A Rediscovered Erotic Poem Might Indicate the Middle Ages Were Sexier Than We Thought

David Avery/iStock via Getty Images
David Avery/iStock via Getty Images

In a find that has medieval scholars slightly hot under the collar, a poem believed to have been written in the 15th century was just discovered to have been composed at least 200 years earlier. Detailing a woman’s conversation with her vulva, it represents a shift in how and when sexuality was expressed in the art of the Middle Ages.

Christine Glassner of the Institute for Medieval Research at the Austrian Academy of Sciences found the poem while combing through texts at the Melk Abbey library in Austria. Initially, she was unable to identify the thin parchment (roughly half an inch wide and less than 9 inches long) that had been reused to bind text—parchment was often recycled this way—and represented only a fraction of the work. With the help of colleagues, she was able to recognize it as the "Rosendorn" (the “Rose Thorn”), a poem previously believed to have origins in the 15th century.

It tells the story of a virgin who communicates directly with her vulva and debates which of the two is more appreciated by men. The woman believes her overall beauty is what draws interest; the vulva posits that only a portion of her body is what attracts men. The two sentient beings decide to part ways before realizing they’re best suited as a pair.

Such risqué writing was not thought to have surfaced in the German-speaking world until the end of the Middle Ages. But Glassner’s discovery dates to 1300 CE, moving up the expression of sexuality by as much as 200 years. Glassner called the text “incredibly clever” and a wry commentary on how a person cannot be separated from their sex.

With the discovery, scholars will seek to recontextualize how sexuality was expressed during a period when it was believed to have been largely kept private. The fragment is now on display at Melk Abbey.

[h/t Gizmodo]

Kodak’s New Cameras Don't Just Take Photos—They Also Print Them

Your Instagram account wishes it had this clout.
Your Instagram account wishes it had this clout.

Snapping a photo and immediately sharing it on social media is definitely convenient, but there’s still something so satisfying about having the printed photo—like you’re actually holding the memory in your hands. Kodak’s new STEP cameras now offer the best of both worlds.

As its name implies, the Kodak STEP Instant Print Digital Camera, available for $70 on Amazon, lets you take a picture and print it out on that very same device. Not only do you get to skip the irksome process of uploading photos to your computer and printing them on your bulky, non-portable printer (or worse yet, having to wait for your local pharmacy to print them for you), but you never need to bother with ink cartridges or toner, either. The Kodak STEP comes with special 2-inch-by-3-inch printing paper inlaid with color crystals that bring your image to life. There’s also an adhesive layer on the back, so you can easily stick your photos to laptop covers, scrapbooks, or whatever else could use a little adornment.

There's a 10-second self-timer, so you don't have to ask strangers to take your group photos.Kodak

For those of you who want to give your photos some added flair, you might like the Kodak STEP Touch, available for $130 from Amazon. It’s similar to the regular Kodak STEP, but the LCD touch screen allows you to edit your photos before you print them; you can also shoot short videos and even share your content straight to social media.

If you want to print photos from your smartphone gallery, there's the Kodak STEP Instant Mobile Photo Printer. This portable $80 printer connects to any iOS or Android device with Bluetooth capabilities and can print whatever photos you send to it.

The Kodak STEP Instant Mobile Photo Printer connects to an app that allows you to add filters and other effects to your photos. Kodak

All three Kodak STEP devices come with some of that magical printer paper, but you can order additional refills, too—a 20-sheet set costs $8 on Amazon.

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13 Inventors Killed By Their Own Inventions

Would you fly in this?
Would you fly in this?

As it turns out, being destroyed by the very thing you create is not only applicable to the sentient machines and laboratory monsters of science fiction.

In this episode of The List Show, Mental Floss editor-in-chief Erin McCarthy takes us on a sometimes tragic, always fascinating journey through the history of invention, highlighting 13 unfortunate innovators whose brilliant schemes brought about their own demise. Along the way, you’ll meet Henry Winstanley, who constructed a lighthouse in the English Channel that was swept out to sea during a storm … with its maker inside. You’ll also hear about stuntman Karel Soucek, who was pushed from the roof of the Houston Astrodome in a custom-designed barrel that landed off-target, fatally injuring its occupant.

And by the end of the episode, you just might be second-guessing your secret plan to quit your day job and become the world’s most daredevilish inventor.

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