Monthly Archive: September 2013

The World’s Largest Nuclear Plant Can’t Generate Power

Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Plant is the No. 1 producer of nuclear electricity in the world, but a series of scandals have caused it to shut down again and again. The last shutdown was implemented after the twin disaster of the March 2011 tsunami and nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. The owners of Kashiwazaki-Kariwa hoped to get it up and going this year, but a scandal caused the start-up date to be pushed back once more.

President Grover Cleveland Was Also An Executioner

If you know Grover Cleveland for anything, it’s that he was the 22nd and 24th President of the United States, making him the only president to serve non-consecutive terms, and that he had a funny name. What you probably didn’t realize was that earlier in his life, he actually acted as a hangman for his county and performed an execution.

The Duplessis Orphans: 20,000 Intentional Misdiagnoses

From 1940 to 1960, the Canadian government in Quebec, in conjunction with the Catholic Church, falsely diagnosed thousands of children with mental illnesses, so they could be placed in institutions run by the Church. Many of the orphans were forcibly taken from their mothers by Catholics because their parents were unmarried. In addition, many of them were abused, and some may have been medically experimented on.

Auto-Brewery Syndrome: How Your Body Can Make Itself Drunk

There is a condition called auto-brewery syndrome in which yeast trapped in the digestive system can cause a human to ferment alcohol in the stomach. After eating carbohydrates like bread, the sugar in the food mixes with the yeast and produces ethanol, causing intoxication. While it might sound like the most awesome disease ever, the implications are obviously quite dangerous.

The Largest Mass Overdose In History Harmed No One

In early February 2011, over 1,500 people from around the globe took part in an organized overdose of homeopathic belladona. Homeopaths recommend belladonna for symptoms ranging from delirium and restless sleep to scarlet fever and epileptic spasms. The overdose campaign was organized by a skeptics’ society from the UK to demonstrate that homeopathy is ineffective and nonsensical. Homeopathic remedies are actually diluted to the point where no active ingredients remain — they are simply sugar pills or plain water — so they cannot have any biological effect. This dramatic demonstration included participants on every continent, including Antarctica.

Danny Casolaro’s ‘Octopus’ Conspiracy Theory

When journalist Danny Casolaro was found with his wrists cut in the bathtub of his hotel room, it seemed like an open and shut suicide. But an investigation determined that Casolaro had been hard at work on a story that involved a massive conspiracy that reached all the way to the presidency, and his family alleges that he was killed to ensure his silence.

‘Begs The Question’ Does Not Mean ‘Demands An Answer’

Incorrectly, writers and speakers often use the phrase “begs the question” to mean “raises the question [of…].” Begging the question, however, has nothing to do with “questions” that you ask. The phrase is actually a logical fallacy. In a debate or argument, if one side sneakily asks the other side to concede the issue being debated, that would be begging the question.

Rosa Parks Wasn’t A Pioneer

In December 1955, Rosa Parks became a civil rights icon by refusing to submit her bus seat to a white woman. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) became involved, sparking the Montgomery bus boycott and the rise of Martin Luther King Jr. Nine months previous, another woman had also refused her seat on the Montgomery bus line. However, she was 15 years old and pregnant, and the NAACP refused to back her, concerned that her indelicate personal situation might hurt their cause.