20170424

The Killer Sleepwalker

Some people talk in their sleep, some people walk in their sleep. 

Some people even kill in their sleep. 

Take Steven Steinberg, who fatally stabbed his wife 26 times while sleepwalking. 

Steinberg, who had a history of sleep disturbances, claimed no memory of the events. 

At trial, Steinberg’s attorney Bob Hirsh advanced the theory that Steinberg’s wife—a woman Hirsh dubbed a “Jewish American Princess”—had driven Steinberg temporarily insane, forcing him into intermittent dissociative states. 

Apparently it was during one of these states, akin to sleepwalking, that Steinberg killed his wife. 

Because Steinberg was deemed sane upon acquittal, he walked out of the courtroom a free man.

20170423

Airplanes have to wait for a train to cross the runway at airport

Routing a railway line through the middle of a busy street is one thing, but what about through an airport? 
On the eastern coast of New Zealand’s North Island is Gisborne Airport. It is an undersized airport and covers 160 hectares. 
It has one major claim to fame as a train line runs right across the main runway. 
Not many trains have to get permission from Air Traffic Controllers in order to continue on their journey, but the Palmerston North – Gisborne Railway Line does. 
The airport only operates between 6:30 am and 8:30 pm and outside of these times, trains can travel as they see fit.

The Parrot and the Seances

Many spiritualists had helpers who would rap on the windows and produce ethereal voices or sounds. 

However, a spiritualist in Osuna, Spain, had a parrot as a helper.
This spiritualist spent innumerable hours teaching her parrot different phrases. 
During the seances, the parrot would say certain things on queue from its spot hidden behind some drapes. The parrot's voice was said to be the voice of a long-dead nun.
During one particular seance in 1913, the parrot decided that enough was enough and flew out from behind the curtains, landing on the seance table.
 This naturally generated a lot of anger, and the people at the seance mobbed the spiritualist and left her severely injured.

20170422

London Fog

A London Fog was yellow smog so thick you couldn’t see the ground. 

These “pea soupers” often carried toxic chemicals and one in 1952 killed 4,000 people in five days. 

Due to the Clean Air Act the last London Fog was in 1962.

20170421

Canada's Prisoners of War

Canada was so nice to their POW’s during World War 2 that almost 20% of them requested to stay after the war.  More

20170420

Yosemite National Park - One Of The World’s Deadliest Tourist Destinations

In total, around 60 people on Half Dome and the trail leading up to it. 
Hikers are discouraged from undertaking the climb when conditions are wet, because the combination of slippery cables and slippery rocks can be deadly—so deadly, in fact, that the bottom part of the cliff on the same side as Mirror Lake is known as the Death Slabs. Even when it’s not wet and slippery, accidents are still well documented.
In 2012, a man slipped from the cables and had to be rescued after trying to grab a radio dropped by a person above him. Deaths of 2011 include three hikers who ignored guardrails and fell into Vernal Falls, another man who slipped and fell onto the Mist Trail (ultimately swept away and killed by the same river), and a 26-year-old who slipped on the cables and fell 180 meters (600 ft).

20170419

Larry the Cable Guy

Larry the Cable Guy’s net worth is currently $80 million dollars, and he makes around $20 million dollars a year.

20170417

Wake Up Music

NASA has a long standing tradition to wake up astronauts with a specially selected track of music each day, usually picked by friends or family members, called “Wake Up Calls”.

20170412

Wind Telephone

A disconnected rotary phone for "calling" lost loved ones offered a unique way of dealing with grief in disaster-stricken Japan.

When Itaru Sasaki lost his cousin in 2010, he decided to build a glass-paneled phone booth in his hilltop garden with a disconnected rotary phone inside for communicating with his lost relative, to help him deal with his grief.

Only a year later, Japan faced the horrors of a triple disaster: an earthquake followed by a tsunami, which caused a nuclear meltdown. Sasaki’s coastal hometown of Otsuchi was hit with 30-foot waves. Ten percent of the town died in the flood.

Sasaki opened his kaze no denwa or “wind phone” to the now huge number of people in the community mourning the loss of loved ones. Eventually word spread and others experiencing grief made the pilgrimage from around the country. 

It is believed that 10,000 visitors journeyed to this hilltop outside Otsuchi within three years of the disaster.

20170409

Monowi, Nebraska, US - Population 1

Elsie Eiler is the most admired person in Monowi, Nebraska. 

She is also the smartest, wealthiest, best-looking, youngest, "and the oldest," she is quick to add. 


When you are the only resident of a community, every title fits. 


Eiler, 77, is the lone inhabitant of Monowi. 


The small town had two people in 2000—the other one was Eiler's husband, Rudy, but he died in 2004. 

20170408

What’s New in Cancer Research?

It used to be science fiction. Harnessing your body’s own immune system to fight cancer. But what was once the fruit of a wild imagination is today a reality.

Rather than killing cancer cells directly with traditional approaches like radiation or chemotherapy, immunotherapy harnesses the immune system’s power to eliminate the cancer or slow its growth and ability to spread. 

Research shows immunotherapy is improving outcomes and survival rates for some patients, including kidney and lung cancer. In fact, research from the American Association for Cancer Research shows that for advanced-melanoma patients, survival rates are improving thanks in part to these new treatment options.

Biopharmaceutical researchers are urgently working to gain new insights into the complex interactions between patients’ immune systems and the cancer cells growing in their bodies with the goal of markedly improving outcomes in more tumor types.

With 836 medicines and vaccines in development for cancer, 80 percent of which have the potential to be first-in-class treatments, millions of Americans living with cancer have hope for a brighter future.

Welcome to the new era of medicine.

20170407

The Blair Witch Project Wasn't Supposed to End That Way

In 1999, a horror flick made for less than $25,000 shattered independent film records at the box office. The Blair Witch Project, which went on to gross $248 million worldwide, is a classic Hollywood success story. But a new interview with the film's directors reveals that their humble budget didn’t just give the movie its underdog status—it also resulted in one of its most chilling scenes.
The majority of The Blair Witch Project follows college film students Heather, Josh, and Mike as they’re antagonized by a supernatural force hiding off-screen. 
The suspense builds until the final scene, when instead of facing a monster, Heather walks into a room to find Mike standing in the corner with his back toward the entrance. 
The image calls back to an interview with a townsperson at the beginning of the film, where he describes how a local murderer made one of his victims face the corner as he killed the others. The last scene doesn’t contain a single frame of gore, but it’s remembered as one of the scariest horror movie endings of all time—and it almost never happened.
As co-directors Dan Myrick and Eduardo S├ínchez told Entertainment Weekly, the scene was born out of necessity rather than creative genius. "We didn’t have any money, so we couldn’t do any special effects so we had to figure out how to end it without ruining the rest of the film," Sanchez said. "We came up with the idea three days before we shot it. We thought it was great—kind of unexplained, but it gave you the idea that something supernatural was happening."

20170404

Why Don’t We Wake Up From Our Own Snores?

Our sleep expert says our bodies are smart. 
They want to sleep and they want to breathe – so they know not to fully wake us up when we’re doing both.
Different people have different arousal thresholds, which means what wakes up one person won’t wake up someone else. 
Moms with babies know this well.
And if the snorer does wake up from hearing their own snore, they’re not awake long enough to even remember.

20170327

NASA Has A Problem

Since 1968, NASA’s main launch site for spacecraft has been the Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island. 
The island is also home to a national wildlife refuge which shares a natural border with the spaceport. This means that, occasionally, wildlife residents pay the flight center a visit.
Most animals don’t really pose a problem for NASA. But one species that has caused a stir on multiple occasions is the American alligator. 
The island’s estuary has created an ideal environment for alligators, and fishing interdictions ensure that there’s a stable, sizable food source.
The animals don’t have a reason to leave the area, but every now and then, they like to lounge around in the sun. 
They have been spotted in parking lots, on runways, and on streets. So far, the worst thing they’ve done was to briefly hold up traffic during rush hours.
Not ones to miss an opportunity, scientists have begun to study the alligators. 
They see the reptile as a species indicative of the overall health of the wildlife refuge—a canary in the coal mine. As NASA uses new technology, components, and chemicals, they want to make sure that none of them are having an adverse effect on the environment.

20170326

Priest Turns Into A Donkey

Three Bretons stepped out of a bar one night in 1912 and saw a donkey on the road. 
The donkey appeared to be waiting for them and even spying on them. 
Paranoid and no doubt a bit drunk, the men believed that the donkey was really the local priest. 
According to local superstition, the priest could turn himself into a donkey on special feast days.
The men walked up to the donkey and shouted, “We are not afraid of you!” 
The donkey brayed back at them and, in fear, the men killed the donkey.
The men were arrested and fined for their foolishness.

20170325

American Con Artist


Steven Jay Russell (born September 14, 1957) is an American con artist known for escaping from prison multiple times

On March 20, 1998, Russell posed as a millionaire from Virginia in an attempt to legitimize a $75,000 loan from NationsBank in Dallas. When bank officials became suspicious they alerted the police, 

Russell feigned a heart attack and was transported to a hospital. 

Russell was placed on security watch but he impersonated an FBI agent and called the hospital on his cell phone to tell them he could be released.


U.S. Marshals later tracked down Russell in Florida, where they arrested him on April 5, 1998, when he went to retrieve a fax. 
Russell was sentenced to a total of 144 years in prison (99 years for the escapes and 45 years for subsequent scams).
As of 2010, Russell is in in the Polunsky Unit[ on a 23-hour lockup, only having one free hour a day to shower and exercise. 
He was previously held in the Mark W. Michael Unit. His release date from prison is July 18, 2140.

20170317

Plastic Bottle House

In Puerto Iguazu there is a house made entirely of garbage. It was built by a family of craftsmen to exemplify the concept of ingenious self-sustainability.

Alfredo Santa Cruz and his family built the bottle house out of trash and recyclables they collected. Aluminum cans, glass jars, CDs, cardboard cartons, and of course, plastic bottles were all used as construction materials. 
The house has multiple rooms, and even furniture constructed from all these items.
Despite the fact that it’s made from trash, the house is surprisingly beautiful. Sunlight is diluted through the green, brown, and clear bottles, casting mottled shadows on the ground.
The house demonstrates how humans can interrupt their pattern of negative environment impact. Objects one would usually discard might have a second life as a flower pot, or as a beaded shower curtain. 
The Santa Cruzes have partnered with the city and with local schools for further ecological improvements on the house, such as a solar water heating system and a self-sustaining agriculture project. 
The bottle house is open for tours led by the architects themselves. They also create and sell souvenirs made from recycled materials. 

The main purpose of the house and tour is not the ingenuity of the project itself, but the importance of reducing waste and preserving the environment. 

20170316

Urinating Kills 225 Canadian Men Each Year

Anyone can die while urinating, but it seems to be a particular problem in Canada.
Canada is surrounded by three oceans and strewn with vast lakes and rivers, and its residents love the water. 
Most of them live close to some kind of body of water, and many take part in recreational activities, such as swimming, boating, and fishing. 
But it is with fishing that the act of urinating can become deadly.
Approximately 225 men die each year while urinating over the side of their boat while fishing. 
The cause is usually a combination of alcohol, carelessness, and inexperience. It’s such a problem that there’s even web page specifically intended to warn men about drowning while urinating over the side of a boat.
So remember: When fishing, always take a bucket.

20170315

There's an old indoor swimming pool hidden directly underneath the White House Press Briefing Room

The White House Press Briefing Room, where the U.S. press secretary stands behind a podium and fields questions from a pack of reporters, is an iconic place. What most people probably don’t know, however, is that everyone in that room is standing on top of a boarded up old swimming pool.

The 50-foot-long pool underneath the briefing room was built in the 1930s for Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the wheelchair-bound president who liked to swim for exercise. According to WhiteHouseMuseum.org, “The president’s pool was a modern-day showcase of technology, featuring underwater lighting, sterilizers and the latest gadgets.” Roosevelt swam in it almost daily, as did President Truman and President Kennedy.

But President Nixon was a fan of bowling, not swimming, and he drained the pool in 1970 to make way for modern press offices. Up until this point there was no space officially designed for press briefings; interviews used to occur throughout the hallways and working offices of the White House.

The pool may be empty of water, but it is still there under the floorboards. And until a renovation in 2006, it was accessible via a trap door near the podium. Now there’s a small stairway down that’s both more convenient and discreet.

FDR’s grand old tub has come in useful over the years to house a variety of communications equipment for the press shop above. While it’s currently packed with modern computer servers, the pool’s interesting history isn’t going away. After decades, it still smells like chlorine.

20170314

Last Words from Prisoners on Death Row

James D. French, who was executed on August 10, 1966, was an American criminal who was the last person to be executed under Oklahoma's death penalty laws prior to Furman v. Georgia

He was the only prisoner executed in the United States that year. 

Already in prison for life, but allegedly afraid to commit suicide, French murdered his cellmate, apparently to compel the state to execute him.

French has been credited with these famous last words before his death by electric chair: "How's this for a headline? 'French Fries.'"