You think you've had a tough week? Just be glad you're not a member of Class Osteichthyes, which has taken a real beating in the last few days. 40,000 salmon and trout died in Scotland this week after someone poisoned their river with sodium hypochlorite, a chemical used for treating water in swimming pools. Thousands of sturgeon who already had the bad luck to be living in an aquaculture farm died in a six-alarm fire last night at the Mote Marine Lab in Sarasota. (It's unfortunate for local restaurants,... READ ON
The Times reports today that scientists are reconstructing the Neanderthal genome, which has led to lots of debate about whether we should clone one, were that possible. Putting aside what society would actually do with a cloned Neanderthal (put him in some unholy Pleistocene Park? cast him in a Geico commercial?), the guy would need some major image rehab, because over the years his species has been scientifically slandered. Here, courtesy of Channel 4, are 10 Neanderthal myths that need debunking:... READ ON
The Kircher Society has been running a feature on Lesser-Known Museums all week, including today's Frog Museum, "a collection of 150-year-old satirical tableaus of domestic life in the 19th century "“ all involving stuffed frogs." We thought we'd join in:
Take two trips to the Museum of Questionable Medical Devices and call us when you've lost all faith in the medical profession. Those in search of history's quack science can find what they're looking for in the St. Paul tourist attraction,... READ ON
Several blogs have been passing around the story of Oxana Malaya, who, as the saying goes, was literally raised by dogs:
Oxana is a feral child, one of only about 100 known in the world. The story goes that, when she was three, her indifferent, alcoholic parents left her outside one night and she crawled into a hovel where they kept dogs. ... A shameful five years later, a neighbour reported a child living with animals. When she was found, at the age of eight in 1991, Oxana could hardly speak and ran... READ ON
The not-at-all-daft Carolyn Bickford of "Daft Musings" alerted us to her Comic Book Convention Party Cheat Sheet, inspired by our own Cocktail Party Cheat Sheets. Carolyn's cheat sheet should prove highly useful at Comic-Con, which is starting at this very minute (really, 10 a.m. PST) in San Diego. We liked it so much we had to share a bit here:
Marvel versus DC. They're both comic book companies, but it's rare to find the mainstream comic book fan who reads titles from both companies: no matter how many... READ ON
This just in: Scientists in Australia have discovered that, according to the headline, "DRINKING CAN BE DANGEROUS:"
People who drink alcohol are up to four times more likely than non-drinkers to be hurt from physical injuries such as a fall or punch, new research shows.
More obviousness: "Binge drinkers were more at risk of being injured than regular drinkers. And people who sustained serious injuries were more likely to have consumed beer and have been drinking in a licensed premises."
Slightly less... READ ON
What do you want to be in it?
If you've ever wondered who invented putt-putt or how a creature as gawky as a giraffe came to be, you're in luck -- we're working on an entire book devoted to the bizarre beginnings of stuff you might take for granted today. Right now we're making a list of topics, from "asteroids" to "zippers," we might like to include. So far we've got:
* condoms (the guy who came up with them got the idea from sausage casings)
* spam (the somewhat-edible kind and the e-mail kind)... READ ON
While doing research for an upcoming m_f book on origins, I came across something for those of you who start your days with our quiz -- an etymological exploration of that very word. Originally, was the term "quiz"...
a) a nonsense neologism coined by a Dublin theatre proprietor as a prank?
b) slang for the sort of lovable oddballs who read our magazine?
c) another name for a yo-yo?
d) a mystery, because no one has any idea where it came from?
The answer is after the... READ ON
Obviousness of the week: According to a new study, one easy way to make high-school cafeterias more appealing is to demystify the contents of the mystery meat.
[Providing] nutrition information did, in fact, improve the healthy choices made by students. ... Students were also more satisfied with food quality and service quality, [e]ven though the food did not change.
More obviousness: In perhaps the only time someone has used the word "ambiance" to describe a high-school lunchroom, the nutrition info... READ ON
There's always catsthatlooklikehitler.com.
I really don't know what else to... READ ON
When asked if Abe had any hobbies, Mary Todd Lincoln said, “Cats.”