Talk About A Trainwreck
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Entomophobia is the fear of one of more types of bugs. If you are someone who runs away any time you see a creepy crawly, you may have this phobia. Unfortunately, no matter how far you run you may never be able to get away from the bugs
Creatures known as Demodex are microscopic and transparent mites that grow to be just one 100th of an inch long. These tiny bugs live in human facial hair like eyebrows and eyelashes and feed off dead skin cells and oil build ups. Fortunately, its not as bad as it sounds. Demodex eating the dead skin and oil off our faces helps keep our eye lashes and brows clean and not greesy. They keep our skin healthy and keep us looking our best.
About 50% of adults have bugs in their eyebrows and the infestation can be spread through face to face contact (so leave room for the holy ghost!). There are no known side effects of having these mites on your face and they are unperceivable to the naked eye. You probably don’t even know that they are on your face right now.
In case any Demodex are sitting on a readers eyebrows reading this, “Hey guys! Sorry we blew your cover!”
Math is hard. Some people struggle with trigonometry, algebra, or even calculating tip on a bar tab, but some people just have a gift for numbers.
Srinivasa (Srini) Ramanujan grew up in a small village in southern India. By age two he had contracted smallpox and nearly died. After recovering, he spent most of his time reading books alone in his small home. His favorite books were math textbooks that he got from a local school. From an early age he read every math textbook he could until he mastered the basics and moved on to more challenging concepts.
By age 10 Srini completed all of his primary school course work and was sent to study at a local high school. At age 11, he was reading college level mathematics books and eventually surpassed the knowledge of his two college educated tutors. With his teachers unable to challenge him, Srini collected textbooks on advance mathematics and taught himself advanced calculus. By age 15, using one text book, he mastered thousands of theorems and began developing his own which he published in Indian scholarly reviews.
He earned himself a scholarship to an Indian college, but he flunked out because he refused to do any schoolwork that wasn’t mathematics. As a college dropout, he was receiving welfare and living in poverty, but his difficult living conditions didn’t stop him from making advancements in mathematics.
Srini's work was eventually recognized and he received a formal education at Cambridge University. With his math skill refined at Cambridge, Srini began publishing dozens of papers on Number theory and became a prominent member of the British academic community.
Unfortunately, just as Srini was finally living up to his enormous potential, he contracted tuberculosis and died at the age of 32. He left behind notebooks that included concepts that are still being studied and proven today. He was one of the brightest math minds the world has ever seen but tragically he was never able to live up to his potential.
Before TV, Netflix, or smartphones day to day life was sometimes boring. People lived for big events that they could talk about for weeks. One day things got so boring that a man named William Crush decided to hold the most insane and extreme event that the world had ever seen.
In the late 1800’s, people were skeptical about riding trains because newspapers were printing stories of fatal train crashes every week. The stories reported in the papers featured descriptions of the incredible wreckage using descriptive imagery that captured the public’s imagination. After reading about them in the paper, people wanted to see what a train crash looked and sounded like.
William Crash worked for a Texas based railroad company and decided to kill two birds with one stone by disposing of two old trains while holding a massive publicity stunt for his company. On September 15th, 1896, William invited over 40,000 people to a reclusive stretch of train tracks to witness a staged head on collision between two high speed trains.
The crowd assembled in a makeshift town called “Crash, Texas” and on that day the crowd was so large that they became the second largest city in the state of Texas. Around 5pm two defunct locomotives traveling at approximately 90 miles per hour were sent on a collison course towards each other. 40,000 fans watched as the two trains came closer and closer until BAM!! Not only did two trains collide at full speed but their steam engines exploded like two bombs sending metal shrapnel and railroad ties flying into the air. Three onlookers were killed from the flying debris.
Nonetheless, the crowd loved it and immediately ran toward the wreckage to try and collect souvenirs. Staged train wrecks went on to become some of the most popular entertainment at the turn of the century and copy cats popped up all over the country
Driving a train into another train to entertain a crowd might just be the most American thing that ever happened, and we have the brilliance of William Crash to thank for it.
This Week in History
On this week in 1999, the “based on a true story” film The Blair Witch Project was released in theatres. The movie began one of the first viral marketing campaigns by having an accompanying website that shared facts about the “true” story of a witch living in the woods who captured three filmmakers. The shaky cam horror movie because a cult favorite and grossed $250M on just a $60K budget.
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