Scientists tell Gawker, "It's probably okay to eat your own poop"

They aren't saying you should do it. There's really no reason to. (Even fecal transplants are done in a much less disgusting manner.) But if, for whatever reason, you were to ingest your own poop, you probably won't get sick and die from it. Somebody else's poop, on the other hand, is more risky. So, glad we got that cleared up.

How Reddit is making you afraid of cantaloupes

Trypophobia — a fear that isn't, technically, a disorder, but is, most likely, a brilliant example of how easy it is to be influenced by the power of suggestion. This piece by NPR's Michaeleen Doucleff has me trying to remember what (if anything) I thought about the word "moist" before I first heard that it was a word most people found to be disgusting.

Edible horror installation in London


Last night I finally got to see one of Evil Miss Cakehead's edible horror installations in person. The Helpers is a grotesque, edible pop-up shop in Bethnal Green Road near Brick Lane, which opened last night. It features dismembered bodies, murder weapons, cigarette butts, car batteries with wires, blood-spattered knives, bags of vomit, Chinese takeout meals, and even a television -- all made of cake, all edible, and all delicious. There really are no words for the dissonance presented by such a scene. But it's pretty special.

So last night we opened The Helpers – a experiential experience serving cocktails and cake all themed around the movie of the same name – a stunt for Koch Media. The creations were incredible and (never thought I would say this) we pushed the limits so far we are all looking forward to some pretty cake projects for Valentine’s Day and beyond. You can see all the cakes over on Miss Cakehead’s Facebook page, and them featured on This Morning here. Just bear in mind they were for a horror film so they are made to the brief set by our client Koch Media. We have not just lost our minds and started making really dark cakes. In fact the chocolate gun was so disturbing and realistic we gave it as an extra present to someone who has always been massively supportive of our work (I had to get it out of there!). Huge thanks to Original Content London for creating an awesome and very disturbing set.

The Helpers – Horror Movie Edible Installation

Read the rest

Have you ever wondered what castrated testicles would look like, if they were lovingly rendered in chocolate? Wonder no more. Cory

A video featuring "Vomiting Larry"

By popular demand (and the help of intrepid readers Broan and theophrastvs), I present you a video clip of the humanoid robot known as Vomiting Larry.

Larry is used to study the way particles of puke become aerosolized, and how those particles spread and help infect other people. That's important, because it explains one of the ways that viruses spread by vomiting manage to end up in everyday things like, say, frozen raspberries. Aerosolized vomit isn't something you can spot. It doesn't clean up easily. And even just a drop of it can pass on plenty of viruses.

Carl Zimmer had a great piece up yesterday on norovirus, the virus that researchers are studying with the help of Vomiting Larry. His story has more info on how that virus spreads and will give you a better idea of why Vomiting Larry is so important.

Meet Vomiting Larry

Vomiting Larry is a humanoid robot designed to projectile vomit all over a lab at the Health and Safety Laboratory in Derbyshire, England. He's helping scientists learn about how diseases spread. Warning: If you read this Reuters story by Kate Kelland you will be forced to acknowledge the existence of "aerosolized vomit". (Via Microbe World)

Cat toys shaped like microbes

Behold, a truly fantastic gift for the cat in your life — catnip-filled soft toys shaped like amoebas, cyanobacteria, and (pictured above) giardia.

Giardia are microscopic parasites that can invade the guts of vertebrate animals, including cats and humans. Generally, you get it by ingesting giardia-infested feces. For humans, this mostly means contaminated drinking water, because giardia are harder to kill than you might think. They can survive quite happily outside of a host and are resistant to chlorine.

Blue giardia cat toy

Read more on giardia (and see pictures) at the CDC website

Guts in sofas


A pair of sofas from Cao Hui's "Visual Temperature" series hint at a kind of biological secret life of soft furnishings.

Visual Temperature — Sofa

Visual Temperature — Sofa No.2

(via Richard Kadrey)

Pizza Hut perfume

NewImage

Pizza Hut Canada produced a limited-edition perfume. Apparently, Eau de Pizza Hut has "“top notes of freshly baked, hand-tossed dough." I guess it beats smelling like pepperoni or anchovies. (TODAY, via NextDraft)

How To: Preserve a bat for museum display

Here's a big difference between nature and a natural history museum: In the wild, when you find a skeleton of anything, it's seldom arranged in a neat, orderly, anatomically correct manner. Even if an animal dies in captivity, nature won't just conveniently produce a skeleton suitable for mounting.

So how do museums get the perfect skeletal specimens that you see behind glass?

The answer: Lots and lots and lots of tedious work. Plus the assistance of a few thousand flesh-eating bugs.

This video from the University of Michigan traces the creation of a bat skeleton, from a fleshy dead bat in a jar, to a neat, little set of bones in a display case. It's painstaking (and moderately disgusting) work. Sort of like building model cars, if the Ford Mustang had realistic organ tissue.

Thanks to Neil Shurley!

Pssst, hey kid. Wanna see some sea lice eat a dead pig?

Come on. It's for science.

In fact, it's meant to help people.

Researchers at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada, put a dead pig in a shark-proof (and octopus-proof, as you'll see) cage and stuck it in the ocean in order to learn more about how human remains decompose underwater. That knowledge will help forensic scientists interpret crime scenes.

Most of the work is done by maggots known as sea lice, but towards the end, after the maggots have eaten the good bits, you can watch some fat, red shrimp move in to pick apart the cartilage.

Read the full story about this research at New Scientist

Via Deep Sea News

Field biologist describes horrific foot-fungus


Fuzzyatelin, a field biologist, offers graphic and compelling advice on keeping your feet dry during your fieldwork.

1) For frak’s sake, DRY OUT YOUR SOCKS. Put them over the fan over night so that you have 5 precious, precious moments of dryness before stepping out that door into the rain again…

2) Air everything out. For real. I mean everything. If you have electricity, lay in front of a fan in the buff for at least two hours every evening. You think I’m joking… but:

3) When your feet start to bleed - and boy, will they ever - don’t panic. The hole that appears to be eating its way into the space between your 4th and 5th toes on your right foot won’t go any deeper than a full centimeter (you know this because you stuck your finger inside of it and then measured the extent of the bloody seepage on your pinkie finger… the hole is that wide and deep).

4) Ditch the hat. Ditch the hat. Ditch the - oh. Now it’s on your scalp.

It gets worse.

Things I Learned as a Field Biologist #639 (via JWZ)

(Image: Fungi, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from dmclear's photostream)

1 gallon jug of 1992 McDonald's McJordan barbecue sauce sells for $9,995 on eBay


"That 1992 vintage of McDonald's McJordan BBQ sauce, which was on eBay yesterday, has actually been sold to an anonymous buyer in Chicago, Illinois for the "Buy it Now" price of $9,995."

Wax anatomy-model cake

Conjurer’s Kitchen created this anatomical wax-model cake for the mad bakers at Eat Your Heart Out. Delicious and educational!

Anatomical Wax Model Cake

Viruses to the rescue

Technology Review's list of 35 Innovators Under 35 includes Timothy Lu, an MIT researcher who is engineering viruses designed to seek out and destroy biofilms — bacterial colonies that stick together on a surface, like bits of pear suspended in the world's most disgusting jell-o salad. Biofilms have been implicated in human disease, especially chronic infections like those that can happen in the urinary tract and inner ear. But the first place Lu's biofilm-eating viruses will likely be put to work is cleaning out ducts in industrial HVAC systems. (Via Carl Zimmer)