Wednesday, October 16

The Trivial Eye: Exotic TV Pets

by Jason Toon

On this third day of our Heavy Petting pet week over on Sellout.Woot, let's remember that TV pets aren't all like Lassie, Eddie, or Toonces. Recognize any of these weirder companions that TV characters have cuddled up with?

Answers are here. Please post your guesses, speculations, or arguments below! But know this: the Trivial Eye is presented for public amusement and no prizes are offered other than that familiar feeling of aggravation that so much of your mind is occupied by useless trivia.

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Tuesday, October 15

Watch This First: A Girl and Her Bee

by Jason Toon

As our Heavy Petting pet week continues at Sellout.Woot, here's a beloved video from 2008 that reminds us that pets don't have to be cuddly, or cute, for kids to respond to them. Julia talks about nursing her carpenter bee Lemon back to health after the bee lost its ability to fly. Pretty sweet.
 


Watch Watch This First first, weekday mornings at 7 Central. Because the best way to start the day is to start it a few minutes later.

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Monday, October 14

Watch This First: Bull Terrier Puppy vs. Crab

by Jason Toon

Pet Week is taking over Sellout.Woot starting today, so pets are taking over Watch This First all week, too. But jeez, I dunno, do people like watching animal videos on the Internet? Let's find out with this intricate dance between a playful bull-terrier puppy and a freaked-out crab.
 


Watch Watch This First first, weekday mornings at 7 Central. Because the best way to start the day is to start it a few minutes later.

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Wednesday, September 11

Watch This First: Potbellied Pig Racing Thrills!

by Jason Toon

With a manic race announcer and a thrilling finish, this potbellied pig race is the most exciting 45 seconds of sports you'll watch all day - even if the contestants themselves quite don't seem to get the urgency of the whole racing thing.

 

Watch Watch This First first, every weekday morning. Because the best way to start the day is to start it a few minutes later.

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Wednesday, August 28

 

Friday, August 16

Watch This First: Olinguito!

by Jason Toon

Usually when a new animal is discovered, it's a horrifying parasitic worm, or some kind of living slime that only exists in geysers of boiling sulfur at the bottom of an ocean trench. We've found pretty much all the good animals. But then yesterday, along came the olinguito, a charming reddish raccoon cousin from South America, the first new carnivorous mammal discovered in the Americas in decades. And it's so adorable, if it wasn't real, Cute Overload would have had to invent it.
 


Watch Watch This First first, every weekday morning. Because the best way to start the day is to start it a few minutes later.

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Tuesday, August 13

The Debunker: Is the Lion the King of the Jungle?

by Ken Jennings

August 27, 1912 saw the first appearance of a new fictional hero: Tarzan, Lord of the Apes. “A crackerjack!” enthused the then-current issue of All-Story Magazine. “Zowie! but things happen!” In honor of the ape-man’s 101st birthday this month, Jeopardy! know-it-all Ken Jennings swings in on his vine to debunk four longstanding misconceptions about the jungles of the world. Ungawa!

Jungle Myth #2: The Lion is the King of the Jungle.

In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lion sleeps tonight, a wise man once said. Since the 19th century, breathless European prose has referred to Africa’s mighty lion as the “king of the jungle.” There’s only one problem with this: as a moment’s thought will reveal, lions don’t live in the jungle! They hunt on savanna, the open grasslands of central Africa. Occasional trees, yes, but jungle, no. By definition, savanna has no tree canopy.

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Tuesday, August 06

The Debunker: Will Piranhas Strip Off Your Flesh?

by Ken Jennings

“I had this story from one who had no business to tell it to me, or to any other.” On August 27, 1912, these words in the new issue of All-Story Magazine heralded the first appearance of a new fictional hero: Tarzan, Lord of the Apes. “A crackerjack!” enthused the magazine. “It is the most exciting story we have seen in a blue moon… Zowie! but things happen!” A century later, Tarzan is still going strong. In honor of the ape-man’s 101st birthday this month, we’ve asked Jeopardy! know-it-all Ken Jennings to swing in on his vine and debunk four longstanding misconceptions about the jungles of the world. Ungawa!

Jungle Myth #1: Piranhas Will Strip Your Flesh from Your Bones!

Most people probably know exactly one thing about the small South American fish called piranhas: they are a swarm of razor-toothed juggernauts that will turn the unwary river traveler into a bleached cartoon skeleton within seconds! As a result of the media hype, piranha attack is now a horror and action movie staple. And after a century of panicky species misidentifications, the fish is now banned in over twenty-five U.S. states.

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Tuesday, April 30

There Can Be Only Pun: Emo Animals!

by Sean Adams

You guys, I have an addiction. I'm addicted to puns. I need them. I can't get enough of them. I HUNGER FOR THEM. That's why I've set up this weekly blog feature: so you guys can feed my addiction. Every week, I'll name the topic, give you some examples, and then you'll pun away in the comments, on Facebook, or on Twitter. I'll choose the best ones and post them here next week. Sound good? Good! Let's do it!

THIS WEEK'S EPISODE: Emo Animals

This week, it's pretty simple. Emo animals. What does that mean? Sad animal puns. Emo band animal puns. Whatever you want to do. Here are some examples:

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Tuesday, August 28

The Debunker: What's Inside A Camel's Hump, Anyway?

by Ken Jennings

If you’re in the Northern Hemisphere, August is, just like the human body, at least 60 percent made of water: vacations to the beach, weekend trips to the lake or pool, big pitchers full of refreshing ice water. August is also National Water Quality Month, as you probably know, and it’s when we all have our big get-togethers to celebrate World Water Week (August 26-31!) and Sea Serpent Day (August 7). It may be hot and dry where you are right now, but at least Ken Jennings can make it rain knowledge with his August Debunker column, deflating everything you think you know about H2O.

Water Myth #4: Camels Store Water in Their Humps.

I’m not sure how the legend that the camel’s humps are water reservoirs has stuck around for so long. The very first thirsty person to tap a camel’s hump in hopes of a cool drink would have been sorely disappointed, since the humps are full not of water but of thick white fat. It’s food storage, not a water tank. Theoretically, a camel could metabolize that fat into water, but it turns out the energy required would use up more water than it produced, so that’s not what the hump is for.

Camels are remarkable for their ability to go without water. You’d be dangerously dehydrated if you lost 10 percent or so of your body weight, while a camel can survive losing fully a quarter of its water. But most of the adaptations that make this possible have nothing to do with its hump. It sweats less than other animals, for one thing, and long legs keep most of its body away from the radiant heat of the desert sand. It’s the only mammal with red blood cells that are oval in shape, which helps its blood flow even when thickened by loss of water. Even its excretory system is astonishingly efficient: camel pee oozes out as thick as syrup (eww) and its poop is so dry that you can take it straight from the camel-butt and light your campfire with it.

The hump’s one contribution to camel-cooling is its location: by sitting atop the camel’s back, it provides insulation from the scorching desert sun. Finally, an evolutionary advantage for back fat! Camels, you are an inspiration to us all!

Quick Quiz: What comic strip character is famous for his use of a “Sopwith Camel”?

Ken Jennings is the author of Brainiac, Ken Jennings's Trivia Almanac, and Maphead. He's also the proud owner of an underwhelming Bag o' Crap. Follow him at ken-jennings.com or on Twitter as @KenJennings.

Photo by Flickr member xikita. Used under a Creative Commons License.

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