Randy Travis arrested naked, charged with DWI

This photo provided by the Grayson County, Texas, Sheriff’s Office shows Country singer Randy Travis who has been charged with driving while intoxicated. Authorities say Travis was being jailed without bond Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2012, pending an appearance before a judge in Sherman, Texas, about 60 miles north of Dallas. (AP Photo/Grayson County Sheriff's Office)Randy Travis was charged with driving while intoxicated and threatening law officers after the country singer crashed his car and was found naked and combative at the scene, officials said.

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Monkees announce 1st tour since Davy Jones’ death

FILE - This July 6, 1967 file photo shows the musical group, The Monkees, from left, Peter Tork, Mike Nesmith, David Jones, and Micky Dolenz at a news conference at the Warwick Hotel in New York.The Monkees will perform its first live shows since its star Davy Jones died in February. Michael Nesmith, Micky Dolenz, and Peter Tork announced Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2012, that the group will launch a 12-date U.S. tour in November. Jones died of a heart attack on Feb. 29. The group starred in its own NBC television show in 1966 as a made-for-TV band seeking to capitalize on Beatlemania sweeping the world. Jones rocketed to the top of the music charts with The Monkees, captivating audiences with hits including "Daydream Believer" and "I'm a Believer."The tour kicks off Nov. 8 in Escondido, Calif. It wraps on Dec. 2 in New York. It will highlight Jones “in the show's multimedia content.” (AP Photo/Ray Howard, file)The Monkees will perform their first live shows since star Davy Jones died in February.

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Actor Hoskins diagnosed with Parkinson’s, retiring

FILE - This Sept. 20, 2010 file photo shows British actor Bob Hoskins arriving for the World Premiere of "Made in Dagenham" in London. Hoskins says he is retiring after being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. In a statement released Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2012, through his agent, the 69-year-old performer thanked his fans and said he had had a "wonderful career." The statement said Hoskins was diagnosed with the degenerative nerve condition last fall. (AP Photo/Joel Ryan, file)British actor Bob Hoskins says he is retiring after being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.

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Hockey’s Mike Modano, actress Willa Ford divorcing

FILE - This July 11, 2012 file photo shows retired hockey player Mike Modano, left, and his wife Willa Ford at the ESPY Awards on in Los Angeles. Modano and actress Willa Ford have decided to end their five-year marriage. Modano spokesman Rob Scichili said Wednesday, Aug. 8, the couple was divorcing but didn't have further details. The 42-year-old Modano and Ford married in 2007 in Athens, Texas. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, file)Retired hockey star Mike Modano and actress Willa Ford have decided to end their five-year marriage.

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What you can learn from a chimpanzee’s diet

Given the trend lately to look backwards, historically, in search of the ideal human diet, I found this article by Rob Dunn really interesting. Dunn discusses some new research that gives us a better idea of what our closest relatives—chimpanzees and bonobos—are eating out in the wild.

Some of the takeaways fit neatly into the current human food zeitgeist—chimpanzees eat a diverse and varied diet, only consume small amounts of meat, and (for obvious reasons) focus on what happens to be in season and available. But some of the information is less apparently applicable to us. For instance, chimpanzees fracking love figs. In fact, different species of figs make up nearly half of all the food the chimpanzees in the study were eating. Figs, people. Can’t get enough of ‘em.

But the larger point, Dunn writes, is that we can’t really apply any of the facts about chimpanzee diets directly to ourselves in a “Just So Story” sort of way. Geography, resource availability, and culture don’t work like that. Neither does biology.

You are unlikely to eat like a chimpanzee eats. If you are the average American, you eat more meat and more simple sugar. You eat differently because of choices you make and choices our societies have made (e.g., to produce huge quantities of the foods that most simply satisfy our ancient urges). You also eat differently because the species around you are different, unless you happen to own a greenhouse specializing in tropical African trees.

But even if you were to abandon agricultural food and move into a forest in Tanzania you would still not eat exactly like a chimpanzee. By most reports the food chimpanzees eat tastes bad, at least to humans, (though, one hopes, not to chimpanzees). By some accounting the food chimpanzees eat is also insufficient to keep a human alive and fertile.

Read the rest of the story at Scientific American blogs

Via Mariette DiChristina

Image: Female chimpanzee eating banana, a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from dkeats’s photostream


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Coming soon: Computer finds the face of Jesus in a photo of toast

You know how your brain likes to see faces where there are not actually any faces? (Hint: This tendency, called pareidolia, is the force behind all those faces of Jesus turning up on slices of toast.) Turns out, computer programs can suffer from pareidolia, too. (Via Alexis Madrigal)


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Patrick Farley reboots Cloverfield


The great (and maddeningly erratic) Patrick Farley has a typically awesome new comic up: “Cloverfield Rebooted,” in which the monster’s true nature is revealed.

Cloverfield Rebooted

(via JWZ)


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Watch a spider molt

Spider molting from Karli Larson on Vimeo.

Spiders don’t have an internal skeleton like we do. Instead, their muscles are anchored to an exoskeleton—a sort of hard, semi-flexible shell that encases a spider’s whole body. In order to grow bigger, spiders have to grow new exoskeletons and shed old ones.

Karli Larson found a spider on her window frame in the process of shedding its exoskeleton. Naturally, she filmed it and set the whole thing to music. She says:

The entire molting process took about 30 minutes to fully complete. This is the interesting part, sped up.

The camera is a little shakey, so if that bothers you, well, sorry. But I think this is still way fascinating.

Read more about spiders, their exoskeletons, and the molting process at HowStuffWorks

Thanks, Maggie Ryan Sandford!


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The social science of IUDs

IUDs are the weird form of birth control. We don’t really know exactly how they work, for instance. And they’ve been largely unpopular my entire lifetime—really, ever since a couple of poorly designed IUDs set off a mini-panic in the late 1970s and early 1980s. But IUDs are effective birth control. The ones that you can buy today are safe. And, more importantly, they represent birth control that you don’t have to think about, and birth control that is really hard to get wrong.

If you’ve ever done research on the effectiveness of various methods of birth control, you’ll notice that the statistics usually come with a little asterisk. That * represents a concept that few of the people who rely on birth control ever think about—perfect use. Let’s use condoms as an example. With perfect use, 2 out of 100 women will get pregnant over the course of a year’s worth of condom-protected sex. Without perfect use—maybe you don’t use a condom every time, maybe you don’t put it on right when you both get naked—the number of accidental pregnancies jumps to 18 out of 100. The same basic problem affects birth control pills, as well. Ladies, did you know you’re supposed to take those things at the same time of day every day? That’s the kind of use error that can make a difference between 1 out of 100 women getting pregnant in a year, and 9 out of 100 getting pregnant.

In contrast, IUDs represent a fit-it-and-forget-it method of birth control. Which is a big part about why they’re up there with outright sterilization as the most effective means of birth control available. Bonus: Depending on which kind you use, you can avoid hormonal side effects. This, experts say, is why IUDs are experiencing something of a resurgence in popularity. In an article at Wired, Jennifer Couzin-Frankel writes that 5.5 percent of American women who use birth control use IUDs. That’s up from only 1.3 percent in 1995.

Somewhat unbelievably, no one is quite sure how they work, but the theory goes like this: The human uterus has one overriding purpose, which is to protect and sustain a fetus for nine months. If you stick a poker-chip-sized bit of plastic in there, the body reacts the way it does to any foreign object, releasing white blood cells to chase after the invader. Once those white blood cells are set free in the uterus, they start killing foreign cells with efficient zeal. And sperm, it turns out, are very, very foreign. White blood cells scavenge them mercilessly, preventing pregnancy. In copper- containing IUDs, metal ions dissolving from the device add another layer of spermicidal action.

… Most modern IUDs incorporate copper, which has an assortment of benefits, including increased durability and effectiveness. They’re also free of hormones and can be made cheaply, a boon for women in developing countries. But copper IUDs can cause heavy menstrual bleeding and cramping. The Mirena solves that problem by forgoing the metal for a synthetic version of the hormone progesterone. Here again, the mode of action isn’t completely understood, but researchers suspect that the hormone thickens cervical mucus, which makes it nearly impossible for sperm to swim upstream. It may also thin the uterine lining, rendering it inhospitable to an embryo should fertilization occur. The hormone-based IUD has the opposite side effect of the copper ones: It sometimes leaves women with little uterine lining to shed, so they hardly get any period at all.

… Even though many more doctors are comfortable with the IUD, a generation of doctors didn’t get practice inserting it. And if they don’t know how to put one in, they’re less likely to recommend it as an option. Also, the devices are expensive—the ParaGard costs $500, the Mirena $850. “It’s absolute highway robbery that these companies charge so much,” Espey says. “If you went to Home Depot and got the raw materials for a copper IUD, it would cost less than 5 cents.” And the hormones don’t contribute much more to the cost, she adds. In fact, amortized over years of use—10 for the ParaGard and five for the Mirena—an IUD is far cheaper than birth control pills, which can cost $30 or more a month. But the initial outlay is difficult for some women to manage, and it’s not always covered by insurance.

Read the rest of the story at Wired

Read more about different kinds of birth control, their effectiveness, and how to use them correctly at Planned Parenthood

Via Scicurious

Image: X-Ray showing an IUD in place. Photo taken by Wikipedia user Nevit Dilmen, used via CC license.


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Top 100 unintentionally lewd comic book panels of all time

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Mitch O’Connell says:

Sex in comics! The top 100 strangest, suggestive and steamy vintage comic book panels of all time! I started with almost 100, but soon there’ll be 1000 (depending on how much I want to avoid actual work)! Some are cheap shots, like using the words “gay,” “dick,” and “boner” when they originally meant something much different, or panels taken completely out of context for juvenile schoolyard tittering, and sometimes, actually very weird, completely IN context, takes on the relationship between the sexes from the viewpoints of the comic books writers and artists of ’40s, 50s, 60s and 70s!

You’ve probably have already seen a few that have been floating around the internet for years, and many are first appearing here scanned from my bathroom library reading, but you’ll have ‘em all gathered in one place, the M.O’C Blog, for your prurient viewing pleasure!

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Sex in comics! The top 100 strangest, suggestive and steamy vintage comic book panels of all time!


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