In The Game of Monopoly, You Win or You DIE!
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One of the greatest engineering feats in modern history was created by a hairdresser in England and is now lost to history because of the inventors intense paranoia.
“Starlite” was a insulating material created by amateur chemist and hairdresser Maurice Ward in 1985. The material was able to withstand temperatures of up to 10,000 degrees Celsius (18,000 degrees Fahrenheit) which was a significant improvement on the insulators of the time. The starlite materials could withstand a direct shot from a laser beam and be cool to the touch just after. The material had hundreds of practical applications including insulating space craft, nuclear bomb shelters and commercial aircraft.
The problem was, the inventor Maurice Ward was a very paranoid man. He kept his recipe for the miraculous material a very close secret and refused to sell it to anyone out of fear that someone would steal it. He refused millions of dollars from the British government, Boeing, and other business in order to preserve the secret of his creation.
Maurice died in in 2011 and took the secret of his magical material to the grave with him. Since then, chemical engineers have not been able to recreate the starlite material and the secret to this ground breaking technology seems lost to history.
We have all seen the classic emergency in TV and movies. Someone is eating and the food goes down the wrong pipe. All of a sudden, a bystander springs into action, grabs the choking person from behind and performs the Heimlich maneuver. After a few swift thrusts, the lodged piece of food shoots out and flies across the room. The Heimlich maneuver makes for a good comedy bit but the guy who invented it also has a pretty entertaining story.
Henry Heimlich was born in 1920 to Jewish parents. He attended college and later Med school at Cornell University before enlisting in the Navy to serve in WWII. During the war, he served as a medic and invented a homemade cure for a devastating disease that was causing blindness all over the South pacific. He made a mixture of antibiotics and shaving cream then rubbed it on people’s eyes and miraculously healed their blindness.
After the war, Henry returned home and became a surgeon. After attending a conference held by the American Heart Association, he disagreed with their recommendation to use hard slaps to the back to dislodge food from a choking person’s windpipe. He invented a new method that used abdominal thrusts instead of back slaps and revolutionized how we save people from choking.
For 30 years, Henry Heimlich taught people the Heimlich maneuver without ever actually using it himself… Until 2016, when a woman in his nursing home began choking on her food and a 96 year Henry sprung into action. He saved the woman’s live with his patented maneuver and proved that his method is fully effective.
Games & Entertainment
If you have ever strolled across Mediterranean Avenue, gone to jail, or passed “Go” and collected $200 you are probably familiar with the incredibly popular board game “Monopoly”. If you don’t already know, the goal of monopoly is to buy up real estate on the board in order to eventually bankrupt your competitors. Monopoly can bring out the worst in people by challenging players to financially ruin their friends and family but, the original rules of the game were meant to show the destructive nature of that ruthless behavior.
The game we know as monopoly was invented in 1903 by a woman named Lizzie Magie (the original Lizzie Maguire) in order to teach people about the dangers of capitalism. Lizzie was a staunch anti-capitalist who believed that a game based on people’s most selfish instincts would teach people that capitalism is not an economic solution that is good for the majority of the population. She designed the game so that it would end with one person holding all of the power and everyone else left penniless as a metaphor for the unequal nature of the American capitalist system.
Ironically, the rules of her game came true when her self-published game began losing sales to dozens of copycat games. Eventually a large corporation, Parker Brothers, released a version of Lizzie’s original game which they called “Monopoly”. Parker Brothers’ version of the game out sold all of the competitors and eventually the company bought up the smaller companies making the copycat versions of monopoly.
Monopoly went on to become one of the most popular games of all time and its creator, Lizzie Magie, never saw a penny of the sales of the most popular version of the game. Later in her life, Magie sued Parker Brothers to get her name listed as the games creator but unfortunately, she died before the suit was ever settled.
Lizzie Magie tried to teach the world about the dangers of capitalism but eventually the capitalist system that she tried to overthrow took her down. Next time you play Monopoly, PLAY TO WIN, because if you don’t crush your competitors, they will end up crushing you.
This Week in History
On this week in 1954, Sir Roger Bannister became the first person in history to run a mile in less than four minutes with a time of 3 minutes 59.4 seconds at his home track in Oxford. At the time, the four minute mile was considered nearly impossible in the track and field community but due to Bannister’s cutting edge training techniques and support of his teammates, he was able to break through the four minute barrier and make history. Roger Bannister went on to receive a medical degree from Oxford and practice as a neurologist until his retirement. He was knighted by the queen of England and is a member of the track and field hall of fame.
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