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The Surprisingly Dirty Fight Over Drying Your Hands


When you visit a public restroom, do you prefer to dry your hands with paper towels or an air dryer? Each has their drawbacks. Paper towels run out, and fill up waste baskets as well as landfills. Air dryers are loud, take too long, and sometimes don't work. Some studies show that they blow bacteria around. And for a lot of folks, public restrooms are all about the germs.

The holy grail for such phobists is the contactless restroom. In the industry, people speak with shining eyes about this ideal chamber, where our hands need not touch anything that other hands have defiled. Already, we enter some airport bathrooms through a brief switchback of walls, so that we don’t ever grasp a door handle. Once inside, sensors can eliminate the need to yank the flush, turn the tap, jab at the soap dispenser or pull a paper towel from the dispenser. The modern hand dryer, with no buttons to push, ought to fit neatly into this fantasy of the zero-contact loo. Instead, towel companies are convinced that dryers are the filthy exception to the rule, and that the singular safe item to touch in a public restroom is an old-school leaf of rough, thick paper.

Do you recall cloth towels in public restrooms? They came in a roll, and you pulled down a clean section to use. Those went away when industrial linen services faded. Now paper manufacturers have a lot of clout, but so do air dryer manufacturers, and Dyson went big when they introduced the Airblade hand dryer. They are locked in a battle for supremacy in public restrooms. The Guardian has a deep dive into the history of hand-drying, and the battle between paper towels and air dryers. -via Kids Science Lab Kit Experiments 25+ STEM DIY Kaboom Explosives Learn New 

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Very Thin Ice

Believe it or not, the video series called Autotune the News is ten years old. To celebrate the occasion, Andrew Gregory of the Gregory Brothers went back to Autotune the News #2 and expanded on the segment with Kate Couric that includes the phrase "very thin ice," and made an entire song about it. Ten years later, we are on even thinner ice. -via Metafilter

The Girl Who Jumped Out of a Pie and Into a Gilded Age Morality Tale

You might recall seeing a woman bursting out of a cake in old movies, or more likely, old cartoons. It was a trope reserved for truly lavish and hedonistic occasions. If you've ever wondered how that idea got started, it was a party in 1895, ostensibly to celebrate Ellliot Cowdin’s 10th wedding anniversary, but since there were no women invited, it was more of a stag party. The dessert was a huge pie, from which 16-year-old Susie Johnson emerged, to the surprise and delight of the guests.

For the posh set of late-19th century New York City—a coterie as obsessed with public prudery as with private adultery—the “Pie-Girl” dinner was a sensation. “The ‘Girl in the Pie’ at the Three Thousand Five Hundred Dollar Dinner in Artist Breese’s New York Studio,” declared the New York World, above an illustration of Johnson thronged by besuited men, spread like a Venus in pastry. The picture was as scandalous as the dinner’s cost: more than 2,300 times the daily wage of a day laborer.

In the New York World illustration, architect Stanford White stands to Susie Johnson’s left, wielding a large kitchen knife as though about to carve her. According to the article, shortly after the party, Susie Johnson posed “by electric light” at an artist’s studio, a euphemism for sex work, and went missing soon after. “Poor Susie Johnson, dazzled by the lavish compliments and surprised by the liberality of her distinguished patrons,” reported the World. “Perhaps this article will bring Susie Johnson home to her parents and put a stop to the midnight revels in New York’s fashionable studios.”

The guests at the notorious party included Nicola Tesla and Stanford White, who later made the papers for raping Evelyn Nesbit and then being murdered. Read about the girl in the pie at Atlas Obscura.

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Let the Learning Resources Primary Science Set help you bring the joy back to your life. Bob is but a small reminder that there are no mistakes, just happy little accidents.

This might sound crazy, but don't be afraid to put Bob to work. He isn't here just to entertain you. When you aren't playing with him place him on your fridge. He's not just a finger puppet, he is a magnet too. Bob loves hanging around the kitchen and showing off the artwork of fellow artists.  

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