From Cat Videos to Self-Healing Concrete: 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 the math mistake that caused the Western drought, self-repairing concrete, and the Norwegian settlement that banned death.

Curio #762 | Bad drought math
Pretty much every US state west of the Rocky Mountains is currently in a water crisis. And while weather and global warming are partly to blame, the larger problem dates back to a math miscalculation made in 1922. That year seven Western states--Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Wyoming, and California--entered into the Colorado River Compact. This agreement, at the urging of President Herbert Hoover, divided up the water flowing from...keep reading

Curio #761 | Happy Lefty Day!
To the 10% of you southpaws out there, Happy Left-Handers' Day! Started in 1996, this holiday spreads awareness of the difficulties left-handers experience in our world... which is designed for the other 90%. The world has gotten more accepting of left-handers recently, but if you are an older left-hander you were probably forced to write or eat with your "proper" hand at some point. Interestingly, the proportion of left-handers...keep reading

Curio #760 | Self-healing concrete
Concrete has problems. It is one of the most widely produced and consumed materials on the planet. Popular since ancient Roman times, it's still what almost all our buildings, roads, and bridges are made of. That's because it's durable, easy to make, and fairly inexpensive. But concrete has a big problem: it always cracks. So scientists have been trying to increase the lifespan of concrete. And they may have hit on something...keep reading

Curio #759 | Skinny jean syndrome
Well, there goes my wardrobe. "Skinny jeans" are apparently hazardous. Doctors are warning that tight jeans could cause serious nerve damage. It started this June when an Australian woman was hospitalized for four days with nerve blockages and muscle damage after squatting in skinny jeans for several hours. She recalled her jeans had felt uncomfortable, and that numbness in her foot had caused her to trip and fall. She was found unconscious and...keep reading

Curio #758 | Cat videos are good for you?
For those of you who can't resist a good internet cat video, here's some exciting news. Watching cat videos appears to have significant health benefits. There are over two million cat videos on YouTube, and they've been viewed 26 billion times. That's more views-per-video than any other category. Jessica Myrick, a communications professor at Indiana University, decided the popularity of these videos means "researchers can't ignore Internet cats anymore." So, she set out...keep reading

Curio #757 | No dying allowed
As the saying goes, nothing is certain except taxes and death. Unless you live in the small Norwegian settlement of Longyearbyen (that's really its name!). There you are very unlikely to die. Home to 2,000 people, the Arctic town has banned death. Located in the Svalbard Islands of Norway, Longyearbyen is...keep reading

Curio #756 | No more warm water washing!
More than 60% of us (gulp) still wash our clothes in warm water because we believe it cleans better. This is not only expensive, energy-wasting, and bad for the environment--it doesn't make the clothes any cleaner! Here's the data: 75% of the total energy required to do a single load of laundry is...keep reading

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