There's a Tell-Tale Sign Women Are Ovulating, But You Can't See It


No, the tell-tell sign of female fertility is not the box office numbers for the ultimate ab-filled gyration-fest that is the Magic Mike sequel. As it turns out, women—at least, college-age, mostly white women in one small UK study—do show physical signs of hitting their peak fertility for the month.

These women’s faces turned redder during ovulation, but subtly enough that the human eye couldn't detect it.

As described in the journal PLOS ONE, a group of UK researchers photographed 22 women with no makeup on every weekday for a month, measuring the change in their skin tone over the course of their reproductive cycles. (None were on hormonal birth control, since it might have thrown off the results.) The researchers used a camera designed for detecting camouflage to ensure that it could accurately capture color, and measured changes using a computer program that identified the same section of the cheek in every photo. The participants measured hormonal changes throughout the month themselves. 

When the women were at their most fertile, as shown by their hormonal patterns, their skin was redder than at later stages of the ovulation cycle. But while the change was significant enough to allow computers to measure it, it wasn’t enough to be picked up by the naked eye.

This change is clearly less obvious in us than in some of our primate relatives, whose butts turn bright red when they’re experiencing estrus.

"We had thought facial skin color might be an outward signal for ovulation, as it is in other primates, but this study shows facial redness is not what men are picking up on,” study author Hannah Rowland of Cambridge University said in a press release, “although it could be a small piece of a much larger puzzle.”

Previous studies have found that men find women more attractive near the time of their ovulation (even just through scent), even if they can't quite put their finger on why. 

One study of 22, mostly white, college-age women doesn't provide enough evidence to generalize about the entire world population, so take these findings with a big grain of salt. But the study does suggest that at some point, human fertility may have been visible. Maybe this explains the enduring allure of red lipstick. 

Looking to Downsize? You Can Buy a 5-Room DIY Cabin on Amazon for Less Than $33,000

Five rooms of one's own.
Five rooms of one's own.

If you’ve already mastered DIY houses for birds and dogs, maybe it’s time you built one for yourself.

As Simplemost reports, there are a number of house kits that you can order on Amazon, and the Allwood Avalon Cabin Kit is one of the quaintest—and, at $32,990, most affordable—options. The 540-square-foot structure has enough space for a kitchen, a bathroom, a bedroom, and a sitting room—and there’s an additional 218-square-foot loft with the potential to be the coziest reading nook of all time.

You can opt for three larger rooms if you're willing to skip the kitchen and bathroom.Allwood/Amazon

The construction process might not be a great idea for someone who’s never picked up a hammer, but you don’t need an architectural degree to tackle it. Step-by-step instructions and all materials are included, so it’s a little like a high-level IKEA project. According to the Amazon listing, it takes two adults about a week to complete. Since the Nordic wood walls are reinforced with steel rods, the house can withstand winds up to 120 mph, and you can pay an extra $1000 to upgrade from double-glass windows and doors to triple-glass for added fortification.

Sadly, the cool ceiling lamp is not included.Allwood/Amazon

Though everything you need for the shell of the house comes in the kit, you will need to purchase whatever goes inside it: toilet, shower, sink, stove, insulation, and all other furnishings. You can also customize the blueprint to fit your own plans for the space; maybe, for example, you’re going to use the house as a small event venue, and you’d rather have two or three large, airy rooms and no kitchen or bedroom.

Intrigued? Find out more here.

[h/t Simplemost]

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Florence’s Plague-Era Wine Windows Are Back in Business

A wine window in Florence's Via Santo Spirito.
A wine window in Florence's Via Santo Spirito.

Many bars and restaurants have started selling takeout cocktails and other alcoholic beverages to stay in business—and keep customers safe—during the coronavirus pandemic. Meanwhile, 17th-century Florentines are surely applauding from their front-row seats in the afterlife.

As Insider reports, a number of buildings in Florence had been constructed with small “wine windows,” or buchette del vino, through which vendors sold wine directly to less affluent customers. When the city suffered an outbreak of plague in the 1630s, business owners recognized the value of these windows as a way to serve people without spreading germs. They even exchanged money on a metal tray that was sanitized with vinegar.

Wine not?sailko, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0

Things eventually went back to normal, and the windows slowly fell out of fashion altogether as commerce laws evolved. This year, however, they’ve made a comeback. According to Food & Wine, there are currently at least four in operation around Florence. Osteria delle Brache in Piazza Peruzzi is using its window to deliver wine and cocktails, for example, and the Vivoli ice cream shop, a go-to dessert spot since 1929, is handing out sweet scoops and coffee through its formerly dormant aperture.

Apart from the recent resurgence of interest, the wine windows often go unnoticed by tourists drawn to the grandeur of attractions like the Uffizi Gallery and the Florence Cathedral. So in 2015, locals Matteo Faglia, Diletta Corsini, and Mary Christine Forrest established the Wine Window Association to generate some buzz. In addition to researching the history of the windows, they also keep a running list of all the ones they know of. Florence has roughly 150, and there are another 100 or so in other parts of Tuscany.

They’re hoping to affix a plaque near each window to promote their stories and discourage people from defacing them. And if you want to support their work, you can even become a member of the organization for €25 (about $29).

[h/t Insider]