From Goose Bumps to a Tight Rope Village: 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 why we forget things when we walk through doorways, the purpose of goosebumps, and a Russian village where every resident can walk a tightrope.

Curio #713 | An amusing map flap
Let's say you're a map maker. How do you prove somebody is copying your maps? In theory, all maps should be identical. Suspicious that their maps were being copied, two map makers in the 1930s set out to prove just that. Otto G. Lindberg, the director of General Drafting Co., and his assistant, Ernest Alpers, published a map of New York State that contained one fictitious town called "Agloe"--an anagram of their initials. Sure enough, a few years later...keep reading

Curio #712 | War, the card game
Way back in Curio #124 we learned how the British hid escape maps in special versions of Monopoly games sent to their POW's during WWII. Now we learn that America was also in on the, um, trick. Since the Red Cross administered the treatment of POWs by both sides, home nations could send care packages to help POWs survive months of imprisonment. The US produced these packages at a top secret Virginia facility, created solely for...keep reading

Curio #711 | Windshield wEYEpers
Cars today come with plenty of gadgets to keep us safe (and buying new cars). Cameras help us backup, sensors detect objects in our blind spots, brakes are automatically applied to avoid collisions. Now a company called Seeing Machines has developed James Bond-worthy technology to track a driver's eye and facial movements. It uses cameras...keep reading

Curio #710 | Goose bumps
When we sense cold or danger, our bodies' natural response is called the pilomotor reflex. Also known as "goosebumps." Like sneezing, goosebumps are an auto response. They can be caused by cold temperatures, a perceived threat, or a strong emotional moment. Our nervous system...keep reading

Curio #709 | Watch those fingers!
A couple months ago, we learned about what the CEO did to prove his bulletproof glass worked. Here's another crazy promotional tactic. Inventor Steve Gass knew the dangers of woodworking--the activity results in hundreds of injuries, including an average of 10 fingers cut off per year. So, he invented a saw that can't cut through human body parts. Called the SawStop, the mechanism sends...keep reading

Curio #708 | A town on a tightrope
Welcome to Tsovkra-1. It is a typical Russian village in the southern region of Dagestan, with long dirt roads and cottages dotting the mountainside. But there's something special about Tsovkra-1. For hundreds of years, every physically able citizen has been able to walk on a tightrope. Legend has it that young men from the village used the skill to...keep reading

Curio #707 | Wait, what was I doing?
Walking through a doorways makes you forget things. That's according to new research showing the physical act of walking through doorways can cause our short term memory to fail. The human brain can only hold a finite amount of information in short term memory. So it is constantly moving short term memories into virtual compartments until we need them again. This is useful for organizing our thoughts, but...keep reading

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