Swedish Students Let Off Steam by Screaming in Public

"At 22:00 precisely the windows open and the screaming begins," says an Uppsala University webpage covering "academic traditions."

The line is referring to a local phenomenon that’s been taking place in a specific area of the Flogsta neighborhood of Uppsala, Sweden, since at least the '80s, and possibly as early as the '70s. The locals call it the Flogsta Scream, and it’s pretty simple: At the same time every night, a bunch of people lean out of their windows and scream.

The Scream isn’t restricted to only students, of course—or even to Flogsta, for that matter. The Lappkärrsberget residential area near Stockholm University has a neighborhood scream as well, known as the Lappkärr Cry, while Lund University students in the Delphi neighborhood of Lund, Sweden, participate in the Delphi Roar. (Other names include the Tuesday Scream—Lappkärrsberget screams on Tuesdays only—and Elvavrålet, or "the eleven roar," for the version in Lund, which happens at 11 p.m.) Vuvuzelas (the plastic horns often found at South African soccer games) are incorporated in some versions as well. The screams generally last between one and two minutes, but they vary on a case-by-case basis. Some can last up to 10 minutes.

The lore behind this strange tradition varies as well. Some say that—at least in the case of Flogsta—the practice was started by students in the physics department at Uppsala who needed to let off stress and angst during exam season; others say it was begun as a memorial to a student who killed himself.

It doesn’t necessarily happen every night, either. Arvid Cederholm, who lived in Flogsta in the early 2000s, told mental_floss, "I don't remember it being every evening, but rather if someone started it, others joined in. The angst wasn't a very pronounced part of it, I feel. It was more of a fun thing than an angsty thing."

Back in late 2014, the Flogsta scream received a small burst of attention on the internet thanks to a Reddit thread and a subsequent post on MTV’s website. Amid the swirl, the story somehow changed from "people collectively scream out of their windows at 10 p.m. in certain areas in Sweden" to "you can scream out of your window anywhere in Sweden and people will scream back." There was so much misinformation circulating surrounding the Flogsta scream that Snopes finally wrote a piece about it in order to set the facts straight. (They also noted that similar practices aren’t unknown on U.S. campuses.)

So just to be clear: This doesn’t happen everywhere across Sweden, only in Uppsala, Lund, or Stockholm, and only on specific university campuses. You can’t just show up in, say, downtown Gothenburg, start screaming, and expect folks to join you. You will just annoy the Swedes. Definitely don’t do this.

But if you happen to find yourself at the right Swedish university around 10 (or 11) at night and you’re feeling brave, it might be worth a shot. Maybe wait for someone else to start screaming first, though. Just in case.

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Are You Eco-Conscious? You Could Win a Trip to the Dominican Republic
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Do you love lounging on the beach but also want to take action to save the planet? You'll be able to do both if you're chosen to serve as a "sustainability advisor" for a luxury resort in the Dominican Republic, Lonely Planet reports.

The worldwide contest is sponsored by Eden Roc at Cap Cana in Punta Cana. The winner and one friend will receive a five-night stay at the Relais & Châteaux hotel, where they'll partake in specially curated activities like a food-sourcing trip with the hotel's chef. (One caveat, though: Airfare isn't included.)

You don't need a degree in conservation to enter, but you will need an Instagram account. Give the resort's Instagram page (@edenroccapcana) a follow and post a photo of you carrying out an eco-friendly activity on your own page. Be sure to tag the resort and use the official hashtag, #EcoEdenRoc.

The only requirement is that the winner meet with hotel staff at the end of his or her trip to suggest some steps that the hotel can take to reduce its environmental impact. The hotel has already banned plastic straws and reduced its usage of plastic bottles, and the sole mode of transport used on site is the electric golf cart.

Beyond the resort, though, the Dominican Republic struggles with deforestation and soil erosion, and the nation scored poorly on the 2018 Environmental Performance Index for the agricultural category.

Entries to the contest will be accepted until August 31, and you can read the full terms and conditions here.

[h/t Lonely Planet]

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What Happens When You Flush an Airplane Toilet?
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For millions of people, summer means an opportunity to hop on a plane and experience new and exciting sights, cultures, and food. It also means getting packed into a giant commercial aircraft and then wondering if you can make it to your next layover without submitting to the anxiety of using the onboard bathroom.

Roughly the size of an apartment pantry, these narrow facilities barely accommodate your outstretched knees; turbulence can make expelling waste a harrowing nightmare. Once you’ve successfully managed to complete the task and flush, what happens next?

Unlike our home toilets, planes can’t rely on water tanks to create passive suction to draw waste from the bowl. In addition to the expense of hauling hundreds of gallons of water, it’s impractical to leave standing water in an environment that shakes its contents like a snow globe. Originally, planes used an electronic pump system that moved waste along with a deodorizing liquid called Anotec. That method worked, but carrying the Anotec was undesirable for the same reasons as storing water: It raised fuel costs and added weight to the aircraft that could have been allocated for passengers. (Not surprisingly, airlines prefer to transport paying customers over blobs of poop.)

Beginning in the 1980s, planes used a pneumatic vacuum to suck liquids and solids down and away from the fixture. Once you hit the flush button, a valve at the bottom of the toilet opens, allowing the vacuum to siphon the contents out. (A nonstick coating similar to Teflon reduces the odds of any residue.) It travels to a storage tank near the back of the plane at high speeds, ready for ground crews to drain it once the airplane lands. The tank is then flushed out using a disinfectant.

If you’re also curious about timing your bathroom visit to avoid people waiting in line while you void, flight attendants say the best time to go is right after the captain turns off the seat belt sign and before drink service begins.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

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