From Crumbling Skyscrapers to Gluten-Free Fradulence: This Week's Curios

Every day of the year, CEO Justin Kitch writes a quirky fact, known as the Daily Curio, intended to tickle the brains of lifelong learners everywhere. This is a weekly digest.

Last week's Curios covered gluten-free fraudulence, a nearly crumbling Manhattan skyscraper, and the very first space-grown salad.

Curio #797 | Gluten-free fraud
Another fad diet is on the ropes. Gluten-free diets have been all the rage for the past few years. Supermarket shelves and restaurant menus are increasingly filled with gluten-free options. The Girl Scouts even recently introduced a gluten-free cookie. But now there's scientific evidence that a gluten-free diet will do little for your health and may even be detrimental... keep reading.

Curio #796 | Bomb proof baggage bag
I've only gotten more frustrated with airport security lines since we learned TSA failed to catch 95% of the weapons and explosives smuggled in by undercover Homeland Security agents. So here's a little good news from the Don't-be-scared-out-of-your-pants Department. Blast scientists have developed a way to keep planes safe from explosives in checked luggage--such as the one which downed Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988. Called the Fly-Bag... keep reading.

Curio #795 | Artificial tone
Soon Siri will be able to tell you to watch your tone. We've all written those emails or text messages that don't have the intended effect. That's where the Tone Analyzer comes in. The technology uses linguistic analysis to determine whether the note you are about to send is in the tone you intend. The technology is based on the Watson artificial intelligence project at IBM. That's the same IBM Watson technology that beat world champion Gary Kasparov in chess in 1997, and beat the world's best... keep reading.

Curio #794 | A giant leaf for mankind
After 15 months of tests, astronauts finally got to taste the very first space salad. Last month three NASA astronauts on the International Space Station grew and then ate a variety of red romaine lettuce named Outredgeous. The verdict was that it tasted "fresh," "awesome," and "kind of like arugula." Of course, they were comparing it to the freeze-dried food they usually eat. This is a critical development as it means astronauts could potentially... keep reading.

Curio #793 | The Gruen Effect
Ever felt that navigating a retail store or a shopping mall is like a maze? Then you've experienced the Gruen Effect. Those confusing layouts slow shoppers down and increase purchases. It's named, unfairly, after Victor Gruen, who created the first shopping mall. During his travels he noticed Americans spent huge amounts of time driving from store to store. So he conceived of a "third place" (after work and home) where people could... keep reading.

Curio #792 | Error handling
Here's a story that proves an important life lesson. It isn't whether you make mistakes, but how you handle making them that matters. When the Citigroup Center was built in 1977, it was the 7th tallest building in the world. And also one of the oddest looking. Designed by engineer William LeMessurier, it doesn't look very sturdy, and when the building was first constructed it wasn't. The problem was first... keep reading.

Curio #791 | Bottled water's actual cost
I don't get it. Consumers spend $100 billion annually on bottled water in countries blessed with clean tap water. Here in California tap water costs $.001 per gallon, making it 560 times less expensive than the bottled variety. Yet last year Americans consumed on average 34 gallons of bottled water. That's 11 gallons higher than in... keep reading.

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