Exuperist's Blog Posts

Mysterious Tire Slasher in Italian Village Revealed

The town of Vastogirardi only has 600 residents. If anyone from outside had done something suspicious, then it would have been obvious to the people in town. So, when a series of slashed tires occurred, the residents knew that it must have been someone within the village.

It all started in July, when a few parked cars had their tires slashed. Since it happened more than once, people thought somebody must have run afoul with the mafia or neighbors were having a nasty spat with one another.

When another tire-slashing incident happened in late October, the police decided to intervene. They installed surveillance cameras to catch the culprit in the act. Just last week, the footage revealed who was slashing people's tires. It was a dog named Billy.

According to the vets, this may be a sign that Billy has a severe case of gingivitis, and biting at the tires relieved him from the pain it caused. If it is proven that Billy had done all the tire-slashing since July, his owner will have to compensate the car owners who have been inconvenienced by Billy's behavior. -via Boing Boing

(Image credit: Sebastian Huxley/Unsplash)

Why This Ancient Graveyard Has No Corpses

Archaeologists have been wondering for three decades why a gravesite in northern Finland bears all the signs that point to it being a graveyard yet no corpses could be found. The Tainiaro site was first discovered in 1959, but it wasn't until 1984 when the first archaeologists visited it for research.

When they went to study the area, they found thousands of artifacts and as many as 127 pits that seemed to have been dug out for burial. However, having found no traces of bones or other human remains, they simply concluded that the holes were there as part of a ritual of some sort.

Now, a new team of archaeologists led by Aki Hakonen have found the reason why no human remains were left in the graves. They conducted a soil test which showed that the soil was acidic to the point that even human bones would dissolve over time. This would also explain why many artifacts remained, since these were more difficult to break down.

To confirm their hypothesis, the team suggested conducting more tests to see if there's any residue of human DNA. If DNA is found, then the Tainiaro would be one of the largest burial sites in Northern Europe.

(Image credit: Tuija Laurén; Finnish Heritage Agency; Antiquity Publications Ltd)

The Origins of the 'Woman Yelling at Cat' Meme

When it comes to memes, there are some known for their versatility and adaptability to various ironic situations or comedic contrasts. One meme that has become ubiquitous is the "woman yelling at a cat" meme, because of the juxtaposition between the two emotions being projected. But what was the origin of this meme?

The first panel can be traced back to Taylor Armstrong in a 2011 episode of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. The second panel is from Smudge the white cat, who had already been circulating online before he was mashed together with Armstrong's raw emotional outburst.

It was the user @MISSINGEGIRL, in 2019, who had thought of combining these two to make the meme as we know it today. The meme has also inspired different versions to pop up including this Ukiyo-e style illustration by Reddit user griffinisland, Alexander Petela's Greek pottery style illustration, EnvySkort's anime version, as well as a medieval version of the meme.

(Image credit: Know Your Meme)

Are Ice Baths and Cold Showers Good for You?

Many people have reported getting health benefits from taking a plunge in ice-cold water, saying that it can help boost one's immune system, relax the muscles, and helps with cardiovascular and metabolic diseases.

I have experienced taking cold showers, though not of my own volition. Although I don't have any scientific proof of its benefits, I can say that it somehow helped me develop some kind of resistance to frigid temperatures. Then again, I spent many winters without proper heating, so that may have contributed to my increased tolerance to the cold.

Still, when researchers looked into the studies that claim health benefits from cold water plunges, what they found was that the most solid research involved athletes who were taking ice baths. Those studies suggest that ice baths could help with muscle repair by reducing the recovery time after a workout.

If you are thinking of trying out cold plunges or ice baths, then it would be best to consult a health professional first as it comes with risks. Apart from hypothermia and frostbite, the heart might experience cold shock response which can trigger arrhythmias or even heart attacks.

(Image credit: Mika Ruusunen/Unsplash)

"The Wexford Carol", Ireland's Oldest Christmas Carol

We often categorize Christmas carols into things that are only for children, along with many traditions that go with the holiday season. Carols are probably only things we will hear from church choirs or from choral groups who are out caroling, and we generally don't pay much attention to them, probably because they've become too familiar or repetitive.

America Magazine has a podcast titled "Hark! The stories behind our favorite Christmas carols" where they search for the origins of some well-known, timeless, and beloved Christmas carols. Apparently, some carols have a storied past.

For example, "Carol of the Bells" was originally a Ukrainian folk song with political ramifications, which caused the martyrdom of its author and composer. "Silent Night" had been sung during the two world wars as a sort of truce to allow soldiers a momentary respite. It was even sung to former president George H.W. Bush right before he died.

Ireland too has its own Christmas carol, and it's one that has been passed down orally for centuries. When it originated is up for debate, but the important thing is that the organist and choir director of St. Aidan's Cathedral, W. H. Grattan Flood, had written it down in 1928 for the next generations to remember it.

The song is called "The Wexford Carol", although to be more specific, it originated from Enniscorthy, a town in County Wexford, Ireland. Though named after the county where they live, it seems that none of the residents know much about it. The video above is a cover done by Alison Krauss and Yo-Yo Ma in English, but it is also beautifully sung in Irish. -via Kottke

(Video credit: YoYoMaVEVO)

This is the Carúl Loch Garman.

(Video credit: Vicki Sands)

5 Ways to Get Rid of Earworms

"I just can't get you out of my head" goes that very familiar Kylie Minogue song and it stays in your head rent-free on repeat. We've all experienced earworms. They're sometimes called brainworms or stuck song syndrome. Sometimes they can be annoying if you don't like the song, and other times, it's just annoying when you hear the song over and over in your head, but you don't even remember where you heard it, or what song it is.

What is it about these earworms and why do we get them? According to music psychologists, the auditory cortex, the part of our brain that perceives tone and auditory imagery, is responsible for why we experience earworms. When we hear a catchy song, the brain latches onto it, and even when we aren't actively hearing the song, it remains inside our heads and replays.

There have been some claims saying that people with ADHD or OCD experience earworms more often, but that's a misconception. It's completely normal for people to have earworms as often as once a week. Studies have shown that people with high openness to experience tend to have more earworms than usual.

Other studies that looked into people with obsessive-compulsive traits found that the types of earworms they experience are more disturbing and may be on the same category as musical obsessions and musical hallucinations, which are completely different from the typical earworms.

So, how do we get rid of the songs stuck in our head? Some suggest to listen to the whole song from start to finish. This allows our brain to complete the loop and find closure. Of course, not everybody finds this method effective. It might even worsen the situation.

Other methods include shifting your brain's attention toward something else, or replacing the song with another song. And if those still don't work, you can try chewing gum. And if these still don't work, we'll just have to accept that it'll be there for a while. It'll go away eventually.

(Image credit: Mark Rohan/Unsplash)

Brenda Lee's 'Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree' Tops Billboard 100 for the First Time in Forever

There are a few hits that we hear every year whenever this season rolls around the corner, and Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas is You" has been the anthem, so to speak, of the Christmas season. However, this time around, in its 65-year existence, Brenda Lee's "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" has topped the Billboard Hot 100 for the first time since its release.

What brought this surge of Brenda Lee's song on the list? Apparently, it's the making of the official music video of the song, released a month ago. Another contributing factor to the song's performance was how Billboard changed the way it calculated its charts. From 2018, they have increased the weight of streams, which meant old favorites like this one have garnered a lot more attention.

With this new formula, songs like Carey's "All I Want for Christmas is You" has been at the top of the chart every Christmas season since 2019, except this year. It's currently at the second spot with some other holiday songs in the top five joining them like Bobby Helms' "Jingle Bell Rock" and Wham!'s "Last Christmas".

(Video credit: Brenda Lee VEVO/Youtube)

Hilarious Finnish Words and Expressions

Every language has its own idioms, expressions, and proverbs that sound weird when you translate them directly into English. And Finnish has some hilarious ones, which Suomi Dictionary has posted on Instagram. Sad and Useless grabbed some of the spiciest ones.

I'm pretty sure we have all had a brain fart once in a while, when we're spaced out and we just spew out incoherent things out of our mouth. Some might think it annoying but there are times when it can be charmingly goofy, especially when your friend does it while they're drunk.

Vitutus seems like a very cool word. And what it expresses is quite useful indeed for certain situations, like when you're playing a video game and the RNG screws you over. I have definitely felt vitutus several times in the past week.

This one does make you wonder about Lohja, and I looked it up. Apparently, it's a wonderful place which features a lot of manors and farms, museums and art galleries, as well as dog-friendly destinations. It's also known as Lake City, has been a trading center since the 14th century, has long-standing traditions in horticulture, and its locals have been known as some of the pioneers of Finnish mining and construction. So, I don't know what Lohja did to deserve this expression.

I guess every culture has its own way of saying what they think about people's appearances, although this one seems a bit in-your-face, no pun intended.

Finally, an expression that sounds like a tongue twister in Finnish. I'm not sure how to pronounce it but that's a lot of ee's and tee's there. Plus, I like how it sounds like German humor.

(Images credit: Suomi Dictionary, Sad and Useless; Joakim Honkasalo/Unsplash)

28 Things We Misunderstood As Children

At some point, we were all gullible children. When I was about 4 years old, I was led to believe that my cousin's doll was like the possessed one from the movies (Chucky), and I couldn't use the bathroom for a time because they put it in front of the bathroom door. Cracked lists 28 things that their members misunderstood when they were children. Here are some of my favorites from that list.

This first one is fairly harmless. If someone older tells you something, we as children are susceptible to believe them (see anecdote above). In this person's case, I would say no harm, no foul. One might even think that butterflies and moths are one and the same thing, just by how similar they appear. Like a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde kind of thing.

This person shared they used to do one of Goku's moves from Dragon Ball Z. I think that most of us at some point tried to imitate the things that we see on movies or television and thought were cool. The comment was hilarious though, because doing that in the open does look like children performing a ritual, if you can imagine it.

I think everyone can relate to this one about chewing gum. They tell you it will either be left undigested and stay inside forever, or in the case of bubble gum, that it will blow up in your stomach. Still, I think it's quite unhealthy to swallow chewing gum, so we shouldn't do it.

And this one just cracked me up. They do oddly look alike!

(Images credit: Cracked; Artem Kniaz/Unsplash)

This Text-Based Adventure Game is Adorable

It was created by 80s Nostalgia on Threads, which is an Instagram app that somewhat functions like the old Twitter or Tumblr. The game is called "Choose Your Own Threadsventure" and presents to the player an image for a scenario and options to choose from. From there, the player clicks on the link based on the option they chose, and another scenario pops up.

This goes on until the player is able to "solve" the game and get to the finish line. It's a fairly quick and simple game, but there's hope for a more elaborate one as the creator requested for suggestions from other users about the next game to design. Many people seem to have enjoyed the text-based adventure game as the poll resulted in a win for "another text game" to be made.

It has been three weeks since the first game was released and the creator has only started to gather suggestions a day ago, so it might be a while before the next game comes out. But this might actually turn into a really nice project. On another note, 80s Nostalgia is actually a website from the 80s that's still live to this day. -via Laughing Squid

(Image credit: 80s Nostalgia/Threads)

Top Human-Killing Animals Every Year Ranked

It's not really a competition, more like a caveat about the creatures that pose a threat to humans still. We're not including bacteria or viruses here, but there are several on this list that carry those organisms that cause deadly diseases. Stats Panda has conveniently provided us with an infographic summarizing the data from World Atlas.

Mosquitoes are still the deadliest creatures to human beings, with an average of 1 million human deaths caused each year. Of course, with the many diseases that different types of mosquitoes bring, it's no wonder why. Dengue fever is perhaps the most common one where I live, but mosquitoes also bring malaria, which is estimated to cause at least 500,000 deaths each year. There's also Zika, chikungunya, and lymphatic filariasis.

The next on the list, unsurprisingly, are humans. We won't get much into this as we know how humans can be. Then, there are snakes with 50,000 deaths caused per year. Despite the presence of antivenom, snake bits have still caused many fatalities especially in rural areas, whose remote locations prevent them from gaining access to medical facilities.

Number four is quite a surprising one: dogs. Rabies are the main cause. Fifth is a tie between two nasty bugs - the tsetse flies and assassin bugs - and a snail.

Usually, flies don't bite. But the tsetse, which means "fly" in Tswana, a Bantu language of southern Africa, actually bites and causes African trypanosomiasis, or the sleeping sickness disease. And, the assassin bug, which just from the name should send tingles down our spines, causes the Chagas disease or also called American trypanosomiasis. Freshwater snails, on the other hand, carry parasites that cause schistosomiasis.

At the bottom of the list are sharks which kill an average of 10 people per year. -via Digg

(Image credit: Stats Panda/Instagram, Substack)

Robots Help Farmers Get Rid of Weeds in Their Fields

Since the advent of herbicides in the 1940s, many farmers have opted to use chemicals to ward pests off of their crops. Nowadays, we know the harmful effects of herbicides to our health. But, nobody wants to go back to the labor-intensive and grueling method of hand-weeding because it's too tedious and time-consuming, not to mention, agonizing for farmers to do. There's a new alternative which solves these problems: robots.

Manufacturers from Denmark and the United States have shipped several of their farming droids to fields in Australia to help them removing the weeds around their crops. They are designed to cut off the weeds using knives and wires, with the help of GPS and cameras to direct them where to go.

Qualipac, a farming enterprise with several locations in Queensland, Australia, has recently imported the machines because they wanted to cut down on herbicide use, as well as reducing their spending on weed control. Troy Qualischefski, the owner and director of Qualipac, says these robots will help them do the trick.

Currently, they are testing out two robots: the FarmDroid FD20 from Denmark and the Stout Smart Cultivator from the US. The difference between the two is that the Danish robot is a self-driving robot that weeds and seeds using GPS, while the American one is attached to a tractor and does the weeding through cameras and AI.

You might be thinking, how do these robots distinguish between weeds and crops? Sal Espinoza of Stout answers that by saying that these machines were trained to understand the different varieties of crops they will see on the field. So, even if you were to put a bowl of salad in front of it, it would recognize that as lettuce.

Of course, at the moment, these farmbots will not completely eliminate herbicide use. But, in time, companies like Stout and Hort Innovation hope that these new technologies will reduce the industry's reliance on chemicals to almost zero. -via MetaFilter

(Image credit: Swarm Farm Robotics)

When Did We Stop 'Stopping at Hotels' and Start 'Staying'?

That was the question posed by an anonymous reader to the folks at Grammarphobia. This person noticed how, in old movies (pre-1950s), people used to say that they would be stopping at a hotel, but these days, we would usually say that we will be staying at a hotel. So, he sent in the question.

Apparently, the use of "stopping" has not yet been phased out as the team at Grammarphobia found someone who had actually used the expression quite recently. A British tourist had posted something to that effect on TripAdvisor. It's not grammatically incorrect, just unusual perhaps these days.

According to their research, the usage of both expressions were fairly equal until the 1940s, when "staying" saw more widespread usage. Why that was the case was perhaps out of the scope of the question, but one can only surmise that "stopping" just doesn't have the same feel as "staying" does.

However, there was an article in The New York Times which used "stopping" to mean "staying" but as a pun. It read, "Stopping at the Savoy", which was a reference to Edgar Sampson's "Stompin' at the Savoy". Language is quite fluid, and it changes along with those who use it. Maybe the expression just fell out of use. -via Strange Co

(Image credit: Ishan/Unsplash)

The Myths and Truths Behind Good Sleep

I'm sure everybody has at least watched a video or read an article about tips on getting good sleep, or advice on how to cure insomnia. I read articles which talked about tricks that supposedly helped anyone to sleep anytime anywhere. It's something that the military used, according to those articles. But what exactly does science say about good sleep and how to get it? Well, theoretical physicist Sabine Hossenfelder gives us a rundown in the video above.

There are a few myths that we need to bust about getting good sleep or being able to fall asleep. The fact is there's no trick, hack, or shortcut to sleeping. There's no sleeping position, stress point, nerve ending, or whatever that could induce sleeping faster or more effectively. There's just no scientific evidence to support such claims.

Sleeping pills and melatonin might work but they're only temporary. There's still no substitute for natural sleep. The fact of the matter is our lifestyle, habits, and environment are the major contributing factors to whether we get good sleep or not.

Furthermore, although it is often recommended that we get, on average, eight hours of sleep each day, the amount of sleep necessary to function properly is different from person to person, as is the method of getting to sleep.

Perhaps one key advice I took from the video is that, when you find that you can't sleep, toughing it out and staying in bed is not the best way to address it. Getting out of bed might be more beneficial in inducing you to fall asleep. That and more dos and don'ts of good sleep from Back Reaction.

(Video credit: Sabine Hossenfelder/Youtube)

Uredd Rest Area: The World's Most Beautiful Public Toilet

Public toilets often have a negative reputation of being dingy and uncomfortable. But there are some places in the world where the condition of public toilets are decent and acceptable. And then there are public toilets with majestic views of surrounding nature and an aesthetically appealing architectural design that will just leave you in awe. Norway's Uredd Rest Area tops that list.

Ureddplassen, as it is known locally, is located near the coast, with scenic views of the Fugleøya Island and the Lofoten Islands across the open sea. The Norwegian government strategically placed it along the Norwegian Scenic Route Helgelandskysten and has become a landmark for people to take a rest stop and enjoy the beauty of nature while on the road.

Apart from the sleek wave-like (or to some eyes, mammoth-like) design, marble benches have also been placed just outside and one can even come closer to the water through some amphitheater steps built nearby. The name Uredd had been inspired by the Norwegian "Uredd" submarine in World War II, which means "fearless". There's also a WWII memorial at the site, to remember the 42 sailors who lost their lives during the war. -via Everlasting Blort

(Video credit: Atlas Obscura)

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