Chicken Eyeglasses / Abnormal Behavior of Birds in Captivity

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicken_eyeglasses

Chicken eyeglasses, also known as chickens specs, chicken goggles, generically as pick guards and under other names, are small eyeglasses worn by chickens intended to keep them from attacking and cannibalizing one another.

OK. First: were you aware that a chicken can be so fucked up as to peck another chicken’s eyes out, and then devour it alive? I certainly was not. Apparently they’re like sharks in that the sight of blood whips them into a murderous frenzy… except (as far as I know) sharks are primarily concerned with eating prey, and not each other. (Evidence to the contrary is welcomed, should you possess knowledge of this topic.)

These glasses have been mass-produced since the early 1900s, most of them outfitted with rose-tinted lenses to allow the red color of the blood to blend into the background. Certainly puts a whole new spin on the phrase “looking through rose-colored glasses…

But let’s back up a second and talk about that image above. Did you read it? I particularly love the delightful observation that “a flock so equipped would present a very intellectual appearance.” Really? Chickens wearing glasses with pink lenses engineered to stave off their primal blood lust? I guess standards of intellectualism were a little, uh, looser in the early 20th century.

One related side note: another tactic for preventing the killer instinct is apparently beak-clipping. Do you remember how everyone was up-in-arms about the rumor that KFC breeds genetically-modified mutant chickens that lack beaks (among other things?) This assertion was deemed false by Snopes.com (an authority you can actually trust on the internet), so you shouldn’t worry that you’re ingesting mutant flesh when you’re digging into your bucket of fried chicken from the KFC drive-thru. I would be worried about you for different reasons, mainly that you’re actually eating KFC in the first place. But I digress. The point of bringing that up was to point out that hey, the concept of beakless chickens isn’t beyond-the-pale.

Do you want to get even more disturbed by learning about various other disgusting “abnormal behaviors of birds in captivity?” Yup, there’s a Wikipedia article for that.

Examples:

  • Cannibalism
  • Feather Pecking 
  • Feather Plucking
  • Toe Pecking
  • Vent Pecking—aka pecking of the “cloaca,” or “posterior opening that serves as the only such opening for the intestinal, reproductive, and urinary tracts of certain animal species.” You think that sounds unpleasant? “Vent pecking clearly causes pain and distress to the bird being pecked. Tearing of the skin increases susceptibility to disease and may become cannibalistic leading to evisceration of the pecked bird and ultimately, death.” Great.
  • Stereotypy—aka “a repetitive or ritualistic movement, posture, or utterance… such as body rocking, or complex, such as self-caressing, crossing and uncrossing of legs, and marching in place. They are found in people with mental retardation, autism spectrum disorders, tardive dyskinesia and stereotypic movement disorder; studies have shown stereotypies associated with some types of schizophrenia.” Mentally ill birds masturbating uncontrollably? Again: great.
  • Polydipsia—aka drinking an absurd amount of water. (Not in the fraternity initiation way.)
  • Sham or “Vacuum” Dustbathing—aka cleaning feathers by rolling around in phantom dust or sand.
  • Jealous, Over-Possessive Parrot—aka… um, I’m not sure, since there’s no further explanation of this. Is it only seen in parrots?
  • Laying Infertile Eggs
  • Chronic Egg-Laying—again, no explanation. Is this the avian version of  Michelle Duggar-style hyper-fertility?

Well, wasn’t that interesting! I’ve learned that I possibly don’t ever want to eat chicken again, and I definitely don’t ever want to own a pet bird. I know why the caged bird sings… it sings because it’s slowly going insane while confined in its cage and wants to rip open the asshole of another bird.

Frontal Bossing

Frontal bossing is the development of an unusually pronounced forehead which may also be associated with a heavier than normal brow ridge.

Also known in the vernacular as a “fivehead.”

For details, check out Buzzfeed’s 15 Famous People Who Have “Fiveheads”

(Source: Wikipedia)

Unexplained Sounds, Part I: The Bloop, Julia, Quackers, etc.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_unexplained_sounds

Given my previous post on the robust and thoroughly-researched phenomenon of the Unexplained Boom, I can understand if you came to this post prepared for more of the same buffoonery.

Knock it off.

While the audio profile of the Bloop does resemble that of a living creature, the source is a mystery both because it is different from known sounds and because it was several times louder than the loudest recorded animal, the blue whale.

If that sentence alone doesn’t terrify you, perhaps this description of “Quackers" might:

…fuck. Evidently, the page has been deleted, so I missed a golden opportunity. Nice one, Wikipedia—you goosed me good! (For the record, the article was about eerie croaking sounds Soviet Russian troops allegedly heard in the waters outside their submarines that sounded as if they came from sentient marine animals who were more reactive and faster than any known machine…)

Ok, so maybe that article’s author was a quack.

[BOOOOOOOOO]

But the other sounds I’m about to reference are legitimate, documented, and even named—you can listen to them on their respective Wikipedia pages.

Sounds are constantly registered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), an underwater surveillance system which was put in place during the Cold War and is now used for gathering scientific data: sounds from man-made things like boats and subs, natural things like earthquakes and whales, and… the unknown.

These are ultra powerful and super low-frequency sounds that scientists haven’t quite been able to puzzle out because they’re unlike anything else ever recorded. Some of them do have plausible explanations, like Slow Down (the movement of polar ice sheets?) or Upsweep (an undersea mountain previously identified as dormant?). Julia is sort of creepy, if you listen to it, but doesn’t seem to elicit much attention.

But the Bloop… oh man.

Have I told you I’m afraid of the ocean? I’m afraid of the ocean. Not the beach, dummy—I’m talking about the deepest deeps, the unfathomable fathoms, the very bottom of the fucking earth’s surface where it’s so dark it might as well be a black hole and so pressurized your body would instantaneously implode in a singularity. I mean, I’m guessing. I don’t know. Nobody knows. You know what else nobody knows?

What’s down there.

This is the type of shit that keeps me awake at night. To be fair, plenty of other types of shit keep me awake at night: doing the work I didn’t do when I was sitting around all day, Facebooking people I don’t care about, having “who can find the best picture of disgustingly humongous boobs” battles with friends via gchat, discarding 50% of the contents of my closet in a sudden, manic burst of organization, drinking more alcohol than should be humanly possible for a person my size, occasionally all of the above simultaneously… but that’s beside the point, because the point is that when compared with the percentage of things we don’t know about our world (and our universe), the percentage of things we do know is infinitesimal. Meaning, there’s potentially some really, really frightening things out there that we have no idea about because we’re incapable of seeing or detecting them. I am betting some of these things live in that part of the ocean that is still mostly a mystery to us: things that are ancient, gigantic, and shit-your-pants terrifying. Maybe the kind of thing that moves around from time to time and makes a noise like the Bloop.

You knew I’d get back to it, right? Read this [ancient, poorly-written and/or translated] CNN article and report back: http://archives.cnn.com/2002/TECH/science/06/13/bloop/

So there may potentially be some Kraken-type things lurking in the ocean. Does that mean we should actively worry about them? Probably not. I mean, I saw Cloverfield on a plane home from China, but even though I was sick, sleepless, and slightly delirious, I still thought it was a shitty movie. The chances of Manhattan, or any city, being attacked by a massive sea monster are pretty slim.

Then again…

CTHULHU.

P.S. Shoutout to BloopWatch (who is also on Tumblr)

Unexplained Boom

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unexplained_boom

An unexplained boom is a very loud noise similar to a sonic boom created by the supersonic flight of an aircraft. However these booms are unexplained for various reasons - for instance because no supersonic flight was scheduled at the time the boom was heard.

Media in the US reported several unexplained booms. This phenomenon is rarely reported outside the US.

"This section requires expansion?” No shit. Unexplained, indeed.

And that, folks, is your Helpful Information of the Day, brought to you by Wikipedia!

The more you know…

Disorderly House

i

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disorderly_house

In English criminal law a disorderly house is a house in which the conduct of its inhabitants is such as to become a public nuisance, or outrages public decency, or tends to corrupt or deprave, or injures the public interest; or a house where persons congregate to the probable disturbance of the public peace or other commission of crime. Brothels may be dealt with under statutory offences under sections 33 to 36 of the Sexual Offences Act.

When I saw this phrase in print a few weeks ago, I was both confused and amused (conmused? anfused?). The reference popped up in an recent LA Times article about LAPD’s finest busting a few massage parlors that offered extra special happy endings (if you know what I mean *wink* *wink* *sex*). Here’s the sentence in question:

"South Pasadena police arrested Massage Villa owner Ling Ling Kuo, 44, of Alhambra on Feb. 10 on suspicion of operating a disorderly house.”

Now, despite what you might have heard, I’m not an idiot. I understood what was meant by the phrase in this context. However, it made me imagine a housewife getting arrested for keeping a messy home, and it made me chuckle.

Then I realized that given how messy I am, if that were truly the definition, I am guilty of operate my own disorderly house, and I should already be in jail. And I stopped chuckling.

Now, though, upon reading the Wiki article, and seeing that it refers more to a home that “outrages public decency, or tends to corrupt or deprave…”

…I’m even guiltier than before.

And I LOVE IT

War Games

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_exercise

A military exercise (also called war game in American English) is the employment of military resources in training for military operations, either exploring the effects of warfare or testing strategies without actual combat.

The phrase “war games" has always confused me. War is a pretty terrible thing—doesn’t seem like there’s much fun in it at all. It would be so much more appropriate if it referred to real games—as in, those you play. Such as:

  • Duck-Duck-Grenade
  • Pin the Blame on the Inferior Officer
  • Zero Fingers (aka Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell)
  • Silence or Dare (aka, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell)
  • Hide-and-Go-Seek-and-Destroy
  • Security Checkers
  • Commanding Officer, May I? Sir?
  • Presidential Airspace Invaders
  • Follow the Leader’s Orders
  • I Spy and Will be Prosecuted For It
  • Dodge Bullet [
  • Super Mario Band of Brothers
  • Shoots & Ladders
  • Crossfirewords
  • Cowboys & Insurgents
  • Dead

Oh wait, they made a movie about it, sort of! With Matthew Broderick, no less!

Also, according to the internet, here are some standard military exercise routines in South Korea. (You’re welcome in advance.)

Beard

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beard

In Greco-Roman antiquity the beard was “seen as the defining characteristic of the philosopher; philosophers had to have beards, and anyone with a beard was assumed to be a philosopher.”

Epictetus saw his beard as an integral part of his identity and held that he would rather be executed than submit to any force demanding he remove it.

Beards are serious shit.

I have just finished creating a Facebook Fan Page for my brother’s beard. This… thing… has been growing since November of last year, a Movember challenge that spun thrillingly, awesomely out of control.

Not usually one to sport facial hair beyond the occasional dance with sideburns, my brother (he of the fair skin and hearty, hard-drinking Irish stock) has now cultivated a veritable forest of luscious red facial hair. To call it a “beard” is really a misnomer, and doesn’t do justice to the fact that it is an ever-expanding fusion of beard, mustache, and sideburns that has managed to now reach the (brown) hair of his head. If he keeps it growing—and I strongly advocate that he does—I predict his entire face will be covered by a unified, two-tone mass of hair. Forget neckbeard: this is headbeard.

I suspect it will look something like this:

or, god willing, this:

Actually, never mind. I don’t want to see that.

Gyp

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gyp

Gyp may refer to:

Gyp" doesn’t really have a Wikipedia entry, only a disambiguation page. The above definition is what I was searching for initially.

Now, to be fair, Wikipedia didn’t know that I wasn’t searching for the writer Sibylle Gabrielle Marie Antoinette Riqueti de Mirabeau (1849-1932), aka Gyp, or the rock Gypsum, or gangster Harry Horowitz, aka Gyp the Blood. Whose details I am more than happy to add to my repertoire of useless knowledge.

The issue at hand, though, was the etymology of the word “gyp.” Earlier today, I texted a friend that “I’m conflicted because I don’t want to gyp them, but I also don’t want to royally dick myself over in the process." (in re: my fees. Because, if you have to ask, bitch, you can’t afford me!)

My phone refused to recognize my Swype pattern of G-Y-P as a valid word while I was composing the text. Now, this isn’t indicative of anything, really: this phone also consistently autocorrects “phone" to "poutine,” “better" to "beyer,” and suggests words like “isac,” “trev,” “nieves,” “nyers,” and “devel.” (Fuck you, Droid!) However, I felt a momentary panic about whether I was spelling the word right—did it start with a J? I was reminded of my continual anxiety about the word “gibberish.” Or is it “jibberish?” I’ve never actually looked it up.

* Note to self: do that.

A quick Google search proved that my instincts were correct. But it got me thinking as to where the hell this word came from in the first place.

So, the fact that Wikipedia doesn’t actually have an entry for the word itself was kind of a downer. On the upside, I got to read about cheating and confidence games (which I already knew quite a bit about, given I wrote a research paper in college about the book “Confidence Men and Painted Women: A Study of Middle-class Culture in America), and also had the pleasure of being reminded of the Simpsons episode where Homer and Bart become grifters.

For those who have followed this rambling post, and are still interested in the origin of the word gyp, enlightenment can be gained via Dictionary.com, who lists the etymology of gyp as “to cheat, swindle; probably short for Gypsy.”

Those damn Gypsies, always trying to score a buck? (/Lira/Euro/etc.)

RACISTS (And Other Stories)

This fellow named Seuss, not a surgeon was he
Yet he still could sense sickness, I think you’ll agree
Corruption and malice, oppression and greed—
He found people’s wrongdoings grievous, indeed.

While pondering this, the Doc had to admit
That he did not like it. Not one little bit.
Thus driven, he did what he figured was best:
He’d tell a few tales, and let us do the rest.

All his books—they were popular! Flew off the shelves!
For in all of his characters, we saw ourselves
And although he sleeps soundly now, deep in his grave
I still thank him for teaching me how to behave.


(Ed. Note: Not actually a Wikipedia post, but I wanted to share this anyway.)

Wonderlic Test

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wonderlic_Test

While an average football player usually scores around 20 points, Wonderlic, Inc. claims a score of at least 10 points suggests a person is literate.

On the other hand, some well-known players have scored low on the test. Dan Marino scored a 16 and Vince Young also scored a 16 on the test his second try, after sources confirmed his previously reported score of six to be erroneous.

Vince Young’s score of 6 was “confirmed” as erroneous by the people that drafted him. Interesting.

These are the things I learn by watching the Superbowl with my buddies!

Cyclopia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyclopia

Typically, the face is either missing or replaced with a non-functioning nose in the form of a proboscis.

Most such embryos are either naturally aborted or are stillborn upon delivery/ hatching.

Folks, this is not an article about the Cyclops, that one-eyed giant of Greek myth, as depicted above in a piece by French Symbolist painter Odilon Redon. I hated this painting the moment I first saw it years ago in an art history class, and I have continued to hate it because, frankly, it creeps me the fuck out.

Rather, this Wikipedia article is about Cyclopia—a rare birth defect of both humans and animals—and it is far, far creepier than this painting. Especially the image that the authors have chosen for the page.

So, um, don’t click on this link unless you want to see a picture of a dead human baby born with cyclopia. (Reread the block quote above.) And this is coming from someone who tosses dead baby jokes into conversation as often as god kills a kitten over someone masturbating.

You’ve been warned.

Justin Timberlake (Relationships)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Justin_Timberlake#Relationships

In the August 9–15, 2008 edition of Heat magazine, when Timberlake was asked to describe his perfect woman, he replied “About 5’7” -5’8”, nice butt, Midwestern American, kind-of-German last name, green eyes, big pouty lips, fair skin, ahhh….sinewy bod…”

Oh god. I can’t even. I just can’t.

Why am I even reading this in the first place?

The world may never know. (e.g. I’LL NEVER TELLLLL!!!)

*

Image courtesy of dailymail.co.uk

Link Rot

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Link_rot

The 404 “Not Found” response is familiar to even the occasional Web user. A number of studies have examined the prevalence of link rot on the Web, in academic literature, and in digital libraries. In a 2003 experiment, Fetterly et al. discovered that about one link out of every 200 disappeared each week from the internet.

The 404 “Not Found” response is familiar to even the occasional Web user… and so is the subsequent rage.

Autophobia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autophobia

Autophobia (from the Greek: ἀυτο, auto, “self” and φόβος, phóbos, “fear”), is the specific phobia of isolation; a morbid fear of being egotistical, or a dread of being alone or isolated.

Autophobia is also used in its literal context to mean an irrational fear of oneself

In a perfect world*, I’d have some sort of magic wand that I could wave to induce Autophobia in victims of my choosing. Think about it: couldn’t the world use more people who are morbidly afraid of being egotistical?

Now, now, get off your “absolute power corrupts absolutely” high-horse—I’d make great effort to use this power cautiously, judiciously, and only for the Greater Good.  It would be reserved strictly for people like violent, megalomaniacal political dictators, or the Kardashian sisters.

*for me

Image: "Self Fear" by Dominic McCann

Ettore Boiardi

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ettore_Boiardi

The patrons of Il Giardino d’Italia frequently asked for samples and recipes of his spaghetti sauce, which he often gave to customers in old milk bottles. Boiardi began to use a factory in 1928 to keep up with orders, setting his sights on selling his product nationally.

And that is how a humble immigrant boy named Boiardi from Piacenza, Italy, who loved to cook more than anything else, came to be the king of processed, mass-marketed, canned schlock.

Why… it’s Chef Boyardee, of course!

Signore Boiardi would be proud to know his face graces the packaging of the traditional Italian offerings from his eponymous line, such as the classic "Cheesy Nacho Rotini".

America: where dreams come true!!

Images courtesy of Time.com and chefboyardee.com