We Can Study Big Cats Better Thanks To Calvin Klein's Obsession For Men
Obsession, the #1 cologne for awkward rich kids at high school dances, is advertised as having a "fresh citrus explosion" that's "harmonized with a floral sharpness," all of which adds up to some serious "sensuousness." At no point do any of the ads mention that the fragrance also contains synthetic civetone, which is derived from the pheromones produced by the rectal glands of civets (basically weasel-raccoons) to mark their territory and attract mates. Hey, don't be grossed out, that's the same reason humans wear fragrances.
It turns out humans aren't the only ones who go wild for Calvin Klein. Big cats are obsessed with Obsession, a fact that was first discovered in 1998 when a Dallas zookeeper sprayed some of her boyfriend's cologne into the ocelot exhibit in the name of "behavioral enrichment." (And yet we get thrown out of the zoo for giving the orangutans vodka. What a bunch of goddamn hypocrites.)
Anyway, further research found that cheetahs spend an average of 15 minutes checking out things that have been sprayed with Obsession (as opposed to a few seconds sniffing at other stuff), because they get curious about what strange animal marked the object and they have a natural impulse to put their own scent on top of it. With captive animals, Obsession and other scents can be used to encourage those natural impulses, because a happy big cat is a curious one that's rubbing its scent onto whatever it can find. Deep down, cheetahs and their ilk aren't any different from your house cat, except for the part where they could rip your throat out on a whim.
Joshua Haviv/Adobe Stock“This is not the kind of cougar I was hoping to attract."
Out in the wilderness, scent lures are used to safely attract elusive jaguars to hidden cameras, where they tend to linger and investigate whatever smells like civet ass. Researchers get a chance to study the jaguar's behavior in detail, collect hair samples, and identify the specific animal based on its fur pattern. The only problem is that a bottle of Obsession can cost like 95 bucks, so if your clubbing days are behind you and you've got some leftovers kicking around, consider making a smelly donation to science.
We Can Study How The Earth Evolved With Corn Syrup
We have a pretty solid big picture idea of how the Earth changed from a giant clump of dust and gas into the rock we're all standing on today, but some of the finer points still elude us. Like, can anyone really prove where all those shifty giraffes came from? Also, the precise way that molten rock flows beneath ocean ridges, which would explain why the Earth has the geography that it does, is still mysterious to us. That's what this entry is about. We'll get to those giraffes another day.
Magma and plate drifting is hard to study, because the Earth is obviously not dominated by magma today. And because scientists have callously refused our repeated pleas to "make life like Star Trek already," we can't simply pop over to another planet in an earlier stage of development and observe it. We can run computer simulations, but those have their limits, as anyone whose PC started smoking when they tried to add more grass and shadows to their Far Cry game knows. So some University of Rhode Island researchers are using corn syrup instead. 165 gallons of it, specifically.
Randy Osga/Univ. of Rhode IslandAt least if the experiment is a bust, they’re all set to make pancakes.