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Today I Learned on TIL

Viagra Will Give a Flower a Boner

We've decided to start up a weekly round-up of all the crazy shit we learn on Reddit's 'Today I Learned (TIL)' subreddit so you can absorb some fascinating information without having to do all of that tedious clicking and researching yourself.
July 31, 2013, 3:10pm

Over here at VICE, we absorb a lot of crazy information on such a constant basis, it’s almost too much. Almost. One of our favourite depositories of weirdness online—besides VICE.com, obviously—is Reddit’s ‘Today I Learned’ subreddit. Since we know you well enough to say, affirmatively, that you’d rather have someone do all the dirty work for you than dig through all of that information yourself, we’re starting this weekly column to round-up all the craziness that appears on TIL in a week. So sit back, shotgun a beer or something, and enjoy some of today’s strangest TIL headlines. TIL that Indian airline GoAir will only hire women because they’re lighter, on average, than men and save the company money on fuel.

You could fit a lot of light women on that plane! via WikiCommons. GoAir is opting to use an all-female hiring strategy for in-flight crew in an attempt to save money on fuel costs.  Apparently women, on average, weigh less than their male coworkers, so GoAir believes the change in hiring policy could save the company up to $500,000 dollars a year on gas money.  The airline currently employs 130 male flight attendants, roughly 40% of their in-flight crew, and plans to keep these men on the job. However they are looking to introduce the female-oriented strategy for the hiring of the 2000 or so new crewmembers that will be needed to man their 80 new aircrafts.

TIL that Viagra will make even flowers stand erect.

This Tutti Frutti flower looks like it's rolling on blue diamonds. via WikiCommons. Stick about 1 milligram of Viagra in a vase full of water and voila! Flower boner. A flower that has ingested Viagra can stand perfectly straight and survive for about a week longer than its natural lifespan. This highly-bonerized discovery was made by a team of Israeli and Australian researchers who also discovered that the drug slows down plant’s ripening by breaking down an enzyme called cGMP-specific phosphodiesterase type 5. Evidently, the drug acts similarly to nitric oxide to slow down plant aging, but it’s much easier to use around the house. Plus, male plant lovers can utilize a ‘one for me, one for you’ policy in order to keep their flowers healthy and supercharge their love lives.

TIL that spiked dog collars were invented in ancient Greece to protect a dog’s throat from wolf attacks.

Come at me, wolf! via Flickr. Farm dogs in ancient Greece wore leather collars with nails punched through them to protect the pup’s neck from wolf bites that might occur while guarding a flock. These early guard dogs needed the extra protection because, like modern dogs, people preferred them to have a mild temperament so they wouldn’t attack their owners. Eventually this led to more elaborate spiked collars worn by hunting dogs throughout the medieval period. And finally, after centuries of evolution, the spiked collar morphed into the metal and punk human fashion accessory we know today.

TIL housing the world’s computer servers in Iceland would save massive amounts of energy and money because of its cold climate.

You know what would make this landscape more beautiful? Data centres. via WikiCommons. It takes millions of computer servers to process our wacky digital world, and those servers suck up mass amounts of energy, not just to process data, but also to keep them cool. That’s why Iceland—with its chilly climate and cold waters—wants everyone to start moving their servers there.  The cold temperatures would allow the servers to function while using a fraction of the energy they currently use. And since data centers will exceed the airline industry by 2020, in terms of their carbon footprint, reducing energy use is pretty critical to long-term environmental stability.

TIL that famous Japanese artist Aki Inomata’s is making hermit crab shells of famous city skylines using 3D printing technology.

A video demo of how Aki makes her crab-fitted skyline sculptures.

If you happen to own a hermit crab, you need to get in touch with Aki Inomata A-Fucking-SAP.  Her latest collection of crystalline shells brings the cityscapes of New York, Thailand, and Greece to the backs of hermit crabs. Aki got the idea for her project after watching the French and Japanese government argue over ownership of an embassy, eventually settling on ownership changing hands every 50 years. Who knew that boring ol' bureaucracy could be so inspiring? The feud prodded Aki to reflect on the concepts of ownership and nationality while using an adorable hermit crab as her muse. Bizarre.

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