George Stinney – the youngest person sentenced to the electric chair

George Junius Stinney, Jr. was a 14-year-old African American boy living in Alcolu, Clarendon County, South Carolina. Alcolu was a tiny town divided by the railroad tracks that ran through it. The tracks were an informal border – whites lived on one side and blacks on the other.

On March 22, 1944, two white girls – 11-year-old Betty June Binnicker and 8-year-old Mary Emma Thames – left on bicycles to look for flowers. On the way, they met George Stinney and his sister Aime. The girls asked their siblings if they knew where to pick flowers. That was the last time they were seen. When the girls did not return home for the night, a search operation was organized and their bodies were found. Both victims had their heads smashed. Shortly after the bodies were found, George and his 17-year-old brother Johnny were arrested as suspects in their murders. After some time, Johnny was released, but George was detained for further questioning. During the interrogation, George confessed to the murder. The crime was alleged to have been committed on a sexual basis.

Mary Emma Thames, left, Betty June Binnicker, right

As news of the teenage killer spread through the town, George’s father was fired from his job and the whole family was evicted. They couldn’t stay anyway because they were threatened with lynching. The trial took place on April 24 and lasted only two hours. The jury had no doubt about the defendant’s guilt and returned 10 minutes later with the verdict. George was found guilty, and the jury recommended the most severe penalty. Since South Carolina law at the time considered persons over the age of 14 to be adults, Stinney was sentenced to death. An appeal was not filed because the family did not have the money to pay for legal services.

George’s family tried to publicize the case. They also asked the governor to halt the execution. To no avail. On June 16, 1944, less than three months after the crime, George Stinney was executed in the electric chair. Because Stinney was only 150 centimeters tall and 40 kilos in weight, the chair was too big and the electrode would fall off his head. To seat him properly, a Bible was placed on the seat (other sources cite a telephone book).

Given the evidence gathered, the case seems to be nothing short of a lynching in the majesty of the law. No statement signed by Stinney exists. George was interviewed by several white officers in a locked room without his parents or an attorney present. There is also no witness to the alleged confession other than the police officers. There was not even a single piece of physical evidence to link Stinney to the murders. George’s siblings provided him with an alibi. The public defender’s attorney did not object, even when the police witnesses told conflicting versions of the boy’s alleged confession to the alleged act. No trial transcript was produced. The jury was composed exclusively of white citizens. Blacks were not allowed into court at all. Even the governor was prejudiced, as indicated by his response to the pardon request, in which he wrote back that George had raped an older girl and then tried to repeat the act, but the body was too cold. However, it is unclear where the governor got this information, as the autopsy report indicated that no rape occurred.

Even after all these years, the case still evokes emotions. In 2004, a local historian obtained documents proving the boy’s innocence. On their basis, a new trial was held in 2014, in which the previous one was overturned. Formally George Stinney is now innocent, which unfortunately is little consolation for his family. The family of the victims, on the other hand, is very unhappy with the reversal of the verdict and believes that George is guilty. Besides, they are not the only ones. A former elementary school teacher (African American) stated that George often got into fights and once even injured a schoolmate with a knife. A woman (white) who lived in the neighborhood recalled that George was a local bully and once threatened to kill her and her friend.

Three films have been made about the Stinney case: Carolina Skeletons (1991), 83 Days (2018) and The Current: The Story of George Stinney (2017). There was also an opera production titled simply Stinney in 2015. However, the most famous film based on the infamous killing is The Green Mile, in which a giant with the mind of a child is convicted for the murder of two girls.

Sources:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2014/12/18/the-rush-job-conviction-of-14-year-old-george-stinney-exonerated-70-years-after-execution/

https://www.theguardian.com/theobserver/2014/mar/22/george-stinney-execution-verdict-innocent

https://files.deathpenaltyinfo.org/legacy/documents/State%20v.%20Stinney,%20Brief%20of%20Amicus%20Curiae%20CRRJ.pdf

Why are Kinder Surprise illegal in the US?

Many people are unaware of the consequences of trying to bring popular Kinder Surprise into the United States. In addition to having the egg itself confiscated, tourists can expect a hefty fine of several to several thousand dollars. Why has one of the largest countries in the world issued a crusade against chocolate eggs?

Sulfanilamide Elixir

The United States law called the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act prohibits the marketing of food products that contain a hidden inedible product. This means that a wedding cake with a plastic figurine standing on top is acceptable, but a cake with a hidden surprise that you have to get to by cutting out pieces of it is not. However, the bill was in response not to plastic toys hidden in cakes but to a tragedy that occurred in 1937 when more than 100 people died as a result of mass poisoning from a poorly prepared drug. In 1937, a product called Sulfanilamide Elixir was introduced to pharmacies. Diethylene glycol, a substance now used in antifreeze, among others, was used to dilute the substance. Glycol is toxic to the body. Unfortunately, drugs and food products were not subjected to as rigorous testing as they are today, because there were only laws prohibiting the use of drugs in their manufacture. Unaware of the toxicity of this substance, a chemist mixed an antibiotic with glycol and flavored it with raspberry juice. As a result of consumption of the preparation in 15 states at least 100 people died, including children. This caused a huge public outcry. The owner of the company added fuel to the fire by stating that he was not responsible for the deaths because he did not know about the product’s toxicity. The chemist responsible for the formula committed suicide.

Bottles of elixir sulfanilamide (Wikimedia commons)

In response to these events, the U.S. Senate passed a law that imposed a host of obligations on manufacturers of drugs, cosmetics and food products. The law is still in effect today. No one knew at the time that it would threaten the tiny toys hidden in chocolate eggs in the future.

Nestle Magic

Why isn’t anyone trying to change in terms of the unfortunate eggs? This is where the free market comes into play. In 1997, Nestle tried to launch a product in the US that was their answer to Kinder surprise egg. The product was called Nestle Magic and was a chocolate ball with a Disney toy hidden inside. Nestle armed with lawyers tried to challenge the position of the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), the representatives of which believed that the toy was unsafe. Nestle began lobbying the Senate to change the controversial law. However, it turned out that their competitor, Mars, was doing the same thing, only against them. Mars initially denied any involvement in the case, but it later emerged that the company was funding the case against Nestle. Successfully. Nestle lost. And because there is a law of precedent in the U.S., any company trying to introduce a similar product stands to lose in advance.

Kinder didn’t give up trying to bring eggs to the US market and thus Kinder Joy was created. This is an attempt to get around the act by selling an egg consisting of two halves. One half of the egg is filled chocolate and the other half hides a surprise toy. At the moment, it is the closest substitute for the iconic eggs in the US market.

Kinder joy ad (Source: Kinder.com)

Sources:

https://www.kinder.com/us/en/kinder-joy

https://www.fda.gov/files/about%20fda/published/The-Sulfanilamide-Disaster.pdf

 

Can humans eat grass?

Let us assume that we are a victim of some disaster and we have run out of food supplies. Can we eat grass to survive? In theory, yes – grass is non-toxic and edible. Unfortunately, in practice, eating grass will do us more harm than good.

There are two problems with eating grass. The first is that human stomachs are not adapted to digest raw leaves and grass. As a result, if we eat grass, we won’t absorb any nutrients from it, but only irritate the stomach, which can lead to problems such as dehydration caused by diarrhea. Raw grass can also be a source of germs, which will make our situation even worse. Finally, we may also pick some other plant along with the grass, which may even be poisonous. Animals, such as cows, can eat grass because they have stomachs with four chambers.

The second problem with eating grass is chewing it. Raw grass contains a lot of silica, which abrades the teeth. In animals adapted to eating grass, teeth grow slowly all the time, renewing the worn surface. For us, the dental clinic will be of necessity.

To get the most out of the nutrients in grass, it would have to be cooked. However, this actually is pointless. If we are not in a crisis, we have no need to eat grass, and if we are (e.g. if we have lost our way), we are unlikely to have a pot with us. Well, and even if we did, in the best case we would get a decoction resembling tea and its nutrients would be minimal.

 

Sources:

Foraging Survival Foods

Can You Eat Grass to Survive? What Does It Taste Like?

 

What happens to the tank crew after being hit by an anti-tank missile?

Anyone who follows the news from Ukraine has probably seen footage showing the destruction of a tank or an armored vehicle. Such a view is generally unsettling – a torn tank, charred corpses and missing limbs. Why are these vehicles destroyed so easily and what happens to the tank crew when hit?

Well, actually the answer depends on many factors: location of hit, angle at which the missile hit the target, construction of missile, its weight, thickness and type of armor, alloy used for its production, number of layers and many other factors. There is too much of this to discuss every possible example here, so we will simply focus on discussing what happens to the crew after an accurate hit on the most vulnerable part of the tank. For this purpose, we will discuss the three most common types of anti-tank missiles.

High explosive squash head

High explosive squash head (HESH) consists of a shell filled with a plastic explosive and a detonator located at the rear of projectile. On hitting the target, the explosive deforms under the force of impact to form a flat disk, which is detonated by the detonator. The purpose of this projectile is not to penetrate armor, but to cause tearing of the inner part of armor. Under the influence of the shock wave, stresses are created, as a result of which the inner wall of the tank is torn and turns into dozens of shrapnel massacring the tank crew.

HESH missile (Source: Wikimedia commons

The defense against high explosive squash head is armor consisting of several layers. Another way to protect a tank is reactive armor. To a layman, such armor looks as if the tank is encased in dozens of bricks. Each of these bricks is a cube of explosive material with the task of dissipating the energy created by a hit.

Reactive armor (Source: Wikimedia commons)

High explosive anti-tank

High explosive anti-tank (HEAT) create a cumulative stream when they explode. Their effect can be compared to a lens that concentrates sunlight. All the energy is concentrated in one small point. The heat thus generated breaks through the armour and is forced inside. It is interesting to note that the piercing power of the cumulative projectile does not depend on the speed of projectile, but on the explosion set off at the moment of collision with the target.

At the moment of a hit the fate of crew is bad. Through a small hole to the inside of tank is forced powerful pressure and murderous heat, which burns all the oxygen and the crew alive. The whole is completed by flying shards of molten metal. But even that’s not the end – the impact also causes a shockwave, which can detonate ammunition stored in the tank. The tank then explodes in a spectacular manner. Often such an explosion causes the turret to be blown off.

The defenses against cumulative projectile are: reactive armor, layered armor and spaced armour. The latter is a mesh or sheet plate attached to the tank. The sheeting initiates the detonation of projectile before it reaches the armor. The answer to this, are missiles with two charges – the first breaks reactive armor or other protection, and the second pierces the armor proper. This is how the Javelins, popular among Ukrainian soldiers, operate.

Armour-piercing, fin stabilized, discarding sabot

Armour-piercing, fin stabilized, discarding sabot (APFSDS) is an arrow-like type of projectile. When fired, the projectile looks like a rocket, but after a moment the rear end is discarded, leaving only a sharp spike flying towards the tank. Projectiles are made of hard metals such as depleted uranium or tungsten. The projectile is designed to pierce armor. Once hit, the crew is killed by a shockwave and glowing debris.

APFSDS (Source: Wikimedia commons)

The way to defend is to use active protection system. APS is the system that concealing the tank, disrupting their guidance or kinetically attack the missiles. The angle of tank wall at the time of hit may also help.

Sources:

https://www.britannica.com/technology/tank-military-vehicle/Armament#ref521350

https://www.canadiansoldiers.com/weapons/ammunition/highexplosivesquashhead.htm

https://military-history.fandom.com/wiki/High-explosive_anti-tank_warhead

Can a pocket laser damage our eyesight?

Can a pocket laser damage our eyesight? The answer to this question depends on many factors. It is a bit like trying to establish a single safe speed for driving a car. Under normal conditions, a speed of 30 mph is safe, but not during storm or heavy fog. It is similar with defining the safety limit for the laser pointer. The likelihood of eye damage depends on many factors. It includes the laser color, divergence (beam dispersion), distance from the source, the time our eyes are exposed to it and, above all, power. It is the power that is the main determinant of marketability. Depending on the country there are different standards (with divisions into special classes), but generally lasers up to 5 mW are considered to be the upper safe limit. In the United States the limit is 3.5mW.

The power of lasers is given in milliwatts (mW). Theoretically, 3.5 mW is a safe value because it represents about one-tenth of the actual damage threshold, but history records cases of permanent vision damage from a pocket laser. Why? First, there are cheap Chinese products on the market the power of which may differ from that declared on the housing. Second, users of the laser may be children. In 2018, a 9-year-old became blind in one eye by looking into a green laser beam several times.

Why worry about 5 mW at all? After all, it’s only 5 thousandths of a watt, or less than one percent of one percent of the power of a 60-watt light bulb. The reasons are two. First, a light bulb converts only about 10 percent of that energy into light (the figure is different for an energy-saving bulb). Second, the bulb shines in all directions, thus we see only a small portion of the light it emits. We reduce this amount even further by moving away from it. A laser emits light in one small focused beam.

Despite meeting safety requirements, small lasers can still be dangerous. The reason for this is known as flash blindness. Everyone knows the feeling of temporary blindness after a camera flash or after moving from a dark to a bright room. A laser beam can lead to such temporary blindness, which can have extremely severe consequences for e.g. drivers, or machine operators. There are known cases of attempts to blind airplane pilots. The effect is particularly strong at night, when pupils are dilated. Lasers are also used during protests and riots. They are used to damage drones, CCTV cameras and to blind police. IR (infrared) and UV (ultraviolet) lasers are particularly dangerous. Normally the eye exposed to a laser should blink in reflex, but UV and IR rays our body is not able to detect. Recently, lasers were used in the riots following the death of George Floyd. Three officers were blinded by lasers (authorities report that permanently).

Regardless of the power, lasers should be used with caution and under no circumstances should a child be allowed to play with them.

Sources:

https://www.laserpointersafety.com/

https://www.imperial.ac.uk/safety/safety-by-topic/laboratory-safety/laser-safety/laser-pointer-safety/laser-pointer-safety-guidance/

https://www.ehs.harvard.edu/sites/default/files/laser_pointer_safety.pdf

Lasers: The Future of Protests

https://www.the-sun.com/news/1483420/portland-black-lives-matter-protester-laser-cops-eyes/

Why can’t you bring more than 100ml of liquids on the plane with you?

One of the most annoying things that can happen to us at the airport is having to throw some things out of our luggage. Obviously, this is the result of numerous terrorist attacks. Some of the prohibited items are understandable: knives, screwdrivers, sharp objects, pressurized containers, etc. Unfortunately, you cannot take with you even such an ordinary item as a bottle of drink, even if it has not been opened and has an intact cap. There are special exceptions such as prescription medication or baby milk. Additionally, we may bring liquid with us if the bottle does not exceed 100 mL. Why such a random limit? Why not 200 or 500?

Security restrictions warning (Source: Gatwick Airport)

It seems that there is no conspiracy by the producers of overpriced drinks sold in the duty-free zone, but scientific research. In 2006, Islamic terrorists tried to smuggle on board a number of everyday objects filled with chemicals. The chemicals were, among others, in bottles from popular sodas. The caps were intact, the bombers drilled tiny holes in the bottom of bottles through which they injected the chemicals. To make the illusion perfect, the would-be assassins added special dyes to the solution to mimic the colors of real drinks. On board the plane, the ingredients from the bottles were to be mixed together and detonated. Fortunately, the attack did not take place. Airport services cannot thoroughly check each bottle of drink, hence the ban on bringing them in. But why are we allowed to bring in a bottle of perfume for example, if it is not more than 100 ml? Well, as a result of research it has been determined that with such a quantity of commonly available chemicals it is impossible to produce an explosive charge capable of destroying an aircraft, or even endangering the life and health of passengers.

Now the reader may ask another question – what about more concentrated agents? In the movies, sometimes it only takes a few drops of some substance to cause a decent explosion. Serial Walter White blew up an entire room with a small crystal. Yes, there are agents that can do a lot of damage in small amounts, but they are extremely difficult to obtain or produce. In addition, such substances are often unstable and dependent on various factors such as temperature, pressure and humidity. There are also problems with transportation and storage. The final obstacle for a potential terrorist is the various types of detectors that such a substance would have to pass through. As a rule, the more dangerous the substance, the harder it is to use, which is why they are beyond the reach of ordinary terrorists grasping for more “homemade” methods.

Sources:

https://www.gatwickairport.com/at-the-airport/flying-out/security-advice/

https://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/liquids-ban-on-flights-10th-anniversary-do-we-still-need-it-a7181216.html

https://www.gov.uk/hand-luggage-restrictions

https://www.tsa.gov/travel/security-screening/liquids-rule

The Thing 1982 – Interesting facts about John Carpenter’s film

Thanks to good acting, a suspenseful story and great special effects John Carpenter’s “The Thing” is without a doubt one of the best horror films ever made. Here are some interesting facts from this cult masterpiece.

Who Goes There?

John Carpenter’s film is mistakenly considered a remake of the 1951 film The Thing from Another World. In fact, both films are adapted from the novel by John W. Campbell Jr. Who Goes There?, except that Carpenter’s film is a fairly faithful adaptation, while the 1951 film is only loosely based on source material. In the 1951 film, the alien is something like Frankenstein’s indestructible monster.

Tobe Hooper

Tobe Hooper, the creator of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, was originally slated to direct and co-write the film. Hooper’s version would’ve been drastically different. He wanted the film to be a horror comedy, loosely based on Herman Melville’s novel Moby Dick. The director was fired, and replaced with Carpenter.

The ending of The Thing

The Thing is famous for its ambiguous ending. There have been many fan theories about it. One of them claims that Childs is the Thing. At one point, MacReady offers him a drink. Some people speculate that MacReady gave Childs a bottle of petrol, since he was using Molotov cocktails earlier. This would prove Childs was the alien because the creature wouldn’t know the difference between alcohol and petrol.

However, this is contradicted by the fact that Childs has an earring at the end of the film. The Thing cannot replicate inorganic objects like clothes or jewellery. On the other hand, Childs appears for the first time in different clothes, and we know that the Thing destroys the clothing of the victim, so…

At the end, there is a strong implication that at least one of the two men remains infected by the Thing. In the video game The Thing from 2002 it is revealed that both men were human. MacReady survives, and is picked up by a rescue team, while Childs freezes to death. The game is a direct sequel to the film, and it was endorsed by Carpenter.

There is also an alternate ending. MacReady is rescued, and his blood is tested. The result is negative – he is human. This version was only shown in the TV version. In addition, there are two other endings. In one of them, the alien morphs into a dog and escapes from the camp. In the other version, the film ends right after the alien is blown up. Childs’ fate is then unknown. After test screenings, extra scenes were added due to the negative reaction of the audience.

Alternate death scenes

Fuchs was supposed to be found nailed to a door with a spade. There were also several other alternative death scenes planned for various characters, but due to budget constraints, they were abandoned.

Rob Bottin

Special effects artist Rob Bottin was only 22 years old at the time of filming. Before “The Thing” he had worked on King Kong, Star Wars, and Piranha, but it was Carpenter’s film that proved to be the most challenging for him. Originally, Bottin was supposed to play the character of Palmer, but deadlines prevented him from doing so. Despite a staff of nearly 40 people at his disposal, Bottin still had to personally supervise all of their work, so he practically lived in the studio for over a year. Upon completion of the film, he had to check himself into a hospital for two weeks to recover from exhaustion.

Stan Winston

When Rob Bottin became overwhelmed with the workload, he reached out for a help to another industry legend – Stan Winston. Winston created dog-thing mutation (kennel scene). Despite the input, he declined screen credit, as he didn’t want to take away from Rob Bottin’s work.

Fire on the set

In order to create realistic looking mutations, Bottin used literally everything. The ingredients of the monsters were: animal entrails, sex lubes, rubber tubes, wax, mayonnaise, and various chemicals. Unfortunately, some of the chemicals he used were highly flammable. This created a problem during the filming of Norris’ transformation scene. When MacReady used the flamethrower, the flames engulfed the entire room. The fire was extinguished, but the crew lost an entire shooting day.

Wilford Brimley

Bottin’s monsters were so realistic that during the autopsy scene, some actors had a gag reflex. The only one who didn’t was Wilford Brimley (Blair). Before acting, he worked on a farm, so removing organs was a normal experience for him.

Defibrillation scene

In the defibrillation scene, a real-life double amputee stand-in was used. Fake hands filled with blood were placed on the stumps, and a silicone mask was put on the double to imitate Dysart’s appearance. The mask goes unnoticed thanks to clever editing, camerawork and distraction – the audience is focused on the bloody stumps.

What happened to Rob Bottin?

After The Thing, Rob Bottin worked on many other famous films. We could see his works in films such as Robocop 1,2 and 3, Total Recall, Seven, Mission Impossible, and Fight Club. His last film was a romantic comedy, Serving Sara. In 2002, he retired from the industry. In 2014 Bottin unexpectedly appeared on the set of Game of Thrones. Bottin oversaw special effects in the episode “The Lion and the Rose.” Most likely, the job was a favour to someone rather than an attempt to make a living. Or he hated Joffrey so much that he decided to personally ensure that he died as realistically and brutally as possible.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZYddYe1Mjz8

The Thing Soundtrack

The soundtrack was composed by Ennio Morricone. He was “honoured” with a Golden Raspberry nomination for his work. Portions of the same soundtrack were later used in Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight, and ironically, Morricone won an Academy Award for the film.

Accident

Keith David (Childs) broke his arm in a car accident shortly before shooting began. Because of that, he wore a glove painted to match his skin colour.

 

Why did Michael Jackson’s skin get whiter as he got older?

Michael Jackson was a true pop music legend. Unfortunately, much of his musical accomplishments are now overshadowed by numerous scandals concerning his private life. One such scandal was the apparent change in his appearance, especially his skin color. The Jackson of the late 1970s and early 1980s was undoubtedly African-American, but by the 1990s, his skin color was extremely white and Jackson looked like a Caucasian person. What happened?

In fact, the King of Pop suffered from a condition called vitiligo (albinism). It causes depigmentation of the skin through the death of melanocytes. Simply put, white discolored patches appear on the body, looking like the result of a sunburn. In the case of a black person they are even more noticeable as white patches appear on black skin. Vitiligo is very often accompanied by another condition called lupus erythematosus, which the King of Pop also suffered from. Lupus also contributes to skin pigmentation problems. Jackson suffered from both conditions, but the lupus was in remission.

When white spots started appearing on Jackson’s body, the King of Pop did what many other lupus sufferers do – he started masking them with cosmetics. However, after a while, the spots became too numerous to be easily hidden with makeup, and Jackson became irritated with the time it took to apply cosmetics every day. Consequently, the King of Pop used a different strategy: under the care of a dermatologist, he began the process of whitening his skin. In this way, over the years, Jackson’s skin became unnaturally white.

Jackson was diagnosed with vitiligo in 1984, but didn’t speak about his condition for the first time until a decade later. Jackson was highly irritated by the rumors about him and wanted to put them to rest. Nevertheless, the speculation continued. The numerous plastic surgeries that the King of Pop had to undergo to make up for his displeasure with his appearance further increased the speculation. An autopsy revealed that Jackson had his head (to mask baldness), eyebrows and mouth tattooed. Those around him suggest he had at least ten plastic surgeries (six of which were related to his nose) and numerous beautifying cosmetic procedures such as botox injections. As a result of his constant alterations and increasingly eccentric behavior, some have concluded that Jackson changed his skin color intentionally because he was ashamed of being black.

Jackson took his secret to the grave, so it’s impossible to be 100% sure of his motives, but all indications are that it was his way of fighting the disease, not an attempt to change his skin color because of shame and prejudice.

Sources:

https://www.express.co.uk/entertainment/music/1407590/michael-jackson-oprah-winfrey-interview-1993-king-of-pop-meghan-markle-prince-harry

https://abcnews.go.com/Health/MichaelJackson/story?id=8041395&page=1

https://www.vox.com/2016/2/2/10889998/michael-jackson-whitewashing-fiennes

Why do some people have dimples in their cheeks?

Dimples are small depressions found in various areas of the body, including cheeks, chin and lower back. They are commonly considered an appearance feature that adds to attractiveness. In this article, we will try to answer the question why dimples are considered attractive, how do they appear and what is their function?

Cheek dimples

Dimples in cheeks are caused by a specific structure of facial muscles, specifically the zygomaticus major. This is the muscle responsible for smiling – when we smile it pulls the corners of our mouth up. Normally, the zygomaticus has two attachments – one above the corners of our mouth and the other on the zygomatic bone (cheek, on the outside of the eye socket). However, people with dimples have a third attachment – to the inner skin of the cheeks. When such a person smiles, the muscle pulls the cheek skin attached to the muscle, forming dimples.

As cheek dimples develop during the fetal period, they are sometimes mistakenly referred to as a birth defect. Although cheek dimples have no biological function, they also have no negative health effects. They simply are, just because they are.

Zygomaticus major muscle (wikimedia commons)

A chin dimple (cleft chin)

Dimples in chin most often appear due to the jawbone structure. The mandible is formed during the fetal period, fusing together from two parts: the left and the right. If the halves do not fuse together completely, it causes a small dimple to form at the junction. As with cheek dimples, this has no biological significance.

In some cases, the chin muscle is responsible for the dimple.

Dimples above buttocks (Venus dimples)

Venus dimples are tiny depressions above the buttocks. They are located in the area of lumbar region completely devoid of muscles. They are most commonly found in women, but some men also have them. In this case we refer to Apollo dimples. As with facial dimples, Venus dimples have no biological significance, although some researchers suggest that dimples above the buttocks indicate better blood supply to the intimate area, which may have a positive effect on sexual experience.

Why are cheek dimples considered attractive?

There are two reasons. First, dimples accentuate a smile, making it appear more sincere and joyful. Second, they look adorable because we associate them with a baby face. Some studies suggest that the presence of dimples can convey more information about the intensity of facial expression.

Can you get dimples in your cheeks from exercise?

Unfortunately, no. Exercising your facial muscles will improve your facial contours and overall appearance. However, it does not make dimples appear by any means. The only solution is a procedure called dimpleplasty. Your physician will make a small incision on the inside of your cheeks through which he will cut a small piece of muscle and remove a bit of fatty tissue, then place a suture connecting the skin to the muscle. The suture is dissolvable, so you will not need to make additional visits to have it removed. In place of the suture, a scar will appear to permanently connect the skin to the muscle. The procedure is very simple and the chances of complications are relatively low.

Cleft chin correction

When it comes to chin dimples, it is a completely different matter. Although in most cases they are celebrated positively, in some cases they can cause disruption to the symmetry of the face. The dimple may be too deep, or unevenly placed. In this case, it is essential to consult the physician. He must determine the cause of dimple and suggest a method of correction. The simplest is to use a filler – hyaluronic acid. Such a procedure takes several minutes and is almost painless. If muscles are responsible for the problem, the physician may recommend an injection of botox, i.e. botulinum toxin. This substance paralyzes the muscles, which will reduce their tension and loosen the pulled skin. Depending on the substance used, the treatment will have an effect of several months to two years. A permanent option is chin surgery. Depending on the need, the physician may file the excess bone, fill the gap with a special implant, correct the muscle position, or use a combination of the above methods. The disadvantage is a long convalescence. There is also a price difference. A cosmetic procedure costs from $200 to $400, whereas a surgical intervention involves the cost up to $2,000.

Sources:

https://medlineplus.gov/genetics/understanding/traits/dimples/

https://www.healthline.com/health/dimpleplasty

https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2018/06/01/dimpleplasty-5-things-to-know-about-new-plastic-surgery-trend_a_23448435/

Where did the term “crocodile tears” come from?

“Crocodile tears” is a term used to describe the behavior of people who feign remorse in order to arouse our empathy. Generally, such people do not regret their actions at all, but are afraid of the consequences, i.e. public scorn, loss of job, privileges, criminal consequences, etc. However, how did people connect these false behaviors with predatory reptiles?

 

Some scholars believe that the comparison of hypocrisy to crocodile tears appeared as early as the beginning of our era. The philosopher Plutarch is supposed to have so described the behavior of people who desire someone’s death, or even directly cause it, but later publicly despair over the victim’s fate.

The term crocodile tears was not to become popular until the 14th century. It was first used in the book “The Travels of Sir John Mandeville.” This book is a supposed diary of a trip around the world, in which the narrator describes his many travels and adventures. In one of them, the author writes about crocodiles crying while tearing people apart. These memoirs were very popular and translated into many languages. Shakespeare in the drama “Othello” also writes about crocodile tears, comparing them to the tears of an unfaithful wife. Today this expression is almost universally used in most languages. However, where did the comparison come from?

The Travels of Sir John Mandeville

Well, crocodiles cry, but their crying has nothing to do with emotions. Crocodile tears are secreted when the reptile arrives too long out of water and the body tries to rehydrate the conjunctiva. Another reason for crocodile tears is the consumption of a meal. When the crocodile’s jaws work, the tear ducts are stimulated and hence the impression that the crocodile is crying over its food.

It is worth mentioning that there is a disease called Bogorad syndrome (also called crocodile tear syndrome). Those suffering from it cry profusely while eating. As in the case of crocodiles, this is caused by abnormal stimulation of ducts. This disease is caused by damage to the facial nerve.

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