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The Quick 10: Speaking of Plumbers...

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"Joe the Plumber" got so many shout outs at the debate last night, you would think the candidates were on TRL. But Joe the plumber is a real dude from Ohio, so we're giving him our own shout out by doing a post on plumbers today. In fact, we'll start with Joe himself.

1. "Joe the Plumber" sounds like a generic name for a category of people, like "Joe Six-Pack" or "Hockey Moms." But Joe Wurzelbacher is a real guy who lives in Ohio. He chatted with Barack Obama during a campaign stop last weekend - he's 34 and is getting ready to buy a company worth more than $250,000, so he's concerned that Obama is going to increase his taxes (Under Obama's plan, families making more than $250,000 annually will see tax increases.) Joe has since been a talking point for both campaigns. Joe's happy that his question has opened up debate and conversation, but says he found it very surreal to hear his name mentioned so frequently in a presidential debate.

watergate2. The Watergate "plumbers" weren't really plumbers at all "“ it was a code name for the Special Investigations unit hired to "plug leaks" (hence the name) from the government, specifically regarding Vietnam. When the "plumbers" were arrested for breaking into the DNC headquarters at the Watergate Hotel, the scandal blew up. You probably remember what happened next.

3. According to our friend Nick Cannon, this is how our favorite video pal and plumber Mario came about:

"Believing that people would identify better with a blue collar hero, Miyamoto made Mario a carpenter in the first video game; he later switched professions, becoming a plumber. The name came from the landlord at Nintendo's Headquarters in NYC, Mario Segali. Mario's trademark mustache is the result of low pixel resolution: a mustache looked a lot better than any mouth they could come up with. Low pixel resolution is also the reason Mario's has a hat instead of hair."

4. More than 28 billion feet of copper plumbing tube has been installed in the United States alone since 1963. That length could wrap around the Earth at least 200 times.

jo5. Josephine the Plumber was a popular advertising mascot for Comet in the 1960s. She was played by Jane Withers, an actress who had been in the industry since she was four, starring with the likes of Shirley Temples and James Dean. In the ads, she played Josephine, a "lady plumber" who wouldn't use anything but Comet to get out food stains.

6. Speaking of mascots, our brainy mental_floss mascot, Albert Einstein, once said that if he had to do it all over again, he would be a plumber"¦. so the Plumbers and Steamfitters Union made him an honorary member.

7. Why do we call it plumbing? Well, the Latin word for "lead" is plumbum, which is what the pipes used to be made out of (avid Clue fans already know this).

8. According to Salary.com, the average wage for plumbers in Toldeo, Ohio, is in the range of $38,558 to $51,553, depending on level of skill and expertise.

9. Plumbing has been around for longer than you think "“ there's evidence that some palaces had indoor plumbing all the way back in 2500 B.C.

10. One survey of plumbers found that the majority of them think the hardest thing to flush down the toilet is ping pong balls.

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science
6 Radiant Facts About Irène Joliot-Curie
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Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Though her accomplishments are often overshadowed by those of her parents, the elder daughter of Marie and Pierre Curie was a brilliant researcher in her own right.

1. SHE WAS BORN TO, AND FOR, GREATNESS.

A black and white photo of Irene and Marie Curie in the laboratory in 1925.
Irène and Marie in the laboratory, 1925.
Wellcome Images, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 4.0

Irène’s birth in Paris in 1897 launched what would become a world-changing scientific dynasty. A restless Marie rejoined her loving husband in the laboratory shortly after the baby’s arrival. Over the next 10 years, the Curies discovered radium and polonium, founded the science of radioactivity, welcomed a second daughter, Eve, and won a Nobel Prize in Physics. The Curies expected their daughters to excel in their education and their work. And excel they did; by 1925, Irène had a doctorate in chemistry and was working in her mother’s laboratory.

2. HER PARENTS' MARRIAGE WAS A MODEL FOR HER OWN.

Like her mother, Irène fell in love in the lab—both with her work and with another scientist. Frédéric Joliot joined the Curie team as an assistant. He and Irène quickly bonded over shared interests in sports, the arts, and human rights. The two began collaborating on research and soon married, equitably combining their names and signing their work Irène and Frédéric Joliot-Curie.

3. SHE AND HER HUSBAND WERE AN UNSTOPPABLE PAIR.

Black and white photo of Irène and Fréderic Joliot-Curie working side by side in their laboratory.
Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Their passion for exploration drove them ever onward into exciting new territory. A decade of experimentation yielded advances in several disciplines. They learned how the thyroid gland absorbs radioiodine and how the body metabolizes radioactive phosphates. They found ways to coax radioactive isotopes from ordinarily non-radioactive materials—a discovery that would eventually enable both nuclear power and atomic weaponry, and one that earned them the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1935.

4. THEY FOUGHT FOR JUSTICE AND PEACE.

The humanist principles that initially drew Irène and Frédéric together only deepened as they grew older. Both were proud members of the Socialist Party and the Comité de Vigilance des Intellectuels Antifascistes (Vigilance Committee of Anti-Fascist Intellectuals). They took great pains to keep atomic research out of Nazi hands, sealing and hiding their research as Germany occupied their country, Irène also served as undersecretary of state for scientific research of the Popular Front government.

5. SHE WAS NOT CONTENT WITH THE STATUS QUO.

Irène eventually scaled back her time in the lab to raise her children Hélène and Pierre. But she never slowed down, nor did she stop fighting for equality and freedom for all. Especially active in women’s rights groups, she became a member of the Comité National de l'Union des Femmes Françaises and the World Peace Council.

6. SHE WORKED HERSELF TO DEATH.

Irène’s extraordinary life was a mirror of her mother’s. Tragically, her death was, too. Years of watching radiation poisoning and cancer taking their toll on Marie never dissuaded Irène from her work. In 1956, dying of leukemia, she entered the Curie Hospital, where she followed her mother’s luminous footsteps into the great beyond.

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Live Smarter
You Can Now Order Food Through Facebook
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After a bit of controversy over its way of aggregating news feeds and some questionable content censoring policies, it’s nice to have Facebook roll out a feature everyone can agree on: allowing you to order food without leaving the social media site.

According to a press release, Facebook says that the company decided to begin offering food delivery options after realizing that many of its users come to the social media hub to rate and discuss local eateries. Rather than hop from Facebook to the restaurant or a delivery service, you’ll be able to stay within the app and select from a menu of food choices. Just click “Order Food” from the Explore menu on a desktop interface or under the “More” option on Android or iOS devices. There, you’ll be presented with options that will accept takeout or delivery orders, as well as businesses participating with services like Delivery.com or EatStreet.

If you need to sign up and create an account with Delivery.com or Jimmy John’s, for example, you can do that without leaving Facebook. The feature is expected to be available nationally, effective immediately.

[h/t Forbes]

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