20150126

The Titanic priest who refused to leave passengers



Father Andrew Hurley was "much loved and appreciated by the people of the parish".

Such was their affection, when Father Byles was invited to officiate at his brother's wedding in New York, parishioners helped pay for his trip on the Titanic.

Father Hurley explained how Father Byles had said Mass for second-class passengers on the morning of the disaster.

In it he talked about the "spiritual lifeboats that take us to God".

Following the iceberg strike on 14 April, eyewitness accounts told how Father Byles refused several offers to board a lifeboat.

Instead, he remained on board to help others to lifeboats, take confessions, offer absolution and pray with those still on board as the ship went down.

His body was never recovered.

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20150125

The first beer can was sold on Jan. 24 1935



In the 1930’s, this new invention was a result of brewers attempts to innovate after Prohibition ended in 1933, according to Time. American Can Co. had been working to get beer in cans since the early 1900s but found it difficult to can the carbonated beverage without exploding.

After two decades, engineers figured out that lining steel cans with a lacquer-like material used to line kegs would keep the 80 lbs. per sq. in. of pressure at bay.

The first beers ever sold in a can were Krueger’s Finest Beer and Krueger’s Cream Ale, hitting shelves in Richmond, Va.

Drinkers reported that the canned brew tasted more like draft beer than when served in bottles.

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20150124

Karoshi



Death is not an occupational hazard that you’d associate with being a bus conductor, tailor, or a bank executive.

But in Japan it is, and many instances of sudden death from being overworked have been recorded in Japan, so much that overworked Japanese have a word for such deaths - karoshi.

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20150123

US presidential election (1960)


Various polls and studies have shown that John F. Kennedy is the most loved and admired US president of the past hundred years but his victory in the presidential election of 1960 is considered one of the most controversial as well.

Some accounts claimed that mobster Sam Giancana and his Chicago crime syndicate played a role in Kennedy’s victory in Illinois.

World’s Narrowest Home Is Just 48 Inches Wide



Wedged into the narrow space between two buildings in Warsaw, Poland, the Keret House is considered the narrowest home in the world. 

At just 36 inches across at its narrowest point and 48 inches at its widest, the house is barely large enough for one person to move around.

The unique living space is the brainchild of Israeli writer and film maker Etgar Keret. 

The gap between the two buildings was discovered almost six years ago, by Polish architect Jakub Szczęsny. He realized that it was just enough room to fit a house, so he decided to go ahead and build one. 

Coming up with a design for the tiny available space was tough, but the real challenges were ownership issues, building regulations and financing. Luckily, he managed to raise 70,000 euros (over $80,000) for the project and began the construction in collaboration with the Polish Art Foundation. More

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Gris-gris, West Africa


Gris-gris is a creepy voodoo amulet that comes from West Africa and is believed to protect the person who wears it from evil spirits and bad luck.

But what’s a gris-gris? 

Well, nothing more than a small cloth bag, usually inscribed with verses from the Qur’an and containing a number of small ritual objects, worn on the person.

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20150119

Iceland Brewery Makes Beer from Smoked Whale Testicles



The special edition beer is a product of Icelandic microbrewery Steðji.

They came up with the blend for the country’s mid-winter festival Thorrablot.

Named Hvalur 2, the drink has an alcohol content of 5.2 percent. “We smoke the testicle by the old Icelandic way, with dried Sheep shit, and this method gives the beer a really unique smoke flavor,” said Steðji co-owner Dagbjartur Arilíusson.

“At Thorrablot, we eat ram’s testicles, rotten shark, soured whale fat, etc, as we did in the old days. We think this product will suit the festival really well.”

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20150118

Death Jump – Franz Reichelt jumps off the Eiffel Tower 1912



On February 4, 1912, Austrian-born French tailor Franz Reichelt climbed to the top of the Eiffel Tower in a wingsuit of his own design. The tailor had told French authorities that he planned to test the suit using dummies, but upon his arrival at the tower, he announced that he would make the jump himself.

His friends tried to dissuade him, citing wind speed and other factors—including previously unsuccessful attempts with dummies—but Reichelt was not moved. He would not use a safety rope or any other precautions. “I want to try the experiment myself and without trickery, as I intend to prove the worth of my invention,” he told journalists.

Newspapers described the suit as “only a little more voluminous than ordinary clothing” that, when extended, resembled "a sort of cloak fitted with a vast hood of silk." To release the parachute, which had a surface area of 320 square feet and a height of 16 feet, Reichelt merely had to extend his arms out so that his body was in a cross position.

By 8:22 a.m., Reichelt was at the top of the Eiffel Tower. He adjusted the suit, and, facing the Seine, tested the wind direction by tossing a scrap of paper off the edge. Then, he placed one foot on the guardrail, and—observed by 30 journalists, two cinematographers (one up top, and one of the ground), and crowds gathered below—jumped.

The parachute folded around Reichelt almost immediately; he plummeted for a few seconds before hitting the ground 187 feet below, leaving a crater 5.9 inches deep. His injuries were gruesome—in its April 1912 issue, Popular Mechanics reported that "his body was a shapeless mass when the police picked it up"—and the tailor was dead by the time onlookers reached him. An autopsy later determined that he died of a heart attack during his fall.  Video

20150116

Golf Clubs


Golf clubs can be deadly.

An angry golfer flung his club at a bench. 

The shaft broke and sprung back, piercing his heart.