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Yellow Fever: One of Five Infamous Epidemics We Hope We Never See

BUGS BITE: YELLOW FEVER

alexander-hamilton.jpeg"¢ Yellow fever is not as well known as many epidemics, but it struck Philadelphia with incredible ferocity in 1793. At the time, Philadelphia was the nation's capitol. The epidemic was so severe that the national government disbanded and fled. Alexander Hamilton, the Treasure Secretary, contracted the fever — although Washington accused him of faking — and also fled. (When he arrived in Albany, New York, he was shunned because of his fever cooties.)

"¢ People of African descent were thought to be immune to yellow fever, and so they played a key role in caring for the sick in Philadelphia. Yet after the epidemic subsided, blacks were accused of trying to profit from the crisis and even of causing the outbreak! All told, 5,000 Philadelphians died, about 10% of the population, and almost 400,000 more nationwide by 1865.

bellevueTH.jpg"¢ Unfortunately, that was just the beginning of Philadelphia's bad luck with epidemics. The city was ravaged by the Spanish flu and, in 1976, Philadelphia's Bellevue Stratford Hotel (right) gave us a new epidemic: Legionnaires' disease.

"¢ In the early twentieth century, scientists discovered that a mosquito spread the virus that caused yellow fever. The U.S. Army used a pesticide called DDT to curb yellow fever epidemics throughout the Western hemisphere. Rachel Carson later exposed DDT as a leading cause of bird death in her expose Silent Spring.

Other Infamous Epidemics We Hope We Never See: cholera, plague and syphilis.

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What Koalas and Humans Have in Common
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There's something strange about koala fingerprints. Read more bizarre koala facts here.

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Don't Have Space For a Christmas Tree? Decorate a Pineapple Instead
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Christmas trees aren't for everyone. Some people can't fit a fir inside their cramped abodes, while others are turned off by the expense, or by the idea of bugs hitchhiking their way inside. Fake trees are always an option, but a new trend sweeping Instagram—pineapples as mini-Christmas "trees"—might convince you to forego the forest vibe for a more tropical aesthetic.

As Thrillist reports, the pineapple-as-Christmas-tree idea appears to have originated on Pinterest before it, uh, ripened into a social media sensation. Transforming a pineapple into a Halloween “pumpkin” requires carving and tea lights, but to make the fruit festive for Christmas all one needs are lights, ornaments, swaths of garland, and any other tiny tchotchkes that remind you of the holidays. The final result is a tabletop decoration that's equal parts Blue Hawaii and Miracle on 34th Street.

In need of some decorating inspiration? Check out a variety of “Christmas tree” pineapples below.

[h/t Thrillist]

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