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The weirdest things we learned this week: Pooping magic rocks, how we ruined bison, and lies you’ve been told about the common cold



Bezoar stones like this one were highly sought after by European nobility. They were also super gross.
Bezoar stones like this one had been extremely wanted by European the Aristocracy. They had been additionally tremendous gross. (Public Area/)

What is the weirdest factor you realized this week? Effectively, no matter it’s, we promise you may have an excellent weirder reply in the event you hearken to PopSci’s hit podcast. The Weirdest Factor I Realized This Week hits Apple, Anchor, and all over the place else you hearken to podcasts each Wednesday morning. It is your new favourite supply for the strangest science-adjacent info, figures, and Wikipedia spirals the editors of Common Science can muster. Should you just like the tales on this put up, we assure you may love the present.

This week’s episode options particular visitor Arielle Duhaime-Ross, who till lately served as Local weather Correspondent on HBO’s Vice Information Tonight. She’s now the host of Reset, a tech podcast from Vox launching October 15. Arielle joined us to inform the tragic and troubling story of the creatures most of us name buffalo, which fell prey to the federal government’s focused assaults on Native People and now exists in a wierd state of not-quite-extinction. To study extra, try this story on the bison’s plight from a latest situation of PopSci.

With out additional ado, this is episode three:

FACT: The historical past of capitalism has lots to do with individuals pooping literal rocks

By Rachel Feltman

Most individuals have heard the phrase caveat emptor—Latin for “let the client beware.” Mainly, that is the authorized precept that until somebody features a guarantee or assure once they promote one thing, their purchaser mustn’t assume the product will do every little thing it is presupposed to. Fortunately, that is not the way it works in most elements of the world as of late. However in 1603, a person named Lopus realized the onerous means that caveat emptor was certainly the regulation of the land. He sued Chandelor the goldsmith for promoting him a magical poop rock below false pretenses—for the fashionable equal of tens and even tons of of hundreds of {dollars}—and misplaced. Not solely did he not get his a reimbursement, however poor Lopus turned a part of an oft-cited authorized precedent. A couple of magic poop rock. That is fairly crappy.

Despite the fact that Chandelor, as a goldsmith, inherently knew far more about valuable rocks than Lopus did, the courtroom determined that it was completely superb for him to say he was promoting a magical bezoar even when he’d by no means confirmed it had therapeutic powers. These onerous chunks of indigestible materials—nonetheless typically plucked from Asian porcupines for conventional medication in fashionable occasions—had been stated to treatment all method of well being issues, together with lethal poisonings. When the poop rock in query did not treatment no matter it was that ailed Lopus, he determined it should be a pretend. That wasn’t actually anybody’s downside however Lopus’s, based on the decision: So long as Chandelor by no means promised in writing that the bezoar was undoubtedly actual and would undoubtedly work, something he wished to fib about in the middle of his gross sales pitch was completely honest recreation. The onus was on Lopus, as the client, to imagine that Chandelor would over-promise.

Is it a good coverage? No, in fact not. However as commerce began to develop past the scope of small villages and close-knit communities, caveat emptor saved widespread regulation courts from being flooded with a great deal of shopper complaints. Let’s all be glad we reside in an period of 30-day return insurance policies—and medical therapies that do not contain magical poop rocks.

FACT: Going out with moist hair will not provide you with a chilly

By Claire Maldarelli

Docs and researchers have obsessed over the origins of the widespread chilly for hundreds of years. However we have now but to nail down any actual cures. There are just too many types of the rhinovirus. As such, folklore surrounding what causes the widespread chilly persists. Who hasn’t been informed a minimum of as soon as of their lives that standing exterior within the chilly with moist hair would provide you with a chilly?

It seems that there’s a scientific origin (kind of) for this supposed truism and all of it begins with Louis Pasteur and a few chickens. Take heed to this week’s episode of hear extra about him, and them, the widespread chilly, in addition to a analysis establishment in England that paid individuals to get the widespread chilly and stroll round exterior of their moist swimsuits for hours afterwards. You’ll by no means take into consideration mucus in the identical means once more.

Should you like The Weirdest Factor I Realized This Week, please subscribe, fee, and evaluate us on Apple Podcasts (sure, even in the event you do not hearken to us on Apple—it actually does assist different weirdos discover the present, due to algorithms and stuff). You too can be a part of within the weirdness in our Fb group and bedeck your self in weirdo merchandise from our Threadless store. And remember to snag tickets to our extra-special-and-spooky Halloween reside present!

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Eight ways to make your Twitter feed less toxic



Let that reply guy scream into the void.
Let that reply man scream into the void. (Marten Bjork through Unsplash/)

Twitter is a quick, fluid method to preserve your finger on the heart beat of nearly every little thing, but it surely’s additionally a spot the place the discourse can rapidly grow to be disorganized, combative, or downright poisonous.

The staff behind Twitter is aware of this, and its engineers are regularly rolling out new options to assist handle abuse if and when it turns into an issue.

Not too long ago, the corporate debuted a characteristic that permits you to selectively disguise replies to your tweets. Right here’s how you need to use it and quite a lot of different instruments to make sure your Twitter timeline is a nice place to be.

Conceal replies

It is a comparatively new Twitter characteristic, and one you won’t but have observed. Should you click on (or faucet) the little down arrow subsequent to a tweet, you’ll get a Conceal reply choice. This gained’t delete the reply, but it surely’ll disappear and anybody viewing your tweet (together with you) will see solely a small icon that signifies the existence of hidden replies. Viewers will want an additional click on to truly see them, although.

To unhide a reply, click on the Hidden replies button to the decrease proper of your tweet, then the down arrow, and choose Unhide reply. The person who posted the reply gained’t be notified if you disguise or unhide it. If you disguise a reply, Twitter will even provide the choice to dam the account that posted it.

Block customers

If there’s one other account on Twitter that you just’re having severe issues with, you’ll be able to block it. Simply click on the down arrow subsequent to any tweet in your timeline, then select Block to blacklist the account that posted it. You can even block somebody when you’re on their profile web page by clicking the Extra button (three dots) and selecting Block.

If you block a person, they gained’t have the ability to view your tweets, message you, or observe you. Additionally they gained’t get a notification that they’ve been blocked, but when they go to your profile web page, they may discover that they will’t see your tweets. You possibly can’t observe somebody you’ve blocked, and also you gained’t see their tweets in your timeline, both. To see accounts you’ve blocked, and unblock them if wanted, go to the Extra button once more, then navigate by Settings and privateness > Privateness and security > Blocked accounts. Or, if you happen to’re on the lookout for a shortcut, simply click on right here.

Mute accounts

You'd better not!
You’d higher not! (David Nield/)

Muting is just not fairly as extreme as blocking—you’ll be able to disguise somebody from view, with out their data, and with out unfollowing them. As with the Block choice, you’ll discover Mute within the drop-down menu subsequent to particular person tweets, and behind the Extra button (three dots) on particular person profile pages.

Basically, the most important distinction between blocking and muting is that muted customers can nonetheless ship you direct messages and can seem in your notifications in the event that they work together with you on Twitter. Nonetheless, their tweets gained’t present up in your timeline. To see accounts you’ve muted, and unmute them if obligatory, observe primarily the identical path as you’ll if you happen to had been viewing blocked accounts: go to the Extra button, then navigate by Settings and privateness > Privateness and security > Muted (net solely) > Muted accounts. Or simply head right here.

Mute phrases

Twitter additionally helps you to mute particular phrases out of your timeline—you’ll be able to lower out all mentions of a selected TV present (possibly you’re making an attempt to keep away from spoilers), particular celebrities (maybe you don’t have any curiosity in listening to about them), or any phrases you’d simply reasonably not learn.

From the Twitter menu on desktop or cellular, select Settings and privateness, adopted by Privateness and security, then Muted (net solely), and Muted phrases. You possibly can add new phrases and phrases through the plus button. Letter case doesn’t matter if you mute phrases, and muting applies to replies and mentions in addition to tweets in your timeline.

Tweak your timeline

The digital equivalent of closing the door in someone's face but you can still kind of hear them outside.
The digital equal of closing the door in somebody’s face however you’ll be able to nonetheless sort of hear them outdoors. (David Nield/)

If tweets from a selected account are proving annoying or are merely now not of curiosity, you’ll be able to simply unfollow the account. Click on the down arrow subsequent to a tweet, then select Unfollow. Spending a couple of minutes unfollowing some unsavory or uninteresting accounts you’ve added to your timeline through the years could make checking Twitter a a lot much less tense expertise.

Click on the down arrow subsequent to any of the tweets in your timeline and also you’ll additionally see an choice labeled Present much less usually. This tells Twitter’s algorithms you need to see fewer tweets from a selected account in your timeline, or fewer tweets on a selected subject, with out really blocking or muting any accounts.

Block delicate media

One other method Twitter helps you to management what you see in your timeline is by blocking photographs and movies that its algorithms or its customers have flagged as “delicate content material,” corresponding to nudity or depictions of violence. Any media like this can want an additional click on or faucet to view.

Such materials is hidden by default, however if you happen to’ve disabled the setting for no matter cause, you may get again to it through Settings and privateness on the Twitter app menu on desktop and cellular. First, choose Privateness and security, then disable the Show media that will include delicate content material choice.

Know your reporting choices

You have the power.
You’ve gotten the ability. (David Nield/)

Twitter helps you to report particular person tweets or whole accounts if you happen to assume they breach Twitter’s phrases of service—content material that’s spammy, unlawful, or abusive, for instance. You could find an inventory of examples of reportable circumstances inside the platform’s bigger assist heart.

Accounts and tweets might be reported in varied locations: the drop-down menu subsequent to particular person tweets, the Extra menu (the three dots) on Twitter profiles, and from conversations in direct messages (click on the “i” button within the prime right-hand nook). Should you’re reporting one thing that’s abusive or dangerous, you could be requested to incorporate additional data in your report.

Defend your account

Your Twitter account might be public (viewable by anybody), or protected (viewable solely by individuals you have particularly accepted observe requests from). If you wish to take extra management over who can see what you are tweeting and who can work together with you, contemplate switching to a protected account.

You are able to do so from Settings and privateness in Twitter’s menu: Faucet Privateness and security, then Defend your Tweets. Any followers you had earlier than the swap will stay, however new ones should be particularly permitted.

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The best rain jackets for surprise downpours, hiking, and the slopes



Perfect rain jackets for outdoor escapades.
Excellent rain jackets for out of doors escapades. (Stio/)

Whether or not you’re an city commuter simply attempting to get to the subway within the drizzle, or an outdoorsy soul who likes to flee to the mountains to hike or ski, a superb rain jacket is a vital piece in your closet.

After all, there are many waterproof, breathable rain jackets on the market, and their costs and attributes fluctuate. Yow will discover a superb merchandise for round $100 and even much less, however it’s also possible to empty your pockets on a specialised shell that prices north of $500.

The core piece of tech in most of those jackets is the waterproof, breathable membrane: a layer like Gore-Tex that has microscopic pores sufficiently small to maintain water droplets out, however giant sufficient to let your sweat escape.

Shells include totally different options. Their bodily weight, the presence or absence of pit zips and pockets, and the assorted variety of layers they use (the usual is three) are all parts that may have an effect on the worth.

Right here’s our breakdown of what to search for, both for your self or as a nifty present.

Marmot PreCip Eco
Marmot PreCip Eco (Amazon/)

If you would like a strong jacket for a hike within the woods, or simply as an all-round go-to merchandise, you possibly can’t go mistaken with the Marmot PreCip Eco. It’s about as reasonably priced as rain jackets come, and it offers you what you want: safety from the aspect, pit zips to open or shut, and a hood that may disappear proper into the collar with a roll. Yow will discover lighter jackets on the market—and it’s a bit of crinkly—however this merchandise is totally an awesome worth and strong selection. Weight: .6 kilos. Worth: $100

Eddie Bauer BC Uplift
Eddie Bauer BC Uplift (Amazon/)

Spend a bit of extra money, and you’ll seize a jacket that’s lighter and, in my view, a contact extra snug. This merchandise lacks options that the Marmot has (no pit zips, no pockets on your fingers) however makes up for it in any other case: The chest pocket is an efficient place on your pockets, and it’s merely a pleasant, glossy merchandise to have in your again. Weight: .four kilos. Worth: $119

Smartwool Merino Sport Ultra Light Hoodie
Smartwool Merino Sport Extremely Mild Hoodie (Amazon/)

Just like the Gore Infinium jacket under, this merchandise isn’t water-proof—it’s water resistant. The nylon has a sturdy water repellent coating on it, and a mixture of merino wool and polyester in particular sections give the garment extra texture and heat. However even when it’s not designed to be bomb-proof in a heavy downpour, this piece is an efficient, feather-light merchandise to throw on if it’s damp or drizzling. Weight: .three kilos. Worth: $125

Mammut Convey Tour
Mammut Convey Tour (Amazon/)

The Convey Tour is designed particularly for mountain climbing journeys. Carry this shell in the direction of the highest of your backpack so that you’re ready if it begins raining; with the hood up you possibly can trek for hours in rain, snow, and possibly hail unscathed. If you happen to get scorching, open the lengthy zippers below your armpits to breathe a bit of. Weight: .7 kilos. Worth: $249.

The North Face Flight Futurelight jacket
The North Face Flight Futurelight jacket (The North Face/)

If you happen to’re going for a jog within the rain, you’ll need the lightest potential garment so your sweat passes proper via it. The North Face’s latest tech known as FutureLight; they created the membrane in it by spraying polyurethane via hundreds of little nozzles. The jacket feels smooth, stretchy, and light-weight, however it utterly lacks pockets aside from one within the again for a pockets or set of keys. Weight: .6-ish kilos. Worth: $280

Gore R5 Gore-Tex Infinium Soft Lined Hooded Jacket
Gore R5 Gore-Tex Infinium Gentle Lined Hooded Jacket (Amazon/)

This water resistant jacket has an superior “I’m a time traveler from the long run” vibe to it. The considerably shiny outer membrane feels a bit of plastic-y—however not in a nasty manner—and the within is heat, smooth polyester. In different phrases, it’s a shell that’s designed to maintain you toasty if it’s chilly and trigger any drizzle to bead up on its floor. Two pockets and a comfy hood spherical it out. The material across the sleeves is very tapered, so it’s going to probably have bother stretching over an enormous watch should you put on one. Weight: .7 kilos. Worth: $300

Stio Raymer Jacket
Stio Raymer Jacket (Stio/)

Jackson Gap firm Stio intends the Raymer to be the final word shell for taking part in arduous within the mountains. It’s designed for heavy exertion within the snow, like huffing and puffing up a hill with skins on the underside of your skis, nordic snowboarding, or splashing via powder. Open the vents on the facet should you get scorching—and keep epic. Weight: 1.1 kilos. Worth: $399

Outdoor Research Men’s Hemispheres Jacket
Out of doors Analysis Males’s Hemispheres Jacket (Out of doors Analysis/)

It is a heavy-duty shell designed to be worn over different layers as you ski. What units it aside are distinctive patches of uber-stretchy materials (referred to as Gore-Tex cloth with Stretch Expertise) behind the arms and under the hood. These sections broaden, accordion-like, to assist the jacket match snugly over your physique—however additionally they give if you pull your arms ahead and collectively. That works out swimmingly; jackets carry out finest once they suit you properly however don’t restrict your motion, both. Aspect zippers and three pockets come in useful, too. Weight: 1.three kilos. Worth: $599

Verify REI Outlet for extra offers.

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5 Ways To Eat Acorns for Survival



Green acorns, ready for processing.
Inexperienced acorns, prepared for processing. (Tim MacWelch/)

This story was initially featured on Outside Life.

“I didn’t know you may eat acorns!” It pains me to listen to this phrase, and I hear it typically. It appears that evidently the typical particular person has no thought they’re crushing priceless wild edibles underfoot. Many areas with oak timber are loaded with acorns this 12 months, so it’s proving to be a fantastic 12 months to reap this healthful native meals.

However what are you imagined to do with them? Right here’s a straightforward technique for processing them, and 5 alternative ways to eat this humble and ubiquitous tree nut.

Processing acorns begins out by shelling the nuts and leaching out the tannins that make them bitter and nauseating. You would crack them one after the other with pliers or smash them individually with a rock, however the native of us of this land discovered a significantly better method: mass breakage.

Merely set out 20-30 acorns on a tough, flat floor and smash them all of sudden with a large, heavy object. Use a sidewalk and a cinderblock in city environments. Use two large flat rocks in your yard or within the wild. Whichever “instruments” you’ve at your disposal, you may smash the nuts open in a single or two strokes and save your self a variety of time.

Subsequent, separate out all of the shell fragments and place the nut meat items in a pot of heat water. Soak them in heat water for a couple of hours, then pour off the water. Do a style take a look at. If the acorns are nonetheless too bitter, soak them in heat water for a couple of extra hours. This water tub leaches out the tannic acid, which causes nausea and digestive misery when consumed. Repeat this till they’re palatable. For concepts on what to do with the leftover tannic acid, click on right here.

You would additionally do a leaching course of in shifting water with a material bag. Clear socks or pillow instances are nice, when you have them. Tightly woven baskets are the standard technique of straining them. Immerse the nuts in a operating stream and safe them so that they don’t wash away. Let the water move by them for a couple of days, and also you’re prepared to maneuver to the subsequent step.

As soon as the acorns are correctly leached, they are often dried a bit to grind into flour, or used whereas the chunks are nonetheless damp.

1. Roasted acorns

One of many best methods to prepare dinner acorns is to roast them. Place the damp nut chunks on a baking sheet and sprinkle with tremendous salt. Toast them for 15-20 minutes at 375 levels Fahrenheit in a pre-heated oven, or roll them round in a dry frying pan over the camp hearth. You possibly can inform they’re accomplished when the colour has modified just a little, and the nut items scent like roasted nuts. Eat them out of hand similar to peanuts.

2. Acorn brittle

For these with a candy tooth, comply with your favourite peanut brittle recipe, and substitute acorns for the peanuts. Use the identical quantity of acorns that the recipe asks for in peanuts, or add a couple of extra acorns to make this snack just a little extra nutritious. As soon as the brittle is cooled, break it into items and luxuriate in.

3. Acorn bread

Dry your leached acorns just a little bit. When they’re midway between moist and comfortable, and dry and rock-hard, run them by a blender, meals processor, grain mill, or grind between two rocks. Dry the ensuing acorn meal in a low temp oven for a couple of minutes, or air dry for a couple of hours. Then grind it once more. This acorn flour can be utilized to bake breads or nearly another baked good. Should you’re anticipating comfortable spongy bread, mix in some wheat flour for its gluten. It you don’t thoughts the acorn’s pure crumbly texture, use the acorn flour as-is.

4. Acorn cookies

Utilizing the flour described above, attempt your hand at cookies. You would comply with any cookie recipe, swapping out the wheat flour for acorn flour. Since acorn flour is extra crumbly than wheat flour, cookies are a pure match for this wild meals. My favourite are acorn peanut butter cookies. Right here’s easy methods to make them:


Three cups of acorn flour½ teaspoon of baking soda½ teaspoon of salt1 cup of butter (softened)1 cup of peanut butter2 teaspoons of vanilla extract1 cup of white sugar1 cup of brown sugar2 eggs

The butter will cooperate higher if it softens as much as room temperature earlier than mixing, so set the butter out first. Combine the flour, salt, and baking soda in a small bowl, and set it apart. Combine the softened butter and peanut butter in a big bowl. Add the vanilla and each sugars to the butter combination, and blend it properly. Add the eggs and blend once more. Stir the flour combination into the butter combination till easy. Roll the dough into balls and pat out onto an ungreased baking pan. Bake at 375 levels for 10 minutes or till flippantly brown. Makes four- to five-dozen cookies.

5. Acorn espresso

This may occasionally not appear proper to diehard java drinkers since there’s no caffeine in an acorn, however you may roast a espresso substitute from acorns that’s nice sufficient to drink. Place chunks of leached acorn on a cookie sheet and roast them within the oven at 400 levels for about 30 minutes. This roasting time will rely on the moisture within the nut items (extra moist acorns want extra time). Belief your eyes and nostril when making acorn espresso, and keep proper subsequent to the oven. When the items are darkish brown and provides off a roasted (however not a burned) scent, they’re accomplished. Add one tablespoon of roasted acorn to at least one eight-ounce cup of boiling water. Steep for 5-10 minutes, reheat if crucial. Add your regular espresso components, or drink it “black.”

A cracked acorn, in its shell.
A cracked acorn, in its shell. (Tim MacWelch/)

How one can put together acorns to be used as meals and drugs

Acorns signify one of many largest (and most widespread) calorie jackpots within the annual wild plant meals harvest, for those who can beat the squirrels to them. These high-calorie nuts had been a staple crop to a lot of our ancestors across the Northern Hemisphere and we will nonetheless depend on them for meals at present. Coming in at 2,000 energy per pound, this ample of a meals crop is just too priceless to disregard. You possibly can even use them to make drugs. Right here’s how.

Acorns for drugs

Bear in mind the brown tea-like water you poured off the primary soaking of acorns? Nicely, don’t throw it out simply but. Regardless that it looks like we’re brewing up some form of medieval potion, crushed acorns and scorching water can present a fantastic treatment for infected and irritated pores and skin, in addition to toothaches. You should utilize the primary water you pour off from the method of soaking described above. Or you can also make a liquid that’s extra concentrated by boiling crushed acorns (shells and all) in a pot of water. A handful of crushed acorns in a single pint of water will make a small batch of sturdy medicinal fluid. Soak a clear material on this darkish brown water, and apply the moist material to rashes, ingrown toenails, hemorrhoids, and another infected pores and skin ailment. Depart the fabric in place, and repeat this therapy as wanted. For tooth troubles, merely swish the bitter water in your mouth, holding it in there so long as you may. Repeat as wanted, however don’t swallow, as this acidic water offers you an upset abdomen.

9 belongings you by no means knew in regards to the unbelievable, edible acorn

Deer and hunters alike typically discover themselves on the mercy of this modest nut. A poor acorn 12 months can spell catastrophe for a herd headed into a tough winter, simply as a bumper crop can spoil even the perfect hunt plan. Right here’s the whole lot you by no means knew in regards to the laborious mast that packs an actual punch.

450-600: Variety of oak species that exist worldwide (relying on how they’re categorised).60: Approximate variety of oak species within the U.S.5.5: Kilos of meals a deer consumes per day, on common.55%: Portion of a whitetail’s fall food plan that consists of mast like acorns.74%: Acorns a grey squirrel might cover however by no means recuperate.16%: Approximate quantity of protein a buck wants in its food plan for its antlers to achieve most development.10,000+: Variety of acorns a single oak tree can drop in a great 12 months.6 months: Time it takes acorns from the white oak household to mature.18 months: Time it takes acorns from the crimson oak household to mature.

One Pennsylvania research measured what number of acorns a stand of crimson oaks might produce. In a poor seed 12 months, researchers tallied simply 7,000 acorns per acre, however throughout a bumper 12 months, they recorded 273,000. That’s a variety of nuts.

Vitamin details (serving dimension: 1 ounce)

110 calories7 grams fats12 grams carbohydrates1.7 grams protein

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