Researchers can figure out who was the Flava Flav of ancient Mesoamerica by checking out skeletons' teeth. Dentists who lived up to 2500 years ago (who actually sound like they might be more talented than many tooth jockeys I've ever gone to) used to do an early version of grills -- drilling into teeth and implanting gems like jade. Be sure to check out the picture of a skull decorated in this way.
Also in today's links: baby flamingos never see the light of day, an EPA manhunt gets underway and more.
What makes us happy? There's no simple answer (sorry), though this 70-year-long longitudinal study on well-being offers some fascinating insight. Humility helps, so do our reactions to life's woes, and "the only thing that really matters in life are your relationships to other people."
Also in today's links: customer-unfriendly shopping innovations, it pays to be tall, and more.
Behold Huia cavitympanum: the only frog species that can communicate through ultrasonic calls too high-pitched for humans to hear. Two scientists made the discovery by camping out with recording devices in the frog's native island of Borneo. Bonus points go to the guy who was "bitten by leeches and woke up several mornings soaked in blood."
Also in today's links: a reason to switch up your music, what to do with too many chicken feathers, and more.
An FBI agent who posed as a cybercriminal named for a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles character talks about how he helped bring down a worldwide network of identity thieves, got a rep as a most-wanted spammer without having to spam, and dealt with all the egos in the world of Internet thugs.
Also in today's links: swimming in chemicals, rescuing frogs and more.
There has been one beneficiary of flu madness: the elbow. Handily bendy, usefully pointy, the joint is seeing its moment in the sun. Rubbing elbows together in greeting has been suggested as a way to avoid spreading infection, but if that doesn't work for you, here are some other options.
Also in today's links: ringtones for cars, a beetle that better be funny, and more.
Props to whoever noticed bird poop on a smuggler's socks. The smuggler passing through LAX turned out to have 14 birds in his pants when he was busted. Of course the inspectors were onto him already because he'd previously left behind a suitcase full of contraband birds.
Also in today's links: signs of an enhanced MacBook, plus multiple medical miracles.
Willy Wonka would have liked this, but I can't imagine a whole lot of human cooks worth their -- ahem -- salt, will have much interest: a company is selling a book of spices made from edible paper. Want some chili flavoring in a dish? Just rip out the perforated page and put in the pan.
In today's links: forcing people to smoke fails, why it's sometimes better to eat bland food, and more.
This story of a man and his best friend, an 800-pound grizzly bear, is sweet and all. And it's pretty cute that the bear served as best man in his wedding. But doesn't this kind of thing always come back around to literally bite you in the butt? Incidentally, one of the google ads running along the bottom of the video was, "Bear Butchered Man in Ukrainian Zoo."
Also in today's links: controlling toxins from forest fires, an island secret uncovered, and more.
New York City was full of mysteries this week: Who was the idiot that approved the low-flying plane? Does being near the swine flu outbreak in Queens outweigh the benefits of all the delicious ethnic food in that borough? Who misplaced their 60-pound tortoise?
Also in today's links: sadistic spider sex, questionable professional practice and more.
Getting his computer stolen was the most fun thing ever to happen to this guy, who sounds like a bit of a tech geek. Thanks to a remote-access program he'd installed, he was able to screw with the thief's head, while gathering info to help the police track the guy down.
Also in today's links: hungry badgers feed on a lawn, malnourished plants feed on human hair, and more.
If you're tired of fretting about swine flu, here's something else to think about: dislodged "ear rocks" -- loose crystals made of calcium carbonate that can cause dizziness. These little guys are usually valuable, helping us stay balanced, until an injury or virus triggers a "rock slide."
Also in today's links: a levitating air conditioner, horse surgery, and more.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.