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The Surprising Origins of Child-Proof Lids

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While the modern versions of child-proof lids have been around for decades, their history may extend back thousands of years.

Dr. Henri J. Breault of Tecumseh, Ontario, is credited with inventing the current-day child-proof cap in 1967. At the time, children were inadvertently ingesting household medicines intended for adults at a terrifying rate. It was a global epidemic, and Canada alone suffered 100,000 annual cases, claiming the lives of at least 100 kids each year.

Breault, a career pediatrician and father of two, just couldn’t take it anymore. “At three o’clock [one] morning,” recalled his widow, Monica, he came home and said, “‘You know, I’ve had it! I am tired of pumping children’s stomachs when they’re taking pills that they shouldn’t be having! I’ve got to do something about it.’”

After several unsuccessful attempts, he finally invented and patented a device dubbed “The Palm N' Turn,” and the rate of local child poisonings dropped by a staggering 91 percent. The ingenious device rapidly swept the globe and is responsible for saving untold numbers of young lives. In light of this remarkable service, Tecumseh established the Henri J. Breault Award in 2000 to reward its most honorable residents.

But while Breault’s achievements are certainly worthy of the highest praise, the ancient Mayans may have beaten him to the punch. In 1986, the University of Texas at San Antonio sent a group of archaeologists to examine the ruins of Río Azul in present-day Guatemala. Built by the Mayans in 500 BCE, the site contained a number of pots and bottles, one of which proved surprisingly difficult to open.

In the words of one team-member, “The lid to this unusual vessel ... twists off much like a child-proof cap on a modern medicine vial.”

So what exactly did this remarkable artifact contain? Chocolate.

Knowing the intense religious significance of chocolatey beverages to Mayan culture, archaeologist Grant Hall collected samples from the pot’s interior and sent them off to none other than the Hershey Laboratories for analysis. Their results proved conclusive: History’s first known child-proof lid had been created to protect a vat of chocolate.

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Animals
Watch a Panda Caretaker Cuddle With Baby Pandas While Dressed Up Like a Panda
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Some people wear suits to work—but at one Chinese nature reserve, a handful of lucky employees get to wear panda suits.

As Travel + Leisure reports, the People's Daily released a video in July of animal caretakers cuddling with baby pandas at the Wolong National Nature Reserve in China's Sichuan Province. The keepers dress in fuzzy black-and-white costumes—a sartorial choice that's equal parts adorable and imperative to the pandas' future success in the wild.

Researchers raise the pandas in captivity with the goal of eventually releasing them into their natural habitat. But according to The Atlantic, human attachment can hamper the pandas' survival chances, plus it can be stressful for the bears to interact with people. To keep the animals calm while acclimating them to forest life, the caretakers disguise their humanness with costumes, and even mask their smell by smearing the suits with panda urine and feces. Meanwhile, other keepers sometimes conceal themselves by dressing up as trees.

Below, you can watch the camouflaged panda caretakers as they cuddle baby pandas:

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

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UK Pair Will Visit All 2563 Rail Stations in Britain This Summer
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A train-loving UK couple is on a mission this summer to visit as many of Great Britain’s railway stations as possible. Since May, Geoff Marshall and Vicki Pipe have been working to hit up all 2563 stations, shooting video and posting updates to social media along the way.

Both Marshall and Pipe are serious train buffs. Marshall, a video producer, previously created videos about each of the London Underground lines for Londonist, and Pipe works at the London Transport Museum (she’s taking a sabbatical for the trip).

All the Stations isn’t a race, so they’ll keep at it until they’ve covered the entire island, though their goal is to finish the journey in three months. They are documenting their travels as a way to explore the state of Britain’s rail infrastructure and visit little-known places along the routes. Their goals include posting four videos of four different days of travel per week, live streaming between video posts, and making a feature documentary about the project at the end of the summer.

The project was partially funded on Kickstarter, where they raised more than $50,600 in early 2017 for their trip—which helped pay for the more than $13,000 in train tickets.

The pair has set out parameters for what exactly counts as a stop. They have to arrive or leave on a scheduled train passing through each stop, but they don't have to get off at every one. They’re not counting abandoned stations, nor do subways or heritage railways count, and they are sticking to mainland Britain rather than venturing to Northern Ireland.

They’ve been averaging about 30 stations per day. As of July 26, they have made it to 2089 stations, putting them more than 80 percent of the way there. They’ve only got 474 left to go on the way to Thurso, the northernmost town on the British mainland, which they plan to hit in August.

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