While Visitors Are in Quarantine, Museums Are Sharing Their Creepiest Objects on Twitter

A long-dead Roman woman’s hair bun, jet pins and all.
A long-dead Roman woman’s hair bun, jet pins and all.

Though they may not be open to visitors during the COVID-19 crisis, museums around the world are finding ways to keep busy. Earlier this month, the UK's Yorkshire Museum challenged museums on Twitter to share the creepiest objects in their collections.

The Yorkshire Museum kicked off the #curatorbattle on April 17 by tweeting a picture of a hair bun recovered from a Roman tomb dating back to the 3rd or 4th century. Since then, dozens of institutions have participated.

The Egham Museum in the UK contributed an antique doll with a balding, cracked head that's simply labeled "MC 294." From the British Toy Museum of Penshurst Place came a red-eyed stuffed bear that pretends to drink when you feed it coins. The winner, at least based on Twitter's response, may be "The Mermaid" of the National Museums of Scotland's Natural Sciences department. The unsettling monstrosity was one of many monkey-fish taxidermy hybrids made popular by P.T. Barnum.

This isn't the first time museums have used social media to show off some of their more unusual items. In October of last year, the History Center of Olmsted County in Rochester, Minnesota, held a contest to determine which of the antique dolls in its collection was the creepiest. This latest challenge is not only a chance for museums to spotlight some underrated objects, but also to connect with the public when people are stuck at home.

If you think you can stomach it, you can view even more freaky museum objects under the hashtag #curatorbattle. For a more pleasant virtual museum experience, here are some world-class institutions you can tour online.

The New Apple Watch SE Is Now Available on Amazon

Apple/Amazon
Apple/Amazon

Apple products are notorious for their high price tags. From AirPods to iPads to MacBooks, it can be difficult to find the perfect piece of tech on sale when you are ready to buy. Luckily, for those who have had their eye on a new Apple Watch, the Apple Watch SE is designed with all the features users want but at a lower starting price of $279— and they're available on Amazon right now.

The SE exists as a more affordable option when compared to Apple's new Series 6 line of watches. This less expensive version has many of the same functions of its pricier brethren, except for certain features like the blood oxygen sensor and electrical heart sensor. To make up for the truncated bells and whistles, the SE comes in at least $120 cheaper than the Series 6, which starts at $400 and goes up to $800. The SE comes with technical improvements on previous models as well, such as the fall detection, a faster processor, a larger screen, water resistance, and more.

Now available in 40mm ($279) and 44mm ($309), both SE models offer a variety of colors to choose from, such as sliver, space gray, and pink. If you want cellular connection, you’ll have to pay a bit more for the 40mm ($329) and the 44mm ($359).

For more, head to Amazon to see the full list of offerings from Apple.

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Surprise: Cows Poop Corn Kernels, Too

Cows—they're just like us.
Cows—they're just like us.
freestocks.org, Pexels

Hours after chowing down on an ear or two of buttery corn on the cob, you glance down in the toilet bowl and think, “I swear I chewed that.” Many of us have found ourselves in similar situations; the fact that corn kernels appear unchanged by their journey through our bodies is one of humanity’s open secrets.

According to The Takeout, the phenomenon isn’t specific to humans—cows experience it, too. This is somewhat surprising, since cows are ruminant animals whose digestive systems can break down tough materials better than ours can. When cows swallow their food, it softens in a special digestive chamber called a rumen and then gets sent back up for another round of mastication. (This also explains why it seems like cows are always munching on something.) But scientists have discovered that corn sometimes manages to emerge partially unscathed from this process of “chewing the cud.”

Not entirely unscathed, though. As University of Nebraska-Lincoln ruminant nutritionist Andrea Watson told Live Science, it’s only the thin yellow exterior of each kernel that escapes digestion. This is made of cellulose, a durable fiber that helps shield corn from bad weather, pests, and other potential damage. Humans can’t break down cellulose, but cows usually do a pretty good job—a testament to corn’s resilience.

Watson explained that about 10 percent of each kernel comprises cellulose, so whatever corn you detect in your poop isn’t quite as whole as you might think. The other 90 percent—a combination of starch, antioxidants, and other nutritional elements—does get digested. And if you’re consuming corn in a different form, like tortilla chips or popcorn, you can rest assured that the cellulose has already been processed enough that you won’t see evidence of your snack later.

[h/t The Takeout]