Monday, 30 September 2013


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10 Grossest Things in Your Body Right Now
By Maria Trimarchi,
How Stuff Works, 29 September 2013.

There are all kinds of gross things in your body right now, maybe even hard lumps of calcium oxalate (that's what a kidney stone's made of). You're making sweat, and eye gunk, and pus, and you also have undigested and partially-digested food traveling through your gut. And did you know there's more bacteria living in your body than there are human cells? We'll get to that in a moment; first, let's talk about the mites having sex on your eyelashes.

10. Eyelash Mites

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No need to call the exterminator. These mites are common place and mostly harmless.

There are mites living in your eyelashes; and the older you are and the more oily your skin, the more likely that statement is true. It's estimated that mites, specifically Demodex mites (D. folliculorum, to be exact), have colonized the eyelashes of more than 80 percent of people over the age of 60 [source: American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology].

Demodex mites are face mites, and if you could see them with the naked eye you'd see them living at the root of your eyelash and hair follicles - in fact, it wouldn't be surprising to find as many as 25 mites living a single eyelash follicle [source: Roque]. While there's no denying that discovering these follicle squatters is alarming, they're mostly harmless, only causing allergic reactions in sensitive individuals.

9. Ear Wax

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It may be unappealing, but thank goodness for ear wax. Without it, your ears wouldn't be protected from
dust and debris.

North Americans spend more than US$60 million annually on at-home ear-cleaning products, and about 12 million Americans go one more step to have their ear wax professionally removed by a doctor every year (and even more visit spas and use other unconventional methods) to get the job done, despite our ear canals being, at least theoretically, self-cleaning parts of the body [source: Beck].

Ear wax, which is also known as cerumen, is an oily, waxy substance produced by the glands inside your ear canal. It's a way for the ear to protect itself; wax stops intruders from getting into your ear, including dust and bugs (it's been known to happen), among other debris. Ear wax also helps lubricate the ear, protect your ear canal from irritation, and has antibacterial properties.

8. Fatty Deposits (Lipoma)

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Most fatty deposits appear as soft lumps just beneath the skin.

Your body maintains an energy reserve in its fat cells as a part of normal operating procedure, but sometimes fat cells grow where they shouldn't. This results in fatty deposits, also called lipomas, and although some may find them gross, they're almost always harmless.

Fatty deposits are small, round masses of fat cells below your skin, between your skin and muscle. These lumps feel kind of soft, and maybe doughy or rubbery, and if you poke at one you'll notice it moves around (go ahead; they're usually painless). Lumps usually don't grow larger than a few centimetres (about half an inch), and most often grow on the neck, shoulders, arms, upper back, upper thighs and buttocks [source: WebMD, Salam].

7. Mucuspalooza

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There is a coating of mucus lining your gastrointestinal tract right now. Don’t worry - it’s supposed to be there.

Boogers. Snot. Phlegm. Whatever you call it, there's a good reason it exists: mucus. Mucus is a stringy, sticky fluid that coats the inside of your nose, mouth, sinuses, throat, lungs and gastrointestinal tract - and it's there all the time, not only when you have a cold. In fact, your body makes between about one-quarter to half a gallon (1 to 1.5 litres, roughly) of mucus every day; and that includes the new batch your nose whips up every 20 minutes [source: Watson].

Mucus acts as a lubricant - and without it, body tissues would dry out - and because it's sticky, it also acts as a trash collector, keeping bacteria and debris (such as pollen, dirt, fungi, smoke or whatever else you might breathe in) from invading your body as you breathe.

6. Bacteria

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Lactobacillus acidophilus, which is a normal part of human flora, is also found in yogurt and other food products.

A healthy human body is actually less human than you might think; as an adult, your body is hosting at least 10 times as many microbial cells (that's bacteria, viruses and other types of microbes) as you have human cells - probably about 100 trillion bacteria in all [source: The Human Microbiome Project Collection, Zimmer]. And they live in every nook and cranny of your body.

Fewer than 1 percent of the bacteria in the human body can cause disease or illness, and others work with the body to help it do things it may not have been able to do on its own - for instance, Lactobacillus acidophilus, a popular active culture in yogurt, helps the body digest food and fight against that 1 percent of ill-willed microbes.

5. Gas, Gas and More Gas

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The dark areas in this photograph are gas-filled bowel loops.

Everyone farts and everyone burps; there's no way around it. If you eat, you produce gas as the bacteria in your digestive system break down those foods. On average, you're passing gas anywhere between 14 to 23 times a day - think about that; you could be farting or burping once every hour [source: Jaret].

The gas producing those farts and burps contains carbon dioxide, oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen, and sometimes methane - and sometimes sulphur (only in farts, though) [source: National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse]. Certain foods will cause your body to produce more gas, and those include high-fibre and sugary foods, such as those notorious gas-encouragers, beans and broccoli. For some people, wheat or dairy - and products that contain wheat or dairy - also contribute to gassiness, belching, farting and abdominal bloating because their bodies can't properly digest those foods. Often the cause, though, is nothing more than swallowed air.

4. Vomit

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As unpleasant as it is to throw up, people are so fascinated by this bodily function that it's often a common feature
of pumpkin carving.

The average stomach will hold about three-quarters of a gallon (that's 1 litre) of chewed food and beverages. You'll know when you've reached this limit by that post-feast queasy feeling that sets in. Some reports find that while the stomach will likely stretch to hold a little more than three-quarters of a gallon of food and liquid, it will actually spontaneously rupture when it's expected to accommodate as much as 1.3 gallons (5 litres) [source: Dahl].

If your stomach and intestines decide to close the gate on what you've eaten, that food and drink won't pass normally through to your bowel. Instead, it's coming back up, and sometimes forcefully. Vomiting is actually controlled by a "vomiting centre" in the brain, and can be caused by a number of things, including food-borne illness (you can thank bacteria, viruses and parasites for most food poisoning), infections, some illnesses and pregnancy, as well as side effects of some medications or certain medical treatments (such as chemotherapy).

If you don't or can't vomit, your body will still deal with the unwanted stomach contents. Leaks may develop in the stomach walls, allowing partially digested food to seep into your body. (Suddenly, vomiting doesn't sound so bad.)

3. Tonsil Stones

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Never again will you need to wonder where your tonsils (and your tonsil pockets) are located.

Tonsil stones, sometimes known as tonsilloliths, aren't food from last night's take-out; they're actually a combination of bacteria, dead cells and mucus that have gotten trapped in the pockets of your tonsils. By the way, you have pockets in your tonsils.

If you suffer from chronic tonsillitis, or have had chronic tonsil inflammation at some point in your life, you have an increased chance of having tonsil stones. People with dry mouth also seem to be more affected. Some people don't even notice, while others may feel discomfort when the debris hardens (which, if you can see it, looks like small white lumps of cauliflower in the back of your throat), including sore throat, swollen tonsils and ear pain. Because bacteria like to eat what tonsil stones are made up of, stones are also known to cause bad breath.

While you can remove the stones yourself with a swab or oral water irrigator and a mirror, or rinsing with an oxygenating or other non-alcohol-based mouthwash (it'll kill bacteria without contributing to dry mouth problems, like an alcohol-based product can), the only way we know to cure them is with a tonsillectomy.

2. Poop, and Kind of a Lot of It

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Your large intestine is equal in length to the height of a short person.

You can be full of beans. Full of yourself. Full of...well, you know. Poop. And kind of a lot of it, as it turns out.

When you eat and drink, your body only needs a few hours to extract the vitamins and nutrients it needs from that food, and the leftovers are (you guessed it!) off to be excreted. The intestines - your bowels - are made up of both the small and large intestine, plus your rectum. Your small intestine is a tube that's about 20 feet (6 meters) long and 1 inch (2.5 centimetres) in diameter, and your large intestine is also longer than you might expect, too: it's a tube about 5 feet (1.5 meters) long, and about 3 inches (7.6 centimetres) in diameter. In total, that's about the length of a small basic vinyl garden hose you'd use in your yard, and it's full of waste.

Your stool is made up of undigested food, but that's not all; there's also mucus, bacteria, and dead cells in there - and it's the combination of all these ingredients that make poop brown. A normal bowel movement is mostly water, though (about 75 percent of it), and most of us get rid of about 3 to 8 ounces of waste every day [source: Britannica]. (For comparison: An iPhone 5 weighs about 4 ounces [source: Apple].)

1. Acid That's Strong Enough to Dissolve Metal

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This close up view of stomach lining shows small indents known as gastric pits, in which the cells that release
hydrochloric acid, enzymes and mucus reside.

Your digestive system is saturated with gastric juices that are key to digesting the foods you eat, and when hydrogen combines with chloride inside your stomach it creates hydrochloric acid (HCL) - yes, that's the same hydrochloric acid used in fertilizers, dyes and, as it turns out, in the fracking process.

If the acid in your stomach is strong enough to dissolve metal, which it is (it's also used in electroplating), why doesn't your stomach digest itself? You can thank mucus for that. Mucus coats the lining of your stomach, protecting it from being broken down along with everything in your stomach. Thanks, mucus!

Author's Note: I think my favourite fact from writing about all these gross things that are in our bodies was the idea that our bacteria:human cell ratio is 10:1 - some are harmless, some are harmful, and some are just waiting around for you to die so they can finally have a good meal.

Article Sources:
1. Ackerman, Jennifer. "How Bacteria in Our Bodies Protect Our Health." Scientific American. May 15, 2012. (Sept. 15, 2013)
2. Apple. "iPhone." (Sept. 15, 2013)
3. Beck, Melinda. "The Good, the Bad and the Eww of Earwax Removal." The Wall Street Journal. (Sept. 15, 2013)
4. Clegg, Brian. "20 amazing facts about the human body." The Guardian. Jan. 26, 2013. (Sept. 15, 2013)
5. Cleveland Clinic. "Cerumen Impaction." Aug. 14, 2009. (Sept. 15, 2013)
6. Dahl, Melissa. "Can eating too much make your stomach burst?" NBC News. Nov. 23, 2011. (Sept. 15, 2013)
7. Davis, Jeanie Lerche. "Grossology: The Science of the Disgusting." WebMD. (Sept. 15, 2013)
8. Derrer, David T. "Understanding Constipation." WebMD. March 29, 2013 (Sept. 15, 2013)
9. Detrow, Scott. "Hydrochloric Acid's Role In the Fracking Process." StateImpact. July 6, 2012. (Sept. 15, 2013)
10. Encyclopaedia Britannica. "Feces." (Sept. 15, 2013)
11. Jaret, Peter. "Secrets to Gas Control." WebMD. Sept. 17, 2012. (Sept. 15, 2013)
12. Mayo Clinic. "Infectious diseases." April 30, 2011. (Sept. 15, 2013)
13. McAdams, Molly. "HCL Acid in Stomach." SFGate. (Sept. 15, 2013)
14. Miller, Jeffrey. "Eyelash Mites vs. House Dust Mites." American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI). (Sept. 15, 2013)
15. National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC). "Gas in the Digestive Tract." Jan. 2, 2013. (Sept. 15, 2013)
16. National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC). "Viral Gastroenteritis." April 23, 2012. (Sept. 15, 2013)
17. PLOS Collections. "Table of Contents: The Human Microbiome Project Collection." 2012. (Sept. 15, 2013)
18. Roque, Manolette R. "Demodicosis." Medscape. May 1, 2013. (Sept. 15, 2013)
19. Salam, Gohar A. "Lipoma Excision." American Family Physician. Vol. 65, no. 5. Pages 901-905. March 1, 2002. (Sept. 15, 2013)
20. Sifferlin, Alexandra. "Rosacea: Caused by Mite Poop in Your Facial Pores?." Time. (Sept. 15, 2013)
21. Stoppler, Melissa Conrad. "Vomiting Symptoms." (Sept. 15, 2013)
22. Svoboda, Elizabeth. "In Tonsils, a Problem the Size of a Pea." The New York Times. Aug. 31, 2009. (Sept. 15, 2013)
23. Technology Transfer Network Air Toxics Web Site. "Hydrochloric Acid (Hydrogen Chloride). Nov. 6, 2007. (Sept. 15, 2013)
24. Thrasybule, Linda. "5 things body waste tells you about your health." Fox News. Oct. 12, 2012. (Sept. 15, 2013)
25. Watson, Stephanie. "The Truth About Mucus." WebMD. March 1, 2021. (Sept. 15, 2013)
26. WebMD. "Digestive Disorders Health Centre." July 1, 2009. (Sept. 15, 2013)
27. WebMD. "Lipoma - Topic Overview." May 6, 2009. (Sept. 15, 2013)
28. WebMD. "Oral Care." April 14, 2013. (Sept. 15, 2013)
29. World Record Academy. "Most kidney stones produced and passed - world record set by Don Winfield." Feb. 13, 2010. (Sept. 15, 2013)
30. Zimmer, Carl. "Human Microbiome May be Seeded Before Birth." The New York Times. Aug. 28, 2013. (Sept. 15, 2013)

Related Articles:

More Great Links:

Top image: The digestive tract usually gets all the credit for gross contents. While there's plenty of unpleasantness here, your body is a wonderland of repellent things. Photo: ©Purestock/Thinkstock.

[Post Source: How Stuff Works. Edited.]


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10 Scientific Explanations For Ghostly Phenomena
By Nolan Moore,
Listverse, 30 September 2013.

According to a 2005 Gallup poll, 37 percent of Americans believe in haunted houses, and according to a 2013 HuffPost/YouGov poll, 45 percent believe in ghosts. These are surprising numbers, but the next time you hear a spooky sound, don’t call the Ghostbusters - get a scientist instead. Behind every shadow, poltergeist, and disembodied voice, there’s a perfectly rational explanation.

10. Electric Stimulation Of The Brain

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Frightened witnesses all over the world have seen the shadow people. These dark beings are glimpsed out of the corner of the eye only to vanish when confronted. Many believe them to be demons, some think they’re astral bodies, and some say they’re time travellers, here for a second and gone. However, some researchers have a more shocking theory.

When Swiss scientists electrically stimulated an epileptic patient’s brain, things got really spooky. The patient reported a shadow person sitting behind her, copying her every move. When she sat up, it also sat up. When she bent forward and grabbed her knees, it reached around her body and held her. The doctors then told her to read a card, but the shadow person tried to take it out of her hand.

What happened was the scientists had stimulated the left temporoparietal junction, the part of the brain that defines the idea of self. By interfering with the area that helps us tell the difference between ourselves and others, the doctors screwed up the brain’s ability to understand its own body, thus leading to the creation of a copycat shadow person. Researchers are hoping this is the key to understanding why so many people, both schizophrenic and healthy, encounter shadow beings and other creatures like aliens.

9. Ideomotor Effect

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The Spiritualist movement was pretty big in the 1840s and 1850s. It provided a way for people to talk to their dead loved ones. One method of communication was the Ouija board. Still popular today, the board was covered in letters, numbers, and simple words (like “yes” or “no”). People would then place their hands on a wooden piece called a planchette and ask the spirits a question. A ghost would respond by moving the planchette from letter to letter, spelling out a response (or unleashing Captain Howdy).

Another creepy method for interacting with spirits was table tilting. During a séance, people would gather round a table and place their hands on the table top. To everyone’s surprise, the table would start moving by itself. It might tilt up on one leg, levitate off the ground or scoot around the room.

Con men were definitely involved in some of these incidents, but were all these encounters frauds? Renowned physicist Michael Faraday wanted to find out. Through clever experimentation, Faraday discovered that the tables were often moving thanks to the ideomotor effect. This is when the power of suggestion causes our muscles to move unconsciously. People expected a table to move so they unintentionally moved it. A similar event took place in 1853 when four doctors held an experimental séance. When they secretly told half the participants the table would move to the right and half it would move left, the table didn’t budge. But when they told everyone it would move in one direction, the ideomotor effect struck again! This same principle applies to the Ouija board. It’s our own muscles that are doing the spelling, not the spirits.

8. Infrasound

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After seeing a grey ghost near his desk, researcher Vic Tandy was worried his laboratory might be haunted. But the next day, Tandy made an interesting discovery. While preparing for a fencing match, Tandy placed his sword in a vise. He then noticed the blade was vibrating on its own. All of a sudden, everything clicked. He realized the force causing his sword to shake was the same force haunting his lab. Vic Tandy was dealing with infrasound.

Humans can hear sounds up to 20,000 Hertz, but we’re unable to detect anything lower than 20 Hz. These “silent” noises are called infrasound, and while we can’t hear them, we can feel them in the form of vibrations. Dr. Richard Wiseman says we can feel these waves, especially in our stomachs, and this can create either a positive feeling (such as awe) or a negative feeling (such as unease). In the right surroundings (see “creepy house”), this might create a sense of panic.

Infrasound can be produced by storms, wind, weather patterns, and even everyday appliances. Returning to Vic Tandy, after witnessing his wobbling sword, he learned that a new fan had been installed in his laboratory, and sure enough, it was issuing vibrations of about 19 Hz. Since our eyeballs have a resonant frequency around 20 Hz, the infrasound was vibrating Tandy’s eyeballs and creating images that weren’t really there. When Tandy turned off the fan, presto: no more ghost.

Similarly, Dr. Wiseman believes these vibrations are responsible for paranormal activity in “haunted” locations. For example, when investigating two underground sites, he discovered evidence of infrasound coming from the traffic overhead. Wiseman thinks this explains the ghostly figures and creepy footsteps in these areas, proving there’s nothing good about these vibrations.

7. Automatism

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What do witch doctors and Shirley MacLaine have in common? They’re all big into channelling! Channelling is one of mankind’s oldest attempts to reach the spirit world. The idea is to clear the mind, connect with some sort of cosmic consciousness and let a centuries-old spirit possess your body, which doesn’t sound creepy at all. The shamans of ancient religions were believed to channel the dead, TV psychic John Edward says he can speak to those who’ve crossed over, and medium J.Z. Knight claims she channels a spirit named Ramtha, a 35,000-year-old spirit from Atlantis. Obviously, there are quite a few frauds in the channelling community, but what about the people who sincerely believe in what they’re doing?

The answer is automatism, an “altered state of consciousness” where people say things and think things they’re not aware of. So when a psychic clears his mind, he starts searching for a friendly spirit guide. The spirit guide is supposed to enter his body and then provide secret knowledge about the universe. When the psychic clears his mind, random ideas and images start popping up in his head, and the medium assumes these thoughts are coming from another entity. However, these ideas are just coming from his mind. Our brains are capable of coming up with all kinds of crazy stuff without any conscious effort on our part. How many times has something inspired you out of the blue? How many times have you had totally bizarre nightmares or daydreams? That’s not the work of an otherworldly guide. That’s your brain, working overtime all the time.

6. Drafts

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You’re exploring a creepy, run-down mansion in the middle of the night when suddenly the air grows cold. However, if you take a few steps to the left or right, the temperature returns to normal. This is what parapsychologists call a cold spot. According to ghost hunters, a cold spot is a sign of paranormal activity. When a ghost has nothing better to do than appear out of thin air and scare people to death, it needs energy. So the ghost draws heat from its surroundings (including people) in order to manifest.

However, scientists have a much simpler (and much more boring) explanation. When sceptics investigate “haunted” houses, they usually find cool air entering the house through a chimney or window. But even if the room is sealed off, there’s still a perfectly rational explanation. Every object has its own temperature, and some surfaces are hotter than others. In an attempt to equalize the room temperature, the objects try to lose heat in a process called convection. This is where hot air rises, and cool air drops. Similarly, when dry air enters a humid room, the dry air sinks to the floor and the humid air rises to the ceiling. This swirling air will feel cool against a person’s skin, giving the impression of a cold spot. Next time you feel a ghostly presence, turn on the heater.

5. Camera Issues

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Ghost hunters have a love-hate relationship with orbs. These glowing balls of light are supposedly the spirits of people who’ve passed away, but haven’t quite passed on. Invisible to the eye, orbs can only be seen in photographs, and that’s where things get tricky. Sceptic Brian Dunning says when a dust speck or bug is too close to the camera, it will show up in the photo as a blurry, out-of-focus circle. And thanks to the camera flash, the orb will appear to be glowing and is thus mistaken for a ghost. Perfectly reasonable mistake, right?

Even most believers are pretty sceptical about orb photography. While she thinks some real photos exist, parapsychologist Pamela Heath points out several natural causes of orbs such as fine hairs, dirty or wet lenses, lens reflection, or movement during exposure. Many paranormal websites have stopped accepting these photos because they say there are just too many false ones. So thanks to a basic understanding of how technology works, orb photos seem to be giving up the ghost.

4. Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

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In 1921, ophthalmologist William Wilmer published a bizarre paper in the American Journal of Ophthalmology. It told the story of the “H” family and their haunted house. Their hell home was plagued with the sounds of slamming doors, moving furniture and footsteps in empty rooms. One of the children felt something sitting on him while the other was attacked by a mysterious stranger. During the night, the woman of the house awoke to see a man and a woman standing at the foot of her bed, only to watch them vanish moments later. As the hauntings continued, the family grew tired and depressed, and then their plants started to die. It was then they discovered the faulty furnace. The furnace was supposed to send its fumes up the chimney, but instead the gas was pouring into the house. It turns out the family was suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odourless, colourless gas, which makes it really hard to detect. It’s dangerous because our red blood cells absorb CO much easier than they do oxygen, and this oxygen deprivation leads to symptoms such as weakness, nausea, confusion, and eventually death. But before you kick the bucket, you might experience hallucinations, just like the “H” family. For example, in 2005, a woman called the authorities after seeing a spirit in her bathroom. It turned out the paranormal activity was due to her leaky water heater which was filling the house with CO. Bottom line: Stay away from carbon monoxide, folks, because one way or another, it’ll have you seeing ghosts.

3. Mass Hysteria

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In June 2013, over 3,000 workers went on strike at a garment factory in Gazipur, Bangladesh. They weren’t protesting against long working hours, and they weren’t demanding better wages. They wanted someone to do something about the ghost in the restroom. An angry spirit had attacked a worker in the lady’s room, causing everyone to panic. A riot ensued, and the police had to restore order. A similar event took place at a school in Patong, Phuket when 22 students were hospitalized after seeing the ghost of an old woman. But while the Bangladeshi factory owner ordered an exorcism, perhaps he should have called a counsellor instead.

Both the workers and the students experienced a psychological phenomenon known as mass hysteria. These collective delusions occur when people are really stressed out, usually thanks to their oppressive environments (like a strict school or busy workplace). This pent-up stress then turns into physical symptoms like headaches, nausea, or violent spasms. Throw in religious and cultural beliefs, a relatively isolated environment and the always-busy rumour mill, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. Other people will “catch” the same strange symptoms, they’ll spread like a disease, and panic ensues.

It’s interesting to note that very few of the 3,000 factory workers actually encountered the ghost. Even the woman who sparked the frenzy didn’t actually see anything. She got sick and just assumed it was the work of an evil spirit, but the suggestion was so powerful and the circumstances were so perfect that everyone freaked out. Fortunately, it didn’t end with human sacrifices or dogs and cats living together.

2. Ions

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Unfortunately, real ghost hunters don’t carry proton packs. However, they do use tools such as the ion counter. The ion counter, well, counts ions. An ion is an atom with an uneven amount of protons and electrons. If an atom gains an electron, it becomes a negative ion, and if it loses an electron, it becomes positive.

Ghost hunters go crazy over ions because they supposedly show a paranormal presence. Some say a spirit’s presence interferes with the normal ion count in the atmosphere while others say ghosts draw upon ionic energy when they want to appear and scare people to death. However, ion counters are really pretty lousy when it comes to detecting ghosts. Ions are caused by all kinds of natural phenomena like weather, solar radiation, and radon gas. So it basically comes down to how someone interprets the evidence. Scientists see ions and think, “Natural.” Ghost hunters see ions and think, “Paranormal!”

Interestingly, both positive and negative ions can affect our moods. Negative ions can make us feel calm and relaxed while positive ions can give us headaches and make us feel lousy. This might explain why people who live in “haunted” houses describe feeling tired and tense, as well as having headaches.

1. Quantum Mechanics

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Quantum mechanics is the study of the smallest types of matter, and it has led to some pretty awesome inventions. However, it can get pretty weird when physicists start talking about souls and ghosts. Take, for example, Dr. Stuart Hameroff and his physicist friend Roger Penrose. Hameroff and Penrose theorize that human consciousness comes from microtubules inside our brain cells, and these tubules are responsible for quantum processing (our souls basically). Hameroff and Penrose believe when people have a near-death experience, all that quantum information leaves the brain, yet continues to exist, which is why some people report out-of-body experiences and lights at the end of tunnels.

As you might expect, a lot of scientists have problems with Hameroff and Penrose’s theory. But Dr. Henry Stapp isn’t one of them. As a respected quantum physicist who worked with the famous Heisenberg, Stapp believes that a person’s personality might be able to survive death and exist as a “mental entity.” Stapp theorizes if these entities could return to the physical world, then concepts like possession and channelling could really be possible. Are men like Stapp, Hameroff, and Penrose just wishful thinkers? Or are they modern day Galileos?

[Source: Listverse. Edited.]


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10 Genocides Forgotten By History
By Corey Gibson,
Listverse, 30 September 2013.

It can be almost impossible to keep up on all types of world affairs but it seems like everyone should be aware of a possible genocide. Sadly, atrocious genocides from the past, and even ones that could be taking place right now, are not always in the global spotlight.

10. Germany Murders 80 Percent Of The Herero Tribe

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The southern African country of Namibia is a tough place to live. The Namibian coastline is nearly 2,000 kilometres (1,200 mi) of barren sand dunes and rocky terrain unsuited for crops - but it also holds wealth in the form of diamonds, rare metals, and gemstones. By the 1880s, the Germans had gotten wind of those riches and decided to set up their own colony on land belonging to the Herero tribe.

Tensions between the Germans and the locals rose quickly, as the scarce water supply became scarcer and the tribe’s cattle, their only livelihood, were taken from them. In the end, they unsuccessfully tried to rebel against the German colonists.

In response, the German government sent a brutal leader, Lieutenant-General Lother von Trotha, along with 10,000 heavily armed men to put down the uprising. Trotha intentionally drove the Herero into a position where anywhere they turned they would die. His men flanked the tribe on three sides, with the only escape being into the harsh Kalahari desert - where the Germans had poisoned all the water holes. It was either face the Germans and be shot, or wander around the desert until you starved.

Prior to the uprising, 80,000 Herero lived across Namibia. After the massacre, only 15,000 were still alive.

9. The Soviet Government Deports An Entire Nation

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Despite the fact that nearly 40,000 Chechens and Ingush fought for the Soviets in World War II, the government later accused them of helping the Nazis. To punish the Chechen and Ingush people, the government decided to deport every single one of them to remote areas of the Soviet Union in freight cars.

On February 23, 1944, the entire population of Chechens and Ingush were ordered to local party buildings where they were informed they were being deported for helping the Germans. Anyone who could not be transported for some reason was to be shot immediately. In one such instance, 700 people were locked in a barn that was burned to the ground. Experts believe up to 50 percent of the Chechen population died during what is commonly referred to as “Operation Lentil.”

8. The Parsley Massacre

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In only five days in the fall of 1937, more than 20,000 Haitians were massacred under orders from Dominican dictator Rafael Leonidas Trujillo. The massacres took place along the border and saw Dominican soldiers and civilians wielding machetes, bayonets, and rifles to kill any Haitian they could.

To determine who was Dominican and who was Haitian, Dominicans would hand a piece of parsley to a suspected Haitian and ask, “What is that?” A Dominican would be able to properly pronounce the word “perejil,” while a Haitian would have a Creole accent on the word that would clearly point to them being Haitian.

Experts are still debating why Trujillo would go through with such a massacre. Some say it was purely based on race, with the goal of an all-white Dominican Republic, while others say he wanted to expand Dominican territory.

7. 20 Million Die In The Taiping Rebellion

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The Taiping Rebellion began when Hong Xiuquan, a civil service examination candidate, had a series of visions that led him to believe he was the younger brother of Jesus Christ. These messianic visions eventually led him to recruit an army of fanatical followers and try to overthrow the government of China (just like Jesus would have done, right?). Xiuquan actually had some good ideas for China - he wanted to outlaw gambling, polygamy, and the sale of slaves. He also wanted to stop the practice of foot binding and start the practice of allowing women to hold office.

Xiuquan gathered followers on these basic ideals, recruiting many poor and outcast Chinese citizens to join his army. In less than 10 years, Xiuquan controlled over one-third of China. The main enemy of Xiuquan and his army were the Manchu rulers, who had recently conquered China themselves.

The Manchus battled Xiuquan’s army for over 20 years, leaving 20 million dead due to war, disease, and massacres on both sides. It is often seen as an act of genocide since so many poor, lower-class Chinese were murdered.

6. Turkey Massacres Rebellious Villagers

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When Dersim, in modern-day Turkey, refused to accept control by the new central government, instead relying on their own tribal laws, the Turkish government decided to force them to respect their authority.

Between March 1937 and spring of 1938, Turkish troops massacred many of the people in the Dersim area. Women and children who hid in caves were sealed in with large rocks and then smoked to death by large fires built near the entrances. Three tribes, the Karabel, Ferhad, and Pilvank, all surrendered and were immediately killed. Even young men from Dersim who entered the Turkish military to fight for the central government were relieved of their posts and killed for fear they might rebel. In a single day in 1938, 7,954 people were killed or captured.

5. Millions Die In Stalin’s Forced Famine

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With the collapse of Czarist rule in March 1917, the country of Ukraine finally saw the opportunity to declare independence for themselves. But the freedom was short-lived. Before the end of the year, Vladimir Lenin was planning to reclaim all the areas which were formerly controlled by the Czars - including Ukraine.

Over the next several years, Ukrainians unsuccessfully fought to keep their freedom, but their eventual loss only seemed to fuel a national revival movement. Then Joseph Stalin took power in the Soviet Union. He saw this nationalist revival as unacceptable and decided to put a stop to it.

First, he rounded up 5,000 Ukrainian scholars and had them killed for plotting a revolt (they weren’t), hoping it would quell some of the nationalism. He also implemented a plan to collectivize all the farmland in Ukraine. This only fuelled further resentment, but Stalin wouldn’t back down. He was going to starve the Ukrainians until they submitted to him.

By mid-1932, Stalin had forcibly collectivized 75 percent of farmland in Ukraine and drastically increased the food quotas that needed to be shipped to the rest of the USSR. As a result, there was not enough food left to feed the Ukrainian people. In 1933, at the height of the famine, 25,000 people were dying every day. In the end, nearly 5 million people died.

4. Native American Genocide

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The Hopi, then known as the Moqui, were a Native American tribe living in northern Arizona. As they typically did, the Spanish were trying to convert them to Christianity. The first attempt didn’t go well (the Moqui rebelled), so the Spanish returned a few years later with an army. In a town called Awatovi, two Spanish priests found that many of their former converts were still around, and eager to return to Christianity. The excited priests left the town and headed for Santa Fe to talk to their superiors about building a church in Awatovi.

The church would never be built.

You see, the town of Awatovi was sort of a renegade Native American town and the other Moqui tribe didn’t like them, the Spanish, or the whole “converting to Christianity” thing. So they gathered a small army, marched to Awatovi and, while the men of Awatovi were getting ready for a ceremony, burned everything to the ground.

Every man in Awatovi was killed. Some women and children were taken as slaves but when the Moqui army began arguing about how to distribute them, they decided it best to just kill most of them, too.

3. Jean Jacques Dessalines Turns Haiti Into An All-Black Nation

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The Haitian Revolution was the most successful slave revolt in history, as the enslaved Africans outfought and outlasted the French and various other European forces to became the first independent black nation in the Western Hemisphere. However, in the dying days of the war, the revolution’s charismatic leader, Toussaint l’Ouverture, was kidnapped by the French, who left him to die in an Alpine prison. He was succeeded by one of his generals, an ex-slave by the name of Jean Jacques Dessalines, who was unwilling to accept his predecessor’s policy of conciliation toward white Haitians. Crowning himself emperor, Dessalines gave his first orders: Massacre the white population on the island.

Between February and March of 1804, Dessalines visited many of the cities on Haiti where he made sure his orders were followed through. Former slave owners were killed, plantations were burned, white-owned stores were ravaged, and by the end of March only a few Haitian whites had been spared. In Port-au-Prince alone, over 800 were killed in one day, with only about 50 escaping the massacre.

2. The Biafran War

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When Nigeria gained independence from Britain in 1960, nearly 60 million people of over 300 different ethnic and religious backgrounds lived within its borders. Many of these different ethnicities were living closely together, causing a significant amount of tension. This caused a number of elections to be riddled with fraud, multiple coups exchanging power yearly, and a general hatred for people of other ethnicities.

One of the largest groups in the area, the Igbo, decided to secede from Nigeria and form the Republic of Biafra. The Nigerian government immediately launched a campaign to retake the oil-rich breakaway region. From 1967, when the Republic of Biafra was formed, to late 1968, a vicious civil war raged. The Nigerian government did everything they could to crush the fledgling nation. They even blocked food and water from getting into Biafra, contributing to the nearly 3 million lives lost in the civil war. Almost 5,000 died each day, most of them of Igbo descent.

1. Falun Gong Persecutions

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Falun Gong is a relatively recent Chinese quasi-religion based around core values of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance, as well as exercises designed to improve health and energy. But for millions of its followers in China, their beliefs can get them put in prison or even killed.

Since July 22, 1999, practicing Falun Gong in China is against the law. China even has their own security department, 6-10 Office, which deals exclusively with suppressing the religion. Among other horrors, the 6-10 Office has been accused of sending people to work 20 hours a day in “reform camps,” force-feeding saline solutions into prisoner’s noses, and tying people in excruciating positions for days on end. There have even been accounts of people practicing Falun Gong having their organs removed for quick, in-demand organ transplants.

Over the past 14 years, since the ban on the religion began, over 3,428 deaths have been reported, with the numbers continuing to rise. The persecution continues to this day.

Top image: Falun Gong practitioners being arrested on Tiananmen Square, via Wikipedia.

[Source: Listverse. Edited. Top image added.]