Bald Head Waxing

(YouTube link)

Lots of men go for a hairless head, because it's cooler in hot weather and you don't have to think about how your hair looks. It's also an easy way to hide the fact that you are losing hair. But shaving every day can get old. How about having your head waxed? Wax on, wax off! However, the procedure itself is not the most pleasant way to spend your time, as you can see. I don't know what's being said, but this is the most action I've ever seen in a barber shop. I could readily believe this was a skit from a comedy show. -via Boing Boing


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That Time the U.S. Government Set Off a Pair of Nukes Under Mississippi

As World War II slipped into the Cold War, the US conducted tests of nuclear weapons in the surface, in the air, and underwater. By 1959, scientists were considering underground tests. Government officials regarded such detonations as an experiment to figure out if the Soviets could conduct such tests without us knowing, which would give the Americans a reason not to verify an agreement with them about nuclear testing. Got that? Geologic requirements pointed to the salt domes of Mississippi as a possible site for an underground detonation in 1964. After a couple of false evacuations, the first test occurred on October 22.

To Brenda Foster, “It felt like the Earth just raised up and set back down.”

“The windows on the house were shaking and rattling, and you could see the chimney on the house cracked all the way down,” says Foster, who was a few days shy of her 10th birthday. “That’s about all I remember of that, but I never will forget it.”

In the aftermath, about 400 people filed claims for damages with the government, mostly for cracked plaster or masonry. On Nobles’s father’s farm, eight miles from the blast site, two wells quit working after the blasts. But one man, Horace Burge, found his house was “completely destroyed,” says Nobles, who was friends with Burge’s son.

“It broke everything on the inside of his house, threw the stuff out of his cabinets, and messed his foundation up,” Nobles says.

A second test was conducted two years later. Read about the nukes of Mississippi at Atlas Obscura.

(Image source: Mississippi Department of Archives and History)


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The 2000s Internet

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Doesn't it just grind your gears when you see people getting nostalgic, or even historical, about the 2000s? Well, the 21st century started 18 years ago, even if it seems like just yesterday. Neatorama has been around for 13 years now. And even if you've been networking with other computer users "online" since the '80s, the real boom in internet usage came about in the 2000s. That's why the Mental Floss gang is taking a trip down memory lane with a look at the internet in the first decade of this century in the latest episode of Scatterbrained.   


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RIP Aretha Franklin

The Queen of Soul has passed. Aretha Franklin died of pancreatic cancer this morning at her home in Detroit. Born into a musical family, she began singing professionally as a teenager in the 1960s, and eventually recorded music in a variety of genres: pop, soul, jazz, gospel, blues, and even opera. According to the New York Times,

Ms. Franklin had a grandly celebrated career. She placed more than 100 singles in the Billboard charts, including 17 Top 10 pop singles and 20 No. 1 R&B hits. She received 18 competitive Grammy Awards, along with a lifetime achievement award in 1994. She was the first woman inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, in 1987, its second year. She sang at the inauguration of Barack Obama in 2009, at pre-inauguration concerts for Jimmy Carter in 1977 and Bill Clinton in 1993, and at both the Democratic National Convention and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s funeral in 1968.

Franklin was an inspiration to generations of singers, and continued recording into her 70s. Aretha Franklin was 76.


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The Real Red Baron

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Most of us know the Red Baron from the Peanuts comic, or maybe the song that was inspired by Snoopy's imaginary adventures as a World War I flying ace. But Manfred von Richthofen was a real German flying ace during World War I. Simon Whistler of Today I Found Out tells us his story.  


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How Not to Get Screwed Over by Your Mechanic

Car repairs can be expensive, as anyone who owns a car knows. But with such high bills at stake, we are scared of the prospect of paying for repairs we don't need, or in other words, getting ripped off by mechanics because we don't know as much about our vehicles as they do. The good news is that most mechanics are not out to cheat you. They are out to build a reputation and a loyal customer base. But the few that take the opportunity to wring extra money out of a car owner are enough to scare all of us. If you aren't inclined to learn car repair yourself, you should at least know what red flags to look for at a car repair shop.

Scare tactics can be a big, billowing red flag — especially if they’re accompanied by a long list of repairs or an expensive price tag. If the mechanic says you shouldn’t even drive the car home, or you’re fortunate it’s still running, or you’re lucky to be alive, or whatever, you might be reasonably suspicious, especially if you’re the type who services your ride fairly regularly.

The caveat in these instances, though, is for people who don’t regularly service their car. When that car finally develops a problem, or they need to take it in for something, there’s — duh — a greater chance that something major might actually be seriously wrong. “If you haven’t done anything to your car in two years, it probably is dangerous to drive!” Ibbotson points out. “I know people who don’t do anything to their car, and then 18 things are broken, and they go, ‘Why does it cost so much money to fix?’”

Mel magazine has more tips on how to deal with car repairs so you don't end up paying for repairs you don't really need. -via Digg


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How NASA’s Parker Solar Probe Will Touch the Sun

(YouTube link)

NASA launched the Parker Solar Probe on Sunday, heading toward the sun. It will take seven years to get there, and if the air conditioning system holds out, it will get as close as 3.8 million miles from the sun. It's also supposed to eventually become the fastest-moving object ever made by man. I'm impressed. Learn more about the mission at the Parker Solar Probe's blog. https://www.nasa.gov/content/goddard/parker-solar-probe  -via The Kid Should See This


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"Hey Jude" is 50 years Old

In August of 1968, the biggest band in the world released their biggest song ever. That was 50 years ago.

“Hey Jude” skyrocketed to the top of the singles charts in the United States and Great Britain in 1968. After an August 26 U.S. release, it immediately arrived in the Top Ten and sat atop Billboard’s Hot 100 for nine consecutive weeks, making it the most successful single recorded by the most prosperous band in history. The single sold more than 5 million copies worldwide in six months and 7.5 million over four years. It performed more spectacularly on the charts than any other single between 1959 and 1977. It was also the first release on the Beatles’ own record label—Apple.

This year, after McCartney’s surprise appearance in the Liverpool pub with Corden, “Hey Jude” joined two new McCartney tunes as well as five other Beatles numbers on Billboard’s Hot Rock Songs list. During the week of June 28, 5,000 people downloaded the song.

Read about the inspiration for the song, how John Lennon misinterpreted it, the recording session that Paul McCartney called "magic," how it resonated with audiences in a chaotic year, and the lasting legacy of "Hey Jude" at Smithsonian.

(Image credit: National Museum of American History)


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What If English Were Phonetically Consistent?

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English is a weird language, in that the written version consists of letters and phonemes that we pronounce many different ways, depending on the context. It takes years for a child, hearing nothing but spoken English, to master it orally, then many more years to master reading it. But what if pronunciation rules were internally consistent? In this video, Aaron Alon gradually applies consistent pronunciation to vowels until it doesn't sound like English at all. -via Nag on the Lake    


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The 60 Greatest Capes in Movie History

In The Incredibles, Edna Mode yelled "No capes!" But she was being practical, because capes are just not safe for animated superheroes. That doesn't mean they aren't cool. Capes are in no way limited to superheroes, either. Vampires wear them. So does royalty. And historical figures, futuristic aliens, and drag queens. Oh yeah, and some superheroes. But most of all, capes in film grace the shoulders of fashionable and exciting women.

If you read this list and ask “why is [ICONIC CAPE] missing?!?!?!,” it’s probably because it was worn by a dude. Sorry.

Still, how iconic a cape is does factor into its ranking on this list. So does how good it looks, how it contributes to the characterization of its wearer, and how it is wielded by its wearer, and a certain… well, let’s just call it je ne cape quoi.

The capes are not numbered, and may or may not be in rank order. A couple of the pictures may be NSFW. See and read about them at Film School Rejects. -via Metafilter


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Inside the Lab Where Spiders Put on Makeup

Successful species have two main drives- survival and reproduction. In many species of the jumping spider, these two drives create a biological tug-of-war for males, because female jumping spiders can be cannibals. To survive that battle between fear and lust, male jumping spiders have developed signal adaptations to be attractive to females for mating and repellant for eating. In the Taylor Lab at the University of Florida, researchers go the extra mile to sort those signals out.

So what might those signals be? Well, they're mixed: Habronattus pyrrithrix males have enchanting red faces, which happens to be a color that signals toxicity in prey. But an especially rosy complexion can also signal that a male is healthy. “If we give them a really good diet, their faces become brighter,” says Lisa Taylor, a behavioral ecologist who runs the lab. “That all suggests that females should be paying attention to color.”

To figure out whether they were noticing, the researchers presented female spiders with male suitors who were either bare-faced or painted over with black liquid eyeliner (Urban Decay, if you must know). The data is still trickling in, but Taylor is finding that female spiders are indeed less likely to attack males with red faces versus their face-painted peers.

This suggests a red face is a kind of double signal. Well-fed males are redder, which may be a sign of their fitness. But red also acts as a deterrent, tapping into a female’s aversion to a color that typically screams I’m toxic. “One is like, I have to tell you how good I am, and the other one is, OK, I'm going to do all these things so you don't eat me,” says UC Berkeley behavioral ecologist Damian Elias, who also studies jumping spiders.

Other species do it differently, which means, for example, gluing false eyelashes onto spiders to make them look bigger from a distance. Read about the business of altering how spiders look at Wired. -via Digg

(Image credit: Taylor Lab/University of Florida)


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An Honest Trailer for Avengers: Infinity War

(YouTube link)

Wasn't it just yesterday that Avengers: Infinity War was playing in theaters? Well, it sure seems like yesterday. But Screen Junkies already has an Honest Trailer for the latest chapter in the Avengers series, and it's full of spoilers, just in case you've been away from the internet and don't know how it turns out.  


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Cities of the World Where You Don’t Need AC or Heat, Mapped

Living in a "temperate zone" often means cold winters and hot summers, with short interludes of perfect temperatures in between. While that breaks up the monotony, the power bills at the extremes can be terrifying. Nolan Gray is studying for a graduate degree in city and regional planning from Rutgers. Inspired by an interlude living in Guatemala City, he looked around the world for places where you can live comfortably without using a heating system or an air conditioning system. He found 13 cities that fill the bill, and quite a few other places where you don't need much temperature control. That resulted in an interactive map where you can select a place to live where the temperature doesn't fluctuate much from comfortable. Find those 13 cities and look around the map at Medium. 


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People Whose Last Name is Obama

The $100,000 Pyramid is still on the air -who knew? The game that aired Sunday contained the most embarrassing moment in contestant Evan Kaufman's life, as he played with SNL alum Tim Meadows. It's a classic brain cramp, in front of the cameras.  

Kaufman tells entire the story in his own words in this Twitter thread. -via Digg


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17 Red Flags That First-Time House Hunters Should Watch Out For

The old adage in real estate is that location is the only thing that matters. I would add the size of the property, too, as that is very difficult to change. But while you can change a house, some repairs may beyond your budget. Before buying your first home, it's best to listen and heed the horror stories of people who've been there, done that. A reddit thread is full of them. Some highlights:

12. If you're hunting in a college town, get a map, draw a line from the popular bars to the dorms, and then DO NOT BUY A HOUSE ON THAT LINE.

"You would be shocked by the amount of vandalism and noise in that area." —sewnlurk

13. Beware of staged properties.

"Staging can hide flaws like a rug put over a damaged floor. Picture the place empty and check everything twice." —scangemode

If you're on a budget, every house will have some flaws, but you should be able to identify them and figure out which ones you can live with. Buzzfeed compiled a list of the best tips, and you are welcome to add others here to help a first-time home buyer.  

(Image credit: A McCarron)


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The Rock Falls

(YouTube link)

The bigger they are, the harder they fall! Maybe that's why Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson always manages to get a scene in every movie where he falls -and always survives, mostly unscathed. Nerdist put together a supercut so we can appreciate just how often it happens. You have to admit it looks cool, and that's what's important. -via Tastefully Offensive


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The Potato Paradox

Most of us, especially those in the food or shipping industries, know that you can save a lot of weight by dehydrating food. What if you had 100 pounds of potatoes, and each potato was 99% water. If you dehydrated those potatoes just a little, to the point that they were 98% water, how much would they weigh?

They would weigh 50 pounds. Believe it or not.

Wikipedia gives us a couple of explanations for the Potato Paradox.

Method 1

One explanation begins by saying that initially the non-water weight is 1 pound, which is 1% of 100 pounds. Then one asks: 1 pound is 2% of how many pounds? In order for that percentage to be twice as big, the total weight must be half as big.

Method 2

100 lb of potatoes, 99% water (by weight), means that there's 99 lb of water, and 1 lb of solids. It's a 1:99 ratio.

If the water decreases to 98%, then the solids account for 2% of the weight. The 2:98 ratio reduces to 1:49. Since the solids still weigh 1 lb, the water must weigh 49 lb for a total of 50 lbs for the answer.

You can also find the algebraic explanations on the same page, if you want to check further. By the way, potatoes are only around 79% water, but the paradox is in the math as a normal person would visualize it, not the food. Don't confuse pounds and percentage. -via TYWKIWDBI


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How Norman Conquerors Changed the History of Europe

(YouTube link)

You might think of the Normans (if you ever think of them at all) as French, but they were actually Vikings who converted to Christianity after they settled in the northern part of France (which became known as Normandy). They conquered England in the Battle of Hastings in 1066, but that was only the first leg of the path of conquests. This TED-Ed video gives us the short version of the long story of the vast influence of Norman conquerors in Europe, including our language.  -via Digg


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11 Sharp Facts About Annie Oakley

Phoebe Ann Moses was born on this date in 1860. You know her better as Annie Oakley, sharpshooting star of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. There was a lot more to her life than what people saw in the show, beginning with her peculiar childhood experiences.

1. SHE MADE HER FIRST SHOT AT 8 YEARS OLD.

Born on August 13, 1860 in a rural part of western Ohio, Phoebe Ann Moses grew up poor. Her father’s death in 1866 meant that she had to contribute to help her family survive, so she trapped small animals such as quail for food. At eight years old, she made her first shot when she killed a squirrel outside her house. “It was a wonderful shot, going right through the head from side to side. My mother was so frightened when she learned that I had taken down the loaded gun and shot it that I was forbidden to touch it again for eight months,” she later said.

2. SHE USED HER SHOOTING SKILLS TO PAY OFF HER MOM’S MORTGAGE.

Despite Oakley’s top-notch shooting skills, her widowed mother struggled to make ends meet. She sent Oakley to work for another family in exchange for her daughter getting an education. As a teenager, Oakley returned home (after working as a servant for an abusive family) and continued to hunt animals. She sold the meat to an Ohio grocery store, earning enough money to pay her mom’s $200 mortgage. She later wrote: "Oh, how my heart leaped with joy as I handed the money to mother and told her that I had saved enough to pay it off!"

That's just the beginning. Read about Annie Oakley's life, from her marriage at 16 to her work in World War I at Mental Floss.


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Strandbeest Evolution 2018

(YouTube link)

Dutch engineer/artist Theo Jansen is known for his Strandbeests, giant kinetic sculptures that move along the beach on their own, powered only by the wind. We posted quite a few of them over the years. Over time, the Strandbeests have evolved to be bigger, lighter, and faster. They seem to be living beings, although they are made of PVC pipe, string, and zip ties. Check out this video showing off his latest, most kinetic Strandbeests. At the very end, you see Jansen with his Animaris Rhinoceros Transport from 2006, just to show how far his art has come. -via Geekologie


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Family Tree House

This is a lovely way to visualize the relationships in a family! Redditor OrbDeluxxxe posted this photo of his family reunion, mentioning that the couple at the top have been married 60 years. Their children and spouses are below, and the third and fourth generation are at the bottom -five of them babes-in-arms. You know who came from who by the color-coordinated shirts. If you look closely (enlarge the image here), you'd guess that they are arranged in order of age from the left. A lot of planning went into this picture, and the results are stunning, even though four people are missing from the bottom row. OrbDeluxxxe added:

Nearly everyone on the bottom row at least has a BA or BS, there’s a PhD, an MD, an MBA, and a masters in social work on that row, and two who are hoping to get MDs in the near future. There is also a handful of engineers and 2 teachers.

Also: What a neat cabin to have a reunion in! -via reddit 

View more fun pics over at our NeatoPicto Blog

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Is the Dinosaur-Apocalypse Story Wrong?

(YouTube link)

If you went to school after 1980, you probably learned that the dinosaurs went extinct because of a huge asteroid smashing into the earth 66 millions years ago. If you went to school before 1980, you probably heard that it could be any one of a dozen different reasons and we possibly might never know the exact cause of the dinosaurs extinction. One of the competing ideas is that the mass extinction was caused by the Deccan Traps, a group of volcanoes that erupted for thousands of years, so long that they poisoned the entire earth. This hypothesis has been promoted by paleontologist Gerta Keller for decades, but it was overshadowed by physicist Luis Alvarez' discovery of the iridium layer that pinpointed the date of the asteroid. Scientists are still arguing over the reason for the death of the dinos, which you can read about at The Atlantic. -via Digg


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The Metrosexual Knights Who Defended Medieval Korea

King Chinhung of Korea's Silla Dynasty conceived of a training program to shape the country's most promising young people into a skilled class to serve the monarchy. The students were drawn from the aristocracy, and originally included girls, until one of the founding members pushed another into a stream and drowned her out of jealousy. After that, the program was called the Hwarang Boys Academy, which produced the the Hwarang Knights, an elite group of warriors who were known for their beauty, from their makeup to their jeweled shoes.

Roughly translated as “flower boys” or “flowering youth,” the Hwarang were male aristocrats who comprised an elite corps founded in the sixth century B.C. “Unfortunately, there’s a lot we don’t know about the Hwarang,” says Courtney Lazore, historian and author of The Hwarang Warriors — Silla’s Flower Boys. “We often liken them to knights, but they were much more than just fighters.” With their focus on religion, education and the military, it was “possible for [them] to become well-rounded leaders.”

They were warriors, but also nobility and cultural ambassadors. Read an overview of what we know about the Hwarang at Ozzy.

(Image credit: Jlsilo)


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Criminal Corralled by Crime-Fighting Cows

(YouTube link)

When Jennifer Anne Kaufman fled the stolen vehicle she was driving Monday, she cut across some pastureland, trying to evade police. After all, it was dark and maybe the Seminole County Sheriff’s helicopter couldn't see her well. But she didn't count on a herd of cows following her! Cows know that a person in their field might mean getting fed, or at least something novel to see. In this case, they saw an arrest. A search of the stolen SUV yielded a gram of cocaine. Read the story at the Tampa Bay Times. -via Boing Boing


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The Fantastic and Troubled History of the Video Phone

We take video calls for granted these days, but it wasn't so long ago that such a thing was science fiction, fantasy, or pure moonshine. AT&T promoted the idea in 1964 when they demonstrated a picture phone call at the World’s Fair in Queens.

The trouble was it was insanely expensive. A 15 minute video call would cost about $600 (adjusted for inflation).  So, it wasn’t exactly an instant success.

Yeah, those were the days when long-distance phone connections were charged by the minute, and video cameras were huge and pricy. For decades, video calls were always just around the corner as developments were made. Meanwhile, we dreaded it, because we couldn't see that there would be several other ways of communicating to someone that you weren't fit to be seen at the moment. The microchip was a leap forward in miniaturization, and the internet gave us the connectivity to really do it, finally. See an illustrated overview of the journey we took to FaceTime, Skype, and all the other methods of video chat we have today at Flashbak. -via Nag on the Lake


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Bowling Tricks and Pool Shots

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Poolbowl must be some kind of combination of billiards and bowling. All I know for sure is that Jason Belmonte and Florian "Venom" Kohler have a lot of time on their hands, and have used it to perfect some glorious tricks. So what if they have terabytes of outtakes, this compilation video is cool! -via Metafilter 

Check out more amazing talents over at our Mad Skills blog

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San Diego Comic Con 2018 Cosplay

San Diego Comic Con has come and gone for 2018, and once again, you didn't get to go. But here's a way to experience all the best cosplay anyway! Or maybe you did go, and you want to see it all again. Jill Harness and Zeon Santos attended (their tenth year!) and took tons of pictures, and posted them, sorted into different galleries you'll enjoy.

San Diego Comic Con Cosplay From 2018

Fun fact, this kid wasn’t even with the rest of the group, but just popped in for a picture.

The ones that dressed to impress are here.

Sexy Costumes Spotted at the 2018 San Diego Comic Con

More here.

Brilliant costume mashups from the 2018 San Diego Comic Con

Would you like fries with that beatdown? Is it just me, or would Loki have to be the Burger King in this world?

Take a character from column A and a character from column B and see what you can do. Bonus points if the combination makes a pun. Deadpool and Batman got mixed up with everything under the sun at Comic Con. See them here.

Rule 63 Cosplays from the 2018 San Diego Comic Con

There are always plenty of great cosplayers at Comic Con, but some of the most fun are those highlighting Rule 63 (that for every pop culture character, there is another version of the opposite gender).

See more of these gender-swapped costumes.

What I learned by taking my 8 month old son to Comic Con

I did a little research before we left and found that even though anyone under 13 can go to Comic Con for free, they still need a badge. Since my husband had to pick his badge up in person, we were able to get little Rigby’s badge printed at the same time. That being said, it turns out that if you have a kiddo under walking age, they don’t actually need a badge.

That said, if you plan to take a child next year, read all the tips and confirm any questions you may have before arriving in 2019, to see if any rules have changed.


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When Cats Go Fishing

(YouTube link)

In this goofy episode of Aaron's Animals, Aaron Benitez and his cat Prince Michael go fishing. They are not expert fishermen, like everyone else at the lakeside appears to be. But hey, fishing is supposed to be fun, not a competition! -via Tastefully Offensive


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Treating a Heart Attack in a Centaur

Dr. Wu and Dr. Funk had a discussion on Twitter about the proper treatment of a centaur having a heart attack. Where is the heart? Does he have more than one heart? After all, the hagfish and the octopus have auxiliary hearts, and a centaur has a lot of body to power. And what about the lungs? The conversation turned to centaur anatomy in general, which can get technical between medical doctors. Read their speculations and conclusions at Dorkly. -via Metafilter)

More on Centaur Anatomy

Anatomy of the Centaur

So How Does a Centaur Eat, Anyway?

The skeletal anatomy of the centaur of Volos

On the centaur's lungs

Do centaurs suckle from horse nipples or human nipples?


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The Easiest Way to Fold a Fitted Sheet


(YouTube link)

Terri Metz has a unique but simple way to fold a fitted sheet -yeah, right, as if there exists such a thing as a simple way to fold a fitted sheet. If I were to try this, I'd probably fall asleep in the middle. But I can't try this, because I'd need to vacuum the rug first, and I don't want to do that. See, I know how to fold a fitted sheet real nicely, but instead I just launder my sheets and put them back on the bed. -via Everlasting Blort


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