Weekly Wrap Volume 7

This is a weekly wrap of our Daily Knowledge Newsletter. You can get that newsletter for free here.

heartHollywood Medical Myths Part 2: Injecting Medicine Into Your Heart can Be Beneficial

Ah, the dramatic scene that ends with an actor stabbing a needle straight into their heart, narrowly escaping death and magically curing whatever ailment just befell them. While very dramatic, it’s also very untrue and an exceptionally bad idea if your goal is to get better.  In the end, it doesn’t matter whether or not the medication attempting to be delivered would actually work in the described situations; this myth comes down to one thing: if you stick a needle in your heart, you will bleed to death from the small hole you just placed there. Just like a… (more)

pocket-watchThe Secret Message Recently Found in Abraham Lincoln’s Watch

On the surface, it could be any other high-end watch from the mid-1800s. Inside, however, amidst the cogs and gears, is a different story. The words “Fort Sumpter was attacked by the rebels. Thank God we have a government” are etched there, though the author of the text remembered writing something a tad different, as you’ll soon see. The watch was Abraham Lincoln’s. On April 13, 1861, it was being repaired by Jonathan Dillon… (more)

beerMedical Oddities Part 2: You Can Brew Beer in Your Digestive Tract

Imagine- your wife begins to think you’re a closet alcoholic, so she purchases a breathalyzer to test your blood alcohol content (BAC) throughout the day. Your doctors concur with her assessment, thinking you’re sneaking off into dark corners to imbibe without the judging eyes of the world to condemn you. The only problem, you really haven’t been drinking. All of the begging and pleading in the world won’t convince anyone. After all, you’re constantly drunk. That’s exactly what happened to a 61 year old man from Texas. After going… (more)

Alfred_NobelAlfred Nobel- The Merchant of Death

The “merchant of death” title was given to him due to Nobel inventing, and making most of his vast fortune off of, dynamite and other types of explosives, such as “ballistite”, which was the precursor to quite a lot of military grade explosive devices. Nobel came up with the idea of using his money for these annual prizes after his brother, Ludvig, died in 1888 and a French newspaper mistakenly thought it had been Alfred Nobel… (more)

mind-controlMind Control: From the Inside Out

The term “mind control” conjures up visions of someone manipulating people from the outside, such as an evil, brainwashing scientist or a supernatural being that takes dominion of a person just with the power of his mind. But since people don’t experience this in their daily lives, most don’t believe in mind control, and think of it as just a fantasy, suitable only for books, games and movies. How wrong they are! Mind control exists, it happens every day and it may be happening to you right now… (more)

Bonus Quick Facts:

  • It wouldn’t be until 15 years after basketball was invented before someone got the bright idea of putting a hole in the bottom of the basket to allow the ball to pass through so it wouldn’t have to be manually retrieved every time someone made a shot.
  • The lead guitarist in one of the greatest rock bands of all time, Queen, has a PhD in Physics. He began the program before he joined up with Queen, but then dropped out, finally going back and completing his PhD in 2007.
  • The wife of famed poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow tragically died when she accidentally dropped a burning match onto her hoop skirt, which burst into flames and ultimately killing her.
  • Famed writer and Soviet spy Whittaker Chambers was the first to translate Bambi: A life in the Woods, into English. Disney would later, of course, base a movie off this work.
  • Contrary to popular belief, Prohibition did not make it illegal to drink alcohol, just to sell, transport, or produce the drinkable form of it.
  • One of the founders of Chuck E. Cheese’s, Nolan Bushnell, also helped found Atari.
  • Despite being twice as abundant as iron in the earth’s crust, in much of the 19th century, aluminum cost more than gold due to the difficulty in isolating it from other substances. For reference, in the 1850s, one ingot of aluminum went for $550 (about $15,000 today). By 1900, thanks to technological advancements, the same ingot was selling for just 25 cents ($7 today).
  • Other than the color of the shell, there is no difference between commercial brown shelled chicken eggs and a white shelled ones. Non-commercial eggs from chickens may taste slightly different, due to difference in diet, but a chicken that lays white eggs will produce an egg that is by taste and nutrition level, the same as the eggs produced by a chicken that lays brown eggs with the same diet.
  • The hit Carpenters song “We’ve Only Just Begun”, ranked as the 405th best song of all time by Rolling Stone magazine, was originally written for a wedding themed Crocker National Bank commercial.
  • In the time it takes you to read this, hundreds of billions of neutrinos have passed through your body. Specifically, close to 65 billion neutrinos from the Sun pass through every square centimeter of you that is currently perpendicular to the Sun every single second that passes.
  • The act of an animal “sleeping” through the summer is called “aestivation”, rather than the winter equivalent, “hibernation”.

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algebra-e1293664811983Where the Word “Algebra” Came From

It all started back around 825 AD when a man named Abū ʿAbdallāh Muḥammad ibn Mūsā al-Khwārizmī, the “father” of Algebra, wrote a book called “Kitab al-jabr wa al-muqabalah”.  This roughly translates to “Rules of Reintegration and Reduction”.  This work was specifically covering the branch of mathematics we now know as Algebra and was the most notable work on the subject during this period, covering such things as polynomial equations up to the second degree; introducing methods for reduction and balancing; and other such staple algebraic methods. It was so notable… (more)

Eddie-GaedelThe Little Person Who Played in the Major Leagues

This man was 26 year old, 3 feet, 7 inch tall Eddie Gaedel.  Gaedel was signed by Bill Veeck to a Major League contract of $15,400 ($100 per game), which was the set minimum one could pay a little person performance act, per event. Gaedel was an evenly proportioned dwarf (the term for such a person at the time was “midget”, with dwarfs who were disproportionate in some way being called just dwarfs). When Veeck began scheming ideas to bolster attendance for his newly acquired, struggling team, the St. Louis Browns, he specifically… (more)

Sokushinbutsu-e1309261286705It is Possible to Mummify Yourself While Alive

One such method of self-mummification was practiced by Japanese Shugendō monks as the ultimate act of self denial. Shugendō is a form of Buddhism that originally combined elements of Buddhism, animism, Old Shinto, mountain worship, and Taoism, among other religions.  “Shugendō” itself means something to the effect of “the way to spiritual power through discipline”. The culmination of some of the Shugendō monk’s lives was to voluntarily choose to mummify themselves, a… (more)

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