Tags: useless facts

word can help write your suicide note

(no subject)

x-posted to useless_facts.

Eratosthenes, an ancient Greek philosopher, was the first human being in recorded history to calcualte the circumference of a planet (specifically, the Earth), and he did so with remarkable accuracy.

Basically, he had two sticks stuck vertically upright in the sand in two towns, one in Alexandria, the other in Swenet. When the sun was directly overhead, casting no shadows from the stick in Swenet, he noted there was a shadow cast by the other stick in Alexandria at the same time.

Measuring the distance between the two sticks (by basically having some dude walk from one town to the other and count his steps) and measuring the length of the shadow cast and angle of the light casting the shadow, he basically figured out not only that the Earth had to be round, but he went on to calculate it to an accuracy of 99% of the modern day accepted circumference of the Earth.

All this using a couple of sticks, some dude walking and counting his steps, and a little maths.

Since this probably blew your mind like it did mine, I'll give you a minute to clean up brain matter off your screen.

He was also the first to calculate the tilt of the Earth's axis, again with remarkable accuracy; and it is possible he also may have calcualted the Earth's distance from the Sun to an accuracy of 99% compared to that of today's accepted distance.

He did all this around 200 years before Jesus walked the Earth, or a solid 1,700 years before man circumnavigated the planet and removed all doubt of the Earth being flat.

Or, you know, he was all wrong and it's all a bunch of lies.

word can help write your suicide note

The religious affiliations of comic book superheroes.

Ever wonder what the religious affiliations of comic book superheroes are? Yeah, neither have I. But someone did and had enough time on his hands to compile this insanely exhaustive list of comic book characters (mostly superheroes) and their religious beliefs / affiliations. Here's a quick sample:

Superman and Supergirl are Methodists.

Spiderman and Captain America are Protestants.

Batman is Episcopalian/Catholic (lapsed).

The Punisher and The Hulk are Catholic (lapsed).

Nightcrawler, Daredevil, Catwoman, Hellboy, Ghost Rider and The Punisher are Catholics.

John Constantine is Catholic slash humanist.

Deadpool is Catholic (lapsed) slash One World Church (lapsed).

The Thing / Ben Grimm, Captain Underpants and Firestorm are Jewish.

Iceman, The Sandman, Robin, Green Lantern II are Jewish slash Catholic.

Wolverine is Buddhist, apparently.

Dr. Doom and Magneto are Roma (Gypsy).

The Savage Dragon is an atheist.

J. Jonah Jameson's religion is listed as "Hates Spider Man." LMAO.

word can help write your suicide note

Selling your kidney on the black market

Cross posted to useless_facts.

Based on research (i.e. ten minutes of Googling), selling your kidney on the black market can net you anywhere between US$800 to $25,000, possibly more, but prices seem to range in that area and some bargaining may be required.

According to United States law, selling a kidney or any human organ is illegal, punishable by up to a $50,000 fine, up to 5 years in prison, or both. (42 U.S.C. § 274e(b)). You can legally donate it but not sell it.

You can sell a kidney legally in a few countries including Iran, but you'll only get between $2,000 and $4,000 - which will barely cover your return plane ticket to and from the US or Canada.

You only need one kidney to live normally.

However, the risks of selling your kidney on the black market can include massive infections, disease, death, etc. Not to mention getting ripped off. Since it's illegal, the conditions of the operation may easily be less than satisfactory.

This Wikipedia article on a rather recent illegal kidney trade scandal in India indicates that people are selling their kidneys for as little as 30,000 rupees, or about US $600.

A NY Times article on the international organ trade mentions a guy selling his kidney to an ailing Brooklyn woman for US $6,000.

The medical risks of obtaining an organ on the black market.

A WIRED article on struggling Indian tsunami survivors selling their kidneys on the black market after the government predictably fucked them over.

You can get a kidney almost immediately in Iraq for roughly US $2,000. Quote: " "I can get you a healthy kidney. It will cost you U.S. $2,000 to $3,000, you just have to give me your blood type and I will get it for you even before you have finished a cold Pepsi," Bashar said, smiling... Fadhel's new kidney came from a man who initially asked $4,000 but was bartered down to $3,000 after long hours of negotiation."

How to sell your uterus, eggs, kidney, liver, spleen, plasma, sperm, hair and body for easy cash.
word can help write your suicide note

Notable college dropouts who became tech CEOs, and then billionaires.

The computer industry is filled with a surprising number of billionaire CEOs who are in fact college dropouts, many of whom are among the richest people in the world:

Bill Gates of Microsoft needs no introduction. After scoring 1590 out of 1600 on his SATs, he joined Harvard but dropped out after roughly two years to start up Microsoft with friends he made at Harvard, who included Steve Ballmer. He's currently the third richest person on earth with a net worth of US$ 58 billion.

The CEO of Oracle, Larry Ellison, is the 14th richest man on the planet with a net worth of US $ 25 billion. His success story inspired a satirical oft-forwarded commencement speech he supposedly gave to Yale's Class of 2000 where he told the graduates they were all idiots and should have dropped out two years ago, like all the most successful tech CEOs have, including himself. (The Snopes article.) He dropped out of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign at the end of his second year because his adoptive mother had just died. He later attended the University of Chicago for just one term and dropped out when he discovered computer programming, and you can guess what happened next.

Larry Page, co-founder of Google, may be on this list as he is officially still "on leave" from the PhD program at Stanford University. His net worth is US$18.6 billion.

Michael Dell started selling computers out of his parents' basement at the age of 19 after dropping out of the University of Texas at Austin. In 2004, Dell was the most profitable computer manufacturer in the world. Michael Dell's net worth is US$ 16.4 billion.

Steve Jobs, co-founder and CEO of Apple, dropped out of Reed College in Portland, OR after only one semester. He currently has a net worth of US$ 5.4 billion.

Mark Zuckerberg created a little website called Facebook out of his dorm room on February 15, 2004. By that summer Facebook had exploded and he moved out and never resumed his classes at Harvard. Forbes recently dubbed him "the world's youngest self-made billionaire" at just 24. He says he still lives in a one bedroom apartment and sleeps on a mattress on the floor, even though he does travel in an Audi A8. His net worth is US$1.5 billion. And he's only 24. Must not kill self must not kill self....

And of course, the famous and beloved Steve Wozniak, the "other" co-founding Steve of Apple, dropped out of the University of California, Berkeley, although he did later return to finish his B.S. degree in E.E.C.S. He's not technically a billionaire, but still notable enough to be on this slapped-together list.

I'm sure there's many more examples, but I'm hungry and want breakfast now.
word can help write your suicide note

(no subject)

The Forbes current list of the 20 richest humans on earth.

4 of the top 10 are Indians, including the feuding Ambani brothers. One of the Ambani brothers is the richest man in all of Asia. Another Indian in the top ten, steel king Lakshmi Mittal in London, is the richest man in all of Europe.

Only one in the top 20 is a woman (Lilane Bettencourt of the L'Oreal empire).

At least 1 out of them are high school dropouts. 4 are college or university dropouts, including Microsoft's Bill Gates and Oracle's Lawrence Ellison.
word can help write your suicide note

(no subject)

Useless fact of the day:

If you sell your kidney on the black market, you'll get 75,000 rupees for it, or roughly US $1,600 for it, at least here in India.

I know because at one point I was considering doing it so I could buy a then-the-hottest-thing-ever and brand new Apple titanium PowerBook G4. Tragically it wouldn't have been enough :(

I can't make this a useless_facts post because I have no reference or link to cite. Just a friend of a friend of a friend that knew a guy that would totally hook me up or something.

Market forces for black market kidneys are probably dictated by things like inflation, supply and demand and stuff like that (I'm sure a lot of really poor desperate people sell organs on the black market here) and the fact that life is so hilariously cheap in India. I'm wondering if you'd have to haggle for the price just like you do for literally everything else here. That would be an interesting conversation, and also leads me to add the disclaimer that perhaps 75 K was the starting price for negotiating.

It's just as well, because parting with a kidney isn't something to be taken lightly. Aside from the dubious safety of illegal surgery, I'm pretty sure you'd have to make major modifications to your diet. Also, I'm not sure how much my kidney would be worth, what with all the Pepsi and junk food I consume.

So ignoring an actual monetary number, what item or object would you trade an organ for?

What would you trade your kidney for?

word can help write your suicide note

(no subject)

Earlier [Gizmodo] posted on a New Yorker piece about a man trapped in an elevator for 41 hours. But the real gem of the article was the mountain of "Did you know..." facts laced throughout.

Like that Door Close button you're always pushing? Yeah, it doesn't work. Here's the full list:

* As mentioned above, the Door Close button is there mostly to give passengers the illusion of control. In elevators built since the early '90s. The button is only enabled in emergency situations with a key held by an authority.

* The only known occurence of an elevator car free falling due to a snapped cable (barring fire or structural collapse), was in 1945. A B25 Bomber crashed into the Empire State Building, severing the cables of two elevators. The elevator car on the 75th floor had a woman on it, but she survived due to the 1000 feet of coiled cable of fallen cable below, which lessened the impact.

* Elevators are twenty times safer than escalators. There are twenty times more elevators than escalators, but only 1/3 more accidents.

* Elevators are also safer than cars. An average of 26 people die in elevators each year in the U.S. There are 26 car deaths every five hours.

* Most people who die in elevators are elevator technicians.

* The Otis Elevator Company carries the equivalent of the world's population in their elevators every five days.

* The New York Marriott was the first to introduce a smart elevator system that assigned passengers to elevators depending on what floor they were heading to.

* Elevators used to require a two-man dispatcher/operator team to function. The advent of navigational buttons rendered those jobs obsolete.

* The area required for personal space is 2.3 feet. The average amount on elevators is generally 2 feet.

* Elevator hatches are generally bolted shut for safety reasons. In times of elevator crisis, the safest place is inside the elevator.

* The myth about jumping just before impact in a falling elevator is just that — myth. You can't jump fast enough to counteract the speed of falling. And you wouldn't know when to jump.

* Due to the laws of physics, elevators can't be any taller than 1700 feet. Hoist ropes become too heavy after that, snapping at 3200 feet.

* And as an interesting closing note, Nicholas White, the man trapped in the elevator, received a low six-figure settlement after filing a $25 million lawsuit against the building. But in the process, he lost his job, his money and his apartment. He is now unemployed.

From Gizmodo: Things you didn't know about elevators.