Tuesday, November 25

The Debunker: Can Owls Turn Their Heads All the Way Around?

by Ken Jennings

In November, we set our clocks an hour forward and officially say good-bye to an hour of daylight every evening. From now until spring, we're going to be spending most of our non-working hours in the dark: commuting home from the office when it's dark, making dinner when it's dark, meeting friends when it's dark, getting the kids to and from a million stupid activities in the dark. Ken Jennings, of Jeopardy! fame, is going to brighten this gloomy month with the light of knowledge, debunking some long-held myths about other nocturnal urban wanderers: the birds and critters you might see on a streetlit November night.

The Debunker: Can Owls Turn Their Heads All the Way Around?

One of the secrets of owls' lethal hunting skills is their amazing eyesight. Unlike most birds, owls have two front-facing eyes, which give them binocular vision. In other words, they're one of the few birds that could actually enjoy a 3-D movie (assuming they gave a hoot and could find a pair of the special glasses to fit them). But there are trade-offs involved: bird eyes are fixed into their sockets by a tiny ring of bone, so owls must move their whole heads any time they need to look around. In popular belief, they can swivel their heads all the way around. You know, like R2-D2, or Linda Blair in The Exorcist.

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Monday, November 24

 

Tuesday, November 18

The Debunker: Do Cats Use Their Whiskers for Balance?

by Ken Jennings

In November, we set our clocks an hour forward and officially say good-bye to an hour of daylight every evening. From now until spring, we're going to be spending most of our non-working hours in the dark: commuting home from the office when it's dark, making dinner when it's dark, meeting friends when it's dark, getting the kids to and from a million stupid activities in the dark. Ken Jennings, of Jeopardy! fame, is going to brighten this gloomy month with the light of knowledge, debunking some long-held myths about other nocturnal urban wanderers: the birds and critters you might see on a streetlit November night.

The Debunker: Do Cats Use Their Whiskers for Balance?

No Brooklyn hipster bartender has ever been more protective of his showy whiskers than cat fanciers are for those of their little darlings. Whiskers are sensory organs and must not be trimmed, they insist. Sometimes they're so emphatic as to claim that cats need their whiskers to balance, and wouldn't even be able to walk in a straight line without them.

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Monday, November 17

Music Monday: Songs About Desserts

by Scott Lydon

Happy Music Monday! Everyone loves desserts, right? Even your favorite rock stars love desserts! That’s why it was so easy to assemble today’s tribute to pie. Cut yourself a slice, won’t you?

Led Zeppelin - Custard Pie

 

Like all things Zep, this song is technically either about women, drugs or hobbits. But just this once we’re gonna take it literally. Just for today, we’re pretending this song is about actual pie.

Remember, you can post any dessert-themed song in the comments. But you get bonus points if you can find a pie song Scott overlooked. See you after the jump! There’s pie!

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Tuesday, November 11

The Debunker: Are Bats Blind?

by Ken Jennings

In November, we set our clocks an hour forward and officially say good-bye to an hour of daylight every evening. From now until spring, we're going to be spending most of our non-working hours in the dark: commuting home from the office when it's dark, making dinner when it's dark, meeting friends when it's dark, getting the kids to and from a million stupid activities in the dark. Ken Jennings, of Jeopardy! fame, is going to brighten this gloomy month with the light of knowledge, debunking some long-held myths about other nocturnal urban wanderers: the birds and critters you might see on a streetlit November night.

The Debunker: Are Bats Blind?

Bats are creepy flying nightmare-rats, but nature has taken pity on them in their grotesquery, and gifted them with one of the animal kingdom's all-time great superpowers: echolocation. Many bats emit ultrasonic chirps whose echoes they can use to navigate, communicate with other bats, and find prey. In other words, they can hunt at night without using eyesight. But bat-sonar wasn't proven until 1940, when Harvard zoologist Donald Griffin published his landmark paper on the phenomenon. The common expression "blind as a bat," however, dates back to the late 16th century. What gives?

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Monday, November 10

Music Monday: We Honor Jacob Cats

by Scott Lydon


Happy Music Monday! Today we honor the birthday of Jacob Cats, a Dutch poet. You all love Dutch poets, don’t you? Sure you do! And that’s why you’ll be joining Scott in this cat-themed tribute today. Or else.

Squeeze - Cool For Cats

 

Jacob Cats studied law, and was almost married, but caught a form of malaria just before he took his vows. He moved to England to consult the doctors there, but to no avail. He was finally cured by a traveling doctor who may have been a fraud!

Today’s your day to salute the great Jacob Cats. See you after the jump!

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Tuesday, November 04

The Debunker: Do Raccoons Wash Their Food?

by Ken Jennings

In November, we set our clocks an hour forward and officially say good-bye to an hour of daylight every evening. From now until spring, we're going to be spending most of our non-working hours in the dark: commuting home from the office when it's dark, making dinner when it's dark, meeting friends when it's dark, getting the kids to and from a million stupid activities in the dark. Ken Jennings, of Jeopardy! fame, is going to brighten this gloomy month with the light of knowledge, debunking some long-held myths about other nocturnal urban wanderers: the birds and critters you might see on a streetlit November night.

The Debunker: Do Raccoons Wash Their Food?

Raccoons are so associated with food-washing that their species name, Procyon lotor, literally means "the washing pre-dog." The French call the little guy le raton laveur--"the rat who washes." The popular myth is that of an animal who won't take a bite without thoroughly dunking its meal--which, if you ask me, is pretty snooty for an animal that gets a lot of its meals from garbage cans.

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Monday, November 03

Music Monday: Butts Butts Butts Butts Butts

by Kristy Tye



Happy Music Monday! It's me, the professed butt-lover and belove'd forum moderator, adq! I'm... I'm so sorry to you all for this week's selections already. I feel like it might be unnecessary to preface this with a warning, but these songs have NSFW lyrics and videos (depending, I guess, on your W).

Sir Mix-A-Lot - Baby Got Back

Oh my god, Becky, let's get this one out of the way. Sir Mix-A-Lot has provided us the quintessential butt song and karaoke favorite of thousands of aspiring "singers". It's led to the oft repeatable adage- "I enjoy large posteriors and I am incapable of deception" or something like that.

But, no doubt you've heard that one a million times already, that's only the tip of the gluteal iceberg, more after the cut!

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