He Saved Himself from Death in the Arctic- with His Own Poop

Danish explorer Peter Freuchen led a life full of adventure and diverse accomplishments. As a young man, he became enamored with the Arctic and built the Thule Trading Station in Greenland, among other adventures. He traveled to South Africa and Siberia. He was editor-in-chief of a Danish magazine. He ran a movie studio. He worked with the Danish resistance in World War II, was arrested by the Nazis, and escaped from them. He was friends with European royalty. And he won the top prize on the American TV game show The $64,000 Question.  

But there was one incident Freuchen wrote about that people remember more than any other, although Freuchen himself treated the incident as just another in a long line of adventures. In 1912, he left a dogsled expedition in Greenland to pick up supplies and got lost. As night fell, he dug a trench to sleep in and pulled his sled over the top as a roof. Snow fell and drifted heavily over his shelter, and Freuchen woke up buried under ice. He worked for hours, possibly days, to free himself. Freuchen finally hit upon the right tool when he fashioned an ice chisel out of his own excrement. He lost his beard, some skin, and several toes from his ordeal, but he managed to live to write about it and go on many other adventures. Read the story of how all that was accomplished at Mel magazine. -via Digg


24 Things You Should Know About UFOs

People have seen strange, unexplained things in the sky for millennia, but the term UFO is relatively, new, having been snagged from the US Air Force in the 1950s. We know it stands for Unidentified Flying Object, but other terms are used, like UAP, ETC, ETB, foo fighters, and flying saucers. By the way, the original use of the term "flying saucer" was not about the shape of the object, but nevertheless became the go-to shape for alien spacecraft in B-movies. A list of fascinating facts about UFOs goes through the history of UFO sightings, which somehow became a lot more numerous after airplanes were invented. Go figure. Could it possibly be that when the military tells us that something is "unexplained," they might not mean "we don't know," but instead it's more like "none of your business." You can read the list at Mental Floss, or see it in video form at the same link.


Flying with the Birds

Tom Scott spends a large part of his time researching esoteric but fascinating niche subjects, but occasionally he gets to do something really fun that makes up for all of that work. In this video, he's in France, flying around in a microlight plane along with a flock of geese. Along the way, we learn the story of pilot Christian Moullec, who escorts endangered migratory birds in order to introduce them to better destinations for their health and safety -and for the earth's biological diversity. Moullec finances his avian conservation work by taking tourists on flights booked through his website. Add that to your bucket list! The story of Moullec's work with migratory birds is told on the "about" page.

This video contains subtitles because it's in French and English, but the English audio is often incomprehensible due to Tom flying around while he speaks. Apparently he couldn't do a take two to correct that, or else it couldn't be corrected.


Dumplings Around the World

Michal Stein posted a picture of a huge collection of dumplings on Twitter. Enough to make your mouth water! According to Wikipedia, the definition of a dumpling is:

...a broad class of dishes that consist of pieces of dough (made from a variety of starch sources), often wrapped around a filling. The dough can be based on bread, flour, buckwheat or potatoes, and may be filled with meat, fish, tofu, cheese, vegetables, fruits or sweets. Dumplings may be prepared using a variety of methods, including baking, boiling, frying, simmering or steaming and are found in many world cuisines.

While there are a lot of dumplings in this picture, people came in to add their favorite dumplings from all over the world. This made for a very long Twitter thread where you might find new dumplings to try. These include pangsit goreng, knish, knedlíky, khinkali, knedle, knödel, marillenknödel, semmelknödel, samosa, keke pu'a, manti, mantu, mandu, vetkoek, momo, pierogi, ravioli, ukdiche modak, coxinhas, pelmeni, empanadas, thüringer klöße, vareniki, and Jamaican fried dumplings.

The Twitter thread has quite a few arguments over whether samosas are dumplings. Why not? Are egg rolls dumplings, or is there a limit to how many dishes from a cultural cuisine can be called dumplings? But more people objected to the lettuce dish than to anything else.

Thanks to the word "often" in the definition, the American dish called chicken and dumplings still fits the definition, even though the dough is added to chicken stew instead of being wrapped around the meat. Fried pies and Hot Pockets would also fit the definition. Someone suggested that the crimped sandwiches called Uncrustables are dumplings. No, not unless you cook them. Has anyone ever deep-fried an Uncrustable? -via Everlasting Blort


Why English Spelling Makes No Sense



English is such a difficult language that we have contests and award prizes to those who can spell words right. They don't do that in languages where spelling follows rules. English is so weird that you might read a certain word for years and years, then find out it isn't pronounced like you thought it was in your head. How did English get this way? As the language evolved, we imported words from other languages, and either changed them to conform with English rules, or we changed the rules to accommodate the new words.  And there were movements, like typesetters who wanted to simplify things, that changed some words but not others. The Great Vowel Shift meant that ducks stopped saying "queck" and started saying "quack." Yeah, it's a mess. Dr. Erica Brozovsky tells us a bit of the history that got English where it is now. And yes, it is still changing. (via Geeks Are Sexy)


A Daily Dose of Weird Medieval Art

I've seen a lot of medieval marginalia, but if it weren't for the Twitter account weird medieval guys, I would never know that medieval ducks said "queck," and I wouldn't know that scribes put cartoon balloons (sans balloons) on their doodles. They dive deep to find the absurdities of medieval literature, and it's more than just the illustrations.

I don't see anything wrong with Norman, but if someone named their dog Filthe, they might be guilty of cruelty to animals. Now, consider this illustration of bees and their beehive. Yeah, that's what they are supposed to be, although the insects look more like birds with no bills. Surely if a medieval scribe knew what a beehive looked like, they had actually seen a bee!

And these guys are not above making the obvious joke.

There's also the cats who wear monks robes, which could have inspired the looks of Yoda and Grogu, the foot fetishist, and the guy who's after the thief who stole his pants. You'll definitely want to follow weird medieval guys to get such gems delivered to your Twitter feed. They are also on Instagram. -via Fark


Take a Time-Lapse Tour Around the World



Photographer Kien Lam quit his job and began to tackle his bucket list ten years ago. He went on a trip around the world, photographing its wonders and its people. It took Lam a year of travel and 6237 photographs to create this stunning video titled Time is Nothing which is both relaxing and awe-inspiring. You can read up on Lam's specific adventures and what he's done since then at his site Where and Wander. Be warned that reading it might cause you to be bitten by the travel bug. -via Nag on the Lake


Dejima: Japan's Wild West Outpost

During the Edo period, Japan prohibited foreigners from entering the country, and restricted Japanese citizens from leaving. But there was one tiny exception, a two-acre manmade island in Nagasaki Bay that was connected to Nagasaki by a bridge leading to a military post. This was Dejima, the only place that traders from around the world could do business with Japan between 1636 and 1854. First the Spanish and the Portuguese came, but they were expelled for attempting to spread Christianity. The Dutch East Indies Company then took over. They had to surrender their sails when arriving, and had to ask for them back in order to leave. No Westerners were allowed across the bridge, and the only Japanese to enter Dejima were designated traders, interpreters, sex workers, and various cooks, gardeners, and clerks. There was only room for between 10-20 men to stay on the island at a time. Meanwhile, shiploads of lumber, silk, livestock, and other goods changed hands between countries that weren't allowed to interact otherwise. Narratively tells the story of Dejima with some notable episodes in its history, involving ambition, homesickness, love, prison, science, suicide, war, and gradually-relaxing restrictions in international relations. -via Smithsonian

(Image credit: The British Museum)


Why Campfire Smoke Blows Into Your Face



You take your seat around a campfire, and the smoke from it makes its way toward your face. You move around to the other side, and the smoke follows you. Someone will say, "Smoke follows beauty!" just to make you feel better. When this happens at fire after fire, you start to say he magic phrase first yourself, although you have to act like it's a joke. But is the smoke really following you around, or is it your imagination? Hank Green explains the scientific forces at work in great detail, but manages to make it interesting anyway. Now what I really want to know is why smoke follows me around, but doesn't follow the next person. Oh well, at least it discourages mosquitos. And suddenly I have a new summer project- adding an air flow to the fire pit in my backyard. The last minute of this video is an ad. -via Laughing Squid 


How Did Marshmallows Get Into Our Cereal?

When we think about marshmallows in cereal, what comes to mind is Lucky Charms. But that is just one cereal that comes with marshmallows. The beginning of the idea goes back to 1938, when celebrity chef Malitta Jensen and Kellogg’s employee Mildred Day were brainstorming to come up with a new treat for the Camp Fire Girls. Inspired by popcorn balls, they mixed Rice Krispies with butter and melted marshmallows to create Rice Krispies Marshmallow Squares, which became a huge hit, especially when Kellogg’s put the recipe right on the cereal box.

But it wasn't until 1963 that General Mills took the lead by actually putting marshmallows into cereal boxes. The story involves Cheerios and Circus Peanuts and a process for dehydrating marshmallows so that they reconstitute in milk. Then we got Lucky Charms, Count Chocula, Frankenberry, and other cereals. Kellogg's followed with Marshmallow Krispies and other cereals. And both companies have been fighting off accusations of feeding children nothing but sugar for breakfast, while raking in tons of money from people buying marshmallow-sweetened cereals ever since. Read how all that unfolded at Mel magazine.  -via Digg


Ohio's Most Notorious Body Snatcher

We've read about the resurrectionists and body snatchers of Britain, who dug up corpses from graveyards to sell to medical schools for anatomy class. This went on in the United States as well, and Ohio's most notable body snatcher was a man named William Cunningham, also known as "Old Cunny." He spent decades in the 19th century digging up the recently deceased from Ohio graveyards to sell for $15-25 each. He was a bully, and kept himself out of jail many times by threatening to kill anyone who crossed him and sell their corpses to be dissected.

More than once Old Cunny hid a corpse by sitting it up in the wagon seat beside him with a hat, sort of like Weekend at Bernies. Once he left a body sitting in his wagon as he and his accomplice Bill went into a saloon, when another man discovered it. The man threw the body out, put on its coat and hat, and took the corpse's place, just to see what would happen. Read the rest of that story, plus what happened when Old Cunny finally died and got a taste of his own medicine at DiggingUp1800. -via Strange Company


CookingFlavr is About Everything, Even Cooking

Neatorama readers are usually pretty good about avoiding the worst clickbait, but even discriminating readers will occasionally fall into a sketchy site that you read nevertheless because you can't believe how bad the grammar or logic is. Up until a few years ago, those spam sites were manned by non-writers (often non-English speakers) who were willing to be paid by click. Now they are more likely to be written by artificial intelligence. Janelle Shane discovered a blog that is entirely written by AI (and if anyone recognizes AI, it would be Shane). CookingFlavr could be a template for AI spam blogs, except that it doesn't appear to have any advertising. It may be an experiment of some sorts, or someone just exploring AI's limits. With a name like CookingFlavr, you would expect the posts to be about cooking. A few of them may be, but the vast majority of the hundreds of posts generated in just the last two days are about anything and everything.

Will I Die If I Get Rabies?

There is no one answer to this question – everyone is different and there is no guarantee that you will die if you get rabies. However, if you think you may have the virus, you should see a doctor as soon as possible. There is no cure for rabies, but there are treatments that can help you delay or stop the spread of the virus.

Is Jus A Scrabble Word?

There is no one true definition of “jus a scrabble word.” However, most experts believe that scrabble is a word that is made up of the letters jus and a scrabble board. This means that it is a word that is made up of words that are together, but not actually spelled out.

What Time Of Year Do Orioles Migrate?

The Orioles migrate from spring training to the Majors in late October.

I would recommend that you peruse CookingFlavr for a laugh, but under no circumstance are you to follow its advice about anything.   -via Metafilter

(Image credit: Alan D. Wilson)


11 Actors Who Adopted Their Animal Co-Stars

There used to be a saying among actors, "never work with children or animals." I suppose they meant the children or animals will upstage the actor, but so what? Being upstaged is not the end of the world, in fact it can be the beginning of a beautiful relationship. Despite warnings about falling in love with your co-workers, there have been plenty of actors who worked beside an animal in a film and then took it home with them. After all, you can get quite close to someone over a months-long film shoot. This happens with dogs, cat, and horses, but is not limited to them. Audrey Hepburn adopted a fawn that appeared in her 1959 film Green Mansions. The deer named Pippin became more famous for Hepburn's affections than for the movie. Read about eleven actors who took home the animals they bonded with on set at Mental Floss.


Why Animals Rain from the Sky



You've heard people say it's raining cats and dogs, but sometimes real creatures rain down from the sky. It doesn't happen often, but when it does, people are frightened and/or suspicious. Fish are the most common. How did they get up there in the air? What happens when they fall? Falling birds are bizarre, but there's no confusion as to how they got up there. If you're in the right place, there's a chance an iguana might fall on you. And watch out for the flying ants and spiders! SciShow tell us the stories of animal rain and what we've figured out about it. -via Laughing Squid


Opening This Carousel Took 20 Years and an Entire Community



Albany, Oregon, was suffering the way many small towns did at the end of the 20th century. Downtown shops were closing, losing business to shopping centers and interstate exits. There have been many types of revitalization projects across the country, some more successful than others. Albany's is a carousel that is both a historical restoration and a local art project. It all began when Wendy Kirbey took a vacation and rode a carousel in Missoula, Montana, in 2002. Why not have one in Albany? She brought her idea to the townspeople, secured a grant, and recruited some local experts.   

A local attorney kept the financing afloat until the grant came in. Woodcarver Jack Giles took responsibility for making the horses. He taught volunteers to carve wood into carousel animals of all kinds. Kirbey got a donation of a 1909 carousel mechanism, and retired engineer Carl Baker supervised volunteers who refurbished every wooden gear cog. As the project grew, the carousel had to be moved five times, but finally has a permanent home downtown. Twenty years later, the carousel is open and busy. So many community members had a hand in building the carousel that they can't help but be proud of their work, as well as the new hobbies they found and the friendships they forged. Read the story of how they all came together around a carousel at Atlas Obscura.






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