Watch the Museum of London's Fatberg Sweat and Grow Mold in Real Time

Daniel Leal-Olivas, AFP/Getty Images
Daniel Leal-Olivas, AFP/Getty Images

Unlike most other museums exhibits, the fatberg sample at the Museum of London is constantly changing. The chunk of congealed grease and garbage changes color, sweats, and even produces broods of freshly hatched flies. Now, The Guardian reports that you can stay up-to-date on the fatberg's ever-shifting status by livestreaming it into your home.

On August 14, the Museum of London debuted its live FatCam on its website. The dried-out fat glob in the video is one of the last remaining samples of the Whitechapel fatberg, a 143-ton mass consisting of oil poured down sink drains and city litter that was discovered in London's sewer system in September 2017.

From February 9 to July 1, 2018, the museum displayed the unique artifact under three layers of cases for visitors to see. The object proved difficult to preserve, and curators weren't entirely sure it would make it to the end of its exhibition, let alone survive to see another showing.

The fatberg has since been quarantined in the museum's archives. Rather than alter the fatberg to keep it around as long as possible, the museum has decided to broadcast its gradual demise to the world.

In the month since the sample has been taken off display and placed in a special case, drastic changes have been documented. Yellow pustules have surfaced on the fatberg's exterior—a sign of what conservators have determined is the toxic mold aspergillus. The object likely grew the spores when it was on display and only now have they become visible.

Dangerous mold and other organisms living within the crevices of the fat mounds are some of the reasons why the sample is no longer available to view in person. For a safer and slightly less disgusting view of the fatberg, check out the live stream below.

[h/t The Guardian]

Your Office is Infested With Germs—and In Places You Might Not Expect

iStock/pixelfit
iStock/pixelfit

Elevator buttons and keyboards are teeming with bacteria, and you don’t even want to know what might be lingering on the coffee mug you keep at work. TIME rounded up the five germiest places in the average office, and you’ll probably want to wash your hands after reading it.

Disposable coffee cups are perhaps the most surprising one mentioned. One 1997 study found coliform bacteria (a.k.a. fecal matter) on 20 percent of the cups and lids tested. And those sponges in your office kitchen? They’re absolutely filthy. After the same researchers used a communal sponge or rag to wipe down the coffee cups, 100 percent of them tested positive for fecal bacteria. If lugging your cup to and from the office in order to wash it at home seems tedious, one of the researchers recommended investing in a personal cup washer to keep at work. As TIME notes, disposable coffee cups are also problematic because someone may pick up a couple lids that are stuck together, then return the now-contaminated lids for other, unsuspecting coworkers to use.

Unsurprisingly, objects that people regularly interact with—such as elevator buttons, office doors, and conference room phones—also made TIME’s list. Anything that’s frequently touched and seldom cleaned is a cause for concern because it could carry microbes that make people sick. If you're a frequent business traveler, for instance, you should wash your hands and wipe down your phone after going through airport security. Those plastic bins you stick your shoes, electronics, and personal items inside are germ-infested cesspools.

Another study from 2014 swabbed 120 elevator buttons at three hospitals in Toronto, Ontario. While the study wasn't conducted in an office building, the results were still telling. Researchers discovered that 61 percent of the buttons contained bacteria, compared to only 43 percent of toilets. This is likely due to the fact that toilets are often cleaned more frequently than elevator buttons. The most common type of bacteria found were Coagulase-negative staphylococci (CoNS), which can be a risk factor for diseases for people with an already compromised immune system or those who have recently undergone certain surgeries or medical procedures.

Lastly, you’ll want to wipe your keyboard and mouse with a disinfectant wipe as often as possible. It might just save you from having to use up your sick days.

[h/t TIME]

Burger King's Halloween Slushie Might Turn Your Poop Black and Blue

iStock.com/ilbusca
iStock.com/ilbusca

Of all the spooky events surrounding Halloween, peering into the toilet bowl and noticing that your poop has turned bright blue might be the scariest. This could be your new reality if you slurp down one of Burger King’s seasonal Scary Black Cherry slushies, Women’s Health points out.


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give in to your dark side... scary black cherry now at BK for a limited time.

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The black-tinted frozen beverage is made from Fanta soda, and presumably, a fair amount of food dye. Ever since its release ahead of the holiday, customers have been complaining that the drink turned their poo “blackish blue,” neon blue, green, or purple. Similar reports surfaced in 2015 after Burger King introduced a Whopper with a black bun that had been flavored with A.1. Steak Sauce. In that case, customers’ “grass green” bowel movements were blamed on food dye in the bun.

“To make poop turn that color green, it would require far more dye than is in the typical type of A.1.," doctor and nutrition counselor Pamela Reilly told USA Today at the time. "My guess is that they're using a concentrated form."

Although the Scary Black Cherry slushie’s ingredients aren’t listed on the fast food chain’s website, food dye is likely the culprit—once again—of customers' colorful poo. Michigan-based gastroenterologist Michael Rice explained to Women’s Health that food dye mixes with the yellow-green pigments in your bile, which is then excreted in your poop. Darker dyes in particular, like blue and purple, tend to yield the most visible changes in stool color. Beets, licorice, tomato soup, Kool-Aid, Jell-O, candy, and tinted icing can all have the same effect.

From a health perspective, there’s not much to fear, though. Aside from giving you a fright after you go number two, the artificial dyes that Burger King uses are within FDA-approved limits. Your poo should go back to its normal hue in no time.

[h/t Women's Health]

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