gross

broad beans, hig, steak, hag, pepper the diamond bone

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You might (or might not) be surprised at how often in my work as a mortician I am asked whether a mourning family member can keep a dearly departed’s skull. […] In theory, people get to decide what happens to their body after death. In reality, it is near impossible to get legal permission to display a relative’s skeleton. […]

As a funeral professional, I frankly have no idea what equipment a proper decapitation requires. The subsequent de-fleshing would probably involve boiling and/or dermestid beetles, incredible creatures used in museums and forensic labs to delicately eat the dead flesh off a skeleton without destroying the bones. Dermestids are happy to wade into a gruesome, sticky mass of decaying flesh and delicately clean around even the tiniest of bones. […]

Abuse-of-corpse laws exist for a reason. They protect people’s bodies from being mistreated (ahem, necrophilia). They also prevent a corpse from being snatched from the morgue and used for research or public exhibition without the dead person’s consent. History is littered with such violations. Medical professionals have stolen corpses and even dug up fresh graves to get bodies for dissection and research. […]

In the United States, no federal law prevents owning, buying, or selling human remains, unless the remains are Native American. Otherwise, whether you’re able to sell or own human remains is decided by each individual state. At least 38 states have laws that should prevent the sale of human remains, but in reality the laws are vague, confusing, and enforced at random. In one seven-month period in 2012–13, 454 human skulls were listed on eBay, with an average opening bid of just under $650 (eBay subsequently banned the practice).

{ The Atlantic | Continue reading }

No one speaks English and everything’s broken

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Ms. Giannulli, 19, is the daughter of the actress Lori Loughlin and the designer Mossimo Giannulli. […] Ms. Giannulli is a social media influencer with close to two million YouTube subscribers and over a million Instagram followers. In September, she posted two paid advertisements on Instagram that highlighted her identity as a student. […]

Ms. Giannulli […] was criticized in August after posting a video […] in which she said that she was only going to college for “gamedays, partying.”

“I don’t really care about school, as you guys all know,” she said. […]

Ms. Giannulli is one of a number of celebrity offspring who have lived out their teenage years on social media. In the video for which she was criticized, she described how the dissolution of a romantic relationship had been particularly difficult because people would send her tweets, Instagram posts and Snapchats of her ex with other young women.

{ NY Times | Continue reading }

A total of 50 people nationwide were arrested in the largest college admissions scam ever prosecuted by the Department of Justice, officials announced. Those arrested include exam administrators, coaches at elite schools, and nearly three dozen parents — including actress Lori Loughlin.

{ CNN | Continue reading | full indictment }

image { 1991 Topps Toxic High School #19 }

Beyond that road lies despair

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The iconic green slime of the Canadian television series You Can’t Do That on Television was developed by accident, according to producer Roger Price — the original idea had been to dump a barrel of food leftovers on a young boy chained in a dungeon, but before it could be used, the contents of the barrel had turned green with mold.

The noxious mixture was dumped on the young boy anyway, and overnight the series had its trademark gag. The show subsequently went through several different slime recipes incorporating ingredients such as lime gelatin dessert powder, flour, oatmeal or Cream of Wheat, baby shampoo, and even cottage cheese (not all necessarily at the same time).

On the show (and subsequently on Nickelodeon since then), the composition of the slime was treated as a closely guarded secret, and some episodes revolved around the cast members trying to discern what the slime was made of.

{ Wikipedia | Continue reading | Thanks Tim }

‘in lieu of a tip please accept this 16×20″ sheet of frozen urine’ —@BAKKOOONN

This leader came to power in democratic elections, to be sure, but then altered the system from within. For example, the leader had been a common criminal: a rapist and a thief. He found a judge who was willing to misplace documents related to his case. That judge then became the chief justice of the Supreme Court. There were no constitutional objections, subsequently, when the leader asserted ever more power for his presidency.

In power, this leader, this president, remained a thief, but now on a grand, perhaps even unsurpassed, scale. Throughout his country millions of small businessmen and businesswomen found it impossible to keep their firms afloat, thanks to the arbitrary demands of tax authorities. Their profits were taken by the state, and the autonomy that those profits might have given them were denied. Workers in the factories and mines had no means whatsoever of expression their own distress, since any attempt at a strike or even at labor organization would simply have led to their dismissal.

The country, Ukraine, was in effect an oligarchy, where much of the wealth was in the hands of people who could fit in one elevator. But even this sort of pluralism, the presence of more than one very rich person, was too much for the leader, Viktor Yanukovych. He wanted to be not only the president but the oligarch-in-chief. His son, a dentist, was suddenly one of the wealthiest men in Europe. Tens of billions of dollars simply disappeared from the state budget. Yanukovych built for himself a series of extravagant homes, perhaps the ugliest in architectural history. […]

If a leader steals so much from the people that the state goes bankrupt, then his power is diminished. Yanukovych actually faced this problem last year. […] He needed someone to finance the immediate debts of the Ukrainian state so that his regime would not fall along with it. […] the Ukrainian leader had two options. The first was to begin trade cooperation with the European Union. No doubt an association agreement with the EU would have opened the way for loans. But it also would have meant the risk of the application of the rule of law within Ukraine. The other alternative was to take money from another authoritarian regime, the great neighbor to the east, the Russian Federation.

{ NY Review of Books | Continue reading }

You can find me in the club, bottle full of bub

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“Everyone’s been talking a lot about a universal face book within Harvard,” Zuckerberg said. “I think it’s kind of silly that it would take the University a couple of years to get around to it. I can do it better than they can, and I can do it in a week.” […] While Zuckerberg promised that thefacebook.com would boast new features by the end of the week, he said that he did not create the website with the intention of generating revenue. “I’m not going to sell anybody’s e-mail address,” he said.

{ Crimson (2004) | Continue reading }

previously:

FRIEND: so have you decided what you are going to do about the websites?
ZUCK: yea i’m going to fuck them
ZUCK: probably in the year
ZUCK: *ear

In another exchange leaked to Silicon Alley Insider, Zuckerberg explained to a friend that his control of Facebook gave him access to any information he wanted on any Harvard student:

ZUCK: yea so if you ever need info about anyone at harvard
ZUCK: just ask
ZUCK: i have over 4000 emails, pictures, addresses, sns
FRIEND: what!? how’d you manage that one?
ZUCK: people just submitted it
ZUCK: i don’t know why
ZUCK: they “trust me”
ZUCK: dumb fucks

According to two knowledgeable sources, there are more unpublished IMs that are just as embarrassing and damaging to Zuckerberg. But, in an interview, Breyer told me, “Based on everything I saw in 2006, and after having a great deal of time with Mark, my confidence in him as C.E.O. of Facebook was in no way shaken.”

{ New Yorker | Continue reading }

When I was young, it seemed that life was so wonderful, a miracle

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Countries print 150 billion new notes each year, at a cost of about $10 billion. Cash attracts grime and dirt, gets stuffed into underwear drawers, is daubed with pens, and exposed to harsh UV light. In other words, money goes through a lot, with the result that 150,000 tons of it has to be destroyed annually.

As a new paper explains, one of the main problems with keeping money in good condition is sebum, the substance the body produces to protect the skin. Waxy and oily, sebum builds up on the surface of the paper and then reacts with the air, eventually turning bills a nasty shade of yellow.

The paper, published in an American Chemical Society journal, discusses a new process that might keep more notes circulating longer, and therefore cut the cost of printing and distributing new bills. It involves subjecting notes to supercritical CO2.

{ Fast Company | Continue reading }

image { Intricate mechanical and chemical separation is needed to extract and recover pigment from US currency. The ink is then re-stabilized, divided into individual doses and packaged into medical vials. | Diddo, The Cure for Greed }

‘HOLD STILL WHILE I STUFF YOUR MOUTH SO FULL OF ICE CREAM AND STAT-LADEN CHARTS AND GRAPHS THAT YOU’LL BE THE ENVY OF EVERY JERRY AND JANE’ —Aaron Bady

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When writing essays on disgust, teenage girls in Lucknow, India, listed, among other things, feces, urine, toilets, sweat, menstrual blood, cut hair, impurities of childbirth, vomit, open wound, saliva, dirty feet, bad breath, nose picking, dirty nails, clothes that have been worn, flies, maggots, lice, mouse in a curry, rats, stray dog, meat, fish, pigs, garbage dump, sick person, beggars, touching someone of lower caste, crowded trains, kissing in public, betrayal.

Here are some of the things that Dutch women found revolting: feces, cats, aphids in lettuce, hairs, dogs, pollution, vermin, drug users, vomit, drunkenness, dust, rotten waste, fat people, sweat, badsmelling food, insulting, stickiness, politicians, offal, worms, dirty old men, fishmongers’ hands, flies.

Women in Burkina Faso mentioned feces, dirty latrine, dirty food, diarrhea, flies on food, sores, rubbish in the yard, worms, sexual relations before a child is weaned, smelly drains, dirty clothes, sick people, pigs, vomit.

A group of women in Cheshire, in the north of England, included feces, stained kitchen, flies, dog diarrhea, moldy food, drunken louts, vomit, rude people, wounds, foul language, maggots, eating with mouth open, man beating a woman, sweaty person, body parts in jars, cruelty to a horse, stained toilet, cleaning another’s false teeth. […]

Some of the most disgusting bodily products turned out to be the most deadly.

{ Natural History | Continue reading }

‘If you want to know yourself, just look how others do it.’ –Schiller

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The objective of this study was to determine test characteristics (i.e., intra- and interobserver variability, intraassay variability, sensitivity, and specificity) of an evaluation of odor from vaginal discharge (VD) of cows in the first 10 days postpartum conducted by olfactory cognition and an electronic device, respectively. […]

The study revealed a considerable subjectivity of the human nose concerning the classification into healthy and sick animals based on the assessment of vaginal discharge.

{ Journal of Dairy Science }

In the water of a pure stream, a fasting wolf came by, looking for something

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Hurricane Sandy was the largest storm to hit the northeast U.S. in recorded history, killing 159, knocking out power to millions, and causing $70 billion in damage in eight states. Sandy also put the vulnerability of critical infrastructure in stark relief by paralyzing subways, trains, road and air traffic, flooding hospitals, crippling electrical substations, and shutting down power and water to tens of millions of people. But one of the larger infrastructure failures is less appreciated: sewage overflow.

Six months after Sandy, data from the eight hardest hit states shows that 11 billion gallons of untreated and partially treated sewage flowed into rivers, bays, canals, and in some cases, city streets, largely as a result of record storm-surge flooding that swamped the region’s major sewage treatment facilities. To put that in perspective, 11 billion gallons is equal to New York’s Central Park stacked 41 feet high with sewage, or more than 50 times the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The vast majority of that sewage flowed into the waters of New York City and northern New Jersey in the days and weeks during and after the storm.

{ Climate Central | PDF }

I am the slap and the cheek, I am the limbs and the rack, and the victim and the executioner

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Hunger, thirst, stress and drugs can create a change in the brain that transforms a repulsive feeling into a strong positive “wanting,” a new University of Michigan study indicates.

The research used salt appetite to show how powerful natural mechanisms of brain desires can instantly transform a cue that always predicted a repulsive Dead Sea Salt solution into an eagerly wanted beacon or motivational magnet. […]

This instant transformation of motivation, he said, lies in the ability of events to activate particular brain circuitry.

{ EurekAlert | Continue reading }

But the first thing in the morning. (He pats divers pockets.) This moving kidney.

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Coca-Cola won’t say how it makes its best-selling Simply Orange orange juice, but one thing is for sure: It’s not so simple. A new investigation by Bloomberg Businessweek shows that the Coke-owned orange juice brand that’s billed as less processed version of Tropicana is in fact a hyper-engineered and dauntingly industrial product. […]

Coke also figured out that people are willing to pay 25 percent more for juice that’s not processed, that is, not made from concentrate. Enter Simply Orange. It is indeed just oranges, but boy have those oranges been through hell and back. Coke calls the process Black Book, because it won’t tell anyone how it works. The consultant that designed the Black Book formula will, however.

Bob Cross of Revenue Analytics explained to Bloomberg Businessweek that Coke relies on a deeply complex algorithm for every step of the juice-making process. The algorithm is designed to accept any contingency that might affect manufacturing, from weather patterns to shifts in the global economy, and make adjustments to the manufacturing process accordingly. Built into the model is a breakdown of the 600-plus flavors that are in orange juice that are tweaked throughout the year to keep flavor consistent and in line with consumer tastes. Coke even sucks the oxygen out of the juice when they send it to be mixed so that they can keep it around for a year or more to balance out other batches.

{ The Atlantic Wire | Continue reading }

Mild fire of wine kindled his veins. I wanted that badly.

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Food and nutrition. In concept it seems straightforward enough. Food is what we eat to obtain the nourishment and thus the energy to keep us going from day to day. Yet food has undergone radical changes over the past hundred years, especially in the industrialized West. People who lived at the turn of the 20th century wouldn’t recognize today’s grocery stores, and they certainly wouldn’t recognize much of what fills grocery store shelves as nourishment.

It all began with a push toward greater convenience in an increasingly mechanized world. Electricity and then electronics brought with them an endless stream of new gadgets for the home, each promising to make life easier in some way. Many of these time- and labor-saving devices were destined for the kitchen. Factories, too, were retooled to streamline the manufacture of everything, including food. But a growing segment of today’s population is concerned about healthy eating and about the place of heavily processed foods in their diet. Should convenience be the ruler by which we measure food and nutrition?

Some convenience foods actually predate the 20th century, among them canned soups, fruits and vegetables; gelatin dessert mixes; ketchup and other prepared condiments; pancake mixes; ready-to-eat breakfast cereals; sweetened condensed milk. After the First World War, these and more found their way into the kitchens of eager young housewives, with manufacturers often promoting their innovative products via free recipe books.

There’s no denying that flavor, texture and nutrients suffered, but people began to rely on these conveniences, and their tastes simply changed to accommodate. […]

Throughout the 20th century, the food industry worked to provide not only convenience but also ostensibly wholesome substitutes for natural foods, including butter. In fact, margarine has been around since the late 19th century, but for many years it was white by law. Eventually, however, it came with added artificial flavor and a capsule of yellow artificial food coloring (to be kneaded in after purchase) so it would taste and look more like the real thing. […]

After several generations of variations on this theme, however, we are seeing the effects of eating foods that are so far removed from their original state. Not only are many diseases linked to poor diet—from certain cancers to diabetes to heart disease—but obesity affects an unprecedented segment of the Western population.

{ Vision | Continue reading }