Monthly Archive: September 2013

A Drunk Driver Killed The Most Isolated Tree In The World

For hundreds of years, the Tree of Ténéré in the Sahara Desert was considered the world’s most isolated tree and was revered as sacred. It stood alone among miles and miles of sand; the closest tree was 400 kilometers (250 mi) away. Yet somehow, even with all that open space, in 1973, a drunken truck driver hit and killed the tree.

Natural Remedies Are Far From Being ‘Harmless’ Options

If you search online for natural remedies or herbal supplements, you’ll find them touted as an alternative to pharmaceuticals. The “natural” tag leads many people to believe pills from alternative medicine are harmless. The truth is that plants contain a cocktail of chemicals, all of which will have a varying impact on the human body. Research has shown time and again that herbal remedies can range from useless to actively harmful. Unlike conventional healthcare, the industry is highly under-regulated. Natural remedies have caused everything from minor allergic reactions to death in people taking them.

Project Pigeon: The Birds That Went To War

Because the guidance systems of World War II were too large and too primitive to serve much use, the US Navy needed an alternative. They turned to Harvard professor of psychology B.F. Skinner, who utilized a family of animals which had served humans during many wars, including World War I and World War II: pigeons. Drawing on his background in behavioral psychology, Skinner trained pigeons to become the American equivalent to the Japanese kamikaze: pilots who steered their vehicles into their target, which, for the pigeons, were missiles. Although Project Pigeon (its code name) proved rather effective, the government discontinued the project as electronic guidance systems became increasingly efficient.

The Two Completely Different Nations Of Somalia

The southern portion of Somalia is overrun with pirates, an Islamic insurgency, armed gangs of AK-47 militiamen, and hasn’t had a functioning government since 1991. Meanwhile the northern part, Somaliland, has a stable government with a functioning democracy. One of the silver linings of being ignored and not recognized as a sovereign nation by the rest of the world is that Somaliland didn’t rack up any debt with the IDF, World Bank, or other internationalist bankers.

Antarctica’s Man-Killing Seals

Polar bears are powerful top predators that fearlessly patrol the Arctic regions of the planet. At the other pole, Antarctica is haunted by an equivalent predator serving the same ecological role. The leopard seal measures nearly 4 meters (13 ft) in length, and can weigh over 600 kilograms (1,300 lb). While penguins and other seals are their normal prey, humans have been targeted in truly terrifying seal attacks, with at least one documented fatality. Attacks on humans seem to involve little hesitation, and their rarity is probably attributable only to the infrequent nature of human contact.

The Modern-Day Marco Polo Duo

Starting in 1993, two Americans spent over two years and traveled 53,000 kilometers (33,000 mi) to retrace Marco Polo’s supposed route from Venice to China — a modern traveling feat never before accomplished without resorting to air travel to manage Central Asia’s most inhospitable regions.

The Man Who Owns The Moon

Dennis M. Hope is, at first glance, just a normal guy. But what makes him unique is that he’s the President of the Galactic Government, and the owner of the Moon, Mars, Venus, Mercury, and Io (one of Jupiter’s moons). He makes his living selling acres on the Moon and on Mars.

‘Ginger Abuse’ Is Quite Real

While many of us believe that prejudice against redheaded people is confined to ridiculous television shows like “South Park,” so-called “ginger discrimination” is unfortunately real. People have been verbally abused, shunned, and assaulted for the color of their hair. The world’s largest sperm bank has even stopped taking donations from redhaired men, citing low demand.

China’s Horrifying Fetus Pills

Chinese pharmaceutical companies have begun a trade in “stamina booster” pills that are made from the ground-up remains of aborted human fetuses. South Korean customs agents have seized thousands of the pills as they stream across the border, a cannibal cure-all said to have many health benefits.