From Pineapple Rental to the Science of 'Dad Bod': This Week's Curios

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Every day of the year, Curious.com CEO Justin Kitch writes a quirky fact, known as the Daily Curio, intended to tickle the brains of lifelong learners everywhere. This is a weekly digest.

Last week's Curios covered the 18th century practice of renting pineapples, why school buses are painted yellow, and the science of 'dad bod'.

Curio #899 | Science says dad bods are real
Cheer up, dads. Science has just proven that the "dad bod"--new fathers' propensity to gain weight--is not only a real phenomenon, but a good thing. It's been long known that men change physiologically when they become fathers. Testosterone levels, associated with aggression, decrease. Prolactin levels, associated with care-giving, rise. Men with children also make more money, are less depressed, and less likely to die. They are also fatter. According to a new study... keep reading.

Curio #898 | When people rented pineapples
Today, pineapples are no more exotic than bananas. But up through the 19th century, the fruit was a symbol of wealth. The pineapple first appeared in South America. From there it spread to the Caribbean, Central America, and Mexico--where it was cultivated by the Mayas and the Aztecs. Europeans didn't encounter a pineapple until Christopher Columbus tasted one during his voyages to the New World. When he brought a few back to Europe, word... keep reading.

Curio #897 | It's time to take down your Christmas lights
Does your WiFi seem slower than normal lately? It could be because you haven't taken down your holiday lights yet. Ofcom, a UK telephony regulator, reports holiday lights are one of the many electronic devices that can slow internet connection. According to their report, 20% of poor WiFi performance is caused by...keep reading.

Curio #896 | How American school buses became yellow
Here in the US, over 25 million kids get to school every day via a yellow school bus--that's over half of all school-aged kids in the country. If you live outside of North America, your school buses probably look like any other bus. But here in the US and Canada, school buses are instantly recognizable for their yellow color. This is thanks to Frank W. Cyr, a Columbia University professor who became the "father of the yellow school bus." Before the 1930s, US school buses were... keep reading.

Curio #895 | It's your workplace, not your work, that's killing you
NSFW. The office may be impairing your brain. But it's not the work that's hurting you, it's the workplace. A shocking new study from Harvard has found that the levels of CO2 in the average office building are dangerously high. We have long known that high levels of CO2 are unsafe. OSHA sets an exposure limit at 5000 parts-per-million (ppm) over an eight-hour work shift. Since most office buildings have concentrations far below 5000 ppm, they are considered harmless. Until now anyway. The Harvard study suggests... keep reading.

Curio #894 | Finding the average smile
You can find averages of most datasets, but can you average thousands of photographs? That's exactly what UC Berkeley researchers tried to do with nearly 38,000 high school yearbook photos from the past 100 years. The team scanned senior-class portraits and grouped them by gender and decade. Using a customized algorithm, they create a composite 'average' face and expression for that period. The most striking change throughout history was... keep reading.

Curio #893 | Strong legs, strong mind
Gerontologists have long known that people with good exercise habits age better. And, specifically, that leg strength is important to living longer. Now a new study shows increased lower body strength doesn't just make people physically sturdier. It makes them mentally sharper as well. UK scientists studied 162 pairs of healthy, middle-aged female twins. They looked at 10 years worth of health and fitness data, which included the muscle mass of their legs. They found that... keep reading.

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