Thursday, October 27, 2005

Why do men have nipples?

I heard about this book a while back, but I finally bought it the other day. It's full of odd, seemingly worthless bits of cocktail party knowledge. But it's fun to find out weird stuff like "Why do men have nipples" and "Is it dangerous to pop zits". So... here are the answers to those questions and a few more little tidbits of strange knowledge.

Men have nipples because...
We all start out with the same exterior body as embryos. At about 6 weeks, the male sex chromosome takes over and prevents mammary glands from developing. Men are thus left with nipples which don't do anything but stick out when it's cold. Did you know that men can actually develop breast cancer? It's rare, but true.

Is it dangerous to pop zits?
Sort of. Popping them can push the zit-causing bacteria further into your skin, causing more redness and swelling. The real "danger zone" is the triangle which stretches between the bridge of your nose to each corner of your mouth. The veins in this area drain into the cavernous sinus. Squeezing zits in this area can lead to a dangerous, and sometimes deadly, infection called cavernous sinus thrombosis (a blood clot in the sinus cavity).

We shiver when we get cold because....
It's the body's way of warming up. The rapid movement of your muscles (shivvering) actually generates heat and helps warm us up when we are very cold.

Wot in the helk is an ice cream headache anyway?
Who knows! But the most likely cause is the constriction of blood vessels in the roof and rear of your mouth. When those pain receptors get overloaded, they refer the pain back to your head, creating a headache. So, the next time you get an ice cream headache, rapidly rub your tongue against the roof of your mouth to warm it up. Kewl, huh?

Get out of the tub! You're all pruney!
Because your outer layer of skin has absorbed too much water. The epidermis, the outer-most layer of skin, is very thick on our hands and feet. As the epidermis swells from absorbing the water from the tub, the layer underneath does NOT swell, causing buckling, or wrinkling.

Do Were-Kittens, er, uh... I mean WereWOLVES really exist?
Yes! Kinda. Porphyria is a rare blood disease. One type, cutaneous porphyria, causes symptoms which include sensitivity to sunlight, excessive hair growth, discolored skin, and skin lesions. It can also lead to tightening of the skin around your mouth, which may cause your incisors stand out more.
Another genetic disease, called congenital hypertrichosis universalis, also causes excessive hair growth all over the body, including the face. When the Castle Argghhh's European Castle tour hits Austria, we can see pictures of the first family known to have been struck with this disease at the Ambras Castle near Innsbruck.

Stop the world... I wanna get off!
Not that I've ever experienced this, but... why does the room spin when you're drunk?
Because when you are intoxicated, alcohol actually changes the density of your blood which affects your vestibular system (the center of balance and equilibrium). When your vestibular system is out of synch, you feel dizzy, which results in the spinning room sensation. (I hope you never get vertigo. It's a constant hangover without the benefit of the drunken stupor that precedes it. icky stuff)

And finally... I leave you with a fraternity stunt.
Can you really ignite a fart? YES. Although I wouldn't recommend it. (I can't believe people really researched this stuff, but since they took the time to study it, I figure I'll pass it along) Farts are comprised of about 59% nitrogen, 20% hydrogen, 9% carbon dioxide, 7% methane, 4% oxygen, and 1% hydrogen sulfide gas. It's that 1% hydrogen sulfide gas that makes young children cower in fear as Daddy emerges from the bathroom. The more sulfur-rich your diet is, the gassier you will be. Now, back to the original question. It's the hydrogen and methane that ignites when you "light one up". Mercaptan, a sulfur compound, is also the reason that asparagus makes your pee smell funny, btw.

If you want to learn more really weird shit, go buy the book.

And while you're there, you can pre-order American Soldier's new book! (I'm thinkin' AS is gonna be REALLY proud that I added a link to his book pre-order along with a book that explains farts.)


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