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11 Tips for Growing the World's Longest Mustache

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Image credit: Guinness World Records

While an everyday ‘stache might gain you a cult following or a cameo on Reno 911, a truly magnificent mustache could catapult you into the Guinness Book of World Records. Here are eleven tips to help you grow the world’s longest mustache, including tricks from the current record holder himself.

1. Never shave—NEVER! Contrary to popular belief, shaving won’t make your ‘stache grow back faster or thicker. Instead, it gives hair a blunt tip, making stubble appear coarser and darker without actually altering its rate of growth.

2. Groom it like a toy poodle. Ram Singh Chauhan holds the honorable distinction of having the longest mustache on record. He recently told BBC News that he spends an hour each day grooming his 'stache. He massages it with coconut-based oil daily and washes it every 10 days.

3. Get an early start. If you want to sprout a truly enviable mustache, it’s imperative to start young. Testosterone levels decrease with age, slowing hair growth in older men. Additionally, young guys’ facial hair is more durable, meaning that a twentysomething’s ‘stache is less prone to breakage.

4. Invest in a quality snood. This handy device consists of a gauze band that fastens around a mustache to help protect it during sleep. When used properly, a snood keeps rowdy mustache hairs from going on a nighttime hell-bound bender while no one’s watching.

5. Eat Clean. Because you’ll be eating for two, your dietary choices are more important than ever. To maximize hair growth, eat a diet filled with protein and healthy fats. To minimize glares from fellow diners at restaurants, avoid spaghetti, barbecue ribs, and tacos. Sloppy Joes are acceptable only if napkins are within handy reach.

6. Take your vitamins. Vitamins won’t turn Mr. Clean into Chewbacca, but they can ensure that hair is growing at maximum speed. Aspiring mustache record-holders should take a daily dose of B-complex vitamins, which should include B-3, B-6, B-12, and biotin. Moreover, take vitamin C to promote further hair growth and vitamin E to encourage blood circulation to hair follicles.

7. Dip it in beer. This advice comes from Steve Parsons of the Handlebar Club via Kurt Soller of Esquire.

8. Join the American Mustache Institute. The organization (whose website even has a .org domain) is “dedicated to protecting the rights of, and fighting discrimination against, mustached Americans by promoting the growth of the mustache.” It’s pretty much the facial hair equivalent of the ACLU. The AMI offers support to victims of mustache stereotyping and organizes events for mustached men who wish to be around like-minded individuals.

9. Move to Chicago. According to the AMI’s (very) official behavioral economics report, the Windy City is the most mustache-friendly town in America. Rankings were calculated using a few indicators of mustache positivity, including motorcycles, monster trucks, shooting ranges, pontoon boats, Miller Light, pork rinds, and law enforcement officials per capita.

10. Don’t join the military. The U.S. armed services have some pretty strict standards for facial hair grooming. Mustaches must be confined within two imaginary lines drawn upward from the corners of the mouth. And individual hairs may not be longer than ½ inch, so you won’t be setting any records.

11. No pain, no gain. Chauhan acknowledges that having a 14-foot mustache can be a tad cumbersome. To keep it out of the way, he covers it with cloth matching his outfit and wraps it around his neck. While your ‘stache might become itchy and irritating as it gets longer, the distinction of possessing the world’s longest mustache is well worth a few growing pains.

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Stones, Bones, and Wrecks
A Chinese Museum Is Offering Cash to Whoever Can Decipher These 3000-Year-Old Inscriptions

During the 19th century, farmers in China’s Henan Province began discovering oracle bones—engraved ox scapulae and tortoise shells used by Shang Dynasty leaders for record-keeping and divination purposes—while plowing their fields. More bones were excavated in subsequent years, and their inscriptions were revealed to be the earliest known form of systematic writing in East Asia. But over the decades, scholars still haven’t come close to cracking half of the mysterious script’s roughly 5000 characters—which is why one Chinese museum is asking member of the public for help, in exchange for a generous cash reward.

As Atlas Obscura reports, the National Museum of Chinese Writing in Anyang, Henan Province has offered to pay citizen researchers about $15,000 for each unknown character translated, and $7500 if they provide a disputed character’s definitive meaning. Submissions must be supported with evidence, and reviewed by at least two language specialists.

The museum began farming out their oracle bone translation efforts in Fall 2016. The costly ongoing project has hit a stalemate, and scholars hope that the public’s collective smarts—combined with new advances in technology, including cloud computing and big data—will yield new information and save them research money.

As of today, more than 200,000 oracle bones have been discovered—around 50,000 of which bear text—so scholars still have a lot to learn about the Shang Dynasty. Many of the ancient script's characters are difficult to verify, as they represent places and people from long ago. However, decoding even just one character could lead to a substantial breakthrough, experts say: "If we interpret a noun or a verb, it can bring many scripts on oracle bones to life, and we can understand ancient history better,” Chinese history professor Zhu Yanmin told the South China Morning Post.

[h/t Atlas Obscura]

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6 Eponyms Named After the Wrong Person
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Salmonella species growing on agar.

Having something named after you is the ultimate accomplishment for any inventor, mathematician, scientist, or researcher. Unfortunately, the credit for an invention or discovery does not always go to the correct person—senior colleagues sometimes snatch the glory, fakers pull the wool over people's eyes, or the fickle general public just latches onto the wrong name.

1. SALMONELLA (OR SMITHELLA?)

In 1885, while investigating common livestock diseases at the Bureau of Animal Industry in Washington, D.C., pathologist Theobald Smith first isolated the salmonella bacteria in pigs suffering from hog cholera. Smith’s research finally identified the bacteria responsible for one of the most common causes of food poisoning in humans. Unfortunately, Smith’s limelight-grabbing supervisor, Daniel E. Salmon, insisted on taking sole credit for the discovery. As a result, the bacteria was named after him. Don’t feel too sorry for Theobald Smith, though: He soon emerged from Salmon’s shadow, going on to make the important discovery that ticks could be a vector in the spread of disease, among other achievements.

2. AMERICA (OR COLUMBIANA?)

An etching of Amerigo Vespucci
Henry Guttmann/Getty Images

Florentine explorer Amerigo Vespucci (1451–1512) claimed to have made numerous voyages to the New World, the first in 1497, before Columbus. Textual evidence suggests Vespucci did take part in a number of expeditions across the Atlantic, but generally does not support the idea that he set eyes on the New World before Columbus. Nevertheless, Vespucci’s accounts of his voyages—which today read as far-fetched—were hugely popular and translated into many languages. As a result, when German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller was drawing his map of the Novus Mundi (or New World) in 1507 he marked it with the name "America" in Vespucci’s honor. He later regretted the choice, omitting the name from future maps, but it was too late, and the name stuck.

3. BLOOMERS (OR MILLERS?)

A black and white image of young women wearing bloomers
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Dress reform became a big issue in mid-19th century America, when women were restricted by long, heavy skirts that dragged in the mud and made any sort of physical activity difficult. Women’s rights activist Elizabeth Smith Miller was inspired by traditional Turkish dress to begin wearing loose trousers gathered at the ankle underneath a shorter skirt. Miller’s new outfit immediately caused a splash, with some decrying it as scandalous and others inspired to adopt the garb.

Amelia Jenks Bloomer was editor of the women’s temperance journal The Lily, and she took to copying Miller’s style of dress. She was so impressed with the new freedom it gave her that she began promoting the “reform dress” in her magazine, printing patterns so others might make their own. Bloomer sported the dress when she spoke at events and soon the press began to associate the outfit with her, dubbing it “Bloomer’s costume.” The name stuck.

4. GUILLOTINE (OR LOUISETTE?)

Execution machines had been known prior to the French Revolution, but they were refined after Paris physician and politician Dr. Joseph-Ignace Guillotin suggested they might be a more humane form of execution than the usual methods (hanging, burning alive, etc.). The first guillotine was actually designed by Dr. Antoine Louis, Secretary of the Academy of Surgery, and was known as a louisette. The quick and efficient machine was quickly adopted as the main method of execution in revolutionary France, and as the bodies piled up the public began to refer to it as la guillotine, for the man who first suggested its use. Guillotin was very distressed at the association, and when he died in 1814 his family asked the French government to change the name of the hated machine. The government refused and so the family changed their name instead to escape the dreadful association.

5. BECHDEL TEST (OR WALLACE TEST?)

Alison Bechdel
Alison Bechdel
Steve Jennings/Getty Images

The Bechdel Test is a tool to highlight gender inequality in film, television, and fiction. The idea is that in order to pass the test, the movie, show, or book in question must include at least one scene in which two women have a conversation that isn’t about a man. The test was popularized by the cartoonist Alison Bechdel in 1985 in her comic strip “Dykes to Watch Out For,” and has since become known by her name. However, Bechdel asserts that the idea originated with her friend Lisa Wallace (and was also inspired by the writer Virginia Woolf), and she would prefer for it to be known as the Bechdel-Wallace test.

6. STIGLER’S LAW OF EPONYMY (OR MERTON’S LAW?)

Influential sociologist Robert K. Merton suggested the idea of the “Matthew Effect” in a 1968 paper noting that senior colleagues who are already famous tend to get the credit for their junior colleagues’ discoveries. (Merton named his phenomenon [PDF] after the parable of talents in the Gospel of Matthew, in which wise servants invest money their master has given them.)

Merton was a well-respected academic, and when he was due to retire in 1979, a book of essays celebrating his work was proposed. One person who contributed an essay was University of Chicago professor of statistics Stephen Stigler, who had corresponded with Merton about his ideas. Stigler decided to pen an essay that celebrated and proved Merton’s theory. As a result, he took Merton’s idea and created Stigler’s Law of Eponymy, which states that “No scientific discovery is named after its original discoverer”—the joke being that Stigler himself was taking Merton’s own theory and naming it after himself. To further prove the rule, the “new” law has been adopted by the academic community, and a number of papers and articles have since been written on "Stigler’s Law."

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