The weirdest things we learned this week: counting vampires and nudist founding fathers



What’s the weirdest thing you learned this week? Well, whatever it is, we assure you’ll have an even weirder response if you listen to PopSci’s hit podcast. The Weirdest Thing I Learned This Week strikes iTunes, Anchor, and all over else you listen to podcasts every Wednesday early morning. It’s your brand-new preferred source for the strangest science-nearby realities, figures, and Wikipedia spirals the editors of Popular Science can summon. If you like the stories in this post, we ensure you’ll like the program.

TRUTH: Benjamin Franklin liked to relax naked

By Rachel Feltman

Air bathing is precisely what it seems like: It resembles bathing, however with air. Naturally, one might likewise describe air bathing as “sitting around in the nude,” and they absolutely would not be incorrect. One well-known advocate of this practice was none aside from Benjamin Franklin. Here’s a paper on the subject composed in the early 1900s, including excerpts from the founding daddy’s pro-nude-naptime letters.

I wished to discover the real health advantages of relaxing sans clothes—there’s no great research study on the topic, by the method—however as I go over in this week’s episode of the program, I stumbled upon an unexpected twist. And yes: similar to the last unexpected twist I discovered, it includes Nazis. They’re all over! Go figure. You can find out more about Joe Knowles, whose time invested living naked and alone (apparently) in the wilderness showcases the weird rhetoric of the American eugenics motion, in this Boston Publication retrospective. I likewise discuss his hilariously laudatory book on the so-called experiment, which you can browse on your own for bits about how direct exposure to the aspects would assist American males preserve the strength of the race. And if that connection to eugenics and Nazism is still a little too subtle for you, research how the Nazi celebration co-opted the renters of the nudist motion (while disavowing anything as liberal as really running around naked) here.

To end on the lightest possible note (sorry!) here is an image I discovered of Eugen Sandow, mainly thought about the daddy of contemporary bodybuilding. Knowles, visualized above, declares his measurements were similar to the well-known professional athlete’s statistics after his stint in the woods. This will make you laugh.

TRUTH: Vampires are compulsive counters (and other strange vampire realities)

By Jessica Boddy

I just recently overtook a previous history teacher of mine, Theodora Kelly Trimble from the University of Pittsburgh, and she advised me of a rather grim figure from the 16th and 17th centuries: Elizabeth Bathory. Bathory was a Hungarian countess who was rather potentially the most fatal serial killer of perpetuity—she’s believed to have tortured and eliminated over 600 girls. Her murders were rather gory, and some saw her bathing in the blood of her victims, an act believed to maintain her youth and appeal. This led individuals to think that she was a vampire. (She was even born in Transylvania!) Bathory was attempted and charged for her criminal activities, and as penalty, the Hungarian individuals developed a wall to barricade her into her castle’s tower. There was a little slot for air and food to go through, however aside from that, she might not leave.

Researching this got me considering simply how strange the culture surrounding vampire tradition is, so I chose to have a look at my notes from Kelly’s class (which had to do with vampire misconceptions throughout history and throughout cultures). Amongst my preferred realities is a traditional vampire burial method: spray poppy seeds on an expected vampire’s tomb, and she or he will never ever pertain to hunt you. This is due to the fact that vampires are, allegedly, compulsive counters, and would invest all night counting the poppy seeds you left. I likewise reviewed porphyria, an illness that triggers sun level of sensitivity and declining gums, making its victims look extremely pale and have huge teeth. Though not extremely typical today, porphyria was believed to happen more in people who consistently wed within their households—like, for example, in little towns in the valleys of Transylvania.

TRUTH: Cutting up hot peppers can provide you a condition called jalapeño hands

By Claire Maldarelli

A while back, as I was overtaking my sis over the phone, she pointed out to me something odd: Soon after cutting up hot peppers for a dish, her thumb began burning and wouldn’t stop. After googling her signs, she discovered that, in truth, this is a not-so-uncommon condition that in the medical literature passes lots of names, consisting of however not restricted to: hot pepper hands, jalapeño hands, jalapeño thumb, and Hunan hand syndrome.

As a health editor and self-proclaimed hypochondriac, I marvelled and interested (an illness I had actually never ever become aware of!). Ends up, the perpetrator is capsaicin, a chemical substance discovered in the fruit of plants within the capsicum household, consisting of red chili peppers, jalapeños, and habaneros. This colorless and odor-free substance binds to discomfort receptors, activating the experience of extreme heat or burning. However I won’t destroy all the surprises that feature jalapeño hands. Listen to this week’s episode for more about this strange response to hot peppers, how to treat it, some insane case research studies, and obviously, some hot pepper cutting finest practices to avoid the burn.



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