YOU GOT A PRESCRIPTION FOR THAT VIBRATOR?
Alabama is the only remaining state to ban the sale of sex toys, but nevertheless the Huntsville shop Pleasures recently expanded by moving to a former bank building in order to use three drive-thru windows to sell dildos. Since state law prohibits the sale unless used for “bona fide medical, scientific, educational, legislative, judicial, or law enforcement purposes,” customers must provide a brief written description of their medical or other “legitimate” condition in order to make the purchase.
DEAD END JOB
Wei Xinpeng, 55, a boatman in a village near industrial Lanzhou, China, collects bodies from the Yellow River (the murdered, the suicides, the accidentally drowned), offering them back to grieving relatives for a price. Distraught visitors pay a small browsing fee to check his inventory and then, if they identify a loved one, up to the equivalent of $500 to take the corpse home. Said Wei, “I bring dignity to the dead.” No overstatement for him, since his own son drowned in the river and was never recovered.
Sharon Wilson of Doncaster, England, finally got a worthwhile answer for her nearly 10-year odyssey through a range of doctors’ complicated misdiagnoses. She had complained of many, many days when she vomited more than 100 times, at “almost exactly” 10-minute intervals. The previous diagnosis was a tumor in her pituitary gland, but another specialist nailed it: “Cyclical Vomiting Syndrome.”
Researcher Patricia Brennan of Yale University told a conference in July that a duck’s penis may vary in length from year to year—depending on their competition that year. Their penises waste away after each mating season and regrow, and Brennan found that they regrow longer if there are other males around. (Female ducks are known to have corkscrew-shaped vaginas, and thus a centimeter or two can make a big difference for success in mating.)
Researchers at the University of Queensland revealed in November that parrot fish, which reside on Australia’s reefs and need protection from blood-sucking, lice-like parasites, shelter themselves at bedtime with blankets of “snot.” Typically, the fish’s mouth-slobber, once it starts dribbling out, takes about an hour to ooze into place.
DOES THAT MAKE IT BETTER OR WORSE?
In November, at a burglary scene near Seneca, South Carolina, deputies found Noah Smith, 31, naked and apparently drugged, perhaps on hallucinogenic mushrooms, and with a string-like object protruding from his buttocks. Smith was X-rayed, revealing (according to the deputies’ report, which made its way to the Internet) that the object in his rectum was a “mouse.” However, several days later, the sheriff’s office clarified that the object was a “computer mouse.”