Attention please: Japan is weird. That is all

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A three-month exhibit dubbed “Toilet!? Human Waste & Earth’s Future” debuted this past month at the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (also known as Miraikan) in Japan.

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According to the official website, the purpose of the exhibition is to have people “talk freely and openly about toilets.” For this purpose, the exhibition features eight areas –- each dedicated to different aspects of feces and toilet functionality.

One of the areas — titled “Where Do Feces Go?” — features a giant toilet that children can slide down on. This part of the exhibit is intended to explain the process of purifying sewage.

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Besides space toilets and giant toilet slides, the exhibition has a panel titled “If Toilets Could Talk…” that features a ranting toilet who vents his frustration at being unappreciated for his doo-doo-processing efforts. Hey, it seems fair to provide a space for the star of the show to express himself, considering all the crap he must deal with!

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The “Toilet!? Human Waste & Earth’s Future” exhibit will be featured at the Miraikan until October 5th, 2014 — so there’s still time to drop by!

5 Cinco de Mayo Facts Most Americans Don’t Know

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cinco-de-mayo-cats-featuredGetting ready to celebrate Cinco de Mayo and don’t really know its significance?

No worries, you aren’t the only one planning to party the night away without a clue as to what exactly it’s all about.

Hopefully, the following facts will forever clear up your misunderstandings:

1. Cinco de Mayo is not tied to Mexico’s Independence Day. If you truly want to celebrate Mexico’s Independence Day, you will have store your fireworks and margarita mix until September 16, the actual day Mexico became its own nation.

2. Cinco de mayo was popularized by Chicano activists in the 1960s and 1970s. The celebration is one of 365 festivals celebrated by people of Mexican descent and focuses on the Battle of Puebla. The 1862 battle saw Mexico’s Army defeat France during the Franco-Mexican War that raged between 1861 and 1867.

3. Cinco de mayo is all about underdogs. In the Battle of Puebla, Mexico was the definite underdog. The Army didn’t have any formal training and very little equipment, and was greatly outnumbered by well-funded France — yet still had the power to outwit and outmaneuver its forces.

Remember as you’re doing the Mexican hat dance you’re honoring the gallantry and imagination of the underdog!

4. Cinco de Mayo isn’t a big deal in Mexico. While some in Mexico celebrate the day at home with family and friends, the government doesn’t treat it with the same importance as Independence Day.

5. Cinco de Mayo is becoming more popular throughout the world each year. The celebration continues to spread throughout the globe as the years progress. Countries such as Australia, Canada, and Malta reportedly have a blast on the fifth of May. Rumors are that a growing number of European citizens are planning their own Cinco de Mayo gatherings in 2014.

Chinese Man Has A Horn Growing Out of His Neck

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A man who has lived with a thick horn growing from his neck for over 30 years said his greatest wish is to know what caused it, the Chutian Metropolis Daily reported.

Li Zhibing, 62-year-old resident of Shiyan, Hubei Province, explained friends use a saw to help him cut the horn to a nub twice a year, or else his neck becomes swollen and runs a fever if it grows too long.

Li said he discovered the beginnings of the unusual growth in 1980. After attempting to treating it with herbs from the mountains near his home, the horn grew an astonishing 15 centimeters perpendicularly from the nape of his neck.

For the past 35 years, Li has suspected it was the home remedy he used that caused the horn to grow.

Li said the horn is not an inconvenience – except for when he washes his hair and gets dressed. And his shocking appearance.

Although it is unclear what is causing Li’s growth, it resembles a cutaneous horn.

These horn-shaped protrusions are in fact concentrated deposits of keratin, or the protein that promotes hair and nail growth. Though they usually develop in adults over 55 years old, large protrusions such as Li’s are rare.

Cutaneous horns can be surgically removed.

6 Facts About Easter That Have Nothing to Do with Jesus’ Resurrection

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Easter-Cross-Bunny-600X300-558x279We always wondered how rabbits, eggs and hot cross buns come to represent the spring holiday we call Easter. So with a little bit of Google magic we did some digging and found out some pretty interesting things.

For example, a majority of Easter associations did not actually originate with Christian practices, but rather from Persian, Greek and Babylonian traditions that Christians adopted.

Here’s more of what we found:

1. Why do we do what we do? Ancient Babylonians, who lived 2,000 years before Christ, would annually commemorate the resurrection of their food and vegetation god Tammuz, who was brought back from the underworld by his mother, Ishtar. Funny thing is, their festivities are exactly how Christians all over the world celebrate today — egg dyeing, hot cross buns and formal Sunday morning worship.

2. Why is it called “Easter”? Not only can we thank the ancient Babylonians for the Easter activities, but we can also thank them for the name. Ishtar is actually pronounced “Easter,” according to many Semitic dialects. Perhaps this is when the name “Easter” became associated with the resurrection of a culture’s special god.

3. Or… Did we get the name “Easter” from the ancient goddess Eostre — better known as Goddess of the Growing Light of Spring? She was known to represent the bright and vibrant first half of the year, loved by many and known for the innocence and beauty associated with springtime.

4. So, what’s the deal with the rabbit? You might be sitting there thinking, “Wait, but rabbits don’t even lay eggs.” So here’s why the rabbit is associated with Easter: Not only do rabbits multiply at an alarming rate, they also have spiritual symbolism. It is said that rabbits are actually the “spiritual twin” or totemic representation of Eostre, the goddess mentioned above. So with this combination of grand fertility and spiritual bondage, the rabbit carries the heavy weight of being Easter’s mascot.

5. Thought that dyeing eggs was just for fun? Think again! Ages ago, Egyptians logically used an egg to symbolize fertility, new life and resurrection. They used to think that eggs fell from the sky, which meant that the gods were sending them a message — a new life had arrived! Red dye, gathered from plant pigments, was used to color eggs and symbolized the blossoming colors of springtime.

6. Why does Easter fall on a different day every year? Christianity’s one exception to adopting certain Pagan practices is the date which we celebrate Easter. Based on our solar system, every year Easter is scheduled to fall on the first Sunday after the first full Moon of the Vernal Equinox.

These facts about Easter raise a bigger question: Why did early Christians adopt pagan holidays and rituals for themselves?

It’s complicated and there were a lot of variables and historical points involved, but here’s the quick version from Answers.com:

By adopting pagan feasts, the Christians could provide an alternative for converts who were unwilling to give up ancient festivities. As Christianity became the majority religion, they could also demand that all people attend church or other Christian observances on that day, thus ensuring that the people did not spend time in observance of pagan celebrations.

Rihanna Bottomless On All Fours Photo Shoot

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Rihanna poses completely bottomless while on all fours in this photo shoot for the new issue of National Geographic.

These trainers do an excellent job of keeping this Rihanna creature calm and cooperative, while the photographer captures her in her natural position with her face down and ass up.

Unfortunately (as you can see in the photos below) the photographer was foolishly shooting these pictures from the wrong end. Of course that mistake is easy to make, as it is hard to distinguish Rihanna’s swollen red hindquarters from her face. Perhaps with a few more watermelon slices they could placate Rihanna long enough re-shoot from the other end.

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Okay, where did the word ‘OK’ come from?

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ok_cafeOK, so you’re familiar with “OK.” You probably use it all the time, and probably not for just one purpose. But do you really know what it means? And if not, are you OK with that?
The word “OK” is one of America’s most popular cultural exports, squeezing myriad meanings from just two letters in a way that embodies American ingenuity, enthusiasm and efficiency. It has almost as many origin stories as connotations, but linguists generally agree it was first published on March 23, 1839, a date now honored as OK Day. That means March 23, 2014, is the 175th birthday of OK.
So much subtlety in so few letters has made OK a tough nut to crack. But thanks to the late U.S. etymologist Allen Walker Read, we at least have a grasp on where it came from. After diligent research into OK’s history, Read published his findings in the journal American Speech in 1963 and 1964, tracing the term back to a March 23, 1839, article in the Boston Morning Herald (see below).
In the succinct spirit of OK, let’s cut to the chase: “OK” is most likely short for “oll korrect,” a jokey misspelling of “all correct” that needs a little historical context to make sense. In the late 1830s, a slang fad inspired young, educated folks in Boston and New York to make tongue-in-cheek acronyms for deliberate misspellings of common phrases. This led to arcane abbreviations like K.G. for “no go” (“know go”), N.C. for “enough said” (“nuff ced”) and K.Y. for “no use” (“know yuse”). Krazy kids!
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This 1839 use of “o.k.” in the Boston Morning Herald is now considered the word’s first print appearance. (Image: University of Illinois)
Printing “o.k.” in a big-city newspaper helped it rise above other trendy initials, but it soon got an even bigger publicity boost. That’s because 1840 was a U.S. election year, and incumbent President Martin van Buren happened to be nicknamed “Old Kinderhook” after his birthplace of Kinderhook, N.Y. Hoping to capitalize on this coincidence, van Buren’s Democratic Party supporters formed the O.K. Club to promote him before the 1840 election, according to Oxford University Press.
While OK didn’t get O.K. re-elected — he lost to Whig William Henry Harrison — the word did get stuck in America’s memory. Its roots were soon forgotten, though, partly due to the same election-year chaos that popularized it. Whigs used it to mock former president and van Buren ally Andrew Jackson, for example, claiming Jackson invented it to cover up his own misspelling of “all correct.” Van Buren critics also turned the acronym against him, with insults like “out of kash” and “orful katastrophe.”
OK may have been the real winner in 1840, but it still took a while to become “America’s greatest word,” a title bestowed by author Allan Metcalf in his 2010 book about OK. Top 19th-century writers including Mark Twain shied away from it, according to Metcalf, providing little literary legitimacy until a variant of OK was used in 1918 by Woodrow Wilson, the only U.S. president with a Ph.D.
This long path to ubiquity can be partly mapped by Google Ngram, which charts annual word usage across 500 years’ worth of books. It doesn’t include spoken OKs, or even all the written ones, but it’s still an interesting look at the word’s popularity, which apparently surged from 1970 to 2000.
Much of OK’s success can be attributed to its brevity and flexibility, according to the Online Etymology Dictionary, which notes “it filled a need for a quick way to write an approval on a document, bill, etc.” It has also evolved to fill many other linguistic niches, like granting permission (“That’s OK by me”), conveying status or safety (“Are you OK?”), calling to action or changing the subject (“OK, what’s next?”), and even hinting at mediocrity or disappointment (“We had an OK time at the party”).
The Boston Morning Herald may have been first to print OK, and that instance was clearly decoded as “all correct,” but it’s still impossible to rule out many alternative origins. Woodrow Wilson argued it should be spelled “okeh,” for instance, because he thought it came from the Choctaw word okeh for “it is so.” That’s a longstanding explanation, but its support has faded due to lack of evidence.
Other theories also see shades of OK beyond American English, in terms like Scots’ och aye (“yes, indeed”), Greek’s ola kala (“all is well”), Finnish’s oikea (“correct”) and Mandingo’s O ke (“certainly”). Complicating matters is that some people now spell OK “okay,” a newer variant. Even in the acronym camp, though, some argue OK came from the shorthand for “zero killed” on battlefield reports.
Oxford describes a potential link from OK to West Africa’s Mandingo language as “the only other theory with at least a degree of plausibility,” but adds that “historical evidence … may be hard to unearth.” As with much of U.S. culture, OK could just be a blend of concepts and syllables from around the planet, slowly gelling over generations. Whoever coined it, it’s now widely used as a loanword in other languages, providing a pithy verbal package for what NPR calls “America’s can-do philosophy.” And with that much global reach, OK has probably grown too big for us to ever dig up its roots.
That may not be a very satisfying answer, but considering all that can happen in 175 years, it’s OK.