TIME Science

Here’s the Absolute Worst Place to Get Stung by a Bee

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A bee in the D. For science.

Michael Smith, a Cornell University graduate student, studies the evolution and behavior of honeybees. But when he wanted to know the answer to a question that is likely to be at the forefront of many bee researchers’ minds — “Where is the most painful place to be stung?” — he realized that academia was light on research into the subject of bee stings and pain. So, he did what any student of science would do: He stung himself 190 times in various body parts to find out.

Everyday for 38 days, Smith would use forceps to pick up a honeybee by its wings and then hold the undoubtedly bewildered bee on the place he was testing for pain and kept the stinger in place for one full minute. Smith rated the pain on a scale of 1 to 10 and calibrated his experiment by starting and ending each stinging session with a sting on his forearm. Over the course of the experiment, Smith stung himself in 25 different body parts, three times each. Body parts on the list? The entire body from toes to the top of the skull and everything in between, including penis, testicles and rear end.

The results of his study, which were published in the scientific journal PeerJ, revealed that out of the 25 different body part the most painful place for a bee sting was, surprisingly, the nose. Smith ranked it a 9 out of 10 on pain levels. Lips followed close behind with a rating of 8.7 out of 10 — surprisingly more painful than the sting to his penis, which came in at 7.3 and testicles, which merited merely a 7, tying for fourth with the cheek, palm and armpit.

Smith admits that the results of his experiment are subjective as other people might feel pain more sharply in different places and could have different results in different locations. Sorry, masochists, but Smith isn’t looking for volunteers to continue the study. “I didn’t see a lot of merit in repeating this with more subjects,” he said in National Geographic.

[via National Geographic]

MORE: Q&A: Bees in the D

MORE: ‘My Girl’ Movie Turned into a Game Where You Try to Avoid Being Stung by Bees

TIME Crime

Vandals Are Running Amok Flipping Over Smart Cars In San Francisco

It's like cow-tipping, but since there aren't many cows in San Francisco, this is the next best option

Some bored San Franciscans have apparently put a modern, urban twist on the rural pastime of cow tipping. Instead of working together to push over cows, these people are instead flipping over Smart cars.

Sometime late Sunday or early Monday, vandals tipped over three of the tiny vehicles throughout the city, NBC Bay Area reports. Witness Brandon Michael said he was out for a cigarette around 1 a.m. and saw a group of about six or eight people, all wearing hoodies, gather around a Smart car and lift it up. Michael told NBC that the vandalized vehicles remind him of “dachshunds sitting up on their hind legs,” which is a very vivid and poetic description.

No arrests have been made, as police are still investigating.

TIME relationships

Study Claims People Who Frequently Use Twitter May Be More Likely to Cheat and Get Divorced

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A new study says active Twitter use leads to confrontations that may catalyze divorce or infidelity

People who are active on Twitter are more likely to get involved in the types of confrontations that may eventually lead to infidelity and divorce, according to a study published online in the journal of Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking.

The study surveyed 581 Twitter users of all ages, gauging “active Twitter use” by answers to questions about how often they log into Twitter and tweet, how often they reply to tweets, direct message users, and scroll through the Twitter timeline.

“If high amounts of Twitter use does, indeed, lead to high amounts of Twitter-related conflict (i.e., arguments pertaining to a partner’s Twitter use, etc.) among romantic partners, it is plausible to speculate that such conflict could lead to unfavorable relationship outcomes such as cheating, breakup, or divorce,” Russell B. Clayton, the study’s author and doctoral student at the University of Missouri School of Journalism, concluded. And while a previous analysis conducted by Clayton found Facebook-related conflict was more detrimental to relationships that lasted three years or less, Clayton’s Twitter study claims Twitter-related conflict occurs regardless of duration.

The findings have several limitations. The survey was promoted via the researcher’s Twitter account and The Huffington Post’s Twitter account, so the sample size skewed towards people who were following those accounts. Data may also be skewed because participants knew they were answering questions for a study about Twitter use and relationship outcomes.

Incidentally, a recent TIME article found that some men are more likely to share their feelings on social networks than with their significant others because while they’re not ready to share certain thoughts with their partners, they post them online because they want “someone” to see them. Psychologists say these men, who tend to experience social anxiety, may also share these insights online because they are afraid of facing blowback in real life.

But there may be hope. More and more, love begins on social networks like Facebook, according to a new analysis. And a Pew Research Internet Project report published in February says 41% of 18-29 year olds in serious relationships feel online conversations have brought them closer together, with 23% of them say they have used “digital tools” to resolve an argument they were having trouble fixing in person. That said, the Pew findings also found “young adults are more likely to report tension in their relationships over technology use,” especially if they think their significant other is distracted or spending too much time online.

“Some couples share joint social networking site accounts to reduce relationship conflict,” Clayton said in a news release, citing 2life, a private messaging app designed for couples. Maybe the preschool adage “sharing is caring” makes a good point?

TIME viral

Twitter Employee Live Tweets Her Baby’s Birth Because … Twitter

Everyone is doing it...

On April 5, Twitter employee Claire Diaz-Ortiz — known to her 333,000 followers as @Claire — made the following announcement:

Thus began a string of 27 tweets — not including retweeted commentary by the likes of Christy Turlington and America Ferrera — of @Claire’s 12 hour journey from having her water break to giving birth.

Complete with its own #inlabor hashtag, the string of Twitter updates discussed the speed of her contractions:

The difficulties she and her husband faced on the ride to the hospital:

How awkward it was that people kept asking her what she was going to name the child:

How similar her doctor looked to Bethenny Frankel:

And what she would do with the placenta:

The end result was a new baby girl:

Ten minutes after she bid Twitter a momentary adieu, Diaz-Ortiz provided her followers with a necessary picture (and responded to her followers’ questions):

This is not an isolated live-tweeting labor incident. Mothers-to-be and doctors have taken to social networks to share the birthing process for different reasons. To some, sharing intimate details about contractions and dilation seems as natural as sharing pictures of Sunday brunch.

It was natural for Bravo’s Pregnant in Heels reality star Rosie Pope to live tweet her birth to her fan-base in 2012, after all, they had just watched a broadcast of her pregnancy.

Ruth Iorio live-tweeted and Instagrammed her labor to make a political point about homebirths.”In the US. The natural homebirthers are divided into the crunchy-granola-munchers and then there are the epidural lot who don’t question going to hospital. I don’t fit either of those stereotypes. I’m somewhere in the middle,” she told The Telegraph:

Even a hospital in Houston live-tweeted a C-section for educational (and let’s face it, PR) purposes last August:

With babies being named Hashtag, social media has fully integrated into the human lifecycle.

TIME animals

Suspected Burglar Turns Out to Be a Duck

Wood Duck
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Over the weekend, a woman in Massachusetts was in her upstairs bedroom when she heard loud banging noises downstairs. She did what most of us would do: she assumed someone had broken into her house and promptly called the police.

But when officers arrived at the scene, they saw no signs of a break-in, the Associated Press reports. What they did find, however, was a soot-covered wood duck. He apparently got into the woman’s home through the chimney (hence the soot) and then made a bunch of noise. One of the officers managed to catch the animal and release him into a nearby pond.

This is good news for anyone who’s heard a strange noise in their home at night and automatically assumed it was a serial killer or smartphone thief. Now we know that those noises could simply be coming from a confused duck.

TIME viral

Slugger’s Obama Selfie May Be the Last Presidential Selfie Ever

The White House is not cool with David Ortiz's presidential selfie being used to promote Samsung phones. Not cool at all.

Updated 1:05 p.m. ET Monday

The White House may put the kabash on all future presidential selfies, a top aide said Sunday. White House Senior Advisor Dan Pfeiffer’s comments came after the Boston Red Sox’s David Ortiz’s much-retweeted selfie with Obama was reported to be a publicity stunt for the company.

Ortiz took the famous selfie with Obama during a team visit to the White House last week. The President, however, didn’t know Ortiz had a paid deal with Samsung to drum up publicity for the company, according to the New York Daily News. Pfeiffer said Sunday that White House lawyers have spoken with Samsung’s legal team over the suddenly notorious selfie.

“Maybe this will be the end of all selfies,” Pfeiffer said on CBS’s Face the Nation. “Someone who uses the President’s likeness to promote a product … that’s a problem with the White House.”

When asked about the Obama/Ortix selfie, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Monday there’s “no discussion of a ban” on presidential selfies, but added the White House Counsel discussed the selfie with Samsung.

Samsung revealed its marketing deal with Ortiz after the slugger snapped the selfie. Ortiz’s tweet with the image was retweeted more than 42,000 times, including a retweet to Samsung’s 5.2 million followers.

Samsung officials acknowledged that the company had a deal with Ortiz to “share images with fans,” but the company and Ortiz insist the Obama selfie was completely organic.

“The photo with the president was a one time in life type of moment,” Ortiz said. “I didn’t know that he was going to let me take a picture with him.”

[New York Daily News]

TIME animals

Cute Hedgehog Becomes Even Cuter With a Series of New Faces

Adorable Internet celebrity Marutaro the Hedgehog will brighten up your day, no matter the look on his face

Marutaro the Hedgehog is kind of a big deal. (He has more than 39,000 thousand Twitter followers, for example.) For the past few months, his owner has been tweeting photos of him wearing a series of hand-drawn masks, somehow making him even more adorable and compelling than he already was.

Here are some of our favorites so far:


TIME viral

It’s Not Too Late For One Last (Really, Really Good) April Fool’s Day Prank

A group of students expertly pull one over on their cellphone-hating professor

Okay, we know you’re probably over the whole April Fools’ Day prank thing, almost a week after it happened, but this one is incredibly clever and awkward and hilarious no matter the date. A group of students decided to prank their instructor, after he established a policy that if a student’s phone rings during class, he or she must answer it on speakerphone, no matter the consequences.

The best part of the prank is the professor’s reaction. Watch above.

TIME animals

9 Animals That Are On the Verge of Disappearing Forever

It's almost too late

Over the weekend, the IMAX documentary Island of Lemurs: Madagascar opened in theaters. Narrated by Morgan Freeman, it is an attempt to raise awareness about efforts to conserve what researchers call the most threatened mammal on Earth. Here’s a glimpse at other threatened and endangered animals that have made headlines recently.

  • Lemurs of Madagascar

    George Pimentel—WireImage/Getty Images

    Between poaching and habitat loss due to illegal logging, some researchers now say the lemurs of Madagascar are “the most threatened mammal group on Earth,” according to a recent article in the journal Science. In addition to national conservation efforts, the international research team concluded that increased ecotourism — tourists who pay to see threatened species in their natural habitats — will benefit both the lemurs and the island’s poor rural communities. These newly minted pop culture icons can now be seen on the silver screen in Island of Lemurs: Madagascar, an IMAX documentary narrated by Morgan Freeman.

  • Giant Panda

    Giant panda
    Virginie Lefour—AFP/Getty Images

    Fewer than 1,600 giant pandas are left in the world, making it the rarest bear species. During a recent trip to China, First Lady Michelle Obama visited Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, feeding five approximately 18-month-old pandas by holding out sticks with apples at the end. In addition to the center’s panda cams, you can also see these giant cuddly creatures on cams run by the National Zoo and the San Diego Zoo.

  • Polar Bear

    Polar bears
    Alexandra Beier—Getty Images

    Polar bears are considered a vulnerable species because their sea ice habitat, which they use to reach seals, their prey, is melting away, forcing them to swim longer to find places to hunt — a phenomenon many scientists and conservationists attribute to climate change. Now you can see them without leaving your home, thanks to Google Street View, which filmed polar bears in Cape Churchill and Wapusk National Park in northern Manitoba in conjunction with Polar Bear International.

  • Lesser Prairie Chicken

    Texas Parks and Wildlife Department / Jon McRoberts / AP

    Starting April 11, birders will flock to the annual Central Wisconsin Prairie Chicken Festival to see the feathered animal’s elaborate mating dance. On March 27, the Obama administration updated the lesser prairie chicken’s status to “threatened,” a step below “endangered,” after the species’ population hit record low numbers last year because its habitat has been diminished due to ranching, oil and gas drilling and the construction of wind turbines and power lines. Oklahoma, North Dakota and Kansas have filed a lawsuit challenging the decision, arguing that it will be detrimental to oil, gas and wind-energy businesses, dealing a blow to the states’ economies.

  • West African Lion

    West African lion
    Jonas Van de Voorde

    In January 2014, researchers found that lions in West Africa are nearly extinct, with only about 400 left altogether and about half at breeding age, according to Panthera, a non-profit that spent six years tracking them in 17 West African countries. As Philipp Henschel, co-author of the report, told the BBC, “we are talking about some of the poorest counties in the world — many governments have bigger problems than protecting lions.” Some of the last of these lions can be seen at Pendjari National Park-Biosphere Reserve in Benin.

  • Pygmy Elephant

    Pygmy elephant
    Mohd Rasfan—AFP/Getty Images

    Found on the northeastern tip of Borneo in the Pacific Ocean, southeast of the Malay peninsula, the endangered pygmy elephants are the “world’s smallest known sub-species of elephant,” according to the World Wildlife Fund. The biggest threats to their habitat are logging and the construction of palm oil plantations, which has led to confrontations between humans and elephants. This conflict was widely speculated to be the cause of 14 pygmy elephants deaths, likely caused by poisoning, that made headlines in January 2013. People who want to see them can “adopt” one through the World Wildlife Fund, which will send them photos.

  • Galápagos Penguin

    Galapagos Penguins
    Specialist Stock/Barcroft Medi/Getty Images

    The Galápagos penguin has been listed as endangered partly because its survival is threatened by El Niño events, in which the water becomes too warm and causes food shortages. Found in the Galápagos Islands off Ecuador, it is also the only species of penguin found on the equator.

  • Snow Leopard

    Snow leopard
    Scott Olson—Getty Images

    Snow leopards in the mountains of Central Asia have been recognized as an endangered species since 1972 because of poaching and the illegal trading of fur and body parts, which are used in traditional Asian medicine. Fun fact: their white and gray fur helps them blend into their natural surroundings, and they have extra-large paws to prevent them from sinking into the snow, according to the Snow Leopard Trust.

  • Humpback Whale

    Humpback whale
    Luis Robayo—AFP/Getty Images

    Found in the oceans of the Southern Hemisphere as well as the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, the humpback whales that flock to breeding grounds in Hawaii belt out a 20-minute mating song that can be heard as far as 20 miles away. While they can get tangled in fishing gear and struck by ships, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is in the middle of reviewing a petition to remove the North Pacific population of the whales from the endangered species list because their numbers have rebounded since the international community banned commercial whaling nearly 50 years ago.

TIME Television

Game of Thrones Would Be Classier With a Smooth Jazz Theme Tune

Eat your heart out, Kenny G. This jazz quartet adds a bit of class to the HBO hit show's opening credits theme, just in time for the season 4 premiere

We know, we know. Everything about about Game of Thrones is perfect as is. But just imagine, for a moment, how classy the HBO drama would be if a smooth jazz rendition of composer Ramin Djawadi’s opening credits theme set the tone for each episode.

So, to get yourself psyched for tonight’s season premiere, listen to this oddly mesmerizing five-minute jazz version of the iconic GoT theme.

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