Category: huh

Raunchy Research

"Asshole" in ASLI do my darndest to keep the episodes PG-13, but some days are tough.

That said, the script for 161 lead me to some of the funnest research I’ve had to do in a while.

Touching the p-handshape middle finger to the nose tip then bringing it out to “F” (done with one hand) means “piss off”, or, literally, “PENIS F”. This sign creates the meaning of “piss off” by combining the sign for “penis/piss” and abbreviating “O-F-F” by using simply one “F”.



Giant Ant FossilI can’t stop thinking about this story, which I found via the guys over at Bothersome Things.

At about 2 inches (5 cm) long, the specimen is a “monstrously big ant,” said Bruce Archibald, a paleoentomologist at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia who reported the discovery today (May 3) in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Though fossils of loose giant ant wings have been found before in the United States, this is the first known full-body specimen.

Two inches may not see all that huge, but consider the colonies they must have constructed – better yet, imagine a line of insects the size of your thumb marching through your picnic and making off with your sandwiches, or, given enough of them, maybe even your dog.

(Poor Leiningen wouldn’t stand a chance.)

On Fans

I'm going to hang out with this fan.
Just a quick note to let people know #160 will be up early this evening, and to also draw some attention to this great little urban legend, sent to me by a fan of the site. (A fan sending folk-fan-info – fantastic!)

Fan death is an urban legend prevailing in South Korea in which an electric fan left running overnight in a closed room can cause the death of those inside. Fans sold in Korea are equipped with a timer switch that turns them off after a set number of minutes, which users are frequently urged to set when going to sleep with a fan on.


I’m really enjoying this week’s trend – if you’ve got a local myth, leave it in the comments, hit me up on Facebook, or mail it to me at!

More Random Pointers

Poinsettia found at may be a little seasonally incorrect, but it’s a factoid I grew up with, and I was a surprised to learn it’s nothing more than another urban legend:

In the United States and perhaps elsewhere, there is a common misconception that the poinsettia is highly toxic. This is not true; it is mildly irritating to the skin or stomach and may sometimes cause diarrhea and vomiting if eaten. Sap introduced into the human eye may cause temporary blindness.


Even with the myth cleared up, the idea of it causing temporary blindness is interesting. Further reading has lead me to the understanding that it’s not a reliable result, but something equivalent to a can of mace that doesn’t induce pain, but instead causes short-term loss of sight, (or even both,) might be quite effective.

Honestly, I’m sort of a fan of devices that encourage people with criminal intentions to seek professional medical treatment for non-life-threatening ailments – like the Rape-aXe.

If an attacker were to attempt vaginal rape, his penis would enter the latex sheath and be snagged by the barbs, causing the attacker excruciating pain during withdrawal and giving the victim time to escape. The condom would remain attached to the attacker’s body when he withdrew and could only be removed surgically


Rape-aXe "condom"

Bogey, King Maker

Between scenes on CasablancaFile this one under Things-I-Didn’t-Know:

Bogart was an excellent chess player, almost of master strength. Before he made any money from acting, he would hustle players for dimes and quarters, playing in New York parks and at Coney Island. The chess scenes in Casablanca had not been in the original script, but were put in at his insistence.


Cereal Offenders

Captain CrunchWant yet another reason why people can’t take crop circles seriously?

cereologist (plural cereologists)

Someone who studies crop circles, especially one who believes that they are not man-made or formed by other terrestrial processes.

I understand that they were attempting to create an association with Ceres, the Roman goddess of agriculture, but, well – if you’re going to attempt to give your outlandish hobby a science-y name, might I suggest something that doesn’t make you sound like a Boo Berry inspector?

Sonny The Cuckoo

Hold Up

Atlas, found at
I have little to add, I just thought this was a neat bit of word-history:

“collection of maps in a volume,” 1636, first in reference to the English translation of “Atlas, sive cosmographicae meditationes de fabrica mundi” (1585) by Flemish geographer Gerhardus Mercator (1512-1594), who might have been the first to use this word in this way. A picture of the Titan Atlas holding up the world appeared on the frontispiece of this and other early map collections.

Pack of Camas

I’m not sure how prevalent this knowledge is, but I hadn’t heard of Camas previously and thought the concept was worth sharing.

A cama is a hybrid between a male dromedary camel and a female llama, produced via artificial insemination at the Camel Reproduction Centre in Dubai. – wikipedia

Baby Cama

The first cama was born on January 14, 1998. The aim was to create an animal with the size and strength of the camel, but the more cooperative temperament and the higher wool production of the llama – wikipedia

They do get a little less cute as they get older.

Older Cama

Strangest of all, camas have partially cloven feet – a halfway compromise between the foot pad of the camels and cloven feet of the llamas. –

This use of artificial insemination to overcome size differences has inspired me: please contact me if you work at a bioengineering firm, I want to discuss crossing a Shetland pony with a giraffe.

Welcome to Monday

Feeling a knot of tension in your stomach, brought on by the knowledge that you’re still standing on the welcome-mat of a long week ahead?

Worried about that outstanding item on your schedule? Annoyed by the chipper attitudes of your workmates?

Might I suggest the soothing visage of a chimp in a tux?

Chimp in a tux -

From the wikipedia article on the Belle Vue Zoological Gardens:

In 1893 a chimpanzee was purchased from another of Wombwell’s Travelling Menageries in London. The four-year old chimpanzee, Consul, was dressed in a smoking jacket and cap and puffed on a cob pipe; he frequently accompanied [zoo owner] James Jennison to business meetings.

I’m sure Consul must have been a master negotiator in the boardroom, but, as often happens, his heir had a more artistic bent – from the same article:

Consul proved to be exceptionally popular, and after his death on 24 November 1894, the Jennisons immediately obtained a replacement, Consul II, who played a violin while riding a tricycle around the gardens, later graduating to a bicycle.

Consul II