John Farrier's Blog Posts

How to Scamble Eggs with a Curling Iron

Carly Cardellino, the beauty editor of Cosmopolitan, recently learned that you can pop popcorn with a hair straightener. This inspired her to see what else one could make with hair care tools. So she heated a curling iron and used it to cook scrambled eggs!


(Video Link)

Cardellino says that the egg was both "edible and delicious." More importantly, we've all learned an essential survival skill that could mean the difference between life and death if we're ever besieged by zombies in a hair salon.

-via Gizmodo


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This Start-Up Wants to Replace Your Address with 3 Random Words


(Photo: Nick Webb)

Imagine your address as not, say, 750 Bel Air Road, Bel Air, California, but instead block.horse.happy.

It could be if the founders of the app what3words are successful. Their system divides the entire world into 57 trillion 9-square meter areas. It assigns 3 random words to each section. The sequences are unique for all 57 trillion sections. April Joyner describes it at The Week:

An algorithm generates each three-word phrase. It filters out profanity, avoids homophones to reduce the chances for mistakes when an address is spoken (hear vs. here), and safeguards for slip-ups with singular and plural words. If you accidentally type engine.door.cubs instead of engine.doors.cubs, you'll get a location halfway around the world — your mistake should be obvious.

what3words co-founder Chris Sheldrick says that the system is already in use:

It's key that the three-word phrases are easy to memorize, because many of the people who are served by what3words' system don't have a smartphone to look them up. Instead, Sheldrick says, once they've been given their address by an aid worker, or a neighbor who has a smartphone on hand, they can simply make note of the phrase for future reference. He gives the example of Rocinha, a slum in Rio de Janeiro, where residents are beginning to use what3words as an alternate address system to receive mail.

-via Joe Carter


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Urban Cargo Scooter

A group of industrial design students at California State University in Long Beach wanted to develop a people-powered means to transport gear over short distances. Bicycles are too big and cumbersome, so they invented the Nimble: a kick scooter with a cargo platform.

The Nimble comes with a removable basket for loose items and a sturdy rack for larger objects. There's a kickstand to help it stay upright. You can see more photos at Core 77.


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What Men and Women Want from Marriage, 1939 vs. 2008

What's really important for women to look for when searching for a man to marry? The most popular and growing characteristics are mutual attraction, dependable character, and maturity. 

Chastity used to be important, but that's taken a nosedive since 1939, as did housekeeping skills and neatness.

Max Roser, an economist, recently created a series of charts to illustrate a study published in 2008 about what men and women look for in a spouses, and how these values have changed over time. It's explored in depth at the Washington Post.

We've looked at what women want. Let's check in with the men. The above chart shows that men increasingly search for mutual attraction. There were also sharp increases in the importance of good looks and sociability.

The importance of chastity plummeted over the intervening 69 years. Emotional stability, though, is still very important.

Do any of the results surprise you?

-via Glenn Reynolds


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"My Substitute for LSD Was Indian Food"


(Photos: Iain Cameron and Michael Lionstar/The University of the Arts)

Camille Paglia is a professor of the humanities at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia and a leading public intellectual.

Paglia was recently interviewed by Tyler Cowen, an economist and polymath. In that conversation, Cowen asked Paglia about a line she had written about her intellectual development during the 1970s. While other people had psychedelic experiences from LSD and other drugs, she was eating Indian food. Specifically, she ate lamb vindaloo to open her mind. She explains to Cowen:

COWEN: You once wrote, I quote, “My substitute for LSD was Indian food,” and by that, you meant lamb vindaloo.

PAGLIA: Yes.

COWEN: You stand by this.

PAGLIA: Yes, I’ve been in a rut on lamb vindaloo.

COWEN: A rut, tell us.

PAGLIA: It’s a horrible rut.

COWEN: It’s not a horrible rut, it may be a rut.

PAGLIA: No, it’s a horrible rut. It’s a 40-year rut. Every time I go to an Indian restaurant, I say “Now, I’m going to try something new.” But, no, I must go back to the lamb vindaloo.

All I know is it’s like an ecstasy for me, the lamb vindaloo.

COWEN: Like De Quincey, tell us, what are the effects of lamb vindaloo?

PAGLIA: What can I say? I attain nirvana.

Good Indian food will do that.

You can read or watch the rest of their conversation here, which includes Paglia's thoughts on the movies Ben-Hur and Star Wars Episode III.


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Horoscopes for Babies

(Jim Benton)

What lies in your baby's future? He can't think beyond the present, so do your parental duty and read out his horoscope. Cartoonist Jim Benton has helpful scanned the stars and made mystical calculations for the next week.

See more about baby and kids at NeatoBambino

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Luxury Toilets That Are Works of Art

When you want the finest toilets in the world, you go to Japan. And now Japan is stepping up its game even further with Taikou Juden's line of artistic toilets available in a vast variety of colors, patterns, and images. For example, pictured above is a toilet made to resemble the famous wood block print The Great Wave off Kanagawa by Hokusai.

I'm not sure about getting a camouflage toilet, though. When I need to go, I don't want to struggle to just find the toilet.

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Big Mac Egg Rolls

This week, The Vulgar Chef made lovely and classy egg rolls using just the ingredients of McDonald's Big Mac hamburgers, cheese, and egg roll pastry dough.

First, he placed shredded cheese between two layers of pastry dough. Then he added French fries, pickles, and sliced beef patty.

It looks delicious! McDonald's should actually offer this dish.

Content warning: foul language.

We dish up more neat food posts at the Neatolicious blog

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Meet Finley, The Most Helpful Dog in the World

A video posted by Greg Baskwell (@gregbaskwell) on Apr 23, 2016 at 10:06am PDT

Whenever Greg Baskwell needs a helping paw, he can count on Finley. Finley will do anything to contribute. Need to wash the car? Finley is there. Need a helicopter landing pad? Count on Finley. Need bail money? You're on your own. Sorry, but there are limits.

-via Tastefully Offensive

Love cute animals? View more at Lifestyles of the Cute and Cuddly blog

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Man Drives 870 Miles to Buy His Wife Kentucky Fried Chicken

(Photo: Mike Mozart)

Fifteen years ago, when Mike and Angela Hovak Johnson of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada got married, they ate food from Kentucky Fried Chicken. Since that time, they've always celebrated their anniversary by eating at KFC.

Then the local Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant shut down.

Mike Johnson didn't see that a a problem. He and his son drove to the nearest KFC in High Level, Alberta, ordered 15 buckets of chicken, then drove back. The trip was 870 miles long. That's a long way, but it's how the couple keeps their relationship fresh and crispy. CBC News reports:

"This year was the most difficult one to plan," said Angela. "But my husband didn't hesitate. He wanted to drive all the way to…

"High Level," said Mike, finishing her sentence. "So during March break, me and my son got up early one morning, drove 700 kilometres, picked up 15 buckets of KFC and drove 700 kilometres back — in one day."

According to Mike, his unusual to-go order got him a bit of a weird look in High Level, Alta.

"When I ordered 15 buckets, they said: 'uh, it might take a little while,'" he said. "I said: 'no problem,' so they cooked it up right away."

-via Dave Barry


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Potential New Names for an Elementary School

(Photo via Jenny Pancakes)

Robert E. Lee Elementary School in Austin, Texas is named after the famous Confederate general with that name. As the Confederate States of America was founded for the explicit purpose of preserving slavery, many people think that it is inappropriate to keep Lee Elementary's name. The school board has voted to rename the school and has asked the public for suggestions.

Among the potential new names are Donald J. Trump Elementary, Harper Lee Elementary, and Schoolie McSchoolface--a reference to the British ship that was to be named Boaty McBoatface.

-via David Burge

View more fun pics over at our NeatoPicto Blog

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Self-Proclaimed "Meanest Mom in the World" Throws away Kids' Ice Cream

(Photo: Calgary Reviews)

Jaime Primak Sullivan wants her three young children to learn good manners. So when they didn't thank a Dairy Queen server for giving them ice cream, she threw it in the trash. She writes on Facebook:

The young lady (maybe 17) handed each child their ice cream. Not one looked her in the eye. Not one said thank you. Not to her, not to me... So I waited. I counted to 10

in my head as they dug into their ice cream and the young lady just looked at me (probably because she thought I was hearing voices) and I watched as my children strolled out the door. I followed them outside where I calmly collected their ice creams and my kids watched in horror as I deposited them into the nearby garbage can. All 3 launched into mass hysteria. I waited. Quiet. Calm. When they realized I had something to say, they quieted down.

I explained that one day, if they were lucky, they would work a job like that young lady. And I would hope that people would see them. Really see them. Look them in the eye and say thank you. We are too old at 8/7/5 to move through our days without exercising manners and honestly basic human decency.

So today, I am the meanest mom in the world.

Sullivan's post has gone viral, gaining 49,000 shares so far. Some commenters think that she did exactly the right thing, giving her kids some tough love about being polite. But Ronda Robinson at PJ Media disagrees:

Good parenting does not include setting your children up to fail or engaging in public humiliation. Punishment should be reserved for crimes. It shouldn't be a punishable offense to not say "thank you" or to fail "see" a teenager behind the ice cream counter. These are traits of childish behavior at best, or failed parenting skills at worst, depending on the children.

What do you think?

-via Ed Driscoll

Did Sullivan respond appropriately to her children's discourtesy?



See more about baby and kids at NeatoBambino

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Speedy Delivery: F-16 Delivers Essential Medical Equipment

(Photo: Allied Joint Command Brussun)

When your package has to get to someone immediately, call the Royal Norwegian Air Force.

The patient in the town of Bodø was dying. Doctors needed to perform a specialized procedure to save his life, yet they didn't have the necessary equipment to do it. But a hospital in Trondheim, 280 miles away, did have that equipment.

Hospital officials in Trodheim went to the nearby Air Force base. The Guardian reports that the officers there didn't hesitate and immediately fired up an F-16 fighter jet:

“They didn’t ask any questions, except for what size the machine was,” Anders Wetting Carlsen, chief doctor at Trondheim’s Saint Olaf hospital, told AFP.

In a further stroke of good luck, one of the fighter jets was equipped with an external hold that allowed it to transport equipment. The machine was loaded on to the aircraft, which made for Bodø at top speed.

The trip normally takes 35 minutes. But the pilot pushed hard and got there in just 25 minutes. This quick delivery saved the patient's life.

-via Glenn Reynolds


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Meet PuiPui, The Most Fashionable Rabbit in the World

This is PuiPui, a Holland Lop and celebrity in the rabbit world. He's a fashion model without equal, dressing in only the most perfecty designed and crafted outfits. Whatever PuiPui wears is guaranteed to be the new look, so pay close attention.

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Love cute animals? View more at Lifestyles of the Cute and Cuddly blog

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Little Owl Uses Mushroom as Umbrella

This is Poldi, a pet owl. He's just one and a half years old.

Poldi lives with Tanya Brandt, a photographer. Recently, when Poldi and Brandt went out together, it started to train. Poldi sought shelter under a mushroom. The resulting photo is like something out of a fantasy movie!

You can see more photos of Poldi at play at Bored Panda.

-via My Modern Met

Love cute animals? View more at Lifestyles of the Cute and Cuddly blog

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Custom Prosthetic Lets Ballet Dancer Do en Pointe Again

(Photo: Gabi Shull)

When she was 9 years old, Gabi Shull was diagnosed with cancer in her right knee. So doctors amputated her leg, removed the knee, then re-attached the rest of the leg backwards. 


(Video Link)

This surgery reduced her ability to enjoy dancing. She couldn't dance en pointe--that is, on tip toes--until she got a custom prosthetic leg. This prosthetic slips over her right leg. When she flexes her ankle, it acts as her knee. Now 14, Gabi is back dancing, cheerleading, and inspiring others to overcome their challenges.

-via The Soul Is Bone

See more about baby and kids at NeatoBambino

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This 3-Year Old Saved a Birthday Cupcake for Her Favorite Garbage Man

(Photo: Traci Andracke)

Brooklyn Andracke gets very excited when the garbage truck rolls through her neighborhood. It's a chance to meet the driver and her friend, Delvar Dopson. They wave at each other and Dopson honks the powerful horn on his truck.

So when Brooklyn had her third birthday party, she saved a cupcake for Dopson. Brooklyn's mother writes on Facebook:

Brooklyn and I wrapped up one of her birthday cupcakes and waited for him. When he came down our street, she ran to the corner. We were waving like usual and I motioned for him to come over by us. He pulled over, got out and gave us his BIG smile. Brooklyn was instantly speechless as she handed him the cupcake. I explained to him that he makes our day every Thursday, and we really appreciate the honking and waving, and how special of a day it is for us.

Then... (melt my heart)... he explained that he looks forward to seeing us every Thursday as well. He said that he has a meeting every Thursday morning and always tries to get out of there in a hurry so that he can make sure to see us every week. He said he doesn't have any kids of his own, but he mentors several children and just loves them. I can't believe that I never got his name, so for now he will continue to be "our favorite awesome smiley garbage man".

-via BuzzFeed

See more about baby and kids at NeatoBambino

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Kittens vs. Thugs


(Video Link)

Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele of the famous comedy duo Key & Peele bring us this promotional video for their new movie Keanu. The roughest, toughest, most muscle-bound and tatted thugs face off against the cutest kittens in a staring contest. Who will prevail?

-via Tastefully Offensive

Love cute animals? View more at Lifestyles of the Cute and Cuddly blog

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Actors Have Been Dying to Play the Role of Yorick in Hamlet

(Photo: David Tennant as Prince Hamlet by The Times)

In Shakespeare's Hamlet, Yorick the court jester was famous for his wit and performances:

Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio: a fellow
of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy: he hath
borne me on his back a thousand times; and now, how
abhorred in my imagination it is! my gorge rims at
it. Here hung those lips that I have kissed I know
not how oft. Where be your gibes now? Your
gambols? your songs? your flashes of merriment,
that were wont to set the table on a roar? Not one
now, to mock your own grinning? quite chap-fallen?
Now get you to my lady's chamber, and tell her, let
her paint an inch thick, to this favour she must
come; make her laugh at that.

Yet he is silent throughout Hamlet because he is dead (though this condition doesn't stop Hamlet's father). Nonetheless, because Yorick appears in one of the most famous scenes of Shakespearean drama, some actors want to play him. So they have bequeathed their skulls on the condition that they be used in performances of Hamlet. Hyperallergic reports:

For example, there’s John Reed, who worked as a stagehand at the Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia in the 19th century. As the theater’s website explains, he stated in his will that he “wanted his skull separated from his body, duly prepared, and used to represent the skull of Yorrick in Hamlet. His wish was granted, and the skull is signed by many famous actors of the day who performed in Shakespeare’s play.” Macy Halford in the 2009 article “Skullduggery” for the New Yorker, noted that another man named Juan Potomachi in 1955 “promised two hundred thousand pesos to the Teatro Dramático in Buenos Aires, on the condition that his skull be used as Yorick in any future productions of Hamlet,” a proposition that was apparently accepted.

-via Jonah Goldberg

P.S. Today is the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death.


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How to Make S'more Eclairs

Hannah, the Domestic Gothess, made these simply perfect eclairs with a toasted marshmallow cream filling. She dipped the tops in melted chocolate, then added gourmet marshmallows. For a special treat, she covered the tops with craquelin, which is a type of French pastry dough. This give her s'more eclairs an extra crunch and sweetness. You can find her full recipe here.

-via Tasteologie

We dish up more neat food posts at the Neatolicious blog

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Japanese/English Phrasebook Is Absolutely Hilarious

Rocket News 24 tells us about English Vocabulary Not on Any Test. This is a new guide for native Japanese speakers who would like to learn English as it is actually used in conversation in the Anglosphere. The book describes ordinary people in daily activities, using both English and Japanese. You can view more pages here. They are, I cannot understate, extraordinarily funny.

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Terrifying Workplace Safety Video Is a 4-Minute Horror Movie


(Video Link)

This is Will You Be Here Tomorrow?, a 1994 workplace safety video sold by the United Safety Council. It imagines the worst case scenarios for industrial and warehousing jobs. It is extraordinarily blunt, using somewhat subpar visual effects to illustrate nails being driven into eyeballs, severed limbs, crushed skulls, and, at the 2:10 mark, a acetylene tank turned into a missile.

I worked in a warehouse to put myself through graduate school. It was filled with sleep-deprived people driving 13,000-pound forklifts as fast as they could to make impossible production quotas. It's amazing that people weren't killed there every day. Perhaps it's funny, but I could also see this safety video making an effective impression on workers.

Content warning: nearly non-stop blood and gore.

-via Atlas Obscura


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Finally! A Steve Buscemi Adult Onesie

Dangerous Minds appropriately calls this outfit the "holy grail" of fashion. Fashion designers might as well pack it in because the long quest for the perfect, every day, all day outfit is now finally complete. Rage On sells an adult onesie covered with faces of actor Steve Buscemi's movie characters.

Minor problem: there's no flap in the back. You could probably cut one, though.


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The Mermaid Bed

Circu is a Portugese company that makes "magical furniture" with a creative flair. The whole catalog is worth exploring. There you can see sofas that look like hot air balloons and chairs that look like rockets. They're fantastic starting points for imaginative play.

I'm especially taken with this clamshell bed fit for a mermaid princess. It's made of fiberglass and built with internal lighting.

The website neglects to mention the dimensions of the bed, which is a serious oversight. I don't want to buy a bed that I can't fit in.

-via Home Crux


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10 Easter Eggs Hidden in Superhero Movies

In The Amazing Spider-Man 2, the clock tower strikes 1:21 and Gwen Stacy falls to her death. This is a reference to the 1973 issue #121 of the comic book series in which Gwen dies.


(Video Link)

That's 1 of 10 impressive Easter eggs hidden discreetly in superhero movies, including the 1978 Superman and the 2008 film The Dark Knight. Learn about all of them in this new video by Screen Rant.


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Compassionate Judge Sentences Veteran to 24 Hours in Jail, Then Joins Him behind Bars


(Photos: Fayetteville Observer)

Sgt. Joseph Serna of the US Army Special Forces served 3 combat tours in Afghanistan. He had a very rough time there, experiencing the full horrors of war.

When Serna got out of the Army, he took those horrors with him.

Serna was arrested and charged with driving under the influence in Fayetteville, North Carolina. He got probation and entered a treatment program. He had to regularly report to the court on his treatment. During one of those court appearances, he confessed to Judge Lou Olivera that he had lied about a recent urine test.

Judge Olivera was himself a veteran, having served during the Gulf War. He understood that though Serna had broken the law, he was not a criminal by nature.

But he had to do his duty, so Judge Olivera sentenced Serna to spent 24 hours in jail. Then he took off his robe and joined Serna in his cell for the full 24 hours. The Fayetteville Observer reports:

"Where are we going, judge?" Serna asked.

"We're going to turn ourselves in," Olivera said.

"He said he was going to stay with me," Serna said. "I couldn't process a judge being my cellmate.

"They take me to the cell, and I'm sitting on my bunk. And, then, in walks the judge.

And then the two veterans talked:

Mostly, from five in the afternoon on April 13 until 6:30 a.m. the next day, the judge and the veteran talked about their respective military service, Serna's post-traumatic stress disorder from three tours of duty in Afghanistan and how the inmate could turn around his downward spiral that had resulted in a driving-while-impaired charge and other serious traffic offenses. […]

"We talked for hours about our families and our military service," Olivera says. "Our dreams for us and our families, and the road to take us there."

The judge wanted to help Serna climb out of the hole:

"I thought about a story that I once read," Olivera says. "It talked about a soldier with PTSD in a hole," he says. "A family member, a therapist and a friend all throw down a rope to help the veteran suffering. Finally, a fellow veteran climbs into the hole with him.

"The soldier suffering with PTSD asks, 'Why are you down here?' The fellow veteran replied, 'I am here to climb out with you.'

-via Glenn Reynolds


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Why 19th Century Scientists Didn't Think the Platypus Was Real

(Image: George Shaw and F.P. Nodder)

When European explorers wandered the most remote regions of the world, they brought back stories of strange creatures. One of those stories was of a bizarre hybrid animal from Australia that appeared to be part bird, part mammal, and had venomous spurs.

The platypus was just made-up, like unicorns and dragons, right? Natalie Zarrelli writes at Atlas Obscura:

In his laboratory study in 1799, biologist George Shaw stared down at his new specimen in disbelief. The creature from the colony of New South Wales came preserved in pungent alcohol, and he carefully snipped the thick, brown pelt around the creature’s beak, sure he would soon reveal the stitches where an expert taxidermist had fused the bird and beast together. It was like nothing he had seen before: the creature had the body of a furry brown cat, four short legs and sharp claws over webbed feet; the tail of a beaver, but the beak of a duck.

Shaw had met his first platypus, and did not for a moment believe it was possibly real.

Despite the preserved specimens returning from Australia, many scientists continued to believe that the platypus was a hoax. Some suspected that it was an accident of nature brought about by breeding between species. It would be a century before they definitely confirmed that the platypus was indeed real and, in fact, a mammal:

In the late 1800s, Scottish zoologist William Hay Caldwell finally managed to dissect fresh platypus eggs and confirmed once and for all that the animal did in fact lay them, though the embryos partially developed inside the platypus’s body, which also nursed its young. The platypus was classified as a mammal—one of five that are known to lay eggs, in the order Monotremata.


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Study: Circumcision Does Not Reduce Sensitivity of the Penis


(Photo: Jason Hutchens)

Routine infant circumcision used to be the norm in the United States. In the 1960s, about 83% of newborn boys were circumcised. That's fallen to about 24% as of two years ago.

One of the arguments against infant circumcision (and the practice in general) is that removing the foreskin reduces the sexual sensitivity of the penis. It thus directly impacts the pleasure of sex for men.

But now a study of men who were circumcised as babies finds that circumcision does not lead to significantly reduced penile sensitivity. Nicholas Bakalar writes for the New York Times:

The scientists tested the men for tactile and heat sensitivity of the penis at four points: the midline shaft, the area next to the midline, the glans and, for the uncircumcised, the foreskin. As a control, they also tested a site on the inside of the forearm.

Uncircumcised and circumcised men did not differ in sensitivity to touch or temperature at any of the four sites tested, and sensitivity at the forearm was lower than any penile site for both groups. [...]

“Neonatal circumcision doesn’t make the penis less sensitive,” said a co-author of the study, Caroline F. Pukall, a professor of psychology at Queen’s University in Ontario. “We can conclude that there are no significant differences in sensitivity between the circumcised and uncircumcised groups.”

-via Glenn Reynolds


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Dapper, Geeky Hats for Every Fan

What do you need to complete your look before heading out for that first date? Perhaps it's a fez that looks like the TARDIS because fezes are cool. Or maybe it's BB-8 top hat or a Wonder Woman crush cap. Whatever your fancy and your fanbase, the Etsy shop The Blonde Swan can accomodate you. It makes leather and felt caps for a vast variety of interests and fashions.

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Florida's Dragon Problem

(Photo: Malcolm Manners)

Arkive describes the Nile monitor:

The Nile monitor (Varanus niloticus) is not only Africa’s largest lizard but also one of the continent’s most voracious predators (3). Stout-bodied and powerful, this formidable reptile has an elongated snake-like head, sharp claws, and a long, compressed tail which it uses to great effect when under threat (3) (4) (5).

These dangerous predators can grow up to 2 meters long. So, naturally, people want to keep them as pets.

Wildlife experts in the United States are worried. They're looking at Florida, the Australia of America, which is already packed with animals that want to kill you, including alligators, snakes, and spiders. It's also the adopted home of many invasive species, such as cane toads and Burmese pythons.

Florida is prime real estate for invasive reptiles and amphibians. And pet Nile monitors, should they ever escape or be set free by terrified owners, would like the place. Then they could sweep across the United States. Ed Yong of The Atlantic talked to biology doctoral student Stephanie Dowell:

It can survive through the cold and frosty winters of southern Africa by hibernating. If it got into the U.S., Dowell’s simulations predict that it could make itself comfortable across the eastern and western seaboards, especially if the climate continues to warm.

“If, for example, we decided to crack down on the trade in West Africa, and the exploitation shifted to south Africa, that lineage could spread very quickly,” says Hekkala. “Its invasiveness is much greater. It is so pre-adapted to the North American climate that it could spread almost to Chicago, even without climate change.”

-via Dave Barry


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