phenomenon

Scoop Saturday: Family of Ducks

Posted on Updated on

It’s not unusual for a mother with kids in tow to take a stroll through the library. Many bookworms fondly remember such childhood visits [but], it is unusual when that mother is a duck and she has five ducklings all following in a row as they march through a British university library. Employees at the University of Nottingham’s George Green Library were treated to just that sight recently after open doors let in more than a cool breeze. “It had been very hot that week, so we had left our doors open for some extra air movement,” Emma Halford-Busby said, according to Good News Network. Apparently, the duck walked in with her brood and they took a tour, “…walked around our atrium for a while, mom in front and ducklings in a line behind. Mom was totally calm and unflustered.”

A worker gently herded them toward the door and they marched back out again. “As they walked towards our other entrance, one of our staff gently ushered them through the gates and back outside,” Halford-Busby said. “You often come across ducks in seemingly odd places around campus but, that was definitely the oddest place I’ve seen them,” Stuart Warren, the senior library adviser, told BBC. Halford-Busby added that the cute sighting “did bring some excitement into an otherwise peaceful evening.”

It’s not just ducks across the pond who are part of this phenomenon, either. Gary Allen High School in Ontario, Canada, has a long-standing tradition with a local duck who takes an annual tour through the school buildings to get to a creek. “At least once a year, a mother and her brood of ducklings make their way from her nesting grounds, through a high school, to a nearby creek,” CBC posted on Facebook in 2019. “Staff have helped guide the family on their journey for the last 10 years.”

Additional:
Adorable Baby Ducklings Ushered Outside After Waddling Into Library (Western Journal/Amanda Thomason/09-14-2021)
Family of Ducks Waddles Through University of Nottingham Library (BBC East Midlands/09-01-2021)
Adorable Footage Shows Family of Ducks Being Ushered Out of Library (Good News Network/09-07-2021)

Story Sunday: HiccAway

Posted on Updated on

HiccAway Oddity Image One
Image Credit: Oddity Central

The Plastic Straw That Can Instantly Cure Hiccups…

Described as a “forced inspiratory suction and swallow tool”, HiccAway is essentially a special type of plastic straw scientifically designed to almost instantly cure hiccups. According to a new study, the L-shaped tool works in 92% of cases.

From holding your breath and drinking water, to jump scares and anti-hiccup lollypops, there is no shortage of hiccup cures in the world, which only emphasizes how pesky of a problem it can be. Unfortunately, few, if any, have a proven track record when it comes to efficiency but, luckily, we now have a scientific solution that promises to end those annoying hiccups […]. [T]here’s a lot more to it than meets the eye.

When we get the hiccups, our diaphragm and intercostal muscles suddenly contract and, the abrupt intake of air causes the opening between the vocal folds to produce that “hic” sounds every one of us has experienced at least once in our lives. Luckily, simply using the HiccAway to sip a bit of water from a glass apparently cures the hiccups almost instantly.

The HiccAway straw has a mouthpiece at one end and an adjustable cap with a pressure valve, in the form of a small hole, at the other. The intense suction required to draw water up through the device requires the phrenic nerve to trigger a contraction of the diaphragm, while swallowing the water involves activation of the vagus nerve. It’s these two nerves that are responsible for the hiccups in the first place, so by keeping them busy with something else, we keep them from producing the annoying phenomenon.

Dr. Ali Seifi, a neurointensivist from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, came up with the design for the HiccAway after seeing his son’s McFlurry ice cream spoon. In fact, he says people can try to make one from a McFlurry spoon by sealing up most of the small hole at the top, to increase suction pressure. Or, you can just buy the real thing, for $14.

[T]he HiccAway works by essentially making our brain forget to keep spasming that diaphragm.

Spooky
Oddity Central
June 22, 2021