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Man Flies With Bird Wings

A few weeks ago there was a story on the Today show about a man who created a machine that let him fly by flapping giant motorized wings. Amazed, I watched him do what I had frequently daydreamed of as a child (read: adult), and wondered how long it would be until I could give it a go.

Today, I was reminded of the story, and as I looked it up to show my wife, I came across a sad update. It was all a hoax. I guess until someone invents real bird wings I could spend my time trying to make friends with someone who owns one of these things.

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How Do Anti-Radiation Pills Work

KI pill for anti-radiationIf you are not overtly opposed to all things Sci-Fi – as my wife is – I highly recommend the show Battlestar Gallactica. I’m on season two, and some of the characters have survived a nuclear holocaust for months by popping anti-radiation drugs. I wondered if I too could survive a nuclear fallout with the right meds.

Anti-radiation pills do exist, and are effective at reducing radiation poisoning, but long term exposure would not be survivable, and the pills only work to prevent the poisoning. They have no effect if you have already been exposed.

The pills are made of Potassium Iodine (KI) which fill your thyroid gland with good iodine before it’s able to absorb radioactive iodine. This protects your thyroid from radiation, which is very important, but it doesn’t protect your lungs, skin, and other internal organs.

So God forbid you find yourself walking around in a nuclear wasteland with a box of KI pills, remember that Sci-Fi has the Fi for a reason. Take your pills, but make your way underground (Brendan Fraser style) ASAP.

Can a pill save you from radiation poisoning?
Acute Radiation Poisoning 

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No Parking Signs Explained

I don’t know how I’ve never figured this out, but “No Parking” signs are a mystery to me. Of course it means there is a no parking zone, but the question is where. In front of the sign? Behind it? 20 feet on either side?

Parking on the street always makes me paranoid for this reason. I’ve heard people say it means no parking between the sign and the next corner, but what if there is a sign 100 yards back and I didn’t notice it? There’s rarely a Yes Parking sign to let me know it’s safe again.

Maybe the signs or laws in your town are more clear, but after failing to find a definitive answer on Google, I resorted to sifting through the Georgia Code [O.C.G.A. § 40-6-203]. It specifies how far you can park from a crosswalk, fire hydrant, stop sign, railroad crossing, driveway, and fire station. But when it gets to No Parking signs it just says not to park “at any place where official signs prohibit.” Thanks for the clarity.

The bad news is, I’m still not sure which side of the sign, and how far from the sign I can park. The good news is, since GA law doesn’t spell it out, I may be able to get out of a parking ticket. If you know how No Parking signs are supposed to work, please tell me in the comments.

On a similar note, I always thought it was illegal to park directly in front of a fire hydrant. Wrong. You can’t park within 15 feet of one. I had no idea.

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What Does The Gallbladder Do?

representation of gallstones

A less offensive representation of gallstones

One of my coworkers is in the process of doing a gallbladder cleanse, and for some reason that is public knowledge in our office. She says it’s something all her friends are doing, and that everyone has gallstones they need to relinquish. Gross right? Just wait for the pictures. Take some deep breathes and then take a peek at this page.

The gallbladder’s job is to squirt bile into the intestines and dissolve all the fatty crap you eat, but over time the bile gets crystallized in there and turns into a rock garden, which starts clogging things up. So the goal of the cleanse is to get that gravel out. What you do with it afterwards is up to you. I might recommend pouring them in a fish tank, or a vase with flowers.

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What If I Buy Every Lotto Combination

Mega Millions combinations.jpgI keep seeing a billboard on my way to work that advertises the Mega Millions jackpot, so I started daydreaming of ways to better my chances of winning. Buying every ticket was one of those ideas.

The simple answer is that if you bought every combination, you’d win. And I thought this was a great idea until I found out just how astronomical the number of combinations is. There are 175,711,536 of them. This means it would cost $175,711,536.00 to buy every ticket… and because of taxes (usually 36%), the cash payout would have to be 275M 255.1M (see update below) to turn a profit.

On top of that, there is the impossibility of buying all those tickets. Even if you had 500 friends and family helping you, they’d each need to fill out 351 thousand cards, and they’d only have three days to do it.

Needless to say, if you find yourself with hundreds of millions of dollars, you probably shouldn’t get your investment ideas from me. But if you’re foolish enough to try this, I’ll gladly be one of your 500 friends.

A friend reminded me that I hadn’t included the non-jackpot winnings into the prize calculations. In addition to the jackpot, you would also receive these prizes totaling an additional $30,483,670 before taxes:
45 $250,000 prizes
255 $10,000 prizes
14,225 $150 prizes
208,250 $10 prizes
573,750 $7 prizes
1,249,500 $3 prizes
2,349,085 $2 prizes

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Does Gum Really Take 7 Years To Digest?

I sometimes pop some gum before I go for my morning run.  It doesn’t make MUCH sense, but for some reason, I like to banish my morning breath before I strap on my sneaks and work up a sweat.  After my run, as many people do, I take a shower (this story is about to come together, I swear!).

This past Thursday, I somehow swallowed my gum while I was shampooing my hair.  I threw my head forward, eyes wide, and made a sound deep in my throat like “GRAAAAAAAAAAAAGH!”  Try as I might, I couldn’t coax the wintergreen wad out of my esophagus, and so I was forced to face the terrifying reality: that little shit was going to be in my system for 7 YEARS!

Or wait, was that a…?  Wasn’t that a myth?  Maybe not… It’s ridiculous!  7 years! Ha!  Right?  There’s no way… Right?

To Google!

The practical answer is: Yeah, load of garbage.

The technical answer is: Well, gum IS made up mostly of stuff that flat out isn’t digestible.  Which sounds scary, but actually isn’t.  As Snopes.Com’s Mrs. Mikkelson so eloquently puts it:

“Gum is eliminated as human waste in the same way, and at the same rate, as any other swallowed matter.  Granted, it comes out the far end relatively unchanged by the trip, but it does come out on schedule.”  (

(see also: corn kernels)

Speaking of scary, my search also turned up this great question:

“Does gum really take 7 years to SWALLOW?!?” (caps mine)

Just think about it.  That would be hell, right?  Should be a Harry Potter curse.  Septus Tridentus!

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Why Do Peppermints Get Holes

This brand of peppermints had smaller holes than most.

I’ve always wondered why peppermints get all holey when you suck on them. No other candy does that. “Maybe there’s an ingredient that dissolves faster than the rest,” I predicted. Nope, the answer is more obvious / boring than that. Air Pockets.

Someone in this forum decided to dissect one to see if he could see evidence of air bubbles. I did the same, and found that they aren’t so much bubbles, but more like long tubes of air that seem to be the result of stretching the candy before it’s sliced.

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What Causes Crazy Dreams Every Night?

I have always been a vivid dreamer. But lately it’s getting out of hand. This past week I’ve woken up each morning feeling like I wrote six screenplays in my sleep the night before. Tuesday night I travelled back and forth in time through a magical elevator, and Thursday I stressed out trying to find the classroom for an AP Calculus final in a class that I hadn’t attended all semester.

After eight solid hours of adventure sleep, I’m exhausted. Naturally I turned to Google to find out what was causing my sleep-self to be so active, and what I could do to stifle my subconscious so I don’t wake up feeling like I just ran a mental marathon.

Turns out, I may actually be getting better sleep than someone who isn’t dreaming a lot, since intense dreams usually happen during REM sleep (Rapid Eye Movement = kinda creepy), in which time you’re deeply KO’d. The REM cycle happens a few times a night and each cycle lasts about 90 minutes. That’s like five plus hours of writing time per night!

This very informative article breaks down dreams into eight helpful genres (see below), and offers dream causes ranging from: repressed emotions needing to seep out, to our mind alleviating anxiety by helping us connect subconscious dots. Pretty amazing stuff.

Any of these sound familiar?

  • Processing
  • Venting (Nightmares)
  • Integration
  • Breakdown/breakthrough
  • Recurring (High school exams/locker combos for me on this one…)
  • Precognitive
  • Prophetic (I dreamt my best friend was preggo on the day she found out. So weird.)
  • Wish fulfillment

Conclusion: I guess I should be more grateful of our amazing minds, and for my lucid dreams…Start keeping a dream diary, analyze them, and maybe even use them for creative inspiration? The human brain, you guys!

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How to use “Selective Tweets”

I recently joined the world of Twitter, because I want to be more hip. I also wanted to learn how to post my tweets to Facebook, but only some of them, so I googled “How to update your status using selective tweets.”

This was pretty helpful:

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