Top 5 Things You Won’t Believe Governments Have Banned

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

5. China: Game Consoles

Most game consoles are made in China and Chinese prisoners are often forced to play World of Warcraft so the government can collect their loot and sell it to other players, which is why it seems so utterly bizarre that China doesn’t allow the sale of gaming consoles. The ban took place back in 2000, when the government expressed its concern that the country’s youth would waste their time playing games instead of working. Even so, gamers are still permitted to buy non-console games, making the ban notably ineffective –which is probably why it is not extensively enforced.
4. Greece: Video Games

Top 5 Bizarre Stories of Lightning Strikes

5. The entire soccer team who was killed after being struck by a lighting during a match

During a game between Bena Tshadi and visitors Basanga in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, all 11 members of a football team were killed by a bolt of lightning which left the other team unhurt. Thirty other people received burns at the match. The two sides were drawing 1-1 in the match in eastern Kasai Province when the lightning struck the visiting team. The athletes from the home team curiously came out of the catastrophe unscathed.
4. The man who survived being struck by bolt 7 times and then commits suicide

Top 5 Rescuers Made To Regret It By The Rescued

5. Richard Batista

In 2001, Dr.Richard Batista donated his kidney to his wife Dawnell, an act which threatened his life and was her ONLY shot at life. What should have resulted in a deep, unbreakable bond instead resulted in her cheating on him within two years with her physical therapist from a karate injury after the transplant. When divorce proceedings were begun in July 2005, she reportedly made it difficult for him to have access to their children. For compensation, Richard wanted $1.5 million. The results were not released to the public, possibly to avoid encouraging other husbands to “donate” kidneys for their relationships.  Maybe just choose your wife more carefully.
4. Dr. Dmitiriy Nikitin

Bizarre Divorce Products

5. Coffin for you wedding ring

Give a dead marriage its proper, final resting place. sells the final resting place for your dead marriage’s wedding ring. Don’t forget to choose your custom plaque.
4. Divorce Gift Registry

Top 5 Worst Holiday Gifts

5. Used Clothes

It’s one thing to need and wear used clothes. It’s something completely different to actually give away used clothes as a Christmas gift. This is a violation of the gift giving code, “thou shall not give used/worn clothing as a gift.” Hand me downs 2-3 sizes too small or too large are simply not welcome. Clearly, used clothing is not going to be warmly received. The giftee will likely feel a bit insulted on the one hand and think you are cheap on the other. Do yourself a favor when considering this one and instead donate used clothing to the Salvation Army.
4. Pet Rocks

Top 5 Most Important Historical Finds

5.The Lascaux Cave

A vast cave complex in southwestern France, Lascaux is best known for its many Paleolithic cave paintings. The Lascaux Cave was discovered by four teenagers, Marcel Ravidat, Jacques Marsal, Georges Agnel and Simon Coencas on September 12, 1940. There are nearly 2000 figures of animals, humans and abstract signs inside the cave. The animals that were painted include stags, cattle, bisons, felines, a bird, a rhinoceros and a bear. Lascaux doesn’t seem to have been occupied but rather visited periodically just for the purposes of painting. In 1948 Lascaux was opened to the public but the amount of daily visitors to the cave were changing the atmosphere inside the cave so it was closed in 1963 and 20 years later an exact replica, Lascaux II was opened. Today the cave is under attack by a series of molds, fungi and bacteria threatening to erase this priceless work of Prehistoric art.
The Lascaux Cave is not only the largest Prehistoric cave in France, but the most well preserved. One of the paintings called “The Crossed Bison” shows the skill of the cave painters to capture realism. The ability to use perspective was not used again until the 15th century. From these paintings we can also determine what type of animals were available and important to the painters.
4. Peking Man

Top 5 Civilizations That Mysteriously Disappeared

5.The Cucuteni-Trypillian Culture

In Romania they are the Cucuteni, in the Ukraine they are the Trypillians and in Russia they are the Tripolie: a late Neolithic culture that flourished between 5500 BC and 2750 BC. At their height, the Cucuteni-Trypillian society built the largest Neolithic settlements in Europe, with some housing up to 15,000 people. One of the biggest mysteries of this culture is that every 60 to 80 years they would burn their entire village and reconstruct it on top of the old one. The Cucuteni-Typillian culture was matriarchal, the women were the heads of the household and also did the agricultural work and made pottery, textiles and clothing. The men were hunters, tool makers and were responsible for looking after domestic animals. Their religion was centered around the Great Mother Goddess who was a symbol of motherhood and agricultural fertility. They also worshipped the bull (strength, fertility and the sky) and a snake (eternity and eternal movement).
Where did they go?
One of the main theories about the end of the Cucuteni-Trypillian culture is the Kurgan hypothesis, which states that they were conquered by the warlike Kurgan culture. However, more recent archeology points to a dramatic climate change which could have led to one of the worst droughts in European history- devastating for a culture that relied heavily on farming.
4. Clovis

Top 5 Lucrative Crimes

5. Illicit Oil

The illegal oil trade is worth $10.8 billion each year.  Illegal oil sales originate from oil-producing countries including Russia, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Venezuela, Mexico and Bulgaria. Who buys the illegal oil is hard to determine, but it is believed to be shipped to nearby countries.  Around 183 million barrels of oil or 500,000 barrels a day are produced and sold illegally.
4. Illegal Fishing

Top 5 ‘Craziest’ Mental Disorders

Monday, November 28, 2011
5. Trichotillomania

Possibly one of the most physically disruptive disorders, Trichotillomania is an obsession with pulling out hair.  Individuals with this disorder will constantly pull out body hair, eyebrows, and eyelashes.   Patients get overwhelming urges to pull at their hair, only reaching relief when they’ve done it.  Individuals will go to great lengths to hide their bald spots, but for some the disorder becomes too bad to cover up.
How It Fits
Trichotillomania is also very rare.  No one knows what causes it, but it is possible to overcome through psychotherapy.  Some cases benefit from medication.  People who have the disorder may be feared because of their appearance, and it’s not uncommon for them to be featured on daytime talk shows.
4. Specific Phobia

Top 5 Indian Spices

5. The Sourness of Tamarind

Tamarind paste is made from the ripe fruit of the tamarind tree, an evergreen. It is a tree that originates from Madagascar and the tamarind pulp is used in many culinary Indian creations. The tamarind kernel powder is extensively used too. It is used as a condiment in India and is widely cultivated there and in other semi-tropical regions with low rainfall. It has a sour and acidic taste and is used in south Indian dishes to give taste. It usually comes in a concentrated paste commercially.
4. Cinnamon, Native to India

Top 5 Invented Languages

5. Newspeak

Newspeak was created by George Orwell for his novel 1984. The book’s totalitarian was in the process of replacing English with Newspeak, intending to eventually wipe out English altogether. Newspeak’s purpose was to ‘narrow the range of thought’: for example, it did not contain the words free or freedom, so the idea of freedom became literally unthinkable. Rather than creating new words, the government aimed to destroy them. Several words from Newspeak like doublethink and ungood have been picked up into English, where they’re usually used to make a point about something that’s considered totalitarian in nature.
4. Enochian

Top 5 Toughest Athletic Challenges

5. The Ultraman

If you’re anything like us, you scoff at normal triathlons and consider Ironman events to be a light warm-up before your daily summit of Everest. You’d also be a pathological liar, but we digress. The Ultraman is an event for people just like that, because why settle for the title of Ironman when you can sound like a 1960s Japanese action hero? Also, there’s probably immense personal satisfaction from completing this challenge or some nonsense like that.
This three day, 515km race has been held annually in Hawaii since 1983. Day one consists of a 10km swim through the ocean followed by a 145km bike ride. Day two has contestants biking for another 276km, and on day three the Ultraman concludes with an 84km run, the equivalent of two marathons. Only 35 people are allowed to compete every year, and the winner usually boasts a completion time of just under 24 hours. Yeah, you know a race is intense when the best of the best takes about a day to finish.
4. The Simpson Desert Bike Challenge

Top 5 Mad Scientists in the Movies

5. Dr. Strangelove

Played by Peter Sellers in Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)
Movie Science
Peter Sellers had lots of fun with this role, echoing Rotwang in Metropolis in his uncontrollable frenzy as the disturbed Strangelove. He is an ex-Nazi weapons expert who now acts as advisor to the U.S. President in the War Room. The movie wittily parodies the idea of MAD (mutually assured destruction) in the atom bomb age. The Soviet Union has invented a device that will automatically destroy Earth if nuclear weapons are sent to Soviet targets. It’s called the Doomsday Machine. Surely, this couldn’t come true?
Real Science
This very ‘Doomsday Machine’ was proposed in the 1950s by an American think tank. Envisaged along the lines of the movie plot, hydrogen bombs would destroy the world, linked to a computer command. Furthermore, the Soviet Union succeeded in inventing a Doomsday Machine, known as the Perimetr in 1984. We can, infact, destroy our world, many times over.
4. Dr. Moreau

Top 5 Insanely Hard Marathons

5. The Marathon Des Sables

The ideal marathon would be one hosted on a day when the weather is not too hot, but not too cold; however, with the Marathon Des Sables, heat is definitely part of the challenge, as competitors must run in 120°F or higher temperatures. Because of the conditions and length of the marathon, it’s often been called the toughest on earth. It has taken place since 1986 and is run throughout the Moroccan Desert. The location has definitely wreaked havoc on some of the runners, some participants have gotten lost in sand storms while 2 have died. Translated into Marathon of the Sands, this marathon literally takes place in a desert. This type of marathon is as long as 6 marathons put together and spans over 6 days and by the end of it all, runners will have travelled about 120 miles. As if the heat and distance aren’t enough, those who participate must carry all of their food and belongings with them during the race.
4. Great Tibetan Marathon

Top 5 Things You Didn’t Know About Your Eyes

5.  Diabetes is often first detected during an eye test

People who suffer from type 2 diabetes (the type you develop later in life) are often symptom free, meaning they often don’t even know that they have it. This type of diabetes is commonly picked up during an eye test as it can be seen as tiny hemorrhages from leaking blood vessels at the back of your eye. This certainly is good reason to get your eyes tested regularly.
4.  You see with your brain and not your eyes

Top 5 Feral Children

Sunday, November 27, 2011

5. John Ssebunya

It is said that John Ssebunya, also known as ‘The Ugandan Monkey Boy,’ ran away from home when he was three years old after witnessing his father murder his mother. He fled to the Ugandan jungles where he was said to be taken care of by green African monkeys. In 1991 he was found hiding in a tree by a woman named Millie who was a local tribeswoman. After spotting him she went back to her village to alert the men who then went into the jungle to capture John. While they were eventually successful, John and the monkeys, which had become his protectors, fought back, throwing sticks to defend him. In the end he was captured and taken back the village.
Once back in the village he was cleaned up but his entire body was covered in hair called hypertrichosis, a condition that brings about excessive amounts of hair in places that there usually isn’t hair. Also since he was living in the wild he had contracted a case of intestinal worms that were said to be over half a meter long once they exited his body. He was full of injuries- mainly his knees from imitating how a monkey walks. He was then given to Paul and Molly Wasswa who ran an orphanage, and the two taught him how to speak, though many believe he knew how to talk before running away. Today he sings with the Pearl of Africa children’s choir and exhibits little to no animalistic behavior.
4. Kamala and Amala

Top 5 Famous Expeditions

5. Stanley’s Search for Livingstone

Dr. David Livingstone was a missionary who had been sent to Africa in 1841. He set out to explore the African interior when the Kolobeng Mission where he had been working, closed. He discovered Victoria Falls and became one of the first westerners to make a transcontinental journey across Africa. He then grudgingly set his sights on finding the source of the Nile, a mystery more than three thousand years old. His journey took him from Zanzibar, up the Ruvuma River to Lake Malawi and then to Ujiji on the shores of Lake Tanganyika. By the time he reached Ujiji he was practically alone, most of his supplies had been stolen and he had fallen ill. He sent word to Zanzibar for more supplies and continued to Lake Mweru and Lake Bangweulu with slave traders. He found the Lualaba River and, believing it was in fact the source of the Nile, he returned to Ujiji, where he found that his fresh supplies had been stolen. By then rumors of his death had been swirling throughout Europe and America for a few years and caught the attention of a young American journalist by the name of Henry Morton Stanley. Stanley was born John Rowlands in Wales and was orphaned at an early age. He came to America when he was eighteen years old and began working for a trader named Henry Stanley.  When Stanley died, John took his name and joined the Confederate Army. After the Civil War he became a journalist working for the New York Herald. The newspaper funded his expedition to find Livingstone- he began in Zanzibar in 1871. He followed the same route as his predecessor and faced many of the same challenges such as desertion and tropical diseases like malaria and dysentery. Stanley found Livingstone on October 27, 1871 in Ujiji. He was standing in the midst of a group of Arab slave traders and Stanley approached him and uttered the famous greeting “Dr. Livingstone, I presume?”
The Guides
Stanley’s expedition was guided by 200 experienced porters, most of whom deserted the expedition or died of disease along the way. So many porters tried to leave that Stanley began flogging them. Livingstone, on the other hand, had set out with a team consisting of freed slaves, twelve Sepoys and two loyal servants from his previous expeditions. When Livingstone died in 1873 it was these two servants, Chuma and Susi, that brought his body and his journal to the coast so it could be taken back to England.
4. Lewis and Clark and the Expansion into the West

Top 5 Bizarre Plants

5. Hydnora Africana

Native to southern Africa, the Hydnora africana, a parasitic plant, is one that might permanently change your mind about sniffing flowers. It is probably most known for its disgusting scent, which is often compared to the smell of feces. The scent is disgusting but necessary for the plant’s survival, so that it can attract dung beetles, carrion beetles, and other pollinators. The plant traps these bugs and they are eventually released once it reopens. Not only does the plant smell bad, it also has no aesthetic properties to it either. It’s a dull brown/grey plant that has no leaves and truly looks like it has no life to it. The plant grows underground but the only part one can see is the fleshy flower that grows above ground.
The plant was first discovered and transplanted to California in 1973 by Sherwin Carlquist. Crazy as the idea seems, this plant is actually edible. The fleshy pulp-like flower can be eaten, which is often where all of the plant’s seeds are located. But who really goes close enough to this plant to take a bite out of it, let alone get past its smell?
4. Nepenthes

Top 5 Famous Nurses

5. Edith Cavell

Edith Cavell spent much of her time helping those who really needed her, and in the end she died for doing something she loved. It. She was born in Norfolk, England on December 4, 1865 and entered the profession of nursing at the age of 20. She decided to move to Belgium to begin her career, and her she was given the title of matron to the Berkendael Medical Institute located in Brussels. From 1907 until the War began in 1914, Cavell spent much of her time modernizing the nursing profession in Belgium. During the summer of 1914, Cavell was in England visiting family when the war began. Her family begged her to stay but she felt obligated to go back to Brussels to help wounded soldiers. Her hospital soon became a Red Cross location and soldiers from all over, including those from France, England, and Germany were treated as necessary.
During this time, German posters were all over stating that anyone who helps or hidew English or French soldiers would be punished. Despite obvious public warnings, Cavell assisted in helping Allied prisoners escape and hide from the Germans. After testing her fate, the hospital was raided by German soldiers and Cavell was arrested in 1915. Despite having a lawyer who explained she acted out of compassion to help people, Cavell was charged with treason and was sentenced to death by firing squad. On October 12, 1915, Cavell was executed. Today there are various commemorations for her service, including one in Trafalgar Square.
4. Mary Breckinridge

Top 5 Lost Technologies

Saturday, November 26, 2011

5. Damascus Steel

Damascus steel was an impossibly strong type of metal that was widely used in the Middle East from 1100-1700 AD. It is most famously associated with swords and knives. Blades forged with Damascus steel were known for their amazing strength and cutting ability, and were said to be able to slice rocks and other metals—including the blades of weaker swords—cleanly in half. The blades are believed to have been created using wootz steel, which was most likely imported from India and Sri Lanka and molded and blended to create a patterned blade. The special quality of the swords is thought to have derived from this process, which weaved together tough cementite and soft iron to form a metal that was as strong as it was flexible.
How was it Lost?
The particular process for forging Damascus steel appears to have disappeared sometime around 1750 AD. The exact cause for the loss of the technique is unknown, but there are several theories. The most popular is that the supply of ores needed for the special recipe for Damascus steel started running low, and sword makers were forced to develop other techniques. Another is that the whole recipe for Damascus steel—specifically the presence of carbon nanotubes—was only discovered by accident, and that sword smiths didn’t actually know the technique by heart. Instead, they would simply forge the swords en masse, and test them to determine which met the standards of Damascus steel. Whatever the technique, Damascus steel is one technology that modern experimenters have been unable to fully reproduce. There are pattern welded knives that are marketed as being made from “Damascened steel”, but while usually well made, they are only approximations of the lost technique for real Damascus steel.
4. Apollo/Gemini Space Program Technology

Top 5 Craziest Directors

5. Cecil B. DeMille
The Career

Before Spielberg and before Wyler, there was Cecil B. DeMille.  One of the earliest directors to start working in Hollywood (his first film was made in 1913), he would direct some of the earliest, and best, big budget epics in film history.  In a career that spanned several decades, his work would include silent pictures, talkies, and some of the earliest usages of the primitive two-strip Technicolor process.  Many of his films were adaptations of biblical stories, such as The Ten Commandments (1923), The Ten Commandments remake with Charlton Heston (1956), The King of Kings (1927), and Samson and Delilah (1949).  His knack for working with large groups of extras, gigantic set pieces, and colossal stories would establish DeMille’s work as the prototype for Hollywood blockbusters for decades to come.  He also was one of the first directors to become famous in his own right, paving the way for filmmakers, and not just actors and actresses, to become household names.
The Crazy
Like many of the directors on this list, DeMille was a stern taskmaster.  Actually, that is an understatement- he was essentially a tyrant on the set of his films.  He demanded absolute commitment from everybody involved in his films.  For example, in order to preserve the “spiritual nature” of the film King of Kings he made his stars enter into contracts that prohibited them from doing anything “unbiblical” for five years, including going to ball games, night clubs, and even riding in convertibles.
DeMille also demanded that his actors and actresses take physically dangerous risks on film.  If they refused, DeMille would despise them.  In one scene in Samson and Delilah, actor Victor Mature gained his hatred when he refused to wrestle a live lion (even though it happened to be tame and toothless).  During his production of The Crusades (1935), several stuntmen were hurt and several horses were killed in one particular scene. DeMille’s was so cavalier about their safety that one of his expert archers opened fire at him.  And one story about DeMille says that during the filming of a huge battle sequence he joked that he would use live bullets as a way to cut down on the cost of extras.  He was apparently aware of his reputation as a tyrant on set as he would frequently wear big leather boots and carry a whip.
4. Harmony Korine
The Career

Top 5 Longest Sporting Events

5. Baseball: Rochester Red Wings vs. Pawtucket Red Sox
Total Time: 33 innings (nearly 9 hours)

The longest recorded professional baseball game took place in 1981 between the Pawtucket Red Sox and the Rochester Red Wings, two Triple-A clubs. The game started around 8 p.m. on April 18 and continued on into the early morning of Easter Sunday with the score deadlocked at 2-2. Despite the fact that both a young Wade Boggs and Cal Ripken, Jr. were among the players on the field, hits were extremely hard to come by, and the game was finally suspended by the league president just after 4 a.m. on Sunday morning. Of the 2,000-plus fans that had started the night, only 19 remained, and each one was given season tickets by Pawtucket’s team owner.  Amazingly, the game was not resumed for another 65 days—the next time the Red Wings were in town—and when it was finally restarted it had become front page news around the country. Over 5,000 fans packed the stadium to see the end of the longest game of all time. Unfortunately, the game ended rather anticlimactically. After just one inning and 18 minutes of play, Pawtucket player Dave Coza hit a weak single to left field, sending teammate Marty Barrett home to score the winning run in the bottom of the 33rd inning. The game has since gone down in baseball lore as one of the most famous professional contests of all time. It is featured in the Baseball Hall of Fame, and in 2006 the Pawtucket Red Sox held a celebration to commemorate the 25th anniversary of their legendary win.
4. Hockey: Detroit Red Wings vs. Montreal Maroons
Total Time: 176 minutes, 30 seconds

Top 5 Things to Try for 30 Days

5. Cash Only
Stop Using Credit To Make Purchases For 30 Days

Put back those scissors, this is just for 30 days (for now!). Instead, take your cards out of your wallet and put them somewhere safe. One effective way to freeze your spending is to trap your cards in a block of ice. If you find yourself in a shopping fever, you have some time to cool down while the ice melts.
Prepare yourself for your 30 days by making a budget.  While you’re at it, get a copy of your credit report. If you notice any mistakes send in a dispute letter right away and your credit score could be improved right around the same time that your 30 days end (that’s how long it takes for the bureau to investigate and correct errors).
This is an excellent exercise but will require courage. It’s an opportunity to discover the reality of your spending habits and your financial situation while you practice living within your means. People “Living on a Cash Only Diet” experience empowerment, less stress, reduced debt, and a sense of accomplishment. Negative aspects of a cash only lifestyle are delayed gratification, required planning and prioritization skills, and a lack of spontaneity (
4. Stop Watching TV
No television for 30 days.

Top 5 Invention and Discovery Controversies

Friday, November 25, 2011

5. The Invention of Radio

There were a number of scientists who played crucial roles in the race to first transmit and receive radio signals, but the main invention controversy has always centered on the famed Serbian-Croatian inventor Nikola Tesla and the Italian Guglielmo Marconi. As early as 1891, Tesla was giving speeches on the possible practical uses of radio waves in mass communication, and he was even said to have demonstrated a wireless system in 1893. But Tesla, always hampered by a poor business sense, failed to capitalize on radio as a marketable tool, and though he claimed to have made 50-mile radio transmissions as early as 1895, none were ever verified. Marconi, meanwhile, applied for a patent on a radio system as early as 1896. In 1897, he formed his own wireless company and became the first man to commercialize radio. He was also the first to make a transatlantic radio transmission in 1901, though this claim has been disputed. What’s more, Marconi is believed to have based most of his radio designs on ideas that had already been widely described by Tesla and another inventor named Oliver Lodge. Tesla was the first of the two to receive a patent for his radio transmitter, but this was later overturned in a controversial decision and given to Marconi. Over 40 years later, this decision was itself overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court after countless legal challenges. Tesla had died only months earlier.
Who Deserves the Credit?
To give sole credit to either of these men is a grand generalization, but of the two, Tesla certainly seems the more important figure. There’s no argument that Marconi was the more business savvy of the two inventors, and his practical implementation of radio definitely makes him a major player in its creation. But it was Tesla who was most responsible for the ideas and the technical expertise that truly made radio transmission possible, and if anyone deserves the title of “the father of radio,” it’s him.
4. The First Flying Machine

Top 5 Crazy Ways to Die

5. Video games

They’re supposed to be fun and entertaining, but seriously people. There’s a time to take a break from the video games. And that time is before they kill you.
In 1981, a 19-year-old gamer named Jeff Dailey became the first official video game victim. After racking up an impressive 16,660 points while playing the game “Berzerk,” Jeff toppled over and died of a heart attack.
Want more?
Less than two years later, 18-year-old Peter Burkowski also died of a heart attack while playing the same game.
Want even more?
August 2005 – South Korean Lee Seung Seop died of exhaustion after playing Starcraft online for 50 hours straight in an Internet café.
January 2007 – A 28-year-old woman named Jennifer Strange died of hyponatremia (water intoxication) after participating in a contest at a local radio station. In order to win a Nintendo Wii, the contestants competed to see who could drink the most water without taking a potty break. Strange ingested enough water to severely dilute the sodium levels in her bloodstream and bring about her death.
4. Floods – but not the water kind