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.'"

20170313

Astronauts Must Be quarantined In Case Of Alien Hitchhikers

The United States Congress passed the Extra-terrestrial Exposure Law in 1969. The law mandates that all astronauts returning from trips into space be quarantined for a period of time to ensure that they don’t unknowingly (or knowingly) bring back any alien life-forms. 
This was passed shortly before the Apollo 11 mission. NASA wasn’t as concerned with little green men as they were with germs never before brought to Earth that could cause an outbreak.
Strangely enough, this law has been misinterpreted by some, who believed that the law made it illegal for Americans to make contact with aliens. 
The law was repealed in 1977, after several successful space missions by NASA showed that astronauts were not carrying back contaminants from space. 
Despite this, people still post angry rants on the Internet, complaining how unfair it is that they are barred from contacting aliens and demanding that the law be repealed. Somebody should break the good news to them that it has been for decades.

20170309

Gunshot wounds

The US military sends its doctors to Chicago to give them practice for gunshot wounds.

20170308

The King Ranch in Texas

The King Ranch in Texas is bigger than the state of Rhode Island.

20170307

Honey

Honey is the only food that included all the substances necessary to sustain life, including enzymes, minerals, water and vitamins.

20170306

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

The producers of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest asked local car salesman Mel Lambert to help them find grotesque-looking locals to play extras. 

Lambert placed an ad asking ”Do You Have a Face That Scares Timberwolves?” 


Despite subsequent editorials protesting the insult, the ad was a success.

20170305

Riverside Amusement Park

You do not necessarily have to be out in the open ocean to suddenly and unexpectedly become trapped underwater. Such was the case in Agawam, Massachusetts, on August 7, 1999, at the Riverside Amusement Park (since redubbed Six Flags New England). 

At around 9:30 p.m., a raft on the park’s “Blizzard River” ride suddenly capsized. Eight belted-in passengers were left trapped facedown in a mere 0.8 meters (2.5 ft) of water.
That was all it took. While park employees did manage to get some of the riders out before rescuers showed up, the riders (including at least two young children and a pregnant woman) nearly drowned, and several were left hospitalized in critical condition. One rider suffered a brain injury, and another was left with “permanent physical injuries.”
In 2001, the eight riders sued the park owners and the manufacturers of the ride. 
The plaintiffs argued that the defendants should have known of the risk, since a woman died in a similar incident in Texas earlier in 1999. 
Also, the park employees seated the three heaviest passengers all on one side of the raft, only exacerbating the risk.

20170304

Ignaz Semmelweis


A Hungarian physician, he suggested that doctors should wash their hands more often to prevent the spread of disease. 

He was basically laughed at. 

It wasn’t until we discovered germ theory that we started to take him seriously. 

Unfortunately, Semmelweis died rejected and alone long before this point.

20170303

Stephen King


Stephen King donated so much money to help build a baseball field in Maine that the locals affectionately call it “Field of Screams”.

20170301

Former FBI director, J. Edgar Hoover


Former FBI director, J. Edgar Hoover, liked to write on the margin of memos. 

One time, he read a memo with narrow margins, and replied “Watch the borders!” 

The next week was met with mass confusion, as multiple inquiries were sent to Border Patrol inquiring about any suspicious border activity.

20170228

Texas Prisons


In Texas, prison inmates have to pay $100 a year out of their personal account to see a doctor for a sickness that is not an emergency or a chronic illness. 

If they don’t have the money, half of all future funds deposited into their account are put towards the debt.

20170227

The bell ringer who was flipped upside down after catching his foot in a rope


A bell-ringer who was hoisted in the air before crashing to the ground after catching his foot in a bell rope has described the moment he found himself being flipped upside down.
Ian Bowman was visiting Worcester Cathedral on Saturday evening accompanied by 20 other campanologists when he suffered the freak accident that left him with a fractured bone in his back.
The 51-year-old said the incident took place in a matter of seconds when he was hoisted a couple of feet in the air before hitting the marble floor of the belltower of 13th-century place of worship. 
He was eventually winched down 80ft from the bell tower to the church floor on a spinal board by firefighters who had to open several trapdoors and use a rope system during the Evensong service. He was taken to Worcestershire royal hospital where he was treated for a cut to his head and back pain.
A mechanic by profession, Bowman is still able to walk and speaking from his home in Widecombe-in-the-Moor, Devon, he said: “We were raising the tenor bell, which takes two people, and the rope caught my heel.

Death By Snake Venom


In 1957, snake expert Karl Patterson Schmidt was trying to identify a snake when he was bitten. Over the next 24 hours, he documented everything that he experienced as the venom took his life.
“4:30–5:30 PM,” he wrote when he got home. “Strong nausea but without vomiting during trip to Homewood on suburban train.”
An hour later, he added, “Strong chill and shaking, followed by fever of [38.7 degrees Celsius (101.7 °F)], which did not persist (blankets and heating pad). Bleeding of mucous membranes in the mouth began at about 5:30, apparently mostly from gums.”
He managed to get a couple hours of sleep but woke up at midnight. “Urination at 12:20 AM,” he noted. “Mostly blood but small in amount.” He woke up again a short time later in a violent fit of vomiting.
His last entry came at 6:30 AM. “Slight bleeding is now going on in the bowels, with frequent irritation at the anus,” he wrote. “Mouth and nose continuing to bleed, not excessively.” By lunchtime, he’d called his wife in a panic. When the doctors found him, he was in a sweat, unable to answer anything they asked. He was pronounced dead at 3:00 PM.

20170226

The Cowboy Cop Of El Paso

In 1881, El Paso, Texas, hired the legendary gunfighter Dallas Stoudenmire as their new marshal. He successfully cleaned up the town, but only by launching a reign of terror in which he killed numerous locals in shoot-outs. It was said that he used the church bell for target practice and was often visibly drunk. When the town council tried to fire him, Stoudenmire charged in and dared them to try taking his guns.
Stoudenmire’s most famous gunfight took place just three days after taking the job. The “Four Dead in Five Seconds” fight started when a local ruffian named John Hale grabbed a gun from his friend George Campbell and killed one of Stoudenmire’s constables. Stoudenmire immediately whipped out his own pistols and gunned down Hale, a random bystander, and Campbell (who was loudly shouting that he wanted nothing to do with the fight).

20170225

Strange Exfoliation Bath

Some very expensive bubble baths leave you feeling slimy after you get out of the tub. Their manufacturers prefer to say “moisturized”—but for one treatment, “slimy” is definitely the word. To get that perfect glow in their skin, some people in China are taking baths filled with tiny eels.
Each eel is about the size of a pencil. They wriggle over the body and nibble at the dead skin covering it. This leaves the youthful-looking living skin underneath shining through. Unfortunately, the eels haven’t learned to differentiate between the skin on the outside and the internal membranes.
A gentleman wearing loose underwear in the eel bath felt a sharp pain and found that an eel had found its way into his penis. It took a three-hour surgery to remove the errant fish and prompted other countries to watch out for those looking to import the eels.

20170223

The German people elected Adolph Hitler

The Nazis didn’t just seize power—they were voted in. 
It’s hard to imagine, but there was a time when Adolf Hitler was a name on a ballot in a democratic election. 
He was openly fascist and anti-Semitic, but the people chose to make him their leader. They supported him while he dissolved democracy.
It’s easy to write off the rise of Nazism as a momentary lapse of reason, but the truth isn’t that simple. The people who voted for Hitler really thought they were making the best choice.

20161224

Heavy consumption of iced-tea linked to kidney failure

An Arkansas man’s kidney failure linked to his habit of drinking a gallon of iced tea each day. Heavy consumption of iced-tea linked to kidney failure
56-year-old U.S. man suddenly developed weakness, fatigue and body aches is leading doctors to warn that massive consumption of tea may be responsible for some puzzling cases of kidney failure. 
The source of the problem was an excessive amount of oxalate, a compound found in many foods. 
Excessive amounts can also come from “juicing,” having gastric bypass surgery, and by consuming foods with a lot of ascorbic acid such as spinach, rhubarb, nuts, wheat bran and chocolate.
In this case, the man reported that he was drinking 16 nine-ounce glasses of iced tea each day, giving him more than 1,500 milligrams of oxalate per day.  More