The Grand Haven Tribune's Kevin Collier reports on the Dogman, a cryptid that apparently rears its ugly head from time to time in West Michigan. "Legendary Dogman seen in Ottawa County?"
In a piece on octopus farming, Katherine Harmon mentions a fascinating fact — octopuses don't have an adaptive immune system, the handy-dandy network of different immune-response cells that allow us vertebrates to more easily fight off infections our bodies have encountered before.
That's a problem if you're trying to raise a bunch of invertebrates in close quarters (as per a farm) because you can't immunize them against pathogens that could easily spread from one octopus to another. As a random biological tidbit, though, it's just damned fascinating. Check out this doctoral thesis for more information on how the octopus immune system does work. You should also read this story that looks at the evolution of the adaptive immune system and asks a key question — does having immune "memory" really make us that much better off than the animals that don't have it?
Image: Octopus, a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from alicecai's photostream
A gentleman in Texas briefly became an involuntary drunk (at one point ending up in the hospital with a blood alcohol concentration of .37, despite not having imbibed all day) when a colony of brewer's yeast took up residence in his gut
and started converting every starchy food he ate into booze. — Maggie
This brilliant mushroom cloud Jesus ad was the work of the Psychiana movement of Moscow, Idaho, led by Dr. Frank B. Robinson, who was quite a chap.
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"It finally quit movin' though, now that it bit itself," says our intrepid narrator.
And that, writes wildlife ecologist David Steen, could have something to do with the fact that a decapitated copperhead head can still inject venom. More importantly, if it did, the rest of the snake's body likely wouldn't have any special defense against that venom.
This isn't an area where there has been a lot of research and experimentation (just imagine the required permits!), but snakes do not have special immunity from their own venom. When venom is stored in a snake's body, it is located within specially-evolved glands that can safely contain it. This is the same basic idea that allows us to hold potentially harmful stuff in our appendix or gall bladder. If chemicals escaped from a snake's venom gland (or our appendix or gall bladder), it would be bad news.
M. Otis Beard sez, "John Perry Barlow has confirmed the rumor with journalists: General Wesley Clark did indeed attend Burning Man 2013. . . but what does it mean?"
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Australian tights makers Black Milk continue to plumb the depths of weird juxtaposition and tessellation with these Sesame Street Yip-Yip-Yip leggings, which retail for AUD85 plus S&H.
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A red mailbox has mysteriously appeared on the side of a bridge crossing the River Thames in Sonning-on-Thames, Berkshire, England. Even village resident Uri Geller (yes, that Uri Geller) is puzzled by it. The Royal Mail was quick to comment that "It is certainly not an operational posting facility." (BBC News)
More than 90% of land plants have symbiotic relationships with fungus and those relationships seem to date back hundreds of millions of years. At Topologic Oceans, Charles Soeder explains how this fact has become a jumping off point for an interesting theory about the evolution of land plants
— maybe all the plants we see in our daily land-locked lives are the result of symbiotic blending of algae and fungus, similar to the way our own cells now depend on the offspring of a bacterial invasion in order to function. — Maggie
Swords: A major cause of nose loss in 16th-century Europe. (Also a problem: syphilis.) The good news is that somebody had a plan for how to replace your missing nose
. The bad news is that there was no anesthesia, the process could kill you, and you had to spend two weeks with your nose in your own armpit. — Maggie
Not CGI, but convection. Krista Mitchell at the BBC Weather Centre: "This rapidly rising air lifts dust, or straw, into the air. When conditions are right, the rising air will rotate."
In a review of scientific research on the subject of handedness and intelligence, researchers found that neither lefties nor righties came out ahead. Instead, the people with the biggest boost in cognitive performance were the folks who weren't heavily wedded to a single hand. The more ambidextrous subjects were, the better they performed on tests of cognitive skills
. — Maggie
The most mysterious village in Russia.
At The Kernel, James Cook writes about UVB-76, a "numbers station" emanating from Russia at 4625 kHz, broadcasting weirdness so perfect as to invite disbelief. One recent thrill: "Command 135 initiated," uttered on January 24, 2013.
The modern popularity of UVB-76 can be traced to /x/, 4chan’s non-archiving message board devoted to discussion of paranormal activity and unexplained mysteries. Just as 4chan created memes like Pedobear and Rickrolling, the online image board served to bring UVB-76 before the eyes of a host of internet users. Online chatter about the signal increased in 2010, as bizarre broadcasts were issued on an almost monthly basis. Snippets of Swan Lake were played, a female voiced counted from one to nine, a question mark was transmitted in Morse code and strange telephone conversations were overheard by the receiver.
I hope that it's somehow a performance, an art-hoax that's gone on for decades. But evidence points to Russian intelligence, going about its business.
Mafeteng Districts Hospital, Lesotho, 1988. A young woman comes in with a stomach ache. Turns out, she's pregnant and in labor. The problem: She has no vagina. Just a uterus, with no path to the outside. So how'd she get pregnant to begin with? Oh, yes. It involves oral sex and a knife fight. — Maggie
The Trypophobia subreddit is a place for posting photos of things with clusters of small holes or pits in them, like lotus plants, funguses, multi-chambered plants, and strange infections. Trypophobia is the (not medically recognized) fear of "objects with small holes." It sounded weird to me, but after clicking through the first couple-dozen links, I was massively squicked. Shown here, Ethiopian injera bread from Apple Pie, Patis, and Pâté Recipes. Normally, I love the stuff, but in the context, I have to admit, it gives me the frisson.
The most common phobia you've never heard of.
(Thanks, Fipi Lele!)