A list of curious facts
One: Milk moustaches may be cute, but not so much a ‘milky’ moustache. Invented in Britain for nineteenth century men with impressive facial hair, the ‘moustache cup’ featured a secret shelf, set inside the cup. It was shaped like a butterfly—as you can see below—and had a hole for you to let the tea through:
These were, as Gastro Obscura rudely puts it, “sippy cups for adult men.” But they served a very important purpose:
Being a man in the late 19th century required an impressive moustache, but drinking tea while mustachioed could be perilous. The heat of the drink melted moustache wax, sending the corners of the moustache drooping flaccidly onto either cheek. Moustaches, and their owners, were literally getting into hot water.
The lead image shows the moustache cups of the circus legends—the Ringling Brothers. Gastro Obscura has lots more fascinating history on the moustache craze—that originated in colonial India and ended during World War I. The reason: big muchhies are hard to fit inside gas masks in the trenches.
Two: Here is very happy news just in time for mosquito season. Israeli scientists have developed a new kind of repellent that will deter 99% of mosquitoes from landing on your skin. Typical anti-machhar sprays work by blocking their sense of smell—that is how they zero in on humans who emit the most delicious odours:
Human beings emit volatiles, or organic compounds, in their breath, and this attracts mosquitoes. However, it is the volatiles — lactic acid and ammonia — we release through our skin that directs them to where they should feed from. In this case, the more lactic acid you produce, the more attractive you are to mosquitoes. Add to this misery the fact that you can do little to change your physiology.
This new kind of repellent uses a different strategy called ‘chemical camouflage’—i.e it hides your alluring smell instead. The combination of two natural ingredients—indole, a substance found in flowers, and a polymer called cellulose—prevents the mosquito from detecting you. Think of it as a ‘cloaking device’ a la Star Wars:) (EuroNews)
Three: There’s been plenty of hand-wringing over the dangers of AI. How about playing with a new tool/app that makes it fun? Character.ai allows you to ‘talk’ to Madonna, Elon Musk, Albert Einstein or Cristiano Ronaldo—or rather to an AI bot that speaks like them. There are 10 million fictional characters of people, living or dead—based on data scraped from the internet. The one thing you can’t do: get flirty with any of them. Thank god! You can take it for a spin at the beta website. (Axios)