McDonald's Touchscreen Menus Are Covered in Poop, Report Finds

Joe Raedle, Getty Images
Joe Raedle, Getty Images

Would you like a side of poop with your McGriddle? If you use the touchscreen monitors at McDonald’s to order it, you might not have much of a choice. In a recent investigation by the UK newspaper Metro in collaboration with London Metropolitan University, researchers found fecal matter on every touchscreen they tested across eight different McDonald's restaurants.

They swabbed the surfaces of touchscreen devices that had recently been rolled out at eight McDonald’s locations in the UK (six in London and two in Birmingham). All of them contained coliforms, which are bacteria found in digestive tracts and feces. A sample from one of the screens also tested positive for Staphylococcus aureus, a bacteria that can cause skin infections, food poisoning, and occasionally more serious conditions like blood poisoning and toxic shock syndrome. Listeria and Proteus bacteria, which can also pose health threats, were detected on touchscreens in a few restaurants as well.

Paul Matewele, a microbiology lecturer at London Metropolitan University, said he was shocked to see such a high prevalence of gut and fecal bacteria on the touchscreens. Their use in fast food establishments is becoming increasingly common, but as this analysis shows, they do come with risks.

“Touchscreen technology is being used more and more in our daily lives but these results show people should not eat food straight after touching them. They are unhygienic and can spread disease,” Matewele told Metro. “Someone can be very careful about their own hygiene throughout the day but it could all be undone by using a touchscreen machine once.”

A McDonald’s spokesman said that the restaurants clean their self-order screens often throughout the day, but Matewele said the disinfectant must not be strong enough to kill all of the bacteria. However, as Newsweek notes, the sample size for the study was quite small. It only tested touchscreens at eight out of roughly 1300 McDonald's restaurants in the UK.

The more something is touched by multiple people, the more likely it is to harbor harmful germs. Beyond fast food joints, bacterial hotbeds include elevator buttons, office doors, and airport security bins. If you're going to be touching any of these surfaces, just be sure to wash your hands before eating. Big Macs included.

[h/t Metro]

It 'Rained' Spiders in Brazil Last Week—and You Can Watch It If You Dare

iStock.com/aury1979
iStock.com/aury1979

If recent events are anything to go by, you should be less concerned about swallowing spiders in your sleep and more concerned about bird-eating spiders raining down on your head. As The Guardian reports, recent footage from the Brazilian countryside shows thousands of spiders seemingly suspended in mid-air. (Arachnophobes might want to give the video below a miss.)

In reality, they aren’t falling at all. The spiders, which likely belong to a South American species called Parawixia bistriata, are merely crawling on an ultra-fine and nearly invisible web that attaches to two objects, like trees or bushes, to form a canopy.

So why do they do it? To catch prey, naturally. They’re likely to snag a variety of insects and maybe even small birds in their communal web, which can stretch up to 13 feet wide. (And yes, they eat the birds, too.)

Brazilian biology professor Adalberto dos Santos tells The Guardian that P. bistriata are some of the rare “social” spiders that do this. They leave their webs up overnight, hide out in the nearby vegetation, and then return at dawn to feast.

While this natural phenomenon is certainly unsettling, it isn’t exactly rare. Residents of the southeast municipality of Espírito Santo do Dourado, where the video was shot, said these “spider rains” are common when the weather is hot and humid.

Here’s another video from Santo Antônio da Platina in southern Brazil in 2013.

Other species of spider have been known to jump into the wind and "surf" on strands of silk as a means of getting around. They do this to escape threats or get to food or mates in other locations, and cases of "spider flight" have been recorded all over the world. Some especially adventurous spiders have even been known to cross oceans by “ballooning” their way from one land mass to the next.

[h/t The Guardian]

Former NASA Engineer Builds Farting Glitter Bomb to Teach Porch Pirates a Lesson

Mark Rober, YouTube
Mark Rober, YouTube

If you’re looking to exact revenge on the porch pirate who stole your Amazon package, look no further than YouTuber Mark Rober’s clever tactic. As The Verge reports, the former NASA engineer disguised a seemingly ordinary package as a “glitter bomb” and planted it on his porch. Then he sat back and waited for someone to take the bait. You can see the hilarious results in the video below.

It all started when Rober’s security cameras captured someone stealing a package from his porch, but the police told him an official investigation wouldn't be worth their time. So he decided to opt for some vigilante justice instead.

He had technical know-how on his side, having previously constructed things like a hot tub filled with liquid sand and a dart board that moves to ensure you'll always get a bullseye.

This time around, he decided to celebrate the thief’s “choice of profession” with a “cloud of glitter.” While Rober admits he could have just used a simple spring-loading mechanism for the task, also wanted to capture the thief's reaction on camera.

He spent six months working on the design and outfitted the box with motion sensors, a GPS tracker, and four cell phones with wide-angle cameras. All of this would ensure that the thief was caught on camera, no matter which angle they opened the box from.

The technology inside the box is probably worth more than your average Amazon order, so he also installed some fart spray for good measure. It continues to release five sprays of the foul-smelling stuff every 30 seconds, practically guaranteeing that any thief would throw away the package before they realized what it contained. (Spoiler alert: That's exactly what happened.) Then, using the GPS trackers, Rober could recover it and reuse the device.

Even if he didn't get his package back, it's designed to automatically upload the footage to the cloud, where Rober could watch it.

The whole package is designed to look like an Apple HomePod. And, because Rober was having fun with the little details, he slapped a fake delivery label on the box. The sender? Kevin McCallister of Home Alone fame, who inspired the project, Rober says.

He had the chance to test it out on a few unsuspecting thieves, and you can watch their hilarious reactions in the video below.

[h/t The Verge]

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