When the TSA got suspicious of a scientist's 3D-printed mouse penis

Sometimes, in the course of his work, University of Florida molecular geneticist Martin Cohn must travel with unusual items like a 3D-printed mouse penis. Similarly, University of Massachusetts biologist Diane Kelly totes around anatomical models like a mold of a dolphin vagina. They're not alone in the odd science-related items they must fly with, from bottles of monkey piss to a stash of 5,000-year-old human bones. At The Atlantic, Ed Yong explores what happens when objects of science meet airport security:

The TSA once stopped Michael Polito, an Antarctic researcher from Louisiana State University, because his bag contained 50 vials of white powder. When he explained that the powder was freeze-dried Antarctic fur seal milk, he got a mixed reaction. “Some officers just wanted to just wave me on,” he says. “Others wanted me to stay and answer their questions, like: How do you milk a fur seal? I was almost late for my flight.”

Airport security lines, it turns out, are a fantastic venue for scientists to try their hand at outreach. Various scientists are said to have claimed that you don’t really understand something if you can’t explain it to your grandmother, a barmaid, a six-year-old, and other such sexist or ageist variants. But how about this: can you successfully explain it to an TSA official—someone who not only might have no background in science, but also strongly suspects that you might be a national security threat? Can you justify your research in the face of questions like “What are you doing?” or “Why are you doing it?” or “Why are you taking that onto a plane?”

Cohn did pretty well to the four assembled TSA agents who started quizzing him about his mouse penis.

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Own your own two-headed calf taxidermy

Start your own odditorium by spending $15,000 on "Mike & Ike - they look alike," a purportedly real two-headed calf taxidermy mount that was previously part of the the Museum of Lost Arts – International Historical Exhibition. Only available for local pick up in New Castle, Pennsylvania. From the eBay auction description:

This is a real life-size two headed black and white calf mount cow in great condition with some light fur around the heads and body due to age and exposure to sun and light. The mount measures 40” long from the tip of the nose on the longer head to the back tail and 35” high from bottom of hoofs to top of ears and 39” high from bottom of wheels on the base to top of ears. A superior mount by a professional taxidermist. Genuine oddity taxidermy mounts like “Mike & Ike – they look alike” are exceptionally rare. This unique mount is a full size black and white calf with fully developed heads and complete facial characteristics along with it’s long necks is an extreme rarity in two headed calves. The mount was purchased by “The Museum of Lost Arts” at a farm estate auction many years ago in Ellwood City, PA where the calf was born. The provenance (history and origin) and physical attributes to support the fact that it is entirely genuine and this coupled with the strong market for well executed oddities in taxidermy, makes it especially desirable and rare.

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The sound of 14 crying babies with the frequency shifted down

Drunken Bear took a recording of 14 crying babies and slowed it down, turning it into a soundtrack for a horror movie.

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Deleting a bike wheel in Photoshop causes trouble

If you like this one, punpun has many other short and delightful odd videos. Read the rest

This version of Queen's We Will Rock You is best

Here's a version of We Will Rock You that actually rocks instead of sounding like a stadium full of drunk teenagers. It's from a 1970s BBC session, according to the liner notes. Right on! Read the rest

How to freeze a dandelion in resin

Or you can just buy one from dandelionpaperweights.com or Amazon for $80.

The dandelion bloom, with parachute-like seeds, that are about to disperse, was captured in a crystal clear dandelion paperweight. The glass-like half globe, allows the dandelion seed head to be viewed from all sides. Each dandelion seed puff, also known as a dandelion clock, is hand-picked. Due to the nature of the product, each paperweight is unique, with no two being identical, making it a very special gift.

They even have a blog, though there have been no updates since 2014's "Dandelions are delicious."

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