Archive | Mystery

The Gympie-Gympie Tree Has an Insanely Painful Sting

Have you ever known anyone stung by the Gympie-Gympie tree? It sounds horrifying — the pain can last for up to several months with reocurrences for years afterwards.

Sumitra writes at Oddity Central:

‘Gympie-Gympie’ is hardly the name you’d expect for a stinging-tree. It looks quite harmless too, but in reality, the Gympie-Gympie is one of the most venomous plants in the world. Commonly found in the rainforest areas of north-eastern Australia, the Moluccas and Indonesia, it is known to grow up to one to two meters in height.

In fact, the Gympie-Gympie sting is so dangerous that it has been known to kill dogs, horses and humans alike. If you’re lucky enough to survive, you  only feel excruciating pain that can last several months and reoccur for years. Even a dry specimen can inflict pain, almost a hundred years after being picked!

With the exception of its roots, every single part of the deadly tree – its heart shaped leaves, its stem and its pink/purple fruit – is covered with tiny stinging hairs shaped like hypodermic needles.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Texas woman claims Bigfoot just had a baby

JD Hancock (CC BY 2.0)

JD Hancock (CC BY 2.0)

The woman from Texas, Brenda, claims (via Cryptozoology News):

“We didn’t know what was going on until just a few years ago. At first, we found the house that they were living in. My husband and I didn’t know what it was, and he kind of joked at me about it… at that time we didn’t realize it was a Bigfoot. Since then, our property had a fire, it burned down, so we moved a mile and a half from where we knew they were into another house. Little did we know that we were just coming into a family of them,” she told Coast to Coast guest host Dave Schrader late Friday in an open-line phone call made to the nightly radio show.

“They throw rocks on the house, I hear them talking. People thought I was crazy, but I know what I heard.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Banker Suicides Continue

ABN AMRO4.jpg

ABN AMRO headquarters in Amsterdam.

Last year we ran stories about the unusually high number of suicides among bankers. The trend is continuing in 2015, reports ZeroHedge, with the death of a “cheerful” Dutch playboy financier making it four suicides at one bank alone, ABN Amro:

Following the deaths of 36 bankers last year, 2015 has got off to an inauspicious start with the reported suicide of Chris Van Eeghen – the 4th ABN Amro banker suicide in the last few years. As Quotenet reports, the death of Van Eghen  – the head of ABN’s corporate finance and capital markets -“startled” friends and colleagues as the 42-year-old “had a great reputation” at work, came from an “illustrious family,” and enjoyed national fame briefly as the boyfriend of a famous actress/model. As one colleague noted,

“he was always cheerful, good mood, and apparently he had everything your heart desired. He never sat in the pit, never was down, so I was extremely surprised.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Doomsday Clock: Three Minutes to Midnight and Counting

Alan Cleaver (CC BY 2.0)

Alan Cleaver (CC BY 2.0)

From the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists:

Editor’s note: Founded in 1945 by University of Chicago scientists who had helped develop the first atomic weapons in the Manhattan Project, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists created the Doomsday Clock two years later, using the imagery of apocalypse (midnight) and the contemporary idiom of nuclear explosion (countdown to zero) to convey threats to humanity and the planet. The decision to move (or to leave in place) the minute hand of the Doomsday Clock is made every year by the Bulletin‘s Science and Security Board in consultation with its Board of Sponsors, which includes 17 Nobel laureates. The Clock has become a universally recognized indicator of the world’s vulnerability to catastrophe from nuclear weapons, climate change, and new technologies emerging in other domains.

From: The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Science and Security Board

To: Leaders and citizens of the world

Re: It is only three minutes to midnight

In 2015, unchecked climate change, global nuclear weapons modernizations, and outsized nuclear weapons arsenals pose extraordinary and undeniable threats to the continued existence of humanity, and world leaders have failed to act with the speed or on the scale required to protect citizens from potential catastrophe.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

A Circus of the Senses: Are we all born with Synaesthesia?

Derek Lee (CC BY 2.0)

Derek Lee (CC BY 2.0)

Shruti Ravindran writes at Aeon:

Vladimir Nabokov once called his famed fictional creation Lolita ‘a little ghost in natural colours’. The natural colours he used to paint his ‘little ghost’ were especially vivid in part because of a neurological quirk that generated internal flashes of colour whenever letters of the alphabet appeared within his mind. In his memoir Speak Memory (1951), he described a few of them:b has the tone called burnt sienna by painters, m is a fold of pink flannel, and today I have at last perfectly matched v with “Rose Quartz” in Maerz and Paul’s Dictionary of Color’. The condition he had was synaesthesia, a neurological oddity that mixes up the senses, making those who possess it see as well as hear music, or taste the shapes they set their eyes upon.

Synaesthetes such as Nabokov see letters and numbers wreathed in fixed, seemingly idiosyncratic colours.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Why Can’t the World’s Greatest Minds Solve the Mystery of Consciousness?

Consciousness. What is it? No one knows, but many intelligent people have tried to explain it. Here’s the Guardian‘s take (note, it’s a long, #longread):

One spring morning in Tucson, Arizona, in 1994, an unknown philosopher named David Chalmers got up to give a talk on consciousness, by which he meant the feeling of being inside your head, looking out – or, to use the kind of language that might give a neuroscientist an aneurysm, of having a soul. Though he didn’t realise it at the time, the young Australian academic was about to ignite a war between philosophers and scientists, by drawing attention to a central mystery of human life – perhaps the central mystery of human life – and revealing how embarrassingly far they were from solving it.

The scholars gathered at the University of Arizona – for what would later go down as a landmark conference on the subject – knew they were doing something edgy: in many quarters, consciousness was still taboo, too weird and new agey to take seriously, and some of the scientists in the audience were risking their reputations by attending.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Linguist Claims that 90% of Languages Will Be Extinct in 100 years

The Tower of Babel by Pieter Bruegel the Elder

The Tower of Babel by Pieter Bruegel the Elder

Sarah Griffiths writes at The Daily Mail:

Sci-fi visions of the future may focus on soaring skylines and flying cars, but the world in 100 years may not only look different, but sound different too.

While there are more than 6,000 languages spoken globally at present, less than 600 are likely to endure in 2115, and they could be simplified versions of what we recognise today, one linguist has claimed.

He told MailOnline that the advent of technologically-advanced translating tools will not be enough to save the diversity of Earth’s languages either.

Writing in a piece for The Wall Street Journal, Dr John McWhorter said that in a century from now there will be ‘vastly fewer languages,’ which will be less complicated than they are today – especially in the way they are spoken.

The American studies, philosophy and music expert at Columbia University, predicts that 90 per cent of languages will die out to leave around 600.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Bigfoot Is Going Public

B5bugerbear Colored Version.jpg

Author: CryptoTom (CC)

Yes, you read that right, you can now invest in a Bigfoot IPO (Initial Public Offering), per the Wall Street Journal:

Startups are famous for setting big, hairy goals. Carmine “Tom” Biscardi wants to catch Sasquatch—and is planning an initial public offering to fund the hunt.

Mr. Biscardi and his partners hope to raise as much as $3 million by selling stock in Bigfoot Project Investments. They plan to spend the money making movies and selling DVDs, but are also budgeting $113,805 a year for expeditions to find the beast. Among the company’s goals, according to its filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission: “capture the creature known as Bigfoot.”

Investment advisers caution that this IPO may not be for everyone. For starters, it involves DVDs, a dying technology, said Kathy Boyle, president at Chapin Hill Advisors. Then there is the Sasquatch issue. She reckons only true believers would be interested in such a speculative venture.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Man Roasts to Death in Sauna

Who wants bacon? Kjetil Ree (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Who wants bacon? Kjetil Ree (CC BY-SA 2.0)

This sounds like the beginning of a horror movie.

via The New York Daily News:

A Florida family is now scarred with the image of a loved one’s body charred and without chunks of skin after he died while sitting for hours in a malfunctioning sauna Sunday.

The family of 68-year-old Dennis Antiporek said the North Miami Beach resident left a note at his home that said he was headed to the sauna at his Eden Isles Condominiums. After a few hours his daughter Lara Antiporek went to the spa to look for him.

She opened the door and said she saw a man whose skin was a dark color. She didn’t realize it was actually her light-skinned father of Polish and Russian descent until she noticed his clothing hanging up nearby, according to CBS Miami.

A Florida family is now scarred with the image of a loved one’s body charred and without chunks of skin after he died while sitting for hours in a malfunctioning sauna Sunday.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

The Mystery of the Falling Teen Birth Rate

Anti-teenage pregnancy IIINo one seems to know what’s causing a double-digit percentage decline in births by America’s teenage girls (it’s not more abortions, it’s less pregnancies), reports Vox:

At first, it looked like a mistake.

The staff of TeenWise, a Minneapolis-based non-profit, crunched the numbers for its annual report on Minnesota teenagers’ sexual health. Their calculations seemed to show something unbelievable: the state’s teen birth rate had a double-digit decline between 2009 and 2010.

That seemed impossible. Just three years earlier, in 2007, Minnesota’s teen birth rate had increased by 1.4 percent; nationally it had increased by 3 percent in 2006. How could the rate then fall so steeply and so quickly?

“We ran the data, and we figured it was a mistake,” said Judith Kahn, TeenWise’s executive director. “Then, it looked like everybody had a mistake. We talked to others around the country, and they were all seeing a very similar thing.”

TeenWise’s calculations turned out to be accurate.

Read the rest
Continue Reading