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The History of the Foam Finger, and Why Its Inventor is Mad at Miley Cyrus

I'm sure we can all guess which giant foam finger Miley has prepared in response.

I've heard at sporting matches people put large foam hands over their real fleshy hands to show support for their favorite team. It seems like a strange thing to do. Since foam fingers are in the news now, I thought it would be a good time to look at their history and find out why the inventor is mad at Miley Cyrus. Step into the WayBack, Sherman.

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Research Shows Pruney Fingers Are an Evolutionary Advantage, Still Gross to Look At

Among other things our pedantic mothers warned us about when playing around in a swimming pool, getting pruney fingers from staying in the water too long was one of them, as though having one's fingertips resemble tiny geriatric faces was a terminal disease. It's a common experience nearly every human being on the planet has shared and yet science has never quite determined the purpose of this wrinkly phenomenon -- until now. Once thought to have been the swelling of the outer layers of skin caused from extended submersion, a research team from the Institute of Neuroscience at Newcastle University has discovered that pruney digits are an evolutionary response of the nervous system which allows us to get a grip on wet surfaces.

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Researchers Find Biological Indicator of Being a Rude Loudmouth

Researchers studying verbal aggressiveness think they may have found a way to track the trait all the way back to the womb. A study by scientists at the University of Buffalo claims to have found a link between verbal aggression and a person's 2D:4D ratio -- a comparison of the length of index and ring finger that can offer insight into levels of testosterone exposure in the womb. The result could be a system for learning whose first instinct is to the tell people to "Come at me, bro," at a very young age.

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Man To Grow New Fingertip After Having Injured Finger Sewn To Stomach

Chinese furniture worker Wang Yongjun had the misfortune of cutting off the tip of his middle finger after a less than pleasant encounter with an electric saw. Naturally, he was immediately rushed to the hospital where doctors surveyed the damage and tried to figure out what they could do to save the digit. The finger was pretty mangled. All the muscle and skin were completely gone from the tip; only the bone was showing. In a bid to save what was left of the finger, Doctor Huang Xuesong came up with a novel solution. In his words: "We had to make a quick decision or he could have lost his finger. We decided to cultivate a new fingertip on his stomach."

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Cyriak’s Walks of Life Has Dinosaurs Made of Fingers

When we realized that the guy who did the spider cow video did a short about "the abridged story of life on earth, as told through the medium of walking fingers," we were expecting something weird and awesome.  We weren't expecting finger dinosaurs. Nobody expects finger dinosaurs. (via Boingboing.)

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What If You Could Precisely Measure Distances with Your Fingers?

The Smart Finger is a very neat concept device from designers Choi Hyong-Suk, Jung Ji-hye & Yoo-Jin Park that consists of two wearable silicon finger-covers that let you measure the length, breadth, or volume of any object. For small objects, you'd wear both sensors on one hand; for larger objects, you'd wear one sensor on each hand. While we don't want for measuring tools in this day and age, the designers' logic is that a measurement device based on and integrated with the human user's own measurements would fall in line with a long tradition of measuring things in terms of our bodies, and that the Smart Finger measuring process would thus be more intuitive and less annoying than other measuring tools and digital measuring intstruments.

As for how the Smart Finger would work: It shoots a beam of light from one finger to the other and back and estimates a length based on the time this takes. Do this twice in two dimensions and you can measure area; do this three times and you've got a volume estimate. These latter two measurements sound like they'd be less useful in that they'd get less accurate if the object being measured wasn't a perfect rectangle or rectangular prism. Still: Neat, creative gadget idea; if these were available to consumers and reasonably inexpensive, it seems plausible that people would find household uses for them, if only as a Brookstone-type curiosity.

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