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Man Breaks World Record for Getting Hit by Wet Sponges… For Science!

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  • It’s an unusual method, but if it works…

People will do strange things for money, fame and recognition, from sticking toothpicks into their beard to piercing coconuts with one finger. Being pummeled in the face by the most wet sponges in one minute is definitely one of the more bizarre world records and until recently it stood at 76.

Then along came a 35-year-old Idahoan David Rush, who crushed the record by receiving 92 wet smacks to the face within a 60-second time frame. That’s… An achievement.

Aided by his neighbor Jonathan Hannon, Rush had 106 sponges flung at him, of which 96 connected with his body. Unfortunately, four of them had be disqualified for not being clear face-shots.

Earlier this year the pair broke the 30-second version of the same record. At that time, Rush took 43 sponges to the face, meaning that he more than doubled that amount when taking the record up to a while minute.

Whether Rush got better at aligning his face or Hannon’s throwing arm got more accurate, the story doesn’t tell. But they definitely improved.

 

 

All for Science

In fact, the word ‘improvement’ is the key word behind Rush’s strange world record attempt. He didn’t go for it – at least not solely – for personal glory, as he explains in a video he created for the Ada Community Library Summer Reading program.

He firmly believes that a person can better themselves if they just set their mind to it. “If you believe in yourself, set your mind on a goal and pursue it with passion, you can accomplish virtually anything,” Rush says.

With this attitude in mind, Rush has in the last five years gone from holding no records whatsoever to claiming a whopping 150 Guinness-recognized world record titles.

Other records he’s broken include the most Hanetsuki (a Japanese ping pong-like game) hits in one minute and the most ping pong balls bounced into a pint glass within a minute. And he does it all in the name of science.

Rush uses the publicity he gains from his continuous quest for world records to promote STEM – science, technology, engineering and mathematics – education among both young people and politicians making educational decisions. He particularly targets those pupils and students who believe they don’t have what it takes to excel in sciences.

“I’ve been able to talk to thousands of people about the importance of STEM education, what role it plays in our lives, and to tell people to believe in yourself and – when doing your math homework – to not have that inner dialogue that says ‘I can’t do this’. There are studies that show that if you don’t believe you can get better… You will not get better.

“But if you believe that you can get better and you can get the help you need, you can do it,” he says.

 

Personal Experience

Rush uses his own experiences as an example in his talks. When he was in the second grade, he applied to a program for gifted students. He didn’t get in.

“I just wasn’t smart enough. In the fifth grade I tried again, but I only got in for math. Does that mean I couldn’t be good at science, history, languages or literature?” he asks.

He decided to answer the question himself. By the time Rush graduated from high school, he had taken advanced placement courses in all of these subjects and was offered admission into MIT.

“But what if I’d believed in second grade that I wasn’t smart? If I’d let a test define me, to tell me that I failed?” he asks. It is this kind of thinking he wants to discourage in young people.

 

How the Records Began

But how does a man decide to approach STEM education problems by breaking bizarre world records? Rush explains that the method stems from a childhood hobby.

Rush has been an enthusiastic juggler since he was eight. “I’ve been promoting STEM education for the last ten years or so. I’ve been using juggling as a hook and I thought, what better way to encourage students to pursue challenges and push themselves to the limit than by breaking a Guinness world record title,” he says.

He decided to break the record for the fastest mile run while juggling, also known as “joggling.” He trained for more than two years, during which he ran more than 2,000 miles while juggling. He even finished a marathon like this.

Then, disaster struck.

“I went on one last juggling run, and I hurt my knee. I couldn’t run anymore. I went to the doctor, got x-rays, got an MRI, got a second opinion… They couldn’t figure out what was wrong with my knee but it hurt so bad I had to stop.”

At this point, Rush felt like giving up. But doing so would’ve gone against everything his project was supposed to be about.

“Even though you set our mind to a goal, the outcome might look a little bit different than what you previously expected,” he muses. “So instead of giving up, I decided to pivot to longest duration blindfolded juggling. I’d spent so long doing the basic three-ball cascade juggling move while running that I could literally do it with my eyes closed.”

After several more months of practice, in October 2015 Rush finally claimed his first world record by juggling with a blindfold on for six minutes and 34 seconds.

Since then, he’s claimed many more titles and even appeared on TV. He joined ex-NFL player and actor Terry Crews on America’s Got Talent where they tried ripping t-shirts off of themselves in record time. While Crews is used to posing shirtless, Rush soundly beat him in his own game.

And that is the message he wants to give to aspiring STEM students. That with training and hard work, they can excel in their chosen subject.

“Failure is simply an opportunity to improve,” he says.

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Dogs Sniff Out Corona Infections at Finnish Airport

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  • If there’s a prize for the most adorable public health program, these pooches need to win it.

“They’re all good dogs, Brent,” an online personality once said. While that is true, some dogs might be a bit better than others. Or at least some of them can hold down a job.

The K-9 unit is old news to anyone who knows anything about the police force. Dogs also serve in the army, the fire department, and they help the visually impaired get around more easily.

Some dogs are even trying to become dog-tors. A 2019 study found that pooches can be trained to accurately sniff out the presence of cancer cells in blood.

In a similar vein, some medical mutts are now tackling the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In Finland, sharp-nosed dogs have been brought in to sniff out potential coronavirus infections at the country’s largest airport.

The COVID-sniffing dogs have good timing, too. After the first wave of the ‘Rona abated, countries around the world started loosening movement restrictions. Some even allowed travel again.

Turns out, that may have been a mistake. According to the World Health Organization’s regional director for Europe Hans Kluge, the continent could be facing another, potentially even more serious corona wave, reported the BBC.

New cases in Europe have doubled over the past couple of weeks, with 300,000 new infections discovered just within one week.

“Although these numbers reflect more comprehensive testing, it also shows alarming rates of transmission across the region,” Kluge said.

“Good Lord, she reeks of the ‘Rona! Get her off me!”

Canine Pioneers

To try and cope with the surging infection rate, Finavia – the company responsible for maintaining Finland’s airport network – turned to dogs for help.

Since yesterday, the COVID canines have been patrolling the Helsinki Airport in the city of Vantaa.

“We are among the pioneers. As far as we know, no other airport has attempted to use canine scent detection on such a large scale against COVID-19,” says Helsinki Airport Director Ulla Lettijeff.

Finavia is training a total of 10 dogs for tracking potential corona infections at the airport. They will work in shifts, with four dogs active at one time.

According to Susanna Paavilainen, CEO of WiseNose Ry, University of Helsinki’s DogRisk research group, the length of the work shift will depend on the dogs.

“Dogs need to rest from time to time. While two dogs are working, the other two are on a break,” Paavilainen says.

The dogs will mainly be sniffing travelers arriving to Finland from outside the country. If you’re scared of dogs, though, there’s no need to delay your trip to Finland. At least not because of the dogs.

The smell experts will perform their duties from a separate booth without coming into direct contact with travelers. People taking the test will swipe their skin with a test wipe and drop it into a cup.

The cup is then given to the COVID dogs for analysis. If they smell something sick, the traveler will be directed to a health information desk operated by the city of Vantaa.

“We are pleased with the city of Vantaa’s initiative. This might be an additional step forward on the way to beating COVID-19,” Lettijeff says.

Flesh Beats Metals

If a dog sniffing out a COVID infection sounds like an arbitrary detection method to you, think again. Research carried out before the start of Finavia’s project showed that the dogs are more efficient than expensive machinery.

The preliminary tests – carried out at the Veterinary Faculty of the University of Helsinki – found that dogs can sniff out COVID-19 with pretty much 100% accuracy. They can even smell the presence of the virus days before the test subject shows the first symptoms.

It turns out that a dog’s nose is much more sensitive to the coronavirus than the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests doctors usually use. A PCR test requires 18 million molecules to be present in a sample before it notices the virus.

A dog only needs 100, or even as little as 10 molecules. So which one would you rather trust?

The Next Generation

In the future, dogs from the Finnish Customs might take over the duties of the current dogs.

“We are working with Finnish Customs to prepare for a potential scenario where it takes charge of the operation,” says Paavilainen.

However, for the time being, the WiseNose dogs will continue their task. For the customs to take over, the Finnish government will need to pass a corresponding legislative amendment.

It will also take some time to train the customs dogs to recognize the COVID-19 virus. According to Paavilainen, almost all of the current dogs have previously performed scent detection duties.

The time it takes to train a dog can also vary, as it’s completely dependent on the dog in question. The star of the current program is Kössi, an 8-year-old greyhound mix.

He learned to pick up the scent of the coronavirus in a mere seven minutes. Talk about a fast learner.

“Not all dogs can do it as they operate in different ways. Kössi has a lot of experience from identifying biological samples,” Paavilainen says.

Such a good boy.

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Man Rides Horse Down Highway in Chicago

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  • But he does it for good reason, and we really can’t be mad about it.

Just yesterday I wrote about a woman who fell out of the car she was riding in, all because of a Snapchat video. And today? A man riding his horse down the Chicago freeway.

What is with people these days? Oh ya, it is 2020.

It was 4:30 p.m. when police responded to the southbound lanes of the Dan Ryan Highway.

Adam Hollingsworth, 33, now known as the “Dreadhead Cowboy,” is facing three charges after the incident. Hollingworth was charged with reckless conduct, disobeying a police officer and criminal trespassing.

He rode around for 30 minutes or so as traffic slowed to a halt. Illinois police and Chicago police were following close behind.

Hollingsworth and the people with him were asked several times by law enforcement to leave the expressway, and they did not. Finally after exiting at the 35th St exit, Hollingsworth was taken into custody.

Darron Luster, 55, attempted to gain control over the horse after Hollingsworth was arrested. Luster was charged with obstructing and resisting arrest.

Chicago’s Mayor Lightfoot dubbed Hollingsworth “The Census Cowboy,” in efforts to bring awareness around filing out the census. Hollingsworth’s ride Monday was with the goal to turn more attention to the recent slaying of so many children over the summer.

“The thing is to send a message that our children are dying,” activist Mark Carter said. “That there are no resources coming to our communities.”

The mayor and governor are calling for funding for mental health, education and social programs and development in neighborhoods they said have been neglected.

Chicago Animal Control was called to the scene in regards to the horse. They took the animal to their facility.

The horse, named “NuNu,” had multiple injuries when animal control arrived. NuNu was bleeding from the left hoof, its right hoof was injured and the right side of the horse’s body had saddle sores.

Police were notified of Hollingsworth’s plan on Sept. 9th. His plan was denied.

The mayor’s office issued the following statement Monday.

“While the Illinois State Police (ISP) is directly leading all police matters around this incident due to the jurisdiction, Mayor Lightfoot has been briefed by the Chicago Police Department, who are assisting ISP. What is clear is that this stunt not only seriously endangered the horse but also the rider and all travelers on the expressway. There is a right way and a wrong way to call attention to issues of great importance and this stunt was decidedly the very wrong way. Furthermore, the Chicago Animal Care and Control (CACC) was on-scene arranging for the treatment of the horse which was injured as a result of this stunt and are now working to transport the animal to a temporary shelter where it can receive proper care.” 

 

 

 

 

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One of You Should Buy the Lizzie Borden House

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  • The 7-bedroom estate is back on the market for $890,000.
  • The current owners claim to have heard Lizzie Borden’s spirit, which means you can turn this into a profitable reality TV enterprise.

Just in time for the spoopy season, the Lizzie Borden house is back on the market. It’s not the house where the infamous murders took place, but Maplecroft. It’s where Borden lived in Fall River, following her acquittal for the ax-murder of her parents. It sold most recently in 2018 to Donald Woods and Leeann Wilber. They operate a Lizzie Borden themed bed-and-breakfast in the area. Until COVID, Wood and Wilber were renovating Maplecroft to become a similar venture, expanding their Borden empire. But the project got to be too expensive, and now they’re unloading the proper for $890,000.

 

I mean, I’ve seen worse properties go for more? Just look at the real estate market in Los Angeles. 

The Infamous Borden Murders

Photo by Benjamin Balázs on Unsplash

If you’re not familiar with Lizzie Borden, she stood trial for the ax-murder of her father and step-mother in 1892. The truth of what happened remains a mystery, even though the murders took place in the middle of the day with many members of the Borden household home. (Jk, Lizzie totally did it.) In part because of contradictory testimony by investigators and a second ax murder in the area, a jury acquitted Lizzie Borden. 

 

The live-in-maid at the Borden house, Bridget Sullivan, gave a deathbed confession to her sister. In it, she admitted changing her testimony to protect Lizzie. At the time of her death, Lizzie had amassed considerable wealth and several real estate holdings, but Maplecroft was her home. 

Definitely Not Haunted, Unless It Is

Photo by Benjamin Rascoe on Unsplash

There’s absolutely no reason to believe the ghost of Lizzie Borden is haunting Maplecroft. She was, by most accounts, not discontented when she died. It’s also very unusual for spirits to move properties–so Borden’s father and step-mother probably aren’t still seeking revenge at the estate. 

 

The current owners claimed to the Herald News they’ve picked up paranormal activity, registering as many as 50 voices in the home, including Lizzie Borden herself who was, “not particularly talkative.”

 

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