Sunday, September 30, 2012

5 Crazy-Ass Things

I Bet You Didn't Know

There are some things in life that are sometimes too ironic, incredibly sad, friggin' crazy - or simply batshit insane - to believe are true.

5. Rectal Inflation has nothing to do with the high price of assholes

Victorian-era England was a very weird place to live. 

A popular and fashionable tiepin used by a lot of posh men, for example, was a baculum. 

Don't know what a baculum is? 

Don't be ashamed, I didn't either. The baculum is the small bone found in a badger's penis...and I wouldn't expect you to know that. By God, I hope you didn't, at least.

Now, remember, this was a time in history that entertainers made a lot of money farting for audiences - playing tunes and making requested noises. 

So, the average Victorian person was very comfortable with butt-related things.

Rectal Inflation was the strange, misguided belief that a drowning victim could be revived by blowing cigarette smoke up their bum.


"What are you doing there, man?"

"Umm, I'm saving this guy's life. What does it look like?"

Don't worry, I'll revive you

Indeed, resuscitation by having tobacco smoke blown up your ass by a strange man was perfectly acceptable - but, of course, didn't work at all.

4. Lithuania has - by far - the highest suicide rate in the world

Sadly, the former Soviet state of Lithuania has the highest suicide rate on Earth, around 30 a week in a country of 3.7 million. 

Oddly, their economy is quite strong, so poverty is not a factor here.

Hungary was the former record-holder of suicides, but was left behind 10 years ago. Other Baltic states don't even come close. 

Even more unfortunate is the Lithuanian government's view on this epidemic. Their plan is to do nothing, as it is better to 'let the weak die off'.

Some believe that the transition from communism to a democracy is the root of the problem, but there have no meaningful studies to support this.

One fact is glaringly depressing, though. Most of the people choosing to commit suicide are 20-years-old or younger.

3. The inventor of the Five Pains torture device died under his own creation

Li Si was the Chancellor of Qin Dynasty in China 200 years before the birth of Christ. He was also a talented calligrapher and a famous legalist.

Li Si also liked to enforce his policies using Draconian force...and he enjoyed torturing people. Li Si invented a method of torture called the Five Pains. 

This method used a snipper device to slice parts of a tied-down victim's anatomy one piece at a time.

First the nose, then a hand, followed by a foot. Castration came next, then the victim was sliced in half. 

It was not a pleasant way to exit this world, and the Five Pains wasn't really intended to extract information. Once started, the victim was going to die.

Emperor Qin Shi Huang died and to avoid losing his job, Li Si tricked the successor into committing suicide. 

The aftermath of this event saw Qin Er Shi put on the throne, and a creepy little dude named Zhao Gao as the emperor's adviser.

Zhao Gao's first piece of advice, naturally, was to put Li Si under the very torture device he'd invented.

2. There is a trash pile the size of Texas in the Pacific

The Pacific Trash Vortex is a very real debris pile floating and trapped in what is known as the North Pacific Gyre. 

A Gyre is a strong circular current driven by wind out in the vast empty ocean. This current tends to trap anything floating into a nice, concentrated swirly of crap.

Most of the Pacific Trash Vortex is made up of plastic garbage and toxic sludge - with a good deal of it suspended below the surface of the ocean. Where does the garbage come from?

Mostly from land dumps, but a lot of it is the result of the 3,000 operating cruise ships that throw their crap overboard.

Although it is very difficult to determine the edges of the Trash Vortex, sampling estimates the garbage patch may be roughly 270,000 square miles in size.

And that's on the low side.

To put that into persective, New York has a landfill site that can easily be seen from space. 

The Fresh Kills Landfill is only 2,200 acres.

1. The British almost planted 10 chicken-powered nuclear bombs in the ground

Few ideas - save for the plan of a nuclear-powered bomber - were as insane as the Blue Peacock program. I honestly wish I was making this shit up.

The Soviets were scaring the crap out of the British government during the Cold War. Germany had been divvied up by the American and Russians after World War Two. 

The fear was that several large Russian tank divisions could overrun Europe from the German Plains. 

What's the best way to repel an advancing army? With big ass bombs, duh.

Blue Peacock was thought up by the brainiacs at the Royal Armament Research and Development Establishment in Kent back in 1954. 

Their bright idea was to put 10-megaton nuclear bombs in the ground where the Soviet tanks and transports would pass. 

They would be blasted to kingdom come, plus the land would be rendered impassable by the resulting fallout.

Those crazy Brits.

As electronic detonate circuits were still in their infancy, the atomic weapons planted like a shit-ton of deadly daisies would be on 8-day timers.

But there was a problem.

During testing of the program, it was discovered that the detonators failed to work buried in the cold, cold ground. What would be reliable enough to keep the circuits warm for days on end?

Why, a chicken, of course.


In reality, times were desperate, and nobody - quite frankly - had a better plan. 

Seriously, Mr. Science Guy? You want 
me to get in there?

The bomb itself was a monster, and reliable electronics that could withstand extreme temperatures were decades away. 

So, a chicken to keep the circuits warm with their body heat made 'sense' at the time. And in those days, the term 'sense' meant the people involved were one step away from a nice, long stay in a mental hospital.

Still, putting your faith in a nuclear device that was kept running by a chicken was batshit banana sandwich insane no matter how you cut it.

The project was discontinued in 1958, and finally declassified in 2004. Make no mistake, though, this project very nearly happened.

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