Everyone wants to leave their mark on history, and there’s no better way to do that than having something important named after you. A bridge? Awesome. A new invention? Great! An obscure scientific theory? Well … everyone who understands it will appreciate it. It’s no different when it comes to the world of medicine and psychology, where long and unique names like Alzheimer, Klinefelter, Münchausen, and Tourette now fly off any nurse’s tongue as easily as a kid spouting Latin dinosaur names. While critics oppose the practice of naming medical conditions after people, it’s definitely easier for non-medical folks to remember a unique name than a string of letters.
This raises a question, though: What does an ambitious person have to do if they want a medical condition named after them? The answer isn’t so clear. Sometimes doctors get the credit, sometimes it goes to a well-known patient, and sometimes, telling a few exaggerated stories will do the trick.
Greetings, everybody! As longtime readers know, one of my regular assignments is writing for Grunge.com, where I explore topics from the sociological to the bizarre and otherworldly, depending on the day. It’s been a while since I’ve linked you all to some of my more recent pieces, so here are a few favorites:
We all remember our elementary school days, but those memories aren’t always so happy. In this article, I examine some of the most inane and problematic policies guiding elementary schools in the United States, including the emphasis on competition (spoiler alert: competition actually inhibits learning), forcing kids to ask for a bathroom pass (who came up with that nonsense?) and why taking away recess actually makes unruly kids more unruly. Read on!
Is there really a hairy, humanoid creature wandering through the woodlands of the United States? Probably not, but you never know, and the world would be a lot more fun if there was. Regardless, the legend of sasquatch goes back surprisingly far: various versions of a bigfoot-like figure played key roles in the spiritual belief systems of multiple North American indigenous peoples. Here’s the story!
Ever wondered who lives in Antartica, how long they stay there, or what they do? Ever wondered what kind of job applications those Antarctic stations might be taking? Wonder no more, because here are (some) answers. Learn the ropes, seek out the iciest continent, and who knows: maybe one day soon, you’ll join the ranks of the 300 Club, the esteemed group who do naked races from a 200 °F sauna out into a -100 °F Antarctic night. Yes, really.
If you haven’t seen it yet, here’s the audio file that’s tearing up the internet. Take a listen, and tell us what you hear:
So, is it “yanny” or “laurel?”
Yes, there is a technical explanation for this, which has to do with frequency (read that here, on Vox). However, what’s so interesting about this whole shebang—and what was also interesting about the infamous “dress”—is how it tests the limits of perception: we experience reality in a certain way which we often think of as being somewhat objective, which is why it’s so alarming when others perceive the same things in totally different ways. This then calls into question the very method (I.E., our senses) which we use to define the universe around us. Sure, reality exists. But do our eyes, ears, nose, or hands actually understand it? Not so much. It’s probably no surprise to anyone that this interests me, considering it’s one of the big themes in Intraterrestrial.
Anyway, when you folks play the clip, what do you hear?
(For what it’s worth, I’m definitely hearing yanny.)
From the author of Pale Highway comes a radio play that aired live on WSCA 106.1 FM in New Hampshire, on August 23rd, 2016. Set in a nursing home, Nicholas Conley’s Something in the Nothing tells the simple story of a conversation between an Alzheimer’s patient and his caregiver — a conversation that will have a dramatic impact upon both of their lives, forever.
Something in the Nothing stars the voices of John Pearson, Erika Wilson, Jessica Rainville, Jessie Duthrie, David Phreaner, and Suzy Manzi. The play was directed by John Lovering from an original script by Nicholas Conley.
Listen to Something in the Nothing below:
It’s hard to forget the story of Benjaman Kyle, the man found unconscious by a dumpster with no identity, no past, and no way to recover it. Benjaman Kyle’s bizarre tale blew up across the internet for years (I wrote about him here, for instance), as countless people tried to help figure out his identity, or at least get him some form of identification.
Well, in 2015, Benjaman Kyle’s true identity was discovered: William “Bill” Powell. And his past is an interesting tale unto itself.
For those who are interested in reading more about Benjaman’s story, I recently wrote a piece on him for Grunge. Check it out below:
Remember the Berenstein Bears? Even for those who never read the books, the characters are such a huge part of pop culture that everyone has heard of them. There’s just one problem: they are actually the BerenstAin Bears, and we’ve been spelling it wrong this whole time.
As Vice explains, this bizarre realization is due to something called the Mandela Effect, wherein a huge amount of people collectively “remember” something that doesn’t mesh with reality. While the common sense explanation is that “BerenstAin” is simply a less familiar name to Western audiences than BerenstEin would be, there are those who believe that this is actually a glitch in the Matrix, the ultimate sign that parallel universes exist, and that those who who think it was BerenstEin at some point slipped into this reality without realizing it.
I can’t say I’m a believer in the idea that my Berenstein memories are the result of some reality-hopping shenanigans, but we live in a weird universe, so who knows. Either way, as someone who got weirded out by the BerenstAin thing when I first read it, it’s fun to spot other examples of the so-called Mandela Effect. Here are a few you might have noticed:
Froot Loops spells its name with two Os, formed by pieces of the cereal. It is not, and has never been, “Fruit” Loops. Hey, nobody ever said that toucans knew how to spell.
No, Sinbad never played a genie in a nineties movie called Shazaam, though lots of people seem to think they saw such a film when they were younger. Most likely, this is due to people misremembering a real 1996 genie movie, Kazaam, where the ancient magical being was played by Shaquille O’Neal. Sinbad has spoken at length about the fact that people always seem to think he starred in a movie that never really happened, and the theory grew popular enough that College Humor made its own version for an April Fools prank in 2017.
You probably never watched Street Sharks, a lesser-known Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles imitator which followed a crew of mutant shark vigilantes who all had a notable disdain for pizza, but liked eating everything else. However, a lot of people seem to recall a female shark character named Roxie… who never existed.
As it happens, this false collective memory is the result of a middle school prank by writer Jordan Minor, who finally spilled the beans in a 2016 editorial on Geek.com. Basically, back in the early 2000s, he was the editor for the TVTome.com page for Street Sharks, and he filled the page with fake information. Ironically, some people “remember” the made-up character of Roxie as their favorite (or least favorite) part of the show.
What about you folks? Any reality slips happening? Do you have any examples of when you were impacted by the Mandela Effect?
Okay, sorry guys, but I have to indulge in these total coffee nerd moments every once in a while. Thanks for understanding.
To me, coffee is far more than just a pleasurable drink. It’s an experience. It’s a mood. It’s a feeling that can take you to the greatest depths of creative passion, a force that can pull you through the hardest, most painful times, or a source of stimulation that makes an interesting conversation even better. That’s why Coffee Moments™ are so great.
If you’re not a fan, then I’ve seen that tea is the same way for many people. Either way, I’m all about the hot beverages.
While any coffee lovers knows the importance of poking your head into a third wave coffee shop with some degree of regularity, it’s also important to have some sort of home setup, even if that setup pales in comparison to what the coffee shops offer. For me, I’ve spent the last couple of years preparing most of my morning cups with a V-60 pour over. Pour overs are one of the most convenient coffee preparation methods, and something I’d definitely recommend for most people, both coffee aficionados and newcomers alike.
However, as of last month, a new era in my life has begun: meet the AeroPress.
I’m amazed that I went this long without investigating the AeroPress, and now, I’m madly in love with it. It’s fast, thorough, and prepares an absolutely fantastic cup of coffee. What more could a person ask for? There are a couple of different preparation methods, but my preference is for the “inverted” method.
For more information, check out the official AeroPress site. If you’re a coffee fan, you won’t regret it. Trust me. And if you’ve already been using the AeroPress for some time, cheers.