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1. There’s a parrot named Puck, listed in the Guinness World Book of Records as “The bird with the largest vocabulary in the world” with a vocabulary of 1728 words.
Puck was a budgerigar parrot, also known as a budgie. In America, they are commonly called parakeets. In 1995, Puck was introduced into the Guinness Book of World Records for his highly impressive vocabulary. From then on, he was recognized as the “bird that knew over 1728 words”. Puck became a star, and Guinness Book took part in interviews in order to answer questions about the talented bird.
To prove his worth, Puck was tested for a six month period. 21 different volunteers took turns observing the bird speaking different words and creating his own phrases. The volunteers wrote down the words that Puck said, proving that he had a very developed vocabulary.
The bird’s main quality was that he could create his own sentences out of the words in his vocabulary. Puck had a very developed sense of his surroundings and could react to them. On one Christmas morning, Puck said, “It’s Christmas. That’s what’s happening. That’s what it’s all about. I love Pucky. I love everyone” almost as if he was in the Christmas spirit as well.
After being accepted into the Guinness Book of World Records, puck died from a gonadal tumor on August 25th, 1994. The parakeet was only five years old. Puck appeared in the Guinness Books from 1995 to 1998, left out from 1999 to 2002, and then appeared again in 2003 and 2004. The little bird lived a short life, but one that was very interesting, and he had gained recognition all over the world for his talent.
2. Koreans Believe, Sleeping in a Closed Room with an Electric Fan Turned on can Cause Death.
In South Korea, there is a common and incorrect belief that sleeping with an electric fan in a closed room can cause hypothermia and result in death. The phenomena is known as ‘fan death’. According to the Korean government, “In some cases, a fan turned on too long can cause death from suffocation, hypothermia, or fire from overheating.”
Hypothermia is the condition in which the temperature of the human body drops below the normal required for metabolism and other bodily functions i.e 35.0 °C.
In 2006, the Korea Consumer Protection Board issued a public safety message claiming that, oxygen deprivation from the use of electric fans and air conditioners in closed rooms was one of the five most common summer accidents or injuries according to their collected data.
The Board in its message warned people to set timers to their fans and keep their room doors open. And if possible change the wind direction of the fan.
Dr. Yeon Dong-su, a dean at Kwandong University says that,
It doesn’t matter so much about the temperature of the room, If it is completely sealed, then in the current of an electric fan, the temperature can drop low enough to cause a person to die of hypothermia.
3. A Bosnian man faked his own death just to see who would come to his funeral. Only his mother showed up.
According to Reuters News Service, Amir Vehabovic, a forty five year old Bosnian man tried to find out how well-liked he was by his friends and family in a most unusual way: he faked his own death and arranged his own funeral service just to see who would be there. In order to truly gauge his popularity, he found a hiding place near the plot where his empty coffin was to be buried so that he would be able to watch the crowd of people that he imagined would come to say their final goodbyes without anyone seeing him.
On the day of this staged funeral, Mr.Vehabovic was greatly disappointed to see that the only person who showed up for the service and burial was his own mother. Still, he must have had some idea that no one showing up was one of the most likely outcomes of this somewhat self-centered plan.
This is, after all, a man who would stage his own death at the risk of breaking his mother’s heart. Angered by what he saw as their great betrayal, Mr. Vehabovic took up the pen in order to denounce all of his former friends in an open letter, “I paid alot of money to get a fake death certificate and bribe undertakers to deliver an empty coffin,” he wrote, ”I really thought more of you, my so-called friends, would turn up to show your last respects. It just goes to show who you can really count on.”
There is no word as of yet whether Bosnian authorities had brought any charges against Amir Vehabovic for engaging in forgery and bribery. Perhaps the most fitting punishment for such a person is that they should have to live out the rest of their days with only themselves as company. No doubt most of Mr. Vehabovic’s former friends would agree.
4. There was a magazine called Continuum that promoted AIDS denialism that went out of print because both of the editors died of AIDS
To most of us, the link between HIV and AIDS is painstakingly obvious. The abundance of evidence to support that fact is pretty much everything anybody needs to understand how HIV and AIDS link together.
In December 1992 however Jody Wells, an HIV sufferer himself, launched Continuum, a magazine that promoted AIDS denialism and denied the link between HIV and AIDS.
Continuum was known for its unorthodox articles about the HIV/AIDS epidemic, AIDS denialism, numerous pseudo-sciences and alternative theories. It ceased publication in 2001 however, when both its editors died from AIDS.
Wells was a firm believer that no link existed between HIV and full blown AIDS, instead attributing the onset of AIDS to numerous other factors including; a person’s sex life, recreational and pharmaceutical drug use, diet and, perhaps most controversially, the drugs used in the treatment of the HIV virus.
Ironically, on 26th August 1995 Jody Wells died from PCP, a violent form of pneumonia that since the outbreak of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, has been very closely linked with HIV and the onset of AIDS. After Wells’ death Huw Christie Williams took over as chief editor until his death in 2001 from Kaposi’s sarcoma, another AIDS attributing condition.
AIDS denialism is a dangerous ideology that is attributed to the deaths of nearly 300,000 people in South Africa alone, after the adoption of the idea by the government of Thabo Mbeki. Whilst alternative medicine, differing theory and peer review should be explored and maintained to ensure scientist combat this hostile disease as effectively as possible, outright denial of facts spanning numerous sciences is simply irresponsible.
With both editors gone and debts of over £14,000, the publication ceased in 2001 and began releasing online material bimonthly , then seasonally until it finally ceased for good a short time later. Continuum has since faded into the history that of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, with Immunity Resource Foundation hosting its complete works on an internet database, a database housing upwards of 12,000 similar documents.
5. 1 in 5 Greenlanders attempt suicide once in their lifetime.
Suicide is very prevalent in Greenland. According to government reports, 1 out of every 5 Greenlanders attempt suicide at some time in their lives. Different schemes have been used to try and combat this including education and roadside posters.
The rate of suicides has been increasing for quite some time and was particularly high during the 1990s with 107 per 100,000 people. In 2010, the Government revealed the heartbreaking statistic that one suicide occurs per week in the country.
An article published by a psychiatry journal in 2009 concluded that a total of 1351 suicides happened in Greenland between 1968-2002. The suicides seemed to be most common in summer and dropped in winter. Interestingly, suicides in Northern Greenland are higher than those in the south.
Correlating with worldwide trends, suicide rates for men exceed those of women and rates are most common among younger men between the ages of 15-24. Unlike in most European countries, there is a negative correlation between suicide rate and age in Greenland.
There seems to be several factors which contribute to Greenland’s high rate of suicide including a dependency on alcohol, relationship problems and dysfunctional families. The rationale for an increase in suicides during the summer is the relentless insomnia which is caused by the bright sunlight. If the body is deprived of the thing that makes it function the most, sleep, then people are more prone to irrational decisions including suicide, particularly if there is already a significant amount of stress in their life.
Another reason is because of the culture clash with traditional and western cultures which could lead to isolation and a feeling in some people as if they don’t belong in such an environment.
The methods which are used to commit suicide are almost always violent (95%). Hanging (45%) and shooting (37%) are the 2 most common methods of a person taking their life. Other life-ending methods such as: jumping from heights, cutting with sharp instruments, drowning and overdosing on drugs do occur, but much less frequently.