Step Inside a 13th-Century Chapel Filled With Human Remains—Using Digital Models

In medieval Britain, if human remains were disturbed in the grave or disinterred, they would be removed from the cemetery and placed in what was called a charnel chapel, a religious structure that often had walls stacked high with human remains that temporarily lacked a proper resting place. Charnel houses were popular in England between the 13th and 16th centuries (and are still used in some countries). Only two original charnel chapels are undisturbed today in the UK. One, the Rothwell charnel chapel, is now becoming much more accessible to the public through digital modeling.

The Rothwell Charnel Chapel Project at the University of Sheffield is creating 3D models of the chapel so that other researchers and the public can explore the medieval room for themselves. The Rothwell site is the most complete charnel chapel in the UK—most were repurposed, dismantled, or buried during the Reformation—but it’s not a highly accessible site. Besides, the room is filled with the bones of hundreds of people, and visitors could pose a threat to its preservation…

By sharing their “digital ossuary” online, the team is making it easier for researchers to study the practice of charnelling in England and the role it played in medieval religious practices. And even if you have no stake in studying medieval religion in England, it’s still really fun to explore an underground room full of 13th-century skulls.

from Mental Floss


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8 (9?) Unusual Romance Novel Genres

According to Mental Floss, chaste Amish romances are out; Amish vampire erotic thrillers are in. As are mermaids, cavemen, aliens, and NASCAR drivers.

And then there’s the limited-edition fast-food-themed romance:


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Snaffle, Soodle, Snudge: Wonderful Old Words for Walking We Should Bring Back

Now that spring is here, no matter how committed you are to cars, it’s hard to resist an occasional mosey or stroll. Whether you prefer ambling through the park or zigzagging down a busy sidewalk, this is a lovely time to hoof it. Lucky for us all, the history of English has plenty of rare or forgotten words for walking that will put a glide in your stride.

1. AND 2. SNAFFLE AND SOODLE

These fanciful-sounding words have no definitive origin: They probably just sounded right to someone who was sauntering, which is what they both mean. An Oxford English Dictionary (OED) example from 1821 describes someone “soodling up and down the street.”

3. NOCTAMBULATE

If you sleepwalk—or just like to stroll about after dark—you have a tendency to noctambulate, or walk around at night.

4. SNUDGE

The first sense of snudging refers to being cheap, stingy, miserly, and Scrooge-like. Such penny-pinching behavior isn’t associated with great posture, and perhaps that’s why the word later referred to walking with a bit of a stoop. An English-French dictionary from 1677 captures the essence of snudgery: “To Snudge along, or go like an old Snudge, or like one whose Head is full of business.” Snudging is a little like trudging.

Read the whole thing on Mental Floss


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Explore London’s Literary Side With This Gorgeous Map

From Charles Dickens to Bridget Jones, see where your favorite fictional characters hang around in London Town.

Read more at Mental Floss 


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Swiss Restaurant Offers Insect Cooking Class, Forces Uncomfortable Comparison to Crustaceans

Insects are a sustainable and healthy food source, Bern’s Löscher restaurant explains.

A Swiss eatery has bugs on the brain, and they’re hoping that patrons will bite. As Travel + Leisure reports, The Löscher restaurant in Switzerland’s capital city, Bern, is now offering classes to instruct people how to cook with insects.

Aside from the initial “ick” factor, insects are a sustainable, protein-packed food source, and cultures around the world—from Central Africa to Asia and Latin America—eat the tiny critters. To enjoy the taste of bugs, we need to rethink our relationship with them, Löscher’s manager, Andrea Staudacher, told Swiss news outlet 20 Minuten, according to The Local. “We associate prawns with food but not grasshoppers. However the two animals are very similar,” Staudacher said.

Read the rest at Mental Floss 


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I can’t stop looking at these scientific Images from the Wellcome Image Awards

From Mental Floss:

Each year, the Wellcome Image Awards highlight some of the most fascinating scientific images from around the world, as chosen by a panel of experts from the fields of science communications and medicine.

ZEBRAFISH EYE AND NEUROMASTS

Ingrid Lekk and Steve Wilson, University College London

In this 4-day-old zebrafish embryo, a certain gene expressed in the lens of the eye and other parts of the visual system glows red when it’s activated. You can see the lens of the eye, the head, and neuromasts (those red dots around the rim of the image) glowing red, while the nervous system glows blue.

BLOOD VESSELS OF THE AFRICAN GREY PARROT

Scott Birch and Scott Echols

This image was created using a 3D reconstruction of a euthanized parrot. It models the system of blood vessels in the parrot’s head and neck down to the capillary level.

INTRAOCULAR LENS IRIS CLIP

Mark Bartley, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Iris clips can treat nearsightedness, cataracts, and other eye issues. This photo shows an iris clip fitting on the eye of a 70-year-old patient. He regained nearly all his vision after the surgery.

BRAIN-ON-A-CHIP

Collin Edington and Iris Lee, Koch Institute at MIT

Researchers are developing ways to grow miniature organs on plastic chips in order to make drug testing more efficient. Instead of testing pharmaceuticals on people, scientists may one day test them on something like this—neural stem cells grown on a synthetic gel.

#BREASTCANCER TWITTER CONNECTIONS

Eric Clarke, Richard Arnett and Jane Burns, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland

Here is a visualization of discussions on Twitter using the hashtag #breastcancer. Each dot represents a Twitter user, and its size is based on how many other dots (or nodes) it is connected to. Each line represents a relationship with another Twitter user, and the thicker the line, the more that relationship shows up in the data. This part of the visualization relates to trending data—one tweet retweeted thousands of times.

PIGEON THERMOREGULATION

Scott Echols, Scarlet Imaging and the Grey Parrot Anatomy Project

No, this isn’t just an avian parody of The Scream. It shows the network of blood vessels, visualized using technology created by the same researcher as the parrot image above, under the skin of a pigeon. This dense network allows pigeons to control their body temperatures.

MICRORNA SCAFFOLD CANCER THERAPY

João Conde, Nuria Oliva and Natalie Artzi, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Because microRNAs control the function and growth of cells, they have a lot of potential in cancer therapies. MIT researchers are working on a system that could deliver these short genetic sequences to cancerous cells. It consists of two microRNAs woven like a net with a synthetic polymer.

DEVELOPING SPINAL CORD

Gabriel Galea, University College London

This image shows a mouse’s neural tube, the structure from which the spinal cord develops. In each of the three images, the blue color draws attention to a specific tissue type. In the left image, the blue is the neural tube itself, which forms the brain and spine. In the middle, the blue is the mesoderm, which will become the inner organs. On the right, the blue shows the surface ectoderm that becomes hair, skin, and teeth.

All images courtesy the Wellcome Image Awards


Shaunacy Ferro

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How to Score a Free Breakfast at IHOP on National Pancake Day

On Tuesday, March 7, you can splurge on carbs—and save money—at the International House of Pancakes. In honor of its 12th annual National Pancake Day, IHOP will dish out one free short stack of buttermilk pancakes to customers between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m, with select locations extending their hours until 10 p.m. In turn, patrons are asked to donate to charitable children’s organizations, including Shriners Hospitals for Children, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

But wait, didn’t we just have a Pancake Day? Let’s sort out that holiday confusion: IHOP’s National Pancake Day has nothing to do with International Pancake Day, an annual pancake festival held in Liberal, Kansas, right before the Christian season of Lent. Nor is it related to Shrove Tuesday, which is also called Pancake Day or Mardi Gras—the day before Lent in which cultures around the world savor a hearty pancake supper before commencing 40 days of penance. While IHOP has hosted National Pancake Day on Shrove Tuesday before, the delicious fundraiser often takes place on a generic day in late winter, according to TIME.

This year, IHOP’s National Pancake Day doesn’t seem to fall on any particularly special occasion, which is fine with us—we don’t need a specific occasion to chow down on pancakes, especially when it raises money for a good cause. Since launching National Pancake Day in 2006, IHOP says its restaurants have raised $24 million for charity. This year alone, the chain is aiming to raise $3.5 million.

Visit IHOP’s official National Pancake Day website for more information and updates.

from Mental Floss http://bit.ly/2lwx1HT


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A Ninja Museum Is Coming to Japan


Ninjas are a dying breed, but the Japan Ninja Council has come up with a new plan to drum up excitement around the iconic warriors. As the Associated Press reports, the organization plans to open a ninja museum in Tokyo in 2018.

The plan is part of a nationwide “Cool Japan” initiative, which aims to promote the country’s many cultural treasures leading up to the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. In addition to building a new museum, the council also plans to found an academy dedicated to instructing a new generation of ninjas. According to the AP, there’s only one true Ninja (Jinichi Kawakami, a master of the Koga ninja school) left in the country.

The covert spies were most common from the 15th to the 17th centuries, but the council insists that the values of dedication and humility the ninjas displayed are still useful today. The country’s Aichi Prefecture agrees—last year the region put out a call for six full-time ninjas in an effort to promote “warlord tourism.”

[h/t Skift]

from Mental Floss


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