Livin' on the MDedge

iPhone trypophobia and chicken kissin’


Please, no photos

What does the new iPhone have in common with honeycombs and lotus flowers? They all strike terror and nausea in the hearts of trypophobics everywhere.

unfinished honey-making in honeycombs kotomiti/Getty Images

Trypophobia, in case you haven’t heard, is the fear of irregular patterns of holes or bumps clustered together. It sounds weird, until you look at photos like this and your skin starts to crawl. Now, we can add the iPhone 11 to the list of fear-inducing everyday objects. The new phone design includes three camera lenses, and it’s giving people … issues. Sure, amateur photographers are ecstatic, but social media users collectively shuddered over their keyboards when the tri-camera was revealed.

Trypophobia is not widely studied, but it’s been theorized that the revulsion is a biological instinct against things that look unsafe or diseased. Safe to say this might lead to Apple losing that core demographic – the trypophobe population. They’ll be switching to Androids en masse.

Don’t kiss your chickens after they hatch

All in all, it’s pretty easy to avoid getting salmonella. Refrigerate your food properly. Don’t eat undercooked ground meats. Oh, and don’t kiss the chickens you’ve been raising in your backyard.

head of surprising hen suriyasilsaksom/Getty Images

Okay, that’s not the only takeaway from a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention update on the 2019 salmonella outbreak that has so far affected just over a thousand people in 49 states. Because the outbreak has been linked to the increased prevalence of backyard poultry, with 67% of patients interviewed reporting contact with chicks and/or ducklings, the CDC has issued a slew of recommendations on how to avoid salmonella.

Some of them are common sense: Don’t let small children handle livestock, and wash your hands after contact. Some are a bit bizarre: Don’t let poultry wander through your house, and don’t eat or drink where livestock roam and live (eww).

Then there’s the gem: Don’t kiss your chickens, or snuggle them and then touch your face and/or mouth.

We know baby chickens or ducks are adorable. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with loving your livestock like a cat or dog. Just don’t, um, love your livestock.

Dept. of unintended consequences

This week’s case report is brought to you by the entomologists of Texas Medical Center in Houston.

Brandon Martin/Rice University

The original problem: Large numbers of birds, such as grackles and pigeons, which may carry diseases and make a mess with their droppings, were gathering in large numbers in Texas Medical Center’s live oak trees. The campus is visited by 10 million people seeking health care each year.

The solution: Cover the trees with nets to prevent the birds from gathering.

The new problem: The lack of predatory birds has “created a haven for a flourishing population of Megalopyge opercularis, commonly referred to as asps,” according to investigators at Rice University. The asp in question happens to be one of North America’s most toxic caterpillars, and they are 7,300% more abundant in the netted trees, compared with nonnetted trees nearby.

The discussion: “I’ve been stung by a lot of things, and an asp sting definitely ranks high up there,” said Mattheau Comerford, one of the investigators. “It feels like a broken bone, and the pain lasts for hours. I was stung on the wrist, and the pain traveled up my arm, into my arm pit, and my jaw started to feel pain.”

The LOTME recommendation: In this case, the rats with wings … er, we mean pigeons, seem to be the lesser of two evils. Of course, compared with poisonous caterpillars, even kissing a chicken would be the lesser of two evils.

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