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Petwigs
Petwigs

Now You Can Buy Adorable Wigs For Your Pets

Petwigs
Petwigs

Unless you’ve got an animal that will willingly undergo a lion cut, it can be hard to style your pets. At least, it was. Now, thanks to actress Leisha Hailey (The L Word), anyone can have a perfectly coiffed companion: Her company, Petwigs, creates adorable and stylish wigs for the critters in your life.

Hailey tells mental_floss in an email that she came up with the idea 12 years ago. Pet costumes were dominating the market, but the wigs that would complete the looks were lacking. “There weren’t any pet wigs conveniently available, nor did they come in a wide selection of colors and styles,” she says. She didn’t act on her idea, however, until she met Melissa Carbone of Ten Thirty One Productions; the pair launched Petwigs, then brought on collaborators Regina Carpinelli and Sofu Snow.

Though Hailey had never designed wigs before, they weren’t completely foreign territory: She drew on her background as a musician who, in her 20s, was “basically raised by drag queens in the East Village.” Her band opened up for performers at the Pyramid Club, and it was there, in the backstage area, that she learned how to use the arts as a means of transformation. “It has to be incredibly executed with a twist of humor,” she says. “I have the same vision for Petwigs: High style, classic looks. Put it on an animal and the laughing ensues.”

The "Party in the Back" wig. Image credit: Petwigs.com.

 
To figure out how to make the wigs, Hailey and her colleagues met with Hollywood-based wig makers. First, they designed a sizing system that uses a net as a base. “The base comes in 3 sizes: Small, Medium, Large,” Hailey says. “They fit comfortably between the ears of your pet depending on what size your animal is. The hair falls around the ears, and that’s where the magic begins.”

Next came the design of a strap and clasp system that keeps the wigs on (and allows them to easily come off) without irritating the animals. “Every friend with a pet was brought in for sizing and strap system analysis,” Hailey says. “We landed with the final design by trying different straps.”

Finally, they created prototypes of the styles; each wig took about a day to build. The company settled on synthetic hair, which held the shape and style of the ‘dos best. “The styling process was meticulous,” Hailey says. “We want our wigs to be high end, like your pet just walked out of the salon.”

The "Headbanger" wig. Image credit: Petwigs.com.

 
Picking the styles that would become Petwigs’ first collection was of paramount importance. “We are coming out with our Original Collection, which consists of the most iconic hairstyles of the decades,” Hailey says. “From there, we will always stay with the times and plan to have an ever evolving selection of styles.”

Petwigs range in price from $35 to $43 and come in styles like “The Bombshell,” “The Editor,” and “The Tigerbeat.” Hailey’s personal favorite style is “The Supreme,” a red beehive. For adorable photos of animals in wigs, you can follow the company on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook—or you can just preorder your very own PetWig here (make sure to read the fit and safety information first!) to bring the fun home, just in time for Halloween.

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NUS Environmental Research Institute, Subnero
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technology
Researchers in Singapore Deploy Robot Swans to Test Water Quality
NUS Environmental Research Institute, Subnero
NUS Environmental Research Institute, Subnero

There's something peculiar about the new swans floating around reservoirs in Singapore. They drift across the water like normal birds, but upon closer inspection, onlookers will find they're not birds at all: They're cleverly disguised robots designed to test the quality of the city's water.

As Dezeen reports, the high-tech waterfowl, dubbed NUSwan (New Smart Water Assessment Network), are the work of researchers at the National University of Singapore [PDF]. The team invented the devices as a way to tackle the challenges of maintaining an urban water source. "Water bodies are exposed to varying sources of pollutants from urban run-offs and industries," they write in a statement. "Several methods and protocols in monitoring pollutants are already in place. However, the boundaries of extensive assessment for the water bodies are limited by labor intensive and resource exhaustive methods."

By building water assessment technology into a plastic swan, they're able to analyze the quality of the reservoirs cheaply and discreetly. Sensors on the robots' undersides measure factors like dissolved oxygen and chlorophyll levels. The swans wirelessly transmit whatever data they collect to the command center on land, and based on what they send, human pilots can remotely tweak the robots' performance in real time. The hope is that the simple, adaptable technology will allow researchers to take smarter samples and better understand the impact of the reservoir's micro-ecosystem on water quality.

Man placing robotic swan in water.
NUS Environmental Research Institute, Subnero

This isn't the first time humans have used robots disguised as animals as tools for studying nature. Check out this clip from the BBC series Spy in the Wild for an idea of just how realistic these robots can get.

[h/t Dezeen]

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iStock
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science
There May Be an Ancient Reason Why Your Dog Eats Poop
iStock
iStock

Dogs aren't known for their picky taste in food, but some pups go beyond the normal trash hunting and start rooting around in poop, whether it be their own or a friend's. Just why dogs exhibit this behavior is a scientific mystery. Only some dogs do it, and researchers aren't quite sure where the impulse comes from. But if your dog is a poop eater, it's nearly impossible to steer them away from their favorite feces.

A new study in the journal Veterinary Medicine and Science, spotted by The Washington Post, presents a new theory for what scientists call "canine conspecific coprophagy," or dogs eating dog poop.

In online surveys about domestic dogs' poop-eating habits completed by thousands of pet owners, the researchers found no link between eating poop and a dog's sex, house training, compulsive behavior, or the style of mothering they received as puppies. However, they did find one common link between the poop eaters. Most tended to eat only poop that was less than two days old. According to their data, 85 percent of poop-eaters only go for the fresh stuff.

That timeline is important because it tracks with the lifespan of parasites. And this led the researchers to the following hypothesis: that eating poop is a holdover behavior from domestic dogs' ancestors, who may have had a decent reason to tuck into their friends' poop.

Since their poop has a high chance of containing intestinal parasites, wolves poop far from their dens. But if a sick wolf doesn't quite make it out of the den in time, they might do their business too close to home. A healthier wolf might eat this poop, but the parasite eggs wouldn't have hatched within the first day or two of the feces being dropped. Thus, the healthy wolf would carry the risk of infection away from the den, depositing the eggs they had consumed away in their own, subsequent bowel movements at an appropriate distance before the eggs had the chance to hatch into larvae and transmit the parasite to the pack.

Domestic dogs may just be enacting this behavior instinctively—only for them, there isn't as much danger of them picking up a parasite at home. However, the theory isn't foolproof. The surveys also found that so-called "greedy eaters" were more likely to eat feces than dogs who aren't quite so intense about food. So yes, it could still be about a poop-loving palate.

But really, it's much more pleasant to think about the behavior as a parasite-protection measure than our best pals foraging for a delicious fecal snack. 

[h/t The Washington Post]

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