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Quack medicine used to be taken very literally!

25 Apr 2017

Inhaling the breath of a duck that was captured in a test tube was once used to treat disorders of the mouth and throat in children. Talk about quack medicine!  

Fujian Province is riddled with radon

10 Apr 2017

Fujian Province in south-east China has the highest incidence of respiratory and gastrointestinal tract cancers in the whole country. The culprit in all likelihood is well water which is...

The “Danbury Shakes”

10 Apr 2017

Danbury, Connecticut used to be the center of the American hat industry. It was also known for the “Danbury shakes,” a condition that encompassed tremors, incoherent speech, difficulty in walking...


10 Apr 2017

Phocomelia is a birth defect that has been linked to the drug thalidomide. This word derives from the Greek words for “seal” and “limb.” Thalidomide prescribed to pregnant women for morning...

Plastered bread

3 Apr 2017

Plaster of Paris derives its name from the fact that it was originally obtained from rock quarried at Montmartre, a suburb of Paris. This common construction material indirectly led to the first...

Black French Fries and Green Coffee Beans

20 Mar 2017

Chances are you’ll see sodium acid pyrophosphate or sodium bisulfite listed on the label of a package of frozen French fries. They’re added to deal with that bane of potato lovers, the dark, gray...

Antivenins for Snake Bites

20 Mar 2017

To make an antivenin, small doses of poison are injected into horses or goats.  The amount of toxin is not enough to kill the animal but is enough to trigger the production of antibodies.  These...

Gelotophobia: The Fear of Being Laughed At

20 Mar 2017

Gelotophobia can best be defined as the “potentially debilitating fear of being laughed at.” A person suffering from gelotophobia may hear a stranger’s laugh and believe it is aimed at him or her....

Castrated Goats Lose their Smelliness

20 Mar 2017

Think of a ghastly smell. Skunk? Halitosis? BO? Outhouse? Rotting fish? Rancid butter? Dog flatus? Decomposing flesh? All devastating. But let’s not forget the penetrating fragrance of a billy goat...


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