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Beards Keep You Healthy and Handsome, According to Science

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Getty

Don't let the prospect of microbial nastiness scare you away: According to researchers from the University of Southern Queensland, a thick, rugged beard also offers benefits that make the person they’re attached to healthier and handsomer.

In their 2012 study, researchers left a group of mannequins, some bearded and some bare-faced, under the harsh sun of the Australian outback. When they compared the amount of radiation absorbed by each subject, they found that the beards blocked 90 to 95 percent of the harmful UV rays from the faces of the mannequins. This level of built-in protection in human beard-owners would successfully slow the aging process and reduce the risk of one day developing skin cancer.

"Facial hair has an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) of anywhere from 2 to 21," one scientist on the study, Alfio Parisi, told Men's Journal. "The percentage of UV blocked to the skin depends on the thickness and angle of the sun. ... Provided the beard is of reasonable thickness, I do not think there is a need to slather sunscreen over the beard due to the protection it provides." Though the adequate thickness of a beard can be hard to quantify, Parisi told Men's Journal that "it has to be a thick bushy beard and not just stubble."

Beards are also good at capturing dust and pollen, which sounds like bad news for people with asthma or hay fever. Instead, they work like fuzzy fortresses, protecting your nose, eyes, and mouth from irritants. What's more, an impressive coat of facial hair retains moisture and acts as a barrier against harsh wind, keeping the skin underneath fresh and youthful.

For men who sport their beards with pride, the fact that their appeal is supported by science may come as no surprise. For those who feel pressured to bare all, it’s just one more reason to toss the razor and embrace the beard.

[h/t: Lost at E Minor]

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Helen Maybanks, (c) RSC
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Pop Culture
Royal Shakespeare Company Auctions Off Costumes Worn By Ian McKellen, Judi Dench, Patrick Stewart, and More
Helen Maybanks, (c) RSC
Helen Maybanks, (c) RSC

The stages of the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon, England have been graced by some of the most celebrated performers of our day. Now, the legendary theater company is giving fans a chance to own the original costumes that helped bring their characters to life. On April 17, more than 50 costumes worn in RSC productions will hit eBay to raise money for the group's Stitch in Time campaign.

With this new campaign, the RSC aims to raise enough money to renovate the aging workshop where costume designers create all the handmade garments used in their shows. Following a play's run, the costumes are either rented out to other theaters or kept safe in the company's museum collections. Designers often make duplicates of the items, which means that the RSC is able to auction off some of their most valuable pieces to the public.

The eBay costume auction includes clothing worn by some of the most prolific actors to work with the company. Bidders will find Patrick Stewart's beige shorts from the 2006 production of Antony and Cleopatra, David Tennant's white tunic from 2013's Richard II, Ian McKellen's red, floor-length coat from 2007's King Lear, and Judi Dench's black doublet from 2016's Shakespeare Live! Costumes worn by Anita Dobson, Susannah York, and Simon Russell Beale will also be featured.

All proceeds from the auction go to restoring the RSC's costume workshop. Shakespeare fans have until April 27 to place their bids.

Patrick Stewart in Antony and Cleopatra.
Pascal Molliere, (c) RSC

Actors in stage play.
Manuel Harlan, (c) RSC

Actor in stage play.
Kwame Lestrade, (c) RSC
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PRNewsfoto/PolyU
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technology
This 3D Human Modeling App Could Revolutionize Online Clothes Shopping
PRNewsfoto/PolyU
PRNewsfoto/PolyU

A team of academics in Hong Kong have developed a 3D human modeling app that could drastically change the way we shop online. Dubbed 1Measure, this “one-click measure” tool allows users to record their body measurements in a matter of seconds by uploading two full-body photos.

After snapping images with both a front view and side view, the app uses artificial intelligence to create a 3D digital model of the user's body in under 10 seconds. Next to this image, over 50 size measurements are displayed, including everything from knee girth to shoulder slope. This information can be saved and accessed at a later date, and the app also lists your size in other countries, allowing you to shop for clothes around the world with ease.

This revolutionary technology was developed by associate professor Tracy P.Y. Mok and PhD graduate Dr. Zhu Shuaiyin of the Institute of Textiles and Clothing at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU).

Other current technologies are capable of carrying out similar modeling functions, but the PolyU team says these methods involve costly, bulky scanners, and their results are only approximate. The 1Measure app’s margin of error is 1 centimeter for users photographed in tight-fitting clothes, and 2 centimeters for those in loose-fitting clothes, according to its developers.

The app is particularly useful when it comes to online shopping. Dr. Zhu says the technology “frees us from the limitations imposed by taking body measurements physically, helping customers to select the right size in online clothing purchases.”

The app can also store multiple measurements at once and track any changes that the body undergoes, making it suitable for those with fitness goals.

1Measure is free to download and is currently available on the App Store in both English and Chinese.

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