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McDonald's Offers Scented Candles

The six scents are sesame seed bun, ketchup, onion, ground "beef", pickles, and cheese. If you light them all, you have simulated the experience of eating a McDonald's Quarter Pounder hamburger. Fox News reports that this is one of many products on sale from McDonald's to promote its lifestyle.

Our own company, Neatorama, really should do the same thing by selling a line of candles, each of which smells like a particular author. Burn them together for the supreme Neatorama olfactory experience.

-via Aelfred the Great | Photo: McDonald's


Literally Food For Thought

One of the not-so-secret things in living a good and healthy life is eating the right food. Eating the right food would help us avoid diseases and illnesses.

Perhaps the most dangerous and most depressing diseases of all are those related to our cognitive function. After all, the brain is the body’s command center, and therefore, one should protect it, and fortify it, as best as he can. Thankfully, there are certain types of food that help us in taking care of our brain — a literal food for thought.

UTS research fellow Dr Luna Xu has studied data from 139,000 older Australians and found strong links between certain food groups, memory loss and comorbid heart disease or diabetes.
Dr Xu found high consumption of fruit and vegetables was linked to lowered odds of memory loss and its comorbid heart disease. High consumption of protein-rich foods was associated with a better memory.

Check out more details about this study over at EurekAlert.

(Image Credit: Pixabay)


82-Year-Old Message In A Bottle Found On A Beach

Found drifting in the water on the beach in the Bel Royal area on the English Channel is a bottle. Inside a bottle was a message dated Sept. 5, 1938, which meant it floated for almost 82 years. A man named Nigel Hill found the aforementioned bottle.

The letter, which was signed John Stapleford, included an address in Hertfordshire, England, and asked that the person who finds the bottle get into contact with its author.
Hill said he managed to get into contact with the current resident of the listed address, but they were not related to the former resident and didn't know how to contact his family.

While Stapleford might no longer be in this world, Hill still would like to find Stapleford’s family to present the message to them.

Have you ever picked a bottle with a message inside from the ocean before?

(Image Credit: Centre Point Trust/ Facebook)


Corn with a Pearl Earring

Korean artist @nanankang offers a delicious take on a classic. Johannes Vermeer's iconic 1665 painting Girl with a Pearl Earring is immediately recognizable in cereal form.

-via Colossal


True Facts: the Mating Dance of The Peacock Spider

It appears that Ze Frank read the article Fourteen Fun Facts About Love and Sex in the Animal Kingdom, which we linked here just a couple of days ago. He then ran to get some peacock spider footage from Jürgen Otto (previously at Neatorama) and wrote a little song about the peacock spider's sex life. This amusing video might possibly contain NSFW language, depending on your workplace.


Long Chile, Ohio2, and the Snack Rack

Last week, we shared a map of the Americas by Anna Calcaterra, which made Ohio 2 a viral meme. It turns out that Anna has a long history of spreading chaos. Her father shared some of her earlier projects, including the note above that appeared when she was five years old. A few years later, she was reported for vandalizing Wikipedia in the most delightful way.

After interrogations, I discovered that Anna, then 12 years-old, had done it. I asked her why. She did not have a satisfying answer, but the real answer revealed itself in her non-answer: she is basically just an agent of chaos. She's the dog who doesn't know what she'd do if she ever caught the car she was chasing.

And her brother Carlo has gone viral a couple of times already. Both have outshone anything their father has posted on social media. "Which, given that I have been a professional journalist for an international media company for a decade, is quite the damn thing." And both have managed to leverage their work for their own benefit. Read about the viral family at Craig Calcaterra's blog. -via Metafilter


Maru Puts on the Box

After ten years of testing every box possible, it looks as if Maru has found the perfect one- a box he can fit into, sort of, and carry around with him. A box he can wear while doing other things. And one he can get out of when he wants to!

See more of Maru in previous posts.


How One Man and His Dog Rowed More Than 700 Kākāpōs to Safety

Don Merton with the kakapo named after Richard Henry.

The kakapo is native to New Zealand, a flightless and rather friendly bird that smells like papayas. They evolved under no threat from predators until humans arrived, yet they weren't endangered until weasels and ferrets were introduced in the 1860s to control the invasive rabbit population (the best-laid plans and all that). The kakapo's declining numbers alarmed taxidermist Richard Henry.    

In 1893, in Auckland, New Zealand, 48-year-old Richard Henry was going through a peculiar midlife crisis. It wasn’t for any of the usual reasons, such as a failed marriage (though he had one) or a failed career (though he had been chasing a dream job for several years), but rather it was over his obsession with flightless, moss-colored parrots called kākāpōs. Henry had observed the birds’ steep decline after mustelids, such as ferrets and stoats, were introduced to the country, and had spent much of the previous decade trying to convince scientists that the birds were in real danger of going extinct, write Susanne and John Hill in the biography, Richard Henry of Resolution Island. But Henry, who did not have traditional scientific training, went unheard by scientists. On October 3, a deeply depressed Henry attempted to shoot himself twice. The first shot missed and the second misfired, and Henry checked himself into the hospital, where doctors removed the bullet from his skull.

Henry recovered, which was good news for the kakapos. He spent years hunting the birds and taking them to safety. While Henry's efforts were akin to sticking one's finger in a dyke to hold back a flood, his ideas are being resurrected today in order to save the last 211 kakapos in existence. Read about the kakapos of New Zealand and the man who tried to save them at Atlas Obscura.

(Image credit: Errol Nye, National Kakapo Team, DOC.


Scientists: Blue Tits Engage in Promiscuous Mating

Do you see the pair of tits in the above photo? Pretty nice, right? Well, they're not Japanese great tits (Parus major), which use syntax. They're Eurasian blue tits (Cyanistes caeruleus), which scientists find fascinating for other reasons.

After carefully observing these tits for a long time, researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology concluded that the females among normally monogamous birds sometimes stray and mate with male birds other than their social mates. ITV reports:

Scientists found that birds which often foraged together in the colder months were more likely to end up as breeding pairs or partners outside of their couple.
They say many socially monogamous bird species engage in sexual behaviour outside their pair bond, often resulting in chicks. [...]
They studied blue tits that typically form monogamous pairs, but frequently mate outside their pair.
First-author of the study, Kristina Beck, said: “As most extra-pair sires are close neighbours, one could think that extra-pair paternity in blue tits might simply be the result of coincidental meetings between neighbours, and not a social preference for specific mating partners.”
About half of all nests contain at least one young with a genetic father other than the social one, and up to 15% of all offspring are sired by extra-pair males.

-via Dave Barry | Photo: David Aiken


King Cake Burger

A King Cake is a cake traditionally eaten by communities in the United States that celebrate Mardi Gras. The sugary purple and yellow cake is consumed on the Christian feast day of Epiphany, which is often celebrated on January 6. Inside the cake is a tiny figurine of a baby. The lucky person whose slice of King Cake contains that baby is the honorary king of the day.

Learn from my mistake: the royal position is purely ceremonial and lacks any power whatsoever, so do not make any dictatorial commands upon friends and co-workers.

Anyway, Calandro's grocery store and the Burgersmith restaurant, both culinary institutions of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, have joined forces to offer the Mardis Gras Mambo Burger. This bacon cheeseburger is wrapped around twisted King Cake dough. You can read more about it courtesy of local news reporter and meteorologist Steve Caparotta.

-via Rod Dreher | Photo: Burgersmith


Violinist Performs During Her Own Brain Surgery

Violinist Dagmar Turner needed to have a brain tumor removed. She was very concerned that the surgeons at King's College Hospital in London might accidentally damage the brain tissue which controlled fine motor movements. So the surgeons allowed her to play her violin while they operated on her. The Washington Post reports:

The scene was a testament to the success of a once-contentious procedure now embraced in hospitals around the world. Surgeons working close to parts of the brain that control important functions such as speech or movement routinely keep patients awake to best determine where tumor gives way to something vital. [...]
Turner went under general anesthesia while they opened her skull. But the brain itself does not have pain receptors, and she was wide-awake for the tumor’s removal, playing Gershwin, Mahler and more.

-via USA Today


Dr. Nicholas Senn, The Surgeon Who Blew Gas up Patients' Butts

The challenge for Dr. Nicholas Senn, a US Army surgeon during the late 19th Century, was how to quickly assess abdominal gunshot wounds before the invention of x-ray machines. Was the path of a bullet a flesh wound, or had it penetrated the intestines, thus requiring a more complicated surgery?

His solution was to pump hydrogen gas up the patient's rectum*, then hold a flame to the wound. If the gas ignited, that indicated that the gunshot wound had indeed damaged the intestines.

To test this method, Senn first pumped gas up his own rectum to see what it would feel like. Then, in separate experiments, he performed the surgery on animals that had suffered gunshot wounds. You can read his book on the subject here.

Dr. Senn's methods were apparently successful and he went onto other medical accomplishments. Kaushik Patowa of Amusing Planet writes:

Although the first human patient, a 27-years-old black man with a 38 caliber pistol shot wound to his stomach, did not survive, the procedure itself was a success and eventually found use in military surgery to detect bowel wounds in soldiers. Dr. Senn’s methods only became obsolete when X-rays became standard diagnostic tool.
Nicholas Senn was a pioneer in surgical medicine. Aside from his work on gastrointestinal perforation, Doctor Senn was involved in experimental research on acute pancreatitis, plastic surgery, head and neck oncology, and the treatment of leukaemia with x-rays. He strongly supported the early operation for appendicitis, which was not the practice of the time. He also stressed the importance of first aid, first introduced to the military by the German surgeon Friedrich von Esmarch in 1870. Senn frequently quoted the German dictum, “The fate of the wounded rests with the one who applies the first dressing”.

*"Rectum? 'Pert near killed him!"


Indiana Professor Suspended After Calling The Police On A Student Who Refused To Move Seats

Marketing professor Shaheen Borna is suspended from teaching at Ball State University after calling the police on a student who declined to change seats in his class. Borna told the student, Sultan Benson, to move to another seat for no reason. When Benson refused to move seats, Borna called the police. Yahoo News has more details: 

In a series of Twitter messages at the time, Benson told NBC News that he usually sits in the front of the class but that another student was in his seat that day. So the professor told him to sit in the back of the class, "which was no problem for me," Benson said.
Benson said he was using a laptop that was plugged in and charging so he could follow a PowerPoint presentation.
Then, after another student left class, Borna told Benson to move to the student's seat.
"I asked him why [and] he wouldn't give me an answer," Benson said, adding that the professor gave him two options — move or have the police called.
In a video of the incident posted on Twitter, a responding officer can be heard telling Benson that he could either move or leave class. When the student asked why he had to switch seats, another officer asked whether he was being disruptive.
Other students can be heard saying "no" and "he hasn't done anything wrong."
Benson eventually left the classroom rather than move seats.

image via Yahoo News


Taxi Driver Photographs Dreamy Japanese Scenes

Issui Enomoto presents a dreamy take on Tokyo and Yokohama. The 43-year-old taxi driver has taken photos of the two cities for more than a decade from his car during his night shift. To create the dreamlike quality of his photographs, he overlays multiple shots, as CNN details: 

Enomoto takes photographs throughout his night shift, then overlays multiple shots to create a dreamlike effect with varying exposures. The resulting pictures offer ethereal glimpses of individuals before they fade into the night.
The photographer's work has been exhibited as part of a group show at the Tokyo Photographic Art Museum. He has also had solo shows at smaller, independent spaces such as Tokyo's Gallery Kan.
Enomoto's work captures these transient, unspoken encounters with passengers -- or even just passersby.
"I like taking photographs of passengers or commuters -- people who I don't know," said Enomoto. "I capture them when they pass by my vehicle. They are like a reflection of me as I can see something of myself in the person that passes."

image via CNN


An Honest Trailer for Knives Out

This Honest Trailer contains spoilers, but I don't care, I watched it and now I want to see Knives Out. It's a star-studded murder mystery, which is usually not my cup of tea. But how could you not want to watch a film in which James Bond has a "Kentucky fried Foghorn Leghorn drawl"? Besides, it was both a critical and box office hit, and everyone I know who saw Knives Out said they liked it. Screen Junkies appears to as well, although they did find plenty of ways to poke fun at the movie.

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