Sometimes a truck unloads its cargo ahead of time. ... READ ON
Earlier today, a truck in Shreveport, Louisiana overturned, spilling corndogs across I-220 West. The carnival staple stalled traffic for much of the morning as the highway was shut down for cleanup. This is hardly the first time an unusual spillage has taken over the roads. With help from friends at TruckSpills.com, we found some other crazy things that have littered the highway.... READ ON
Skin is the largest organ on the human body, and an amazing number of things can go wrong with it. Here's a menagerie of skin diseases and conditions, all with full-color images that will have you checking yourself in the mirror for weeks. Some of the images are rather graphic. You've been warned.
1. Accessory... READ ON
When I first heard that a truck had dumped 40,000 pounds of sausage on Wisconsin highway, my first thought was, "Mmmmm, sausage." My second thought was, "That has to be the weirdest truck spill ever." But it's not. With help from friends at Truckspills.com, we found some truck spills you would definitely rather read about than encounter.
If any town might prepare for a sticky truck spill, you'd expect it to be Sugar Land, Texas. That's where, in 2008, motorists... READ ON
Life on the International Space Station may seem sexy, but NASA doesn't have maid service. Astronauts have to clean up after themselves, just like the rest of us. In honor of tonight's scheduled shuttle launch (update: no launch tonight), let's test your ability to keep house in space.
Take the Quiz: Star... READ ON
When I met Rod Blagojevich at a Chicago Cubs game in 2007 (that's us), he was a wily incumbent who had just won easy reelection despite longstanding rumors of corruption. Today, facing a federal corruption trial, Blagojevich may soon join the fraternity of governors who have gone to prison.
With help from the chaps at the Political Graveyard, I identified at least 17 governors who achieved this unfortunate distinction. Here are four who make me gag.
1. "A truly heartfelt apology"
Ironically, Rod... READ ON
This season, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has set out to make his league a kinder, gentler place. Linebackers groomed since Pop Warner days to inflict maximum carnage now face heavy fines if they bang a quarterback's head or knee--even though those remain perfectly legal plays. Meanwhile, rumors swirl that Goodell will soon change the game's rules to make quarterbacks safer than the Boy in the Bubble.
Besides outraging linebackers and fans alike, Goodell's gambit calls to mind the hideous injuries... READ ON
Dr. Pamela Dalton is a chatty, mild-mannered scientist—a sensory psychologist at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia—who just happens to have authored the world's worst smell. Her client: The U.S. Department of Defense, which wanted a world-class stink bomb, a violently potent, no-kill weapon all but guaranteed to make enemies drop their weapons and run away.
Here's how Dalton made her Frankensteinian creation, affectionately named "stench soup."
The... READ ON
You know what they say: you can take the stadium out of the trash, but you can't take the trash out of the stadium. Many American sports meccas—such as Comiskey Park in Chicago, Mile High Stadium in Denver, and Giants Stadium in New Jersey—were built on top of the landfills because the land was cheap and convenient. Unfortunately, the past doesn't always stay buried. White Sox shortstop Luke Appling felt the spike of his shoe hit metal as he was heading out to his position in... READ ON
Everyone knows oysters' reputation for spurring loving-making—but how do you kindle randy feelings in your partner if you can't call down to room service for a tray of blue-tips? Over the centuries, desperate lovers have developed aphrodisiacs out of surprising ingredients, and scientists are now researching how they work.
Ginseng is so commonplace today, available in teas, juices, and even chewing gum, that many men may not realize that it has long served as a bedroom... READ ON
There are only a certain number of ways to go crazy, and you can find most of them listed in the psychologist's bible, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, currently in its fourth edition and commonly referred to as DSM-IV. But along with psych-ward greatest hits like schizophrenia and depression, the DSM lists some less-than-common conditions.
1.... READ ON
In a recent entry, I poked fun at a 1958 "Chinese" recipe printed by Good Housekeeping whose main ingredient was "luncheon meat." Sounds sketchy, right? How many Chinese restaurants have you known that featured fresh deli products straight from the wok?
Then a long-time floss reader, Brian, wrote in from Barcelona. "Luncheon ham (also known as Spam) is actually wildly popular with Asian people," he testified. "My Japanese grandmothers would go crazy for that...so... READ ON
Superfund is both an actual fund and a shorthand term for the list of America's nastiest toxic waste sites. One in two Americans lives within ten miles of a Superfund site. Currently, there are about 1,300 sites on the list, although it fluctuates. New Jersey has the most Superfund sites, with over a hundred. Nevada and the District of Columbia have one apiece. Here's a closer look at some of the notable ones.
Love... READ ON
Given the strong-arm tactics of Russian President Vladimir Putin, some observers expect a return of the Cold War. If that prediction proves true, maybe the new Cold War will bring back some of the kitschy old recipes below, found in vintage cookbooks. Predictably, they emphasize canned veggies and preserved meats—perfect fare for bomb-shelter dining.
Best casserole: Frankfurter... READ ON
In case yesterday's story on horrifying parasites didn't leave you sufficiently creeped out, Chris Weber is here to tell you about seven more creepy crawlies. Afterwards, have a look at our own Ransom Riggs' latest original video: Attack of the Killer Parasites.
Remember that scene in Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan when Ricardo Montalban drops a weird-scorpion spacebug into a poor guy's ear? That was fiction; these suckers are real. Here are seven parasites, ranging from common to obscure, that... READ ON
This week: How to build your own TiVo (or, How to never miss an important football game ever... READ ON
No matter where you call home, there's a good chance that one of your neighbors is busy making some kind of booze. Brewing, distilling, and winemaking are nearly universal activities, and folks will ferment just about anything.
1. If you want to try traditional chicha, go to Peru or Bolivia, where women chew corn flour and then spit it into bowls. Enzymes in their saliva help break down the sugars in the corn. Chicha tastes tart and can be white, yellow, red, purple, or even black depending on... READ ON
"¢ The deadliest epidemic in history, the Spanish flu killed at least 50 million people — and maybe twice that many — surpassing even the plague.
"¢ The flu brought the country to its knees in 1918 and 1919. In New York City, 851 people died in one day. Public gatherings were cancelled nationwide. When people did go out, they wore very chic gauze masks.
"¢ Though it is still called Spanish flu, many epidemiologists now think the virus originated in... READ ON
BUGS BITE: YELLOW FEVER
"¢ 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.)... READ ON
MONSTER SOUP: CHOLERA
"¢ The classic symptom of Asiatic cholera is watery diarrhea leading to rapid dehydration. It occurs when someone carrying the bacteria Vibrio cholerae poops in your water supply.
"¢ There were six worldwide cholera epidemics from 1817 to 1923. Though you don't hear much about it, we are now in the midst of a seventh epidemic, which began in 1961 and kills over 100,000 people every year.
"¢ One of most well-known episodes in the history of epidemics... READ ON
OH RATS!: THE PLAGUE
"¢ The greatest plague of the fourteenth century was known as the Great Mortality. Spread by rats and fleas, it killed over 20 million people in Europe alone in just a few years. Medieval people thought the world was coming to an end. (Rat picture courtesy of ChemBark.)
"¢ We call plague "bubonic" because of one of its chief symptoms — buboes in the armpits and groin (for the brave and strong-stomached, here's a picture). Unlike syphilis, which can last... READ ON
I first approached Jason and Mangesh because I wanted to write an article about rare skin diseases. After they finished retching, they said "No, thank you," but invited me to blog on less gruesome forms of weird science. You'll find a smorgasbord of such topics here in the weeks to come, including installments on food science, famous poisons and home inventions. Besides an abiding passion for medical trivia, I'm driven by a sense of wonder at the body, in sickness and in health. I... READ ON