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Dinosaurs May Have Eaten Hallucinogenic Fungi


Like all dinosaur enthusiasts, I have spent a lot of time trying to picture the colorations, vocalizations, and temperaments of these spectacular animals. But as it turns out, I overlooked one of the most essential questions of all: Did dinosaurs ever trip on hallucinogens?

According to a new paper in the journal Palaeodiversity, it is entirely possible that they did. The key evidence for this magical scenario is embedded inside a chunk of fossilized amber discovered in Myanmar. The specimen dates back about 97 to 110 million years ago, and contains the earliest evidence of grass in the fossil record. But here’s the kicker: Perched on top of the exquisitely preserved grass spikelet is a fungal parasite that greatly resembles the modern fungus ergot.

More at Motherboard

Raicilla: The Secret Mexican Spirit Hiding In Tequila’s Shadows


Contrary to what your bartender may have told you the last time that you were sipping copitas of Del Maguey, not all mezcal comes from Oaxaca. While the majority of what you can find at your favorite high-end Mexican restaurants or tequila bars right now might originate in Mexico’s southernmost state, there are seven other states that can produce it legally—and if the past is any indication, they will all slowly but surely invade the American market as the international demand for agave spirits rises.

In recent years, we’ve seen several lesser-known artisanal Mexican spirits cross the border and flourish. Bacanora from Sonora (distilled from agave pacifica) and sotol from Chihuahua (distilled from the Desert Spoon plant) caused a frenzy among cocktail nerds. To add to the mix, there’s now another badass mezcal being produced in Jalisco—and big tequila companies are doing everything within their power to make sure you don’t know about it.

More at First We Feast

How Fifty Shades Of Grey Killed Sex

Fifty Shades of Grey

During last week’s splashy ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ promotional tour, director Sam Taylor-Johnson described sex in the film as “very choreographed.” It was a red flag: sex should never be choreographed, except perhaps in musical theater and interpretive dance. More warning signs came from lead actress Dakota Johnson, who said the sex scenes were visually “beautiful,” and “like a dance.”

Cut to Christian Grey’s bedroom, where the antihero of E.L. James’ bestselling BDSM-lite novel, a 27-year-old billionaire and sexual dominant played by actor Jamie Dornan, deflowers the clumsy and hopelessly romantic Anastasia Steele (Johnson). The film’s first sex scene shows a lot of earnest lip-biting, heavy-breathing, and body-undulating from Anastasia, while Christian’s head hovers awkwardly and elusively around her pelvis. Much attention is given to the curves of Anastasia’s naked body—swollen breasts, arched back, curled toes, quivering abdomen—emphasizing the male gaze. But nowhere does the scene stray from these hackneyed conventions, which, were it not for one fleeting glimpse of her pubic hair, could pass in a PG-13 film.

More at The Daily Beast

How To Poison Someone On Valentine’s Day

Poisoned Candy

The Feast of St. Valentine has been corrupted and stolen by Hallmark to sell cringeful punny greeting cards, chocolate corn syrup bombs, and upsold meals at restaurants you wouldn’t go to otherwise. Fuck off mass-produced mandatory affection; what I truly love is chemistry. Poison is an exotic chemical meant to hurt or kill. In the play Romeo and Juliet, Romeo’s plan is to join his beloved Juliet in death with a bottle of poison. “Thy drugs are quick. Thus with a kiss I die” — that’s romance to me.

More at Animal

How Scams Worked In The 1800s

1800s Man

These days we are constantly warned of scams and schemes designed to hoodwink us. The FBI sends out scam alerts from its Internet Crime Center. The Federal Trade Commission cautions against all kinds of fraudulence, from the recent Anthem Hack Attack to IRS impostors. And this week the AARP Fraud Watch Network is reminding people of Valentine’s Day scams, including fake florists and cash-on-delivery hornswogglers.

But in the spring of 1859, folks were concerned about another kind of hustle: A man who went by the name of A.V. Lamartine drifted from town to town in the Midwest — pretending to attempt suicide.

More at npr

America’s First Heavy Metal Church Of Christ

Heavy Metal Church

The sign outside the building reads: “Every Saint Has a Past, Every Hellion a Future.” This must be the place. I park next to a stack of motorcycles and pickup trucks, alongside a bus with “The First Heavy Metal Church” written in the same font that Iron Maiden uses.

“Woo!” says the enthusiastic man greeting me at the door. “Welcome to the Heavy Metal Church, bro!” He puts up his hand to give me a fist-bump.

More at Vice

Use Finger Length Not Genetics To Predict Promiscuity


Mating strategies are as varied as the creatures that make up the animal kingdom, but most fall into one of two broad categories: monogamous or polygamous. Penguins mate for life; walruses prefer to play the field. Our close relatives in the primate family are a mixed bag: Chimps and baboons are polygamous, while marmosets like to settle down. Humans, unlike so many other species, are both, according to a new study in Biology Letters.

Men are typically cast as the more promiscuous sex, but the study shows that both males and females breakdown into two groups: those who favor monogamous relationships and those who prefer to practice promiscuity. “It’s very, very rare to find two competing phenotypes that can both be sustained in a population,” says Rafael Wlodarski, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Oxford and lead author of the paper.

More at Pacific Standard

You Really Should Be Putting Acids On Your Face


For three years I was a beauty editor, and constantly experimenting with skincare products that breathlessly promised life-changing, time-reversing results. Today, when it comes to skincare, you might call me low-maintenance—or even lazy. But there’s a single, little-known step I still consider as important as cleansing, moisturizing, and sun protection. (That’s the bare minimum, people.) It comes right after the first, and you’re probably skipping it.

After my face is clean and dry, I dampen a cotton pad with a liquid that smells mildly of sour cabbage. I swipe it over my nose, cheeks, chin, forehead, and neck, repeating on oilier zones. This little daily effort has benefited me more than even the most expensive potions I’ve tried. The stinky stuff I swipe on my face is called Lotion P50, and it’s part of a family of skincare products that some call liquid exfoliants—although they couldn’t be further from the pulverized peach-pit scrubs we messed with in middle school. Others call them acid toners because, like toners, they are used right after cleansing. I don’t care what you call them; just start using them.

More at Quartz

The Strange Tale Of Texas’ All Female Supreme Court


The lawyer approached the bench to be certified. A member of the state bar? Check. A practicing attorney for more than seven years? Check. Never participated in a duel? Check. Hortense Sparks Ward climbed the podium, sat in the center chair, and took her place as chief justice of the Supreme Court of Texas.

The year was 1925, and it would be 66 years before another group of women managed to eke out a majority in any state court. So how did three women take over the highest court in Texas a mere four and a half years after women won the right to vote? The story of Texas’ “Petticoat Court” is one of old boys’ clubs political vendettas, and a group of women bold enough to serve a court that actively undermined their interests at every turn.

More at Mental Floss

The Return Of Artificial Intelligence


The artificial-intelligence industry, a field that conjures up images of humanoid robots and self-aware computer systems, is making a comeback at Silicon Valley companies like Scaled Inference Inc.

Inside a sparsely decorated office at the eight-month-old startup, founder Olcan Sercinoglu is developing an AI system that can help predict events, such as what website you’ll read next. While that’s far from the kind of AI found in science-fiction movies, there’s plenty of interest in this new generation of AI tools, which can help with everything from recognizing speech patterns to sorting through thousands of photos.

More at Bloomberg Business