Rumor Flies

We got the sauce

Rumor Flies comically addresses the origins, evolution, and veracity of your favorite rumors, myths, and misconceptions. Tune in for more research, stories, and unsolicited commentary! Participation encouraged.

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Snap Judgment #34: Executive Tigers

Snapple Fact #1183: Martin Van Buren was given two tiger cubs while he was president.

Image source

Image source

Verdict: True

So this probably wins the award for "most recent sources," as I found an article about this from literally 4 days before releasing this "Snap Judgment." 

Martin Van Buren served as 8th president of the US, from 1837-1841, just after Andrew Jackson left office. He founded the Democratic Party and was the first president not of British ancestry or born a British subject as his family was Dutch. I could go on and on, but if you'd like to know more, wikipedia (as always) has a good overview. 

So let's get to the tigers which are, oddly enough, do not seem to be mentioned at all on his wikipedia entry. According to the website Presidential Pet Museum, the Sultan of Oman, Kabul al Said, gifted the president-elect Van Buren a pair of tiger cubs. Van Buren was actually thrilled at the news and was making adjustments to his home in order to keep them (and one would assume was preparing what to do at the White House). But alas, Congress had different plans. 

Congress was not on board, especially when he expressed he planned on keeping them at the White House. When they pushed back, Van Buren actually did not back down and argued that since they were specifically gifted "to the President," he had every right. Congress argued that the gift was made while Jackson was president and Van Buren was president elect, and seeing as how Jackson was no longer president, they argued the tiger cubs belonged to the US government. 

Unfortunately for Van Buren, Congress won the argument, and not only could he not keep them in the White House...he couldn't keep them at all. The cubs were promptly confiscated and sent to the local zoo (which let's be real, is probably way better. Though it's an 1800's zoo, so ehh...)

To wrap it up, here is a fun article from Our White House on other interesting pets kept by presidents over the years! A few notable ones:

  • Thomas Jefferson was gifted two grizzly bear cubs from an exploratory party sent out across the US led by Captain Zebulon Pike. 
  • Teddy Roosevelt had tons of "exotic animals," such as a zebra, a parrot, bears, a lion, a hyena, a coyote, rats, and a one-legged rooster.
  • Herbert Hoover had two pet alligators that belonged to his son. He even occasionally let them wander the White House.

Cheers!

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Snap Judgment #32: No Stompies in Germany

Snapple Fact #1366: In Denmark, citizens have to select baby names from a list of 7,000 government-approved names.

Verdict: True

So as it turns out, many countries have specific laws as to what you can and can't name your kids. Some are pretty obvious, such as no slurs or generally offensive names, but the laws get a lot more interesting as you dive in a little deeper. Denmark, as it turns out, is just particularly strict, while many countries vary pretty wildly. 

Let's start with the initial subject of this Snapple "real fact" - Denmark. Denmark does indeed have a list of approximately 7,000 government-approved names. One can apply for special permission through their local church, then the government reviews it. They are so strict that they actually reject 15-20% of submitted names. A few banned names: Anus, Pluto, and Monkey. 

According to the earlier linked Mental Floss article, here are a few rules of note:

  • Names must indicate gender 
  • Creative spellings of approved names are largely not allowed
  • Last names can't be used as first names and vice versa
  • Part of the rationale is to protect "rare Danish last names" 
Image source

Image source

 

In 1982, Sweden enacted the "Naming Law," which was originally designed "to prevent non-noble families from giving their children noble names," but it has since evolved. First names can't be offensive or "cause discomfort" for the individual bearing it, you can only change your name once, and you must keep at least one of the original names you were given if you do change your name. A few banned names: Metallica, Superman, Veranda, Ikea, and Elvis. Interestingly enough, they specifically allow "Goole" as a middle name, and Lego is an approved name. 

The US has its own federal naming laws, but it also varies wildly from state to state. Some states ban obscenities, some states (such as Kentucky) have no name laws at all, and in some cases, courts interpret the right to name a child whatever the parents' want as a matter of Free Speech (1st amendment clause) and Due Process (14th amendment clause). California actually doesn't allow for diacritical marks (ex. José, Noël), and some states limit the number of letters a name can have for record-keeping purposes. 

To close it out, here's an article from Business Insider that lists some interesting banned names by country! Enjoy, and if you live in Germany, do not name your kid "Stompie." 

 

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Snap Judgment #31: Tulip Mania

Snapple fact #175: In 1634, tulip bulbs were a form of currency in Holland

Verdict: False

This is something we have covered in a similar fashion before, specifically about tea being used as a form of currency. It’s not unprecedented to think that something in high demand being used as a form of money. You exchange goods and/ or services for some form of payment, which doesn’t have to mean money. This is where the phrase “tulip mania” originates.

See, tulips were this hot, new item that everyone wanted. There were the fidget spinners or those jump mans everyone loved back in the day. They were fashionable and different unlike any other flower out there. Flowers had so many uses in a time without the internet. 

gif source

gif source

The problem is that the value of tulip bulbs fluctuated very quickly in Holland. The peak of tulip mania was in January 1637 and then the market crashed. Except crashed is a very relative term in the sense that nobody really lost any money or product. Money wasn’t really exchanged until the bulbs were in hand and the people that already paid would get them eventually. In fact, not a single bankruptcy was filed because of the flowers that year.

Honestly, I wouldn’t even say that they were used as currency. They were in high demand but they weren’t replacing money used back then. They were just a luxury item for a short while that people loved to appear wealthy. Rumor Flies gun to my head, I’d say this is false.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tulip_mania

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Snap Judgment #30: You don't look like Yourself

Snapple Fact #971: Charlie Chaplin failed to make the finals of a Charlie Chaplin look-alike contest.

Image source.  Singapore's The Straits Times, 10 Aug 1920, "How Charlie Chaplin Failed":

Image source. Singapore's The Straits Times, 10 Aug 1920, "How Charlie Chaplin Failed":

Verdict: Maybe?

I chose this one because I had heard it before as well, unlike many of the more absurd "Snapple Real Facts" we've covered so far. It is pretty well documented. As the above image shows, this actually was reported on at the time it allegedly happened and spread very quickly, probably because of the popularity of Chaplin. 

During Chaplin's 40-film career, especially in the beginning, there were actually many of these "Chaplin look-alike contests." So "The Tramp" himself decided to throw his hat, mustache, and cane into the ring. The results were disappointing. From "The Straits Times"

Lord Desborough, presiding at a dinner of the Anglo-Saxon club told a story which will have an enduring life. It comes from Miss Mary Pickford who told it to Lady Desborough, “Charlie Chaplin was one day at a fair in the United States, where a principal attraction was a competition as to who could best imitate the Charlie Chaplin walk. The real Charlie Chaplin thought there might be a chance for him so he entered for the performance, minus his celebrated moustache and his boots. He was a frightful failure and came in twentieth.

According to the Albany Advertiser, he placed 27th out of 40. While the numbers vary a bit from article to article, the key points are clear: He's a garbage cosplayer. 

Image Source

Image Source

 

Now for the real question: Is it real? The above discrepancy in how he did, as well as an inability to corroborate the initial report, has presented some issues. As it turns out, many of the papers were just repeating what they heard at the time from each other. From the linked Open Culture article: 

When one researcher asked the Association Chaplin to weigh in, they apparently had this to say: "This anecdote told by Lord Desborough, whoever he may have been, was quite widely reported in the British press at the time. There are no other references to such a competition in any other press clipping albums that I have seen so I can only assume that this is the source of that rumour, urban myth, whatever it is. However, it may be true."

So as much as I LOVED finding the original papers and thought this would definitely prove the myth, it turns out this is most likely a case of early newspapers simply running with a story without verifying it. Chaplin never confirmed it, the source of the story can't even be confirmed to exist, and people simply ran with it. It may very well just be an urban legend that started almost a century ago. 

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Snap Judgment #28: Special Agent Catnip

Snapple Fact #1454: In the 1960s, the U.S. government tried to turn a cat into a spy.

Image Source

Image Source

Verdict: True. Completely and utterly true. 

I am not ashamed to admit I spent more time looking at spy cats/coming up with puns (I'm currently favoring "Tacti-cat" for the above image) than I did doing research for this post. It's not that I didn't do a lot of research, it's that I spent in exorbitant amount of time checking out cat pictures. None of us are immune, so stop looking judging me and enjoy the adorable cat pictures like nature intended. 

The CIA did a lot of..."interesting" (often morally questionable) projects in the 60's, and Project "Acoustic Cat" (big missed opportunity for "Acousticat") is arguably one of the more absurd onesA quick warning: if you are squeamish/have issues with what most would consider "animal cruelty," I would not advise continuing on.

The goal was simple in theory, difficult in practice: hide a recording device on a cat, gift it to the Soviet Union, let it do its work. They also wanted to implant a small device to give it cues so they could direct it at at least a basic level. Now remember the year: there are no personal computers, audio recording is still 100% analog, and small batteries with long life are hard to produce (even today that presents a challenge.) The cat had to look like a cat still as well, so where do you hide all the necessary components?

Unfortunately, the CIA went ahead and created what assistant to the CIA director Victor Marchetti described as "a monstrosity." They performed surgery on the cat and implanted a battery, they then had wires running the length of his body woven into the fur, then placed a small microphone in his ear canal. The cat also had serious issues with wandering off or becoming distracted when bored or hungry, so they did more surgery to "help with that." I am not sure what that means, but I'm sure it's just more awfulness. From conception to implementation, this cost $20 million dollars over 5 years. 

On the first trip out into the real world, the cat was hit and killed by a taxi while crossing the road before even making it to the target. From The Atlantic (and once again, Marchetti): 

When it came time for the inaugural mission, CIA agents released their rookie agent from the back of a nondescript van and watched eagerly as he set out on his mission. Acoustic Kitty dashed off toward the embassy, making it all of 10 feet before he was unceremoniously struck by a passing taxi and killed.

“There they were, sitting in the van,” Marchetti recalled, “and the cat was dead.”

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Snap Judgment #24...? Disney's Gang Problem

Snap Judgment #24*: Disney's Gang Problem

*this post has nothing to do with Snapple. Josh's story was just too good to pass up.

Batman vs. The Joker. The Capulets vs. the Montagues. White Rabbits vs. Main Street Fire Station 55. Okay, one of these things is not like the other ones, obviously. If you don’t know anything about the latest heated rivalry, then you’re not alone. 

There was recently a lawsuit that pitted the Main Street Fire Station 55 Social Club against the White Rabbits Social Club for defamation, invasion of privacy, conspiracy, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Not too outrageous as these things tend to happen unfortunately. Except this didn’t occur just out in the heart of the streets, but on a main street. Like the Main Street. Like Disneyland in California Main Street. 

Yeah, you read that right (http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-disneyland-social-clubs-20180209-story.html). This story is about how two separate social clubs in Disneyland had a feud that resulted in this lawsuit which also did name Disneyland in it. Apparently it is very common for many different social clubs to gather and spend time together in the park. Some clubs have a few people, while others have over 100 separate members who come together to share in the magic.

These loons, a term which I feel confident in using here since I am most certainly one of them, all have, for all intent and purposes, matching biker vests essentially with patches that display their affiliation for these different clubs. Some members just outright get the patch, while others have an initiation period for him/her to prove his/her worth to the club. Once in these clubs, members hold events outside the park like parties or benefits. And that’s where our lawsuit comes in.

The Main Street Fire Station 55 Club was holding a fundraiser in the park when one of its members was approached by a small group from the White Rabbits. The crew of the Rabbits asked for $500 as a form of protection to ensure the benefit would go uninterrupted throughout the park. I’m going to stop here and remind everyone that this is indeed a park where if you pay for a ticket, you have access to any and all areas designated for guests without any hindrance of anyone or, as I assume, any other social club. So in my mind, there is no reason why anyone would need protection of any sort. For any reason. Ever.

The lawsuit is ongoing at this time but I wanted to highlight such an asinine story. I figured it would be a nice break from the norm of Snapple facts that we have been doing lately to see how crazy, again myself included, people are about these parks. Hopefully both of these social clubs can end this pissing contest.

Thanks again for all the love and support you guys and gals give us. Be on the lookout for big things in the upcoming future for Rumor Flies!

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Snap Judgment #32: No Stompies in Germany

Snapple Fact #1366: In Denmark, citizens have to select baby names from a list of 7,000 government-approved names.

Verdict: True

So as it turns out, many countries have specific laws as to what you can and can't name your kids. Some are pretty obvious, such as no slurs or generally offensive names, but the laws get a lot more interesting as you dive in a little deeper. Denmark, as it turns out, is just particularly strict, while many countries vary pretty wildly. 

Let's start with the initial subject of this Snapple "real fact" - Denmark. Denmark does indeed have a list of approximately 7,000 government-approved names. One can apply for special permission through their local church, then the government reviews it. They are so strict that they actually reject 15-20% of submitted names. A few banned names: Anus, Pluto, and Monkey. 

According to the earlier linked Mental Floss article, here are a few rules of note:

  • Names must indicate gender 
  • Creative spellings of approved names are largely not allowed
  • Last names can't be used as first names and vice versa
  • Part of the rationale is to protect "rare Danish last names" 
Image source

Image source

 

In 1982, Sweden enacted the "Naming Law," which was originally designed "to prevent non-noble families from giving their children noble names," but it has since evolved. First names can't be offensive or "cause discomfort" for the individual bearing it, you can only change your name once, and you must keep at least one of the original names you were given if you do change your name. A few banned names: Metallica, Superman, Veranda, Ikea, and Elvis. Interestingly enough, they specifically allow "Goole" as a middle name, and Lego is an approved name. 

The US has its own federal naming laws, but it also varies wildly from state to state. Some states ban obscenities, some states (such as Kentucky) have no name laws at all, and in some cases, courts interpret the right to name a child whatever the parents' want as a matter of Free Speech (1st amendment clause) and Due Process (14th amendment clause). California actually doesn't allow for diacritical marks (ex. José, Noël), and some states limit the number of letters a name can have for record-keeping purposes. 

To close it out, here's an article from Business Insider that lists some interesting banned names by country! Enjoy, and if you live in Germany, do not name your kid "Stompie." 

 

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Snap Judgment #21: Shrimp Pistoleros

#770: Pistol shrimp can make a noise loud enough to break glass.

Image Source

Image Source

Verdict: True. 

Confession time: I knew this was true because I already knew a tiny bit about these totally awesome aquatic sharp shooters. I just REALLY wanted to share facts and videos about this ridiculous creature. A "pistol shrimp" gets its name from the massive claw it uses to "shoot" other creatures. So let's dive into what exactly this "pistol" is by starting with good ol' Wikipedia page on "pistol shrimp" or "alpheidae" (Quick note: there is literally over a thousand different species of "snapping shrimp," many of which have this "pistol shot" for subduing prey):

Alpheidae is a family of caridean snapping shrimp characterized by having asymmetrical claws, the larger of which is typically capable of producing a loud snapping sound. Other common names for animals in the group are pistol shrimp or alpheid shrimp.

That "snapping" characterization is a serious understatement. According to the previously linked BBC video, the "flash point" of the snap heats up the area - for a split second - to 4000°C. That is not a typo. This super-heated "bubble bullet" can travel as fast as a car and often literally launches their prey several inches (which for a 3-5cm creature underwater is no small feat). In addition to being a tool of brutal fishy murder, according to the BBC, it is also their primary source of communication "with their innumerable neighbors, each tucked away in it its own den in the soft sand." The sound is so loud, that it has become a staple "noise" under the ocean and is often, according to the same BBC article, described as "snaps" underwater or like the "cracks" of burning tinder. 

Image Source

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So a fun thing I stumbled across in the above mentioned BBC article: 

Between 1944 and 1945, the US Navy deliberately used snapping shrimp colonies as an "acoustic screen" to hide from the underwater hydrophones in Japan's harbours, allowing their submarines to enter undetected. The shrimp might even have had their own part in early atom bomb tests on Bikini Atoll.

Basically, they are so loud and so prevalent that the military used them to as a "noise cover" on multiple occasions. 

So there you have it. These little desperados are awesome. Have a good rest of your week and (an early) Happy Mardi Gras!

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Snap Judgment #18: Flies are Singing for You

Snapple Fact #1382: A housefly hums in the key of F
 

Verdict: True

So I had originally planned a different one since this is another "music related" topic (sort of) like the black holes post, but Ryan and Josh picked up the camel topic I was going to write about for our most recent recording (we did another Snapple fact check episode for this season!). This was the other topic I had prepped, so here we are!

According to Mental Floss, the common household fly flaps its wings around 190 times a second, which the human ear perceives as a note in F major (which includes F, G, A, B♭, C, D, and E). The wings are flapping are responsible for the sound we hear, which is actually pretty common among insects. Even though there is variation in size and speed of each fly, the measurements are proportional, so for instance if the wings are larger the number of flaps will be less frequent (and vice versa). This insures they "stay in key." 

Image source

Image source

Female mosquitos, according to the previously linked Purdue article, use this pitch to attract male mosquitos. It is a rare example of a female species using sounds to attract males in their species. It is so enticing, a tuning fork tuned to the key of F will actually attract male mosquitos pretty effectively. I couldn't find a good video example of this, so if you know of any let us know! 

Sorry this one was a little shorter than usual. It was interesting (at least to me) but somewhat straightforward. We will hunt down a big one for you next week. Until then, we hope you enjoyed this "Snap Judgment"!

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Snap Judgment #15: Columbus is a Citrus-Planting Piece of $%*&

#402: Christopher Columbus brought the first lemon seeds to America.

Image source: https://www.snapple.com/images/snapple_facts/small/snapple_fact_402.jpg

Image source: https://www.snapple.com/images/snapple_facts/small/snapple_fact_402.jpg

Verdict: True

Greg here, and as is the case with anything Columbus related, that particular context is important. Anyone who has listened to even a few episodes of this show will quickly recognize that my complete and utter distaste at anything Christopher Columbus-related is hard to truly capture. That's partially why I chose this subject: it forces me to just do some research and sit back without too much editorializing. But this topic also gives me a fun launchpad to discuss some side stuff, which we will get in to momentarily. So now: Citrus stuff!

Image source: https://news.nationalgeographic.com/content/dam/news/photos/000/786/78681.ngsversion.1422285424997.adapt.1900.1.jpg

Image source: https://news.nationalgeographic.com/content/dam/news/photos/000/786/78681.ngsversion.1422285424997.adapt.1900.1.jpg

A cursory google search will quickly reveal to anyone that this is widely accepted and parroted. While all the specifics are a little debated, it seems to be consensus that Columbus brought lemon seeds - along with several other citrus seeds - to the "New World." Ironically, his crew also suffered a horrible bout of scurvy on their long expedition.

I made it a point to find a more "academic" or accredited source to back it up, and indeed there doesn't seem to be any major contradictions to the claim. I found a few books that point to sources saying he planted them in Haiti for sure, then in the Americas, where they flourished. He also brought death and ruination in the form of poor governorship and horrible diseases (I had to get at least one dig in). 

It's important to note that this trend of bringing and unleashing animals, plants, and even diseases, is something we see over and over again in colonization discussions (and even beyond). The Spanish introduced horses in the 16th century, which fundamentally altered the lives of Native American communities in the plains regions of North America, who famously learned to integrate horses into their communities. Over the next centuries, horses became as culturally ingrained in the mythos of the "American West" as tumbleweeds and six-shooters. A quick digression, but something worth mentioning (in my opinion). 

Ok. Two digs.    Source:  XKCD  under Creative Commons. 

Ok. Two digs. 

Source: XKCD under Creative Commons. 

So now for something completely different and probably a solid 30% of the motivation for my post/topic choice. Did you know there's an indie record called Columbus? Did you know it was a musical? Did you know it was produced by Andrew Dost (Anthallo, Fun.) and features such indie darlings as Nate Ruess (Steel Train, Fun.), Michael Nau (Page France), Joel Thiele (Anathallo), and more? It is an absurd and plucky record that takes ridiculous liberties (knowingly). It is so silly and funny and even catchy (and yes, at times a bit cringe-y, but that's always a risk with something like this). They even pressed a bright magenta vinyl record. I don't know if Columbus will ever rock broadway...but hey, stranger things have happened. 

Image source: https://i.ytimg.com/vi/OkBWGbeNvfI/maxresdefault.jpg

Image source: https://i.ytimg.com/vi/OkBWGbeNvfI/maxresdefault.jpg

Snap Judgment #13: Bro, do you even fold?

#77 No piece of paper can be folded more than seven times. (False)

From "The Hydraulic Press Channel"

From "The Hydraulic Press Channel"

So let's jump right into this, because there's a lot to unfold (hue hue hue). So the answer is no, a piece of paper can in fact be folded more than 7 times; however, it's very difficult and has a lot of parameters that need to be met. If you tear a small piece of paper out of a notebook, you will not be able to do it without serious strength, and even then, if it's the wrong material it can simply explode or suffer some other sort of failure. Every time you fold the paper, it becomes exponentially thicker and thus harder to bend/flatten - this is the crux of the challenge. 

As is often the case, Mythbusters also tested this and found it to be false. The video is fun as always, and they even managed to fold it eleven times. In this case, they were able to accomplish it by 1. making sure the paper was massively large, and 2. bringing enough "strength" to bear in the form of heavy machinery to flatten/crease the paper (as well as having several people fold it). 

Sauce: https://www.scienceabc.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/The-group-which-made-a-record-with-13-folds.jpg

Sauce: https://www.scienceabc.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/The-group-which-made-a-record-with-13-folds.jpg

Enter: Britney Gallivan. Britney decided to REALLY test this, as well as do research into the forces at play. Mental Floss has a solid overview: she used a 4000-ft long roll of toilet paper and managed 12 folds. For the more mathematically inclined among you, she even derived a formula. She also figured out that "single side folding" is arguably the best method. Later in January of 2012, St. Mark's School in Massachusetts beat her record with another method, achieving 13 folds.

So there you have it! Hope you enjoyed this week's Snap Judgment. 

Cheers

Snap Judgment #18: Flies are Singing for You

Snapple Fact #1382: A housefly hums in the key of F
 

Verdict: True

So I had originally planned a different one since this is another "music related" topic (sort of) like the black holes post, but Ryan and Josh picked up the camel topic I was going to write about for our most recent recording (we did another Snapple fact check episode for this season!). This was the other topic I had prepped, so here we are!

According to Mental Floss, the common household fly flaps its wings around 190 times a second, which the human ear perceives as a note in F major (which includes F, G, A, B♭, C, D, and E). The wings are flapping are responsible for the sound we hear, which is actually pretty common among insects. Even though there is variation in size and speed of each fly, the measurements are proportional, so for instance if the wings are larger the number of flaps will be less frequent (and vice versa). This insures they "stay in key." 

Image source

Image source

Female mosquitos, according to the previously linked Purdue article, use this pitch to attract male mosquitos. It is a rare example of a female species using sounds to attract males in their species. It is so enticing, a tuning fork tuned to the key of F will actually attract male mosquitos pretty effectively. I couldn't find a good video example of this, so if you know of any let us know! 

Sorry this one was a little shorter than usual. It was interesting (at least to me) but somewhat straightforward. We will hunt down a big one for you next week. Until then, we hope you enjoyed this "Snap Judgment"!

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Snap Judgment #7: Incessant Bloodhound Gang

#435: Bloodhounds can track a man by smell for up to 100 miles

BH.png

Verdict: True (more or less)

Here we are discussing smell again, but whatever. BLOODHOUNDS ARE SO COOL. Seriously. They are crazy good at sniffing things out. The specific claim "up to 100 miles" is hard to pin to the very number, but they have reportedly tracked a scent for up to 130 miles according to PBS, so Snapple probably played it somewhat conservative at 100 miles. In addition, "their extraordinary ability to discern a cold trail has sent them on fruitful missions, following tracks over 300 hours old.”

Bloodhounds have up to 230 million olfactory cells (40 times more than humans). Their sense of smell is so good and so reliable that it is admissible in court as evidence. According to that same PBS article, one famous dog, “Nick Carter” (yup, Nick Carter), led to the capture and conviction of over 600 criminals. 

BloodhoundsHunting.jpg

In order to really put them to the test, Mythbusters took a crack at trying to fool bloodhounds as shown in movies: running in random directions or zig-zags to throw off a pattern, running in a stream or other body of water to throw off the scent, and other commonly depicted techniques. Despite their best efforts, they were unsuccessful, and the ever capable Morgan tracked him with little issue. Having learned their lesson that bloodhounds are friggin' awesome at finding people, they tried again. This time, Jamie threw fish on the ground to throw off the scent and distract his pursuer. He also attempted to mask his scent with various products and suits as well as cross an even larger body of water than the first time. Once again, the able Morgan found him with little trouble. 

So there you have it. Bloodhounds are coming to get you - AND THERE'S NOTHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT. 

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Bloodhound pack image source

Cool technical piece by CIA on usefulness of scent in investigations

Snap Judgment #2: Slippery Myths

#110: “FROGS NEVER DRINK”

1.png

Verdict: True

Snapple is now batting a .500! Frogs have a thin, permeable skin they use to absorb water. This makes it so they do not need to consume water orally, meaning that technically they do not "drink" water as we would define it (though they do consume water). Take it as you will, but we are counting this as a "true" fact for Snapple - so points on the board for them. 

They also breathe via their skin, which means they can drown like we do (their lungs fill with water). They do in fact breath underwater via their skin, but if the oxygen content isn't high enough, this can cause problems. They also can die if their skin dries out, so frogs are just finicky and picky (obviously). Due to how specific conditions need to be for their continued survival, over 50% frog species are actually in danger of extinction. Small, simple changes to their ecosystems/habitats can be lethal. 

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We also found a cool video about a poisonous frog in the Amazons that secretes a chemical many times more powerful than morphine - a secretion that is now actually used by a pharmaceutical company. I found it interesting. If you don't then...well...yeah! 

Sorry to double-dip on reddit, but out of curiosity I went ahead and looked up r/frogs on reddit. They are a small, nice community with lots of resources on how to help save frogs! So we encourage you to check them out if you're looking to learn more or are already passionate about our slimy little buddies who, apparently, don't drink water!

Slippy Image Source 1

Slippy Image Source 2

Snap Judgment #1: Bananas, Mosquitoes, and Health Insurance (Sort of) Fraud

Welcome to the first ever Snap Judgement! As described on Patreon, you will receive super special news letters from us over at the show. A mainstay will be semi-regular write ups about an interesting true or false (or somewhere in between) Snapple factoid. In addition, we will frequently feature a write up about some current event or topic that caught our interest. So without further ado, let's get to it!

#11: “Mosquitoes are attracted to people who just ate bananas”

The illusion of safety

Verdict: False

This one is interesting right out the gate, as during my research I found claims that it attracts or repels. Both claims listed the exact same cause: Octenol, which is found in bananas. Octenol, also known as “Mushroom alcohol,” is a chemical that attracts insects and is commonly found in mosquito traps (along with carbon dioxide). I found this myth particularly interesting given the completely contradictory application of bananas (some claim it's an attractant, others claim it's a repellant).

According to NBC, it is nothing more than "old wives' tales." ABC also cover this topic, with Susan Paskewitz, an entomologist at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, claiming that they found no correlation in their lab studies – though interestingly enough, different people were inherently more or less prone to attracting mosquitoes at different times throughout the day. For good measure, this CNN article also discusses how there seems to be zero connection between what you eat and/or drink and how attractive or disgusting you may be to mosquitoes.

Our New Favorite/Horrifying Subreddit:
Unethical Life Pro Tips

Lucky you! On this first “Snap Judgment” I will be tackling a (sort of) current topic. If you haven't seen it before, there is a subreddit that is awful and hilarious called Unethical Life Pro Tips. They are terrible and funny and we sincerely hope no one actually does this stuff. That being said...I looked into two of our favorite “pro tips.”

1. A nice outlandish starter: “Do you have a chronic medical condition (e.g., MS) that costs your insurance company $20,000 per month? Great! Tell them you'll switch insurance companies if they pay you $10,000 per month. (Obamacare makes this possible) Repeat as needed to fund the life of your dreams.”

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Alright. This one is a little whacky. It's one of those, “I see why you would think that's a good idea, but there's a reason probably no one is doing it...” type of ideas. Nothing I could find online - across several search variations and many search pages deep – even hinted that insurances would agree to pay you to not insure you anymore. And why would they? Sure, there may be individual cases where perhaps it's worth considering, but the moment you do it, you risk others asking for the same options. If you took this to its logical extreme, you would wind up in a situation where insurance companies are literally not insuring anyone and just paying people to not insure them anymore. I'm going to label this one a big negative, Ghost Rider.

2. “Brake fluid will !&% up a [car's] paint job much better than paint stripper will.

*deep breath* First off: DO NOT DO THIS TO SOMEONE. You're better than that! *end lecture*

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I chose this one because it's actually really interesting and while researching if it is true (it is for the most part, some argue really good paint can take it for a relatively short duration) I found some suggestions for what to do if it happens to you. That being said, it is really bad. If you do not act quickly and carefully your paint will come right off.

According to Car Care Guide (linked above): “Try to use a towel to soak up the fluid instead of wiping with a rag, since you don’t want to spread the fluid around and make the problem worse. Then clean the area immediately with soap and lots of water, as water can help neutralize brake fluid. Although these steps likely won’t stop the damage already inflicted, it may help mitigate the destruction.” If you do mess up, get your car to a shop immediately so they can properly remove it and to prevent it from eating through to the metal.

Hope you awesome patrons enjoyed this first edition of Snap Judgment! If you have any questions, additions, or suggestions, let us know!

 

 

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