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The Con Artist Who Posed as a Nurse During the 1918 Flu Pandemic

No matter what the situation, there will be someone who figures out a way to illegally profit from it. Julia Lyons was one of those, a longtime swindler who, when she was arrested, would just slip away and change her name to one of her many aliases and con someone else. During the flu epidemic of 1918, Lyons had an idea that made her shenanigans easier.

As The Washington Post reports, Chicago was in the throes of the 1918 influenza pandemic that fall, and hospitals were enlisting nurses to tend to patients at home. Lyons, correctly assuming that healthcare officials wouldn’t be vetting volunteers very thoroughly, registered as a nurse under several pseudonyms and spent the next two months caring for a string of ailing men and women across the city.

Lyons’s modus operandi was simple: After getting a prescription filled, she’d charge her patient much more than the actual cost. Once, she claimed $63 for a dose of oxygen that had actually cost $5 (which, once adjusted for inflation, is the same as charging $1077 for an $85 item today). Sometimes, “Flu Julia,” as the Chicago Tribune nicknamed her, even summoned a so-called doctor—later identified by the police as a “dope seller and narcotic supplier”—to forge the prescriptions for her. Then she’d flee the property, absconding with cash, jewelry, clothing, and any other valuables she could find lying around the house.

Read the story of "Flu Julia" and the police manhunt launched to stop her at Mental Floss.

(Unrelated image credit: Harris & Ewing)


About That Time Whitey Bulger "Won" the Mass Millions Lottery

Notorious mobster James Joseph "Whitey" Bulger Jr. had been a force in Boston's organized crime scene since the 1940s. When he claimed millions in lottery winnings in 1991, few who knew him were surprised, and many thought he deserved it.  

The lottery win had been another one of Bulger’s brilliant schemes to launder his drug, extortion, and loan-sharking money. Back in the summer of 1991, a winning Mass Millions lottery ticket had been purchased at the South Boston Liquor Mart by Michael Linskey, who was the brother of a Bulger underling named Patrick Linskey. The FBI had learned that once Whitey heard about the jackpot, he ordered the real winner to sign the ticket over, with Whitey and two associates paying $2.3 million cash for 50 percent of the winnings. Bulger himself paid Michael Linskey $700,000. Although Linskey lost money in the deal, he really had no choice. It came down to selling the ticket or risking his life.

The winnings set Bulger up with a legitimate annuity, set to last until 2010. But the feds wanted that money, and wanted Bulger even more. Read about Whitey Bulger's lottery winnings at CrimeReads. -via Damn Interesting

(Image credit: Federal Bureau of Prisons)


Dog with 12.2-inch Snout

The caption to the above picture begins: "A snoot that gets Eris into any trouble she wants, and eyes that get her out." Meet Eris, a Borzoi wolfhound. That's a large, long-limbed breed, but Lily and Savannah had no idea Eris' nose would be so far out there when they adopted her as a puppy two years ago. But Eris grew up to be a magnificent dog, and has become an Instagram star.

Read about Eris at Bored Panda, and see more pictures at Instagram.


The Last Day of School

It takes a special person to teach kindergarten, and Miss Kittenger is the kind of teacher we could all use. Her class was upended when she had to teach via Zoom to her kindergarten students at their homes, so she wanted to do something special to end the year. I would call this virtual class extra-special. -via Digg


Coyote Plays With Golf Ball

At around 11:45 PM on May 22, the Ring camera on Adam Schoenfeld’s backyard captured a Coyote running around their backyard golf course. The coyote then managed to find a golf ball and decided to play with it for a few minutes. Adam decided to upload this on YouTube because he thought the footage was cute.

“Make sure to watch out for your animals during the night!” he said on the video description.

Via ViralHog

(Video Credit: Adam Schoenfeld/ YouTube)


Is It Normal For Your Dog To Eat Grass?

It is said that some animals, like dogs, try to make themselves sick by eating grass. You might have heard or read about this before, and you might have panicked when you saw your dog eat grass. Hopefully, this isn’t really the case. According to Dr. Stephanie Austin, a veterinarian, dogs eating grass is a normal behavior.

“Grass or plant eating is a widely recognized normal behavior amongst domestic dogs,”...
According to Dr. Austin, grazing shouldn’t cause any alarm for dog parents.
“Rarely does this cause problems and rarely is it indicative of any problems,” Dr. Austin said. “Often the dog is just having fun.”

Dr. Austin, however, states that there is a time where you should be worried, and that time is when your dog ingests a plant that is potentially toxic to it.

Head over at The Dodo to know which plants you should look for.

(Image Credit: felix_w/ Pixabay)


Using Technology To Monitor Beehive Health

Technology has helped us a lot, but it’s not just us humans who can benefit from technology. We can use it to help animals, too!

One of the most important animals on the face of the earth are bees. They are the world’s most important pollinators of food crops, and one-third of the food that we eat relies mainly on these pollinators. Without them, the food chain would become imbalanced, if not entirely collapsed. And so it would be right to help these tiny creatures, for the benefit of all.

Beehero is employing smart beehives to maximize crop yields through precision pollination services, offering growers quality assurance to their bees. the California-based company, which operates the largest database of bee pollination performance and analysis, measures pollination quality and optimizes hive deployment. Beehero recently announced $4 million in seed funding, which will enable it to implement technology and services for growers that radically de-risk pollination and stimulate maximum output potential during pollination cycles.
Beehero ensures healthy and hyper-efficient pollinator bees by continuously tracking and optimizing pollination through a combination of machine learning algorithms and low-cost sensors, including smart beehives, that monitor hive health in real-time. In this way, it manages to increase crop yields by up to 30 percent on average for 70 percent of major crops. by monitoring hives, the company ensures they lead to healthy, productive colonies, which results in fewer losses and lower operational costs.

More details about this over at DesignBoom.

What are your thoughts about this one?

(Image Credit: Beehero/ DesignBoom)


Aquatic Photographer Took Pictures of Birds, This Was The Result

Steve Benjamin is an aquatic photographer, capturing the lives of underwater creatures such as sharks, dolphins, and whales. But as he had to stay indoors recently, he was not able to do what he usually did. And so, he looked for other animals that he could photograph while indoors, and he found his ideal subjects in the form of the birds that visited his backyard.

Sunbirds is a stunning series of portraits captured using the same techniques as underwater photography. Benjamin tells Colossal he established a miniature studio for his avian visitors by positioning a feeder in a small sunny area with nearby shade, plenty of blooming flowers, and twig perches. “This is a studio setting for wild birds that are free to come and go as they please,” the photographer says.
To ensure the backdrop was dark, he used shutter speeds of 1/2,000 of a second and mounted additional lights to illuminate the vibrant intricacies of the feathers, feet, and bills. “The birds did not like flash photography so I have to figure out how to get constant light onto them with my underwater video lights,” he writes. “I had to get the birds used to being close to bright lights, which took a while.”

Some of his stunning images can be viewed over at Colossal. You can visit his website, too, if you want to view the whole gallery.

(Image Credit: Steve Benjamin/ Colossal)


Ryosuke Otomo’s “One Scenes”

Frustrating and disappointing events are normal in life. We all have sighed a big sigh of disappointment when we realized that the bag of cereal will no longer fit inside its skinny box when opened, or when the tofu cover doesn’t completely peel off.

Japanese artist Ryosuke Otomo draws these infuriating events and calls these illustrations “One Scenes”, which he posts daily on his Twitter account.

They’re all based on his own personal experiences, and are usually slightly disappointing but highly relatable.
He has also made them into a collection of books, which he sells in his shop.

Spoon & Tamago compiles some of his illustrations. Check them out over at the site.

(Image Credit: Ryosuke Otomo/ Spoon & Tamago)

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