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7 People Injured by Pizza

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No food is more universally worshipped than pizza, which makes any slice-related accident or mishap all the more tragic. Unfortunately, its rock-like frozen crusts, acidic, eye-searing sauce, and molten cheese mean even a simple pie can be weaponized if it falls into the wrong hands. Check out seven people who were injured as a direct result of eating, pursuing, or being bludgeoned by this object of doughy desire.

1. THE PIZZA-HURLING PUPPET

The Sooty Show via Facebook

A children’s puppet show is the last place you’d expect to be harmed by a pizza. But for magician Paul Daniels, what promised to be an innocuous appearance on the popular U.K. kiddie series The Sooty Show turned into a traumatic event. Daniels was taping a segment with the felt-covered star and insisted that a pizza be thrown at him harder for greater comedic effect. The puppet complied, and the second take resulted in a hand-tossed pie that dazed the 73-year-old Daniels, stung his eye with sauce, and prompted a trip to the hospital. Sooty’s operator, Richard Cadell, issued an apology on the puppet’s behalf. “Sooty’s very sorry for what happened,” he said.  “He didn’t know his own strength.”

2. THE DANGERS OF CHICKEN-TOPPED PIES

Carnivores are always taking a small risk whenever they bite into their animal of choice: bone fragments can linger even after a proper dressing and cleaning. A restaurant patron was reminded of the danger when she bit into a chicken-topped barbeque pizza at the Round Table in San Francisco in February 2010. According to the San Jose Mercury News, Calla Felicity was splitting a pie with her mother when she inadvertently swallowed a one-inch long chicken bone. The edged contaminant pierced her esophagus, causing a rupture that became infected. She subsequently endured 11 surgeries. A jury awarded Felicity $2.5 million in damages, with negligence split 60/40 between the chicken farm (Foster) and the Pizza Bytes franchise, which owns the Round Table.  

3. THE END OF THE DOMINO’S 30 MINUTE GUARANTEE

Elliott Brown, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Eager to cement their status at the country’s premiere pizza franchise, Domino’s Pizza began promising customers in 1983 that their delivered pie would arrive in 30 minutes or less. The resulting pressure on drivers not to give away the doughy inventory for free or at a discount resulted in a number of accidents and lawsuits. But it wasn’t until a St. Louis woman named Jean Kinder was hit by a Domino’s driver who ran a red light that the company ended the promotion. Kinder suffered neck and spinal injuries as a result; in 1993, a jury penalized the company to the tune of $79 million.

In 2007, the franchise brought back the marketing gimmick with a “You Got 30 Minutes” ad campaign that didn’t make any explicit promise of expedited delivery. Changing their tune in 2013, they touted new pan pizzas that take slightly longer to cook by announcing they were no longer “all about speed.”    

4. TAKEOUT PIZZA PUTS A FOOTBALL PRO IN THE HOSPITAL

Detroit Lions wide receiver Nate Burleson had some rotten luck in 2012 and 2013. First, he broke his leg during a game. A year later, he was back in the operating room with the same surgeon—this time because of pizza. Burleson was driving home with two piping hot pies on the passenger seat of his GMC Yukon when the box on top began sliding off. Burleson leaned over to prevent it from falling, lost control of the wheel, and crashed off the interstate. His broken arm took two months to heal. While infirm, he was gifted with free pizzas for a year from frozen pie company DiGiorno, who wrote that they understand “the challenges that come with pizza carry out.”

5. A TASTE OF THE MOB

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For decades, it’s been alleged the Mob has had a hand in using pizza joints as fronts for shadier dealings, or even strong-arming honest owners into using their inferior mozzarella. In 2011, pizzeria owner Eugene Lombardo came up against Columbo family associate Francis Guerra, who was charged with smacking the restaurateur over his pie. Guerra's issue: he claimed Lombardo's 'za tasted too similar to the slices sold by his in-laws at L&B in Brooklyn. According to the New York Daily News, Guerra demanded Lombardo stop hawking his knock-off recipe, which he advertised as being close to L&B’s flavor. The information came out during an investigation into murder charges, which Guerra beat—per the News, however, he was eventually sent to prison on a drug-related offense.   

6. A (HOT) PIE IN THE FACE

While standing in line at a Truro, Nova Scotia, pizza parlor in April 2015, 22-year-old Paige Beaudry chastised a man for cutting in line. According to the Toronto Sun, the patron’s female associate allegedly stuffed a steaming slice in her face. The attack burned Beaudry’s cheeks, eyes, and nose; the woman was charged with assault with a weapon and, as of July, was still awaiting a court decision.

7. THE FROZEN PIZZA AS BLUNT OBJECT

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Thoroughly cooked, pizza can be a delicious, largely harmless saucer of cheer. Frozen, it can be used as a bludgeon. According to the Journal Times of Racine, Wisconsin, a man was robbed by two passersby while walking home from a convenience store. After rejecting their request for money and turning away, he was struck in the head with a rock-solid pie; on the ground, the men punched him and stole his wallet. The perpetrators were never located.

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15 Must-Watch Facts About The Ring
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DreamWorks

An urban legend about a videotape that kills its viewers seven days after they see it turns out to be true. To her increasing horror, reporter Rachel Keller (then-newcomer Naomi Watts) discovers this after her niece is one of four teenage victims, and is in a race against the clock to uncover the mystery behind the girl in the video before her and her son’s time is up.

Released 15 years ago, on October 18, 2002, The Ring began a trend of both remaking Japanese horror films in a big way, and giving you nightmares about creepy creatures crawling out of your television. Here are some facts about the film that you can feel free to pass along to anybody, guilt-free.

1. DREAMWORKS BOUGHT THE AMERICAN RIGHTS TO RINGU FOR $1 MILLION.

There were conflicting stories over how executive producer Roy Lee came to see the 1998 Japanese horror film Ringu, Hideo Nakata's adaptation of the 1991 novel Ring by Kôji Suzuki. Lee said two different friends gave him a copy of Ringu in January 2001, which he loved and immediately gave to DreamWorks executive Mark Sourian, who agreed to purchase the rights. But Lee’s close friend Mike Macari worked at Fine Line Features, which had an American remake of Ringu in development before January 2001. Macari said he showed Lee Ringu much earlier. Macari and Lee were both listed as executive producers for The Ring.

2. THE DIRECTOR FIRST SAW RINGU ON A POOR QUALITY VHS TAPE, WHICH ADDED TO ITS CREEPINESS.

Gore Verbinski had previously directed MouseHunt. He said the first time he "watched the original Ringu was on a VHS tape that was probably seven generations down. It was really poor quality, but actually that added to the mystique, especially when I realized that this was a movie about a videotape." Naomi Watts struggled to find a VHS copy of Ringu while shooting in the south of Wales. When she finally got a hold of one she watched it on a very small TV alone in her hotel room. "I remember being pretty freaked out," Watts said. "I just saw it the once, and that was enough to get me excited about doing it."

3. THE RING AND RINGU ARE ABOUT 50 PERCENT DIFFERENT.

Naomi Watts in 'The Ring'
© 2002 - DreamWorks LLC - All Rights Reserved

Verbinski estimated that, for the American version, they "changed up to 50 percent of it. The basic premise is intact, the story is intact, the ghost story, the story of Samara, the child." Storylines involving the characters having ESP, a volcano, “dream logic,” and references to “brine and goblins” were taken out.

4. IT RAINED ALMOST EVERY DAY WHEN THEY FILMED IN THE STATE OF WASHINGTON.

The weather added to the “atmosphere of dread,” according to the film's production notes. Verbinski said the setting allowed them to create an “overcast mood” of dampness and isolation.

5. THE PRODUCTION DESIGNER WAS INFLUENCED BY ANDREW WYETH.

Artist Andrew Wyeth tended to use muted, somber earth tones in his work. "In Wyeth's work, the trees are always dormant, and the colors are muted earth tones," explained production designer Tom Duffield. "It's greys, it's browns, it's somber colors; it's ripped fabrics in the windows. His work has a haunting flavor that I felt would add to the mystique of this movie, so I latched on to it."

6. THERE WERE RINGS EVERYWHERE.

The carpeting and wallpaper patterns, the circular kitchen knobs, the doctor’s sweater design, Rachel’s apartment number, and more were purposely designed with the film's title in mind.

7. WATTS AND MARTIN HENDERSON HAD A FRIENDLY INTERNATIONAL RIVALRY.

Martin Henderson and Naomi Watts star in 'The Ring' (1992)
© 2002 - DreamWorks LLC - All Rights Reserved

The New Zealand-born Henderson played Noah, Rachel’s ex-husband. Since Watts is from Australia, Henderson said that, "Between takes, we'd joke around with each other's accents and play into the whole New Zealand-Australia rivalry."

8. THE TWO WEREN’T SURE IF THE MOVIE WAS GOING TO BE SCARY ENOUGH.

After shooting some of the scenes, and not having the benefit of seeing what they'd look like once any special effects were added, Henderson and Watts worried that the final result would not be scary enough. "There were moments when Naomi and I would look at each other and say, 'This is embarrassing, people are going to laugh,'" Henderson told the BBC." You just hope that somebody makes it scary or you're going to look like an idiot!"

9. CHRIS COOPER WAS CUT FROM THE MOVIE.

Cooper played a child murderer in two scenes which were initially meant to bookend the film. He unconvincingly claimed to Rachel that he found God in the beginning, and in the end she gave him the cursed tape. Audiences at test screenings were distracted that an actor they recognized disappears for most of the film, so he was cut out entirely.

10. THEY TRIED TO GET RID OF ALL OF THE SHADOWS.

Verbinski and cinematographer Bojan Bazelli used the lack of sunlight in Washington to remove the characters’ shadows. The two wanted to keep the characters feeling as if “they’re floating a little bit, in space.”

11. THE TREE WAS NICKNAMED "LUCILLE."

The red Japanese maple tree in the cursed video was named after the famous redheaded actress Lucille Ball. The tree was fake, built out of steel tubing and plaster. The Washington wind blew it over three different times. The night they put up the tree in Los Angeles, the wind blew at 60 miles per hour and knocked Lucille over yet again. "It was very strange," said Duffield.

12. MOESKO ISLAND IS A FUNCTIONING LIGHTHOUSE.

Moesko Island Lighthouse is Yaquina Head Lighthouse, at the mouth of the Yaquina River, a mile west of Agate Beach, Oregon. The website Rachel checks, MoeskoIslandLighthouse.com, used to actually exist as a one-page website, which gave general information on the fictional place. You can read it here.

13. A WEBSITE WAS CREATED BY DREAMWORKS TO PROMOTE THE MOVIE AND ADD TO ITS MYTHOLOGY.

Before and during the theatrical release, if you logged into AnOpenLetter.com, you could read a message in white lettering against a black background warning about what happens if you watch the cursed video (you can read it here). By November 24, 2002, it was a standard official website made for the movie, set up by DreamWorks.

14. VERBINSKI DIDN’T HAVE FUN DIRECTING THE MOVIE.

“It’s no fun making a horror film," admitted Verbinski. "You get into some darker areas of the brain and after a while everything becomes a bit depressing.”

15. DAVEIGH CHASE SCARED HERSELF.

Daveigh Chase in 'The Ring'
© 2002 - DreamWorks LLC - All Rights Reserved

When Daveigh Chase, who played Samara, saw The Ring in theaters, she had to cover her eyes out of fear—of herself. Some people she met after the movie came out were also afraid of her.

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European Space Agency Releases First High-Res Land Cover Map of Africa
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Land Cover CCI, ESA

This isn’t just any image of Africa. It represents the first of its kind: a high-resolution map of the different types of land cover that are found on the continent, released by The European Space Agency, as Travel + Leisure reports.

Land cover maps depict the different physical materials that cover the Earth, whether that material is vegetation, wetlands, concrete, or sand. They can be used to track the growth of cities, assess flooding, keep tabs on environmental issues like deforestation or desertification, and more.

The newly released land cover map of Africa shows the continent at an extremely detailed resolution. Each pixel represents just 65.6 feet (20 meters) on the ground. It’s designed to help researchers model the extent of climate change across Africa, study biodiversity and natural resources, and see how land use is changing, among other applications.

Developed as part of the Climate Change Initiative (CCI) Land Cover project, the space agency gathered a full year’s worth of data from its Sentinel-2A satellite to create the map. In total, the image is made from 90 terabytes of data—180,000 images—taken between December 2015 and December 2016.

The map is so large and detailed that the space agency created its own online viewer for it. You can dive further into the image here.

And keep watch: A better map might be close at hand. In March, the ESA launched the Sentinal-2B satellite, which it says will make a global map at a 32.8 feet-per-pixel (10 meters) resolution possible.

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

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