Truth or BS? – Wild Card Saturday

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Things That Sound

Like BS,

But Are True

In a world where fake news and false facts are rampant, it’s hard to distinguish what is true and what isn’t, especially when it sounds so unbelievable. We have gone through some crazy news stories and unbelievable tales from history and culled even more of the most interesting, unbelievable facts that sound like BS, but are completely true.

 10. The Highest Court of the Land

The Supreme Court is called “The Highest Court in the Land” because their rulings decide the laws for the rest of the United States.

The physical courtroom is on the second floor of the Supreme Court building, but on the fifth floor is a basketball court, appropriately nicknamed “The Highest Court in the Land.” The area was once used to house journalists, but in the 1940s it was converted to a gym. Later, the basketball nets were added.

The basketball court is smaller than a regulation NBA court and, unfortunately, it’s not open to the public. It’s only used by off-duty officers and employees of the court, but people are not allowed to use it on days when court is in session.

Many of the current Supreme Court Judges are a bit too old to play (though we like to imagine Ruth Bader Ginsburg crossing fools over and making it rain from way downtown), but apparently Neil Gorsuch plays basketball, which we learned during his hearing, so maybe he’ll use it.

9. If You Crack an Egg 60 Feet Underwater It Will Stay Together

If you were to crack an egg deep underwater, what would happen to it? One thought is that it would break apart. The second thought is that, geez man, what a waste of a delicious egg. Think these things through. However, what reallyhappens is that it actually stays together and looks like some type of alien jellyfish.

The reason it stays together is because the pressure underwater at that level is about 2.8 times the atmospheric pressure than on land, which makes the water act like a shell. This pushes the egg together, in a spherical, creepy looking blob.

8. Hippos Sweat Red and it Works Like Sunscreen

Hippopotamuses are distant relatives of pigs and are known for their aggressive behavior towards other species – especially humans.

One interesting thing about their physiology is that their sweat appears to be red. The Ancient Greeks thought that they were sweating blood. But, it actually turns out that a hippo’s sweat comes in two different colors: red and orange.

The sweat is a clever solution to the hippo’s evolutionary niche. During the night, hippos venture out onto land and eat as much food as they can and then spend most of the day in the water digesting their food. But since hippos are such big animals, they need to venture out during the day, under the hot sun, to get food. Mammals that live on land generally have natural protection from the sun – fur. However, having fur isn’t helpful if you spend your days in the water. So the hippos developed the two types of sweat, which both act as sunscreen. The red one also has antibacterial properties that prevent pathogens from getting into the wounds and accelerate healing, which is helpful to the aggressive animals.

7. Three to Five Pounds of Your Body Weight is Bacteria

Your body is a complex machine with many running parts and just like Goldilocks’ porridge, many people consist of just the right amount of components. Case in point, our body contains 1,700 types of bacteria. According to Lita Proctor from the National Institute of Health’s Human Microbiome Project, that would be enough to fill a large can of soup, which is about three to five pounds of bacteria.

Until recently, most of these bacteria were unidentified. Researchers took samples from the bellybuttons of 95 subjects and found 1,400 strains of bacteria. 662 of them had previously been unrecognized. In total, there are over 10,000 species of microbes in the human body. And apparently, waaaaay too many of them live in our bellybuttons. Someone pass the cotton swabs…

6. Barry Manilow Wrote Some of the Most Famous Jingles Ever

Barry Manilow is one of the biggest American pop singers of all time. He’s had 47 Top 40 hits including “Mandy,” “Can’t Smile Without You,” and “I Write the Songs,” which he ironically didn’t write.

While some people reading this list might be too young to know who Barry Manilow is, there’s a good chance that you know some of his work. That’s because he’s written and performed some of the most famous jingles ever.

One of the most famous ones is “Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.” He was apparently paid a flat fee of $500 for it in the 1970s and it’s still in heavy use today. Another famous one he wrote and sang was “I am stuck on Band-Aid / ’cause Band-Aid’s stuck on me.” A third one he wrote and performed was “Give Your Face Something to Smile About” for Stridex.

Besides just writing several famous jingles, Manilow also performed “You Deserve a Break Today” for McDonald’s, KFC’s “Grab a Bucket of Chicken,” Pepsi’s “Feelin’ Free,” and finally, “I’m a Pepper / He’s a Pepper / She’s a Pepper / Wouldn’t you like to be a Pepper, too?” jingle for Dr. Pepper that was written by Randy Newman.

5. The Tragedy of New Mexico’s State University’s First Graduating Class

New Mexico State University was founded in 1888 as Las Cruces College. Two years later, it merged with New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts.

The first graduate of the newly formed New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts was a 17-year-old named Samuel Steele. In 1893, Steele was the only member of the senior class, but tragically, he never made it to his commencement.

On March 9, 1893, Steele was shot while delivering milk. There were no witnesses and the motive remains a mystery. There was a suspect in the case, a man named John Roper. He was even convicted, but later released on an appeal.

The first graduating class to make it to New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts’ commencement did so a year after the murder in 1894 and consisted of five students.

In 1995, a street near the university had its name changed to Sam Steele Way in honor of their fallen first graduate.

4. Why is Bluetooth Called Bluetooth?

When it comes to questions about Bluetooth, usually “why the hell isn’t it connecting?” is probably what comes to mind first. “Wait, I don’t even have Bluetooth turned on, what the hellis connecting?” is likely the second. But have you ever thought about why it’s called Bluetooth? After all, it’s wireless technology, what does blue or a tooth have to do with it?

In the 1990s, when short-range wireless technology was being developed, different companies were working on different technologies. Some of the engineers thought it would be better if the companies pooled their resources together and came up with one industry standard for short-range wireless technology.

The name was suggested by Jim Kardach, an Intel engineer who was reading a book about Vikings around the time the new division was created, and it contained the story of Harald Bluetooth, who was the Viking king of Denmark between 958 and 970. He was famous for uniting parts of Denmark and Norway together and for converting the Danes to Christianity. Essentially, he was a good at uniting people and that’s what Kardach wanted to do with short-range wireless technologies – unite them in one format.

The name Bluetooth was meant to be just a placeholder until they came up with something better, but it got picked up by the media and has stuck around ever since.

3. A Man Cured Himself of OCD by Shooting Himself in the Head

In the early 1980s, a man only identified as George was diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). The disorder forced George to wash his hands hundreds of times a day and to shower frequently. It had a crippling effect on his life and the 19-year-old was forced to drop out of school and quit his job.

Things got to be so bad that he told his mother that he wished he was dead. Amazingly, she said that he should go shoot himself. We assume her Mother of the Year trophy got lost in the mail. Anyway, George grabbed a .22 caliber rifle, put the barrel in his mouth, and pulled the trigger.

George didn’t die and the bullet got lodged in his front left lobe. Surgeons were able to remove it, but they weren’t able to get all the fragments. In a stroke of unbelievable luck, the bullet destroyed the area of the brain that causes the symptoms of OCD. In extreme cases of OCD, surgeons will remove that area of the brain.

If all that wasn’t amazing enough, George also didn’t lose any of his intelligence. After taking some time to recover from being shot in the head with a rifle, he completed high school, went to college, and he was able to get a job.

2. You’re More Likely to be Killed by a Hospital Accident than a Car Accident

Four studies using data from 2008 to 2011 found that 210,000 to 400,000 deaths were caused every year in America by preventable accidents that happened in the hospital. That would make it the third leading cause of death, just behind cancer and heart disease. In 2011, there were 126,438 deaths from other kinds of accidents, which includes car accidents. Canada isn’t much better, according to The National Post, 70,000 Canadians are hurt every year while in the hospital.

The problem comes down to the fact that doctors are not infallible computers. They’re just people who make mistakes and they are susceptible to biases just like the rest of us. In Michael Lewis’ 2016 book The Undoing Project, he relays a story of a young woman in Toronto who was in a bad car accident and suffered multiple broken bones and injuries. When she was taken into the emergency room, the medical staff discovered that she had an irregular heart beat. Sometimes, it would miss a beat and other times it would add one. Before the woman lost consciousness, she said that she had an overactive thyroid.

Overactive thyroids can cause irregular heartbeats, so the staff instantly thought that was the cause. However, an overactive thyroid wasn’t the most likely cause for an irregular heartbeat. Statistically, some other injury was likely to be the culprit, like a collapsed lung.

Sure enough, the woman had a collapsed lung and the tests results came back that the woman’s thyroid was working normally.

While it’s a scary thought that hospitals can be dangerous, the story of the woman in Toronto is an example of how this type of situation could be curtailed. In that case, the hospital had a doctor named Don Redelmeier, who works as an auditor on medical cases. When a patient comes into the emergency room, he gets the medical staff to take a moment and try to think as logically and rationally as possible, and his hospital has seen a decrease in medical mistakes and accidents.

1. There’s a Lost Nuclear Bomb Submerged Off the Coast of the State of Georgia

On February 5, 1958, Col. Howard Richardson was flying a B-47 loaded with a 7,000 pound nuclear bomb near Tybee Island, Georgia, when an F-86 fighter plane on a training mission accidentally collided with him. The pilot in the F-86 didn’t see the B-47 on the radar and descended directly into it. The collision ripped the left wing off the F-86 and it damaged the fuel tank of the B-47 that was carrying the nuclear bomb.

Richardson flew towards land, but he was worried that the landing would detonate the large nuclear bomb, so he dropped it in the water before reaching land.

Luckily, all the men in the planes survived the collision, but the bad news was that the nuclear bomb was nowhere to be found.

The Navy spent over two months looking for the bomb, but couldn’t find it. Experts think that the bomb isn’t dangerous and should remain inactive as long as it’s not disturbed. So if you want to go treasure hunting, you might want to steer clear of Tybee Island.


Truth or BS

– Judge 4 Yourself

Cover Songs – WIF Music Monday

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10 Cover Songs More Famous

than the Original

We’ve told you before about how a cover of a song can end up more famous than the original. But 10 entries wasn’t enough to do the subject justice, as there are lots of great examples we left off the list. So here’s the sequel!

10. Black Magic Woman

The Cover (Santana)

If you ask someone who knows anything about Santana to start naming their songs, “Black Magic Woman” will almost certainly be in the top five. Released in 1970, it reached number four on both the US and Canadian music charts and would become one of Santana’s biggest hits. Their version included extra guitar at the beginning and the end, and also included conga and timbales drums.

The Original (Fleetwood Mac)

The song was originally written in 1968 by Peter Green, the founder of Fleetwood Mac. But if you asked someone to start naming Fleetwood Mac songs, “Black Magic Woman” probably wouldn’t come up, at least not until they got pretty deep into their catalogue. Their version is shorter and lacks the extra instrumentals. It wasn’t exactly unpopular, it was just overshadowed by Santana’s version. In fact, they continued to play it throughout the early ’70s, often reminding the audience that it actually was a Fleetwood Mac song.

9. No No Song

The Cover (Ringo Starr)

Ringo Starr first became famous for playing the drums for some British band you may have heard of, but after that he had a career as a solo artist. One of his more popular songs was the 1974 release “No No Song,” which is surprisingly not aimed at infants. It basically tells the story of people offering the singer all sorts of drugs that they refer to as “the best in all the land” and the singer turning them down.

The Original (Hoyt Axton)

Hoyt Axton was an American folk singer from Oklahoma. The son of the woman that co-wrote the song “Heartbreak Hotel,” it seems that writing good songs ran in his family. Hoyt became fairly well-known in the ’60s and ’70s, both for writing songs and for appearing on TV. In fact, he was such a good songwriter he’s going to appear on this list again. How’s that for foreshadowing?

8. Joy to the World

The Cover (Three Dog Night)

No, not the Christmas carol. If we say the words “Jeremiah was a bullfrog,” you might recognize it as the beginning of Three Dog Night’s hit “Joy to the World.”Released in 1970, it rose to number one on the charts in the US and in Canada. It was quickly certified gold and eventually sold five million copies.

The Original (Hoyt Axton)

See, we told you. Hoyt’s slower and softer version of the song didn’t perform nearly as well. It’s a shame his versions weren’t as successful as the covers, but it seems he had a knack for writing good songs that others could later make great. Also, after Three Dog Night’s version was released, Hoyt and his mother became the first mother and son to have both written a number one rock and roll hit.

7. La Bamba

The Cover (Los Lobos)

La Bamba was a 1987 biographical movie that told the story of Mexican-American musician Ritchie Valens. Many of the songs from the soundtrack were recorded by the band Los Lobos, the most popular of which was the titular “La Bamba.” The song rose to the top of the US and UK charts in the same year, thus becoming one of the most commercially successful songs sung in Spanish.

The Original (Ritchie Valens)

Although it had long been a popular Mexican folk song, the first version of “La Bamba” to gain wider acclaim was released in 1958 by Ritchie Valens. Although his version didn’t perform as well initially, it has since become well regarded. It was the only Spanish song included on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

6. Louie Louie

The Cover (The Kingsmen)

“Louie Louie” is one of the most covered songs in history. Estimates range on just how many artists have recorded versions, but it’s generally agreed to be at least in the hundreds. Whatever the number is, the most popular version was recorded by The Kingsman in 1963. Their version also generated controversy — someone wrote a letter to Robert Kennedy in 1964 complaining that the song contained “obscene” lyrics. The FBI proceeded to investigate… for four months.  In the the end, they admitted they couldn’t hear anything and gave up.

The Original (Richard Berry)

The original version of “Louie Louie” was written in 1955 by Richard Berry. His version was much slower and clearer, and was performed in the style of a Jamaican ballad, which probably didn’t appeal much to America’s mainstream audience. The original is much more easily understood, and the story told takes a more prominent place. Unfortunately, Berry didn’t receive much for writing the song, as he signed away the rights before it became a hit. However, because a company wanted to use the song in the 1980s, he was able to renegotiate the rights and received a very large sum of money.

5. Hallelujah

The Cover (Jeff Buckley)

“Hallelujah” has also been covered many times. One of the more popular versions was released by John Cale in 1991 as a tribute to the original. This inspired Jeff Buckley to record his own version, which was released in 1994 on his only complete studio album, Grace. Although the album wasn’t initially a hit, it went gold in 2002 and “Hallelujah” was ultimately ranked 259th on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. Unfortunately, Buckley didn’t get to see this success, as he died in 1997.

The Original (Leonard Cohen)

“Hallelujah” was originally released in 1984 by Canadian Leonard Cohen. Supposedly he spent years fine-tuning the song, writing almost 80 verses before trimming it down to its current state. His version was not initially a hit, but many people have come back to listen to it after hearing one of the covers, perhaps while watching Shrek. We’re sure he’s not too bummed out about it, as he’s been inducted into both the American Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.

4. Without You

The Cover (Harry Nilsson)

“Without You” has been covered many times, notably by Mariah Carey in 1994. Her version reached number three on the US charts, but actually isn’t the most successful version. Harry Nilsson released his take in 1971, just one year after the original came out. His went to the very top of the US charts, and remains the only version to do so.

The Original (Badfinger)

British rock group Badfinger released the original version in 1970 on their albumNo Dice. The sad song offered some awful foreshadowing, as two of the members later committed suicide. The song was in fact inspired by real events in their personal lives. Their version wasn’t nearly as popular as later covers, possibly because it wasn’t released as a single.

3. Mandy

The Cover (Barry Manilow)

In 1974, Barry Manilow released “Mandy.” It was a big hit, becoming his first song to reach number one on the US charts. It would also become his first gold single. It kicked off his huge career, in which he at one point had five albums on the bestseller list at the same time.

The Original (Scott English)

The original version was released in 1971 by the ironically named American Scott English. The song he released was actually called “Brandy.” His version was somewhat popular, but was only really well-known in the UK. Manilow changed the title because another song with the name Brandy in it was popular at the time.

2. Tainted Love

The Cover (Soft Cell)

“Tainted Love,” released in 1981, was Soft Cell’s second single and their biggest hit. Their version was slower than the original and used synthesizers and rhythm machines as background noise instead of traditional instruments. It was their most successful song, rising to number 1 in the UK charts and 8 in the US.

The Original (Gloria Jones)

The original was recorded in 1964 by Gloria Jones. The motown song was a commercial flop, but after awhile it became somewhat popular in clubs in northern England, which prompted Jones to rerelease it. She did so in 1976, but the song again failed to chart. It would remain largely unknown until Soft Cell’s cover.

1. Layla

The Cover (Eric Clapton) 

Clapton released a trimmed down version of “Layla” in 1972 that reached number 10 in the US and number 7 in the UK. 20 years later he released an acoustic version that only reached number 12 in the US, but ended up winning the 1992 Grammy for Best Rock Song, beating out “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”

The Original (Derek and The Dominoes)

“Layla” was ranked 27th on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, but the first time it was released it wasn’t very popular. Recorded with Clapton’s band Derek and The Dominoes in 1970, the first version of the song failed to chart. This was perhaps partly due to the fact that Clapton’s name wasn’t on the front of the album, and no one had ever heard of this Derek character. It was also over seven minutes long, and as a result wasn’t played often on the radio.

Cover Songs

– WIF Music Monday