live. Here are some facts about the movie for everyone, but particularly for my boy, Blue.

1. THE IDEA ORIGINATED WITH AN AD GUY.

Writer-director Todd Phillips was talking to a friend of his from the advertising industry named Court Crandall one day. Crandall had seen and enjoyed Phillips's movie Frat House (1998) and told his director buddy, “You know what would be funny is a movie about older guys who start a fraternity of their own.” After being told by Phillips to write it, he presented Phillips with a “loose version” of the finished product.

2. SOME OF THE FRAT SHENANIGANS WERE REAL.

While Crandall received the story credit for Old School, Phillips and Scot Armstrong received the credit for writing the script. Armstrong put his own college fraternity experiences into the script. “We were in Peoria, Illinois, so it was up to us to entertain ourselves," Armstrong shared in the movie's official production notes. "A lot of ideas for Old School came from things that really happened. When it was cold, everyone would go stir crazy and it inspired some moments of brilliance. Of course, my definition of ‘brilliance' might be different from other people's.”

3. IVAN REITMAN HELPED OUT.

Ivan Reitman, director of Stripes and Ghostbusters, was an executive producer on the film. Phillips and Armstrong wrote and rewrote every day for two months at Reitman’s house, an experience Phillips described as comedy writing “boot camp.”

4. THE STUDIO DIDN’T WANT VINCE VAUGHN.

Vince Vaughn in 'Old School' (2003)
DreamWorks

It didn’t seem to make a difference to DreamWorks that Phillips and Armstrong had written the role of Bernard with Vince Vaughn in mind—the studio didn't want him. After his breakout success in Swingers, Vaughn had taken roles in dramas like the 1998 remake of Psycho. “So when Todd Phillips wanted me for Old School, the studio didn’t want me,” Vaughn told Variety in 2015. “They didn’t think I could do comedy! They said, ‘He’s a dramatic actor from smaller films.’ Todd really had to push for me.”

5. RECYCLED SHOTS OF HARVARD UNIVERSITY WERE USED.

The film was mainly shot on the Westwood campus of UCLA. The aerial shots of the fictitious Harrison University, however, were of Harvard; they had been shot for Road Trip (2000).

6. VINCE VAUGHN FANS MIGHT RECOGNIZE THE CHURCH.

In the film, Frank gets married at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Pasadena, California. Vaughn and Owen Wilson were in that same church two years later for Wedding Crashers (2005).

7. WILL FERRELL SCARED MEMBERS OF A 24-HOUR GYM.

Frank’s streaking scene was shot on a city street. As Ferrell remembered it, one of the storefronts was a 24-hour gym with Stairmasters and treadmills in the window. “I was rehearsing in a robe, and all these people are in the gym, watching me. I asked one of the production assistants, ‘Shouldn’t we tell them I’m going to be naked?’ Sure enough, I dropped my robe and there were shrieks of pure horror. After the first take, nobody was at the window anymore. I took that as a sign of approval.”

8. FERRELL REALLY WAS NAKED.

Ferrell justified it by saying it showed his character falling off the wagon. “The fact that it made sense was the reason I was really into doing it, and why I was able to commit on that level," Ferrell told the BBC. "If it was just for the sake of doing a crazy shot, then I don't think it makes sense.” Still, Ferrell needed some liquid courage, and was intimidated by the presence of Snoop Dogg.

9. ROB CORDDRY WAS NOT NAKED, BUT HE STILL HAD TO SIGN AWAY HIS NUDITY RIGHTS.

Old School marked the first major film role for Rob Corddry, who at the time was best known as a correspondent for The Daily Show. He had a jewel bag around his private parts for his nude scene, but his butt made it into the final cut. He had to sign a nudity clause, which gave the film the right to use his naked image “in any part of the universe, in any form, even that which is not devised.”

10. SNOOP DOGG AGREED TO CAMEO SO HE COULD PLAY HUGGY BEAR IN STARSKY & HUTCH.

Phillips admitted to essentially bribing the hip-hop artist/actor, using Snoop Dogg’s desire to play the street informant in the modern movie adaptation of the classic TV show (which Phillips was also directing) to his advantage. “So when I went to him I said, 'I want you to do Huggy Bear,' he was really excited. And I said, 'Oh yeah, also will you do this little thing for me in Old School a little cameo?' So he kind of had to do it I think."

11. SNOOP WANTED TO HANG OUT WITH VINCE VAUGHN ON SET, BUT NOT LUKE WILSON.

Snoop Dogg in 'Old School' (2003)
Richard Foreman, Dreamworks

Vaughn and his friends accepted an invitation to hang out in Snoop Dogg’s trailer to play video games on the last day of shooting. Vaughn recalled seeing Luke Wilson later watching the news alone in his trailer; he had not been informed of the get-together.

12. WILSON WAS TEASED BY HIS CO-STARS.

Vaughn, Wilson, and Ferrell dubbed themselves “The Wolfpack”—years before Phillips directed The Hangover—because they would always make fun of each other. A particularly stinging exchange had Ferrell refer to Legally Blonde (which Wilson had starred in) as Legally Bland. Wilson said it didn’t make him feel great. Wilson retorted by telling Ferrell that "the transition from TV to the movies isn't a very easy one, so you might just want to keep one foot back in TV just in case this whole movie thing falls through!"

13. TERRY O’QUINN SCARED HIS SONS INTO THINKING THEY WERE TRIPPING.

Terry O’Quinn (who went on to play John Locke on Lost the following year) agreed to play Goldberg, uncredited, in what was a two-day job for him. He neglected to inform his sons he was in the movie, and when they saw it, one of them called their father. “I got a call from my sons one night, and they said, ‘What were you doing in Old School? We didn’t even know you were in it!’ They said, ‘We’re sitting there, and the first time we see you, it’s, like, in a reflection in a window. And when we saw it, and we both thought we were, like, tripping or something!’”

14. THE EARMUFFS WERE IMPROVISED.

Before filming, Vaughn worked with Ferrell to figure out their characters' backstories and how they knew each other; he credited that with helping him figure out who Bernard was, which led to several ad-libbed moments. “The earmuff scene where he swears in front of the kids, and then I tell the kid to earmuff, that all is off the cuff. But that stuff is a lot easier to do when you know who you are and your circumstances, and who your characters are,” Vaughn explained.

15. FERRELL AND VAUGHN DIDN’T LOVE A SCRIPT FOR A SEQUEL.

Armstrong had written Old School Dos in 2006, which saw the frat going to Spring Break. Ferrell said that he and Vaughn read the script but felt like they would just be “kind of doing the same thing again.” Wilson, on the other hand, was excited over the new script.

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