While we aren’t out to paint the world as a picture of horrors, there are many things going on that you probably don’t want to know. From disgusting, to horrifying, to scary, sometimes people think they would be better off just staying in the dark. However, to be forewarned is to be forearmed, so it is important to know about even the most horrifying facts. These facts will surprise you, and some will make you think twice about the world around you.
10. There Are Many Lead Hotspots Much Worse Than Flint, Michigan
Flint, Michigan has been all over the news for a long time now. The city is a national name, and has become a well known story of how poor management on many different levels led to horribly high lead levels in the drinking supply of an already poor and struggling city. To this day the city’s water supply is still not cleaned up, even if many people have already moved on and stopped caring about it. However, what people really don’t realize is that Flint is only the tip of the iceberg.
In a study, Reuters identified 3,000 lead hotspots around the United States that were actually worse than Flint. Some of these cities have problems not so much with just water, but with crumbling infrastructure that was once built using lead paint. These structures fall apart, and young children inhale bits of paint while playing and end up with irreparable damage to their developing bodies. Overall the amount of cities that are still dealing with horrible lead issues from multiple sources is huge and the problem is mostly being ignored on a national level.
9. There Are More Slaves Right Now Than Ever In Recorded History
Most people believe that slavery is on the downslope. After all, most countries have outlawed it, and that makes it a lot more difficult to keep it around. However, some estimates still suggest that there are about 27 million people in some form of slavery today. This is easily the largest amount in recorded history, and more than double the amount taken during the transatlantic slave trade. Slavery often takes forms that aren’t as obvious as it might have been through history. People will end up working as slaves under debt, or for other, more subtle reasons, but it is still slavery. In many countries, child labor is incredibly common and the children are paid next to nothing at all.
However, for those who believed that it was already being stamped out and mostly gone, there is some hope. Some analysts believe that with countries outlawing it and getting better at enforcing it, there is hope it will be all or mostly gone within 30 years. Of course, you will never stop human nature, but the better we get at detecting it, stopping it, and helping the victims, the more we can keep the world free of slavery.
8. Rattlesnakes Are Evolving To Hide Their Rattle Sounds
Rattlesnakes are a well known fear of anyone traveling through certain parts of the country. That tell-tale rattling sound is a reminder that something very dangerous is nearby and that you should watch your step very carefully. They have become iconic for their rattle and featured on TV and other popular media. In all those situations where they have been used in movies or television, nobody ever stopped to ask what was scarier than a rattlesnake. And the answer is: a rattlesnake that doesn’t rattle. This may sound like the stuff of science fiction, or some kind of bad movie, but it is quickly becoming a reality.
Rattlesnakes are starting to evolve to no longer rattle at all. While some think it is a more direct genetic mutation in order to increase survival, even those who think somewhat otherwise still believe that it basically comes down to Darwinian survival mechanisms at play. Some rattlesnakes had a mutation where their rattle didn’t work right, and those without the rattles seemed to survive longer, which lead to more of those rattlesnakes reproducing. If this continues, the rattlesnake could evolve to no longer rattle at all, over time. At first the mechanism was used to ward off predators, but now it clearly is helping predators find it and possibly warning away prey. It may no longer be a useful feature for a rattlesnake so it is being discarded.
7. In Some Parts Of The American Southwest You Can Witness Swarms Of Mating Tarantulas
Tarantulas are one of the freakiest animals imaginable – they look like a hideous cross between a small animal and a large insect. It is for this reason that a few odd people out there like to keep them as pets, much to the chagrin of everyone around them. Tarantulas are hairy, have way too many legs, and generally freak out just about anyone who comes near one. In popular culture, despite being generally harmless, tarantulas are often described as being more poisonous than they actually are, and people go totally ballistic when they see one. Still, even knowing they are not poisonous, seeing a tarantula outside of a glass enclosure would be quite enough to get most of us running anyway.
If you really like tarantulas, though, you can visit the American Southwest during tarantula mating season. And if you really don’t like tarantulas, you should really stay away from the American Southwest during tarantula mating season. During that time of year, hundreds of tarantulas will be seen swarming all over the place and plenty end up inside people’s houses. Normally, tarantulas are very reclusive but will gladly come out to mate, and ensure the propagation of their hairy, too many-legged species. Also, when their eggs hatch, they hatch in the hundreds. Sweet dreams!
6. The Mercury Levels In Tuna Are Far More Dangerous Than Many People Realize
Many people eat tuna on a regular basis, sometimes even every day, and they probably shouldn’t – especially if they are pregnant. Many people have heard more recently about the dangers of mercury levels in tuna. Some people think it is only low-grade tuna, and others probably think that the whole thing is kind of overblown in general. However, the truth is that tuna is actually a lot more harmful than most people probably realize. Tuna is one of the larger fish, so it eats a lot of smaller fish and ends up with very high mercury levels. This is also the type of mercury that takes the longest to leave your body.
Some have reported eating a lot of tuna while pregnant, and then having a child with birth defects and other issues, including mental retardation. The sad truth is that many people are simply unaware of just how harmful tuna can be for pregnant women, and even for healthy people, it is not recommended to eat it more than a couple of times a week. While it is hard to prove if the mercury in tuna is truly responsible for a lot of these birth defect cases, it is definitely quite possible. In fact, a lot of people who think mercury from a vaccine cased autism may be confusing it with the mercury from fish they were eating. The mercury from a vaccine is a tiny amount and is a type of mercury that quickly and much more safely leaves the body, while the amounts in fish like tuna are much higher, and linger much, much longer.
5. The Doomsday Clock Has Been Getting Closer To Midnight Since 1991
For many years, the Atomic Scientists have been keeping an eye on something they call the “doomsday clock.” It’s a measurement they use for how close the world is to possible nuclear war and or annihilation. Right now the clock is only two and a half minutes from midnight – midnight essentially being the end of the world. And the worst part is that the clock has been steadily getting closer for some time now.
While the clock went down a tad bit very briefly in the early ’90s, and went down one minute in 2010, it has been rising pretty steadily for the past few decades. The clock measures many different factors, including the issues posed by climate change, nuclear weapons, the energy crisis and global overpopulation. They are worried that world leaders are not doing enough to work together to address all of these huge global issues, and they believe that we are in dire straits. The clock is currently a half minute away from tying with the closest the clock has ever had us to complete disaster.
4. Despite An Increase In “No Kill Shelters” Millions Of Animals Are Still Put Down Each Year
It has become an increasingly big issue, that’s gotten more attention in recent years, that the pet population is kind of out of control. Due to what people call “puppy mills” we now have tons of cats and dogs being churned out every year to satisfy the consumers’ need for fresh puppies and kitties to purchase. But people abandon pets for whatever reason, and shelters simply cannot handle them all. And these shops keep breeding and selling more and more animals in order to turn a profit. This has led to an issue where advocates for animals are now suggesting spaying or neutering your pet in order to prevent the out of control pet population from getting worse.
Many of these advocates are hoping to get things under control, because almost out of necessity, animals are being put down in huge numbers. There are simply far too many strays to be taken care of, and far too many neglected animals, with new ones being bred all the time. This has led to a “no kill” shelter movement, where shelters promise they will find homes for animals instead of killing them. Unfortunately, this is simply not always possible, and even these shelters are allowed to kill about 10% of animals they take in and still keep the designation. This means that even with this budding movement, we are still seeing millions of cats and dogs being put down every year because there are simply way too many pets out there, and not enough people that want them.
3. Our Satellite Infrastructure Is Already Dealing With Something Known As “Kessler Syndrome”
Kessler syndrome was proposed by the NASA scientist Donald Kessler decades ago, and it is currently something we are already starting to see the effects of, although it is not close to dangerous yet. Kessler Syndrome is a theory that Kessler came up with while studying meteorites, when he decided he wanted to also test his algorithms on satellites, and came up with some alarming results. What he essentially discovered was that if we continued to blanket the space around earth with satellites, we could eventually end up with collisions that could lead to satellites crashing more and more frequently until we lost all GPS and other such things that we rely on so much right now.
However, for those who are worried, Kessler does not believe we have any immediate concerns. He does not believe the collisions will really start speeding up for another 20 years or more. And he also believes that if we take the time to clean up all the junk satellites in outer space, instead of simply adding more, that we may be able to get the problem under control before it ever gets to a point where we cannot stop it. While 20 or more years may seem like a long way off, if we do not go to the proper trouble to prepare now, then when the time gets closer, it may already be too late.
2. The Egg Industry Has Been Grinding Up Baby Male Chicks In Grinders For Decades
Many of us eat meat and we accept that there is a certain level of cruelty inherent in any mass market system for butchering, sterilizing, processing, and packaging meat for millions of people. However, most of us also feel that if the process for producing food could be made more ethical and still be efficient enough then that is definitely something people should be going for. In particular, while most of us accept factory farming as a necessary evil, some people may be a bit shocked when they learn of a big part of the process required in the production of your eggs.
See, there are two main different types of chicken breeds used in commercial farming. One is for producing meat and the other is for laying eggs. For efficiency reasons, you never see one being used for the other. When hatching chicks of the egg laying breed, only the females can actually lay eggs, and the males don’t really have much use. This means that the standard practice is to toss the male chicks, while still alive, into a machine that is a basically a wood chipper and grind them up while they are still alive. Even those of us who eat meat likely find this practice pretty barbaric – at least we believe in actually eating the animals that are killed for our sustenance. Grinding up the baby male chicks is basically just cruel and wasteful. The industry has claimed they are working on technology that will allow them to solve this by knowing which eggs to hatch in the first place – knowing which ones are female to begin with, but they won’t be ready to do that until at least 2020.
In the meantime, be sure to enjoy that Easter Egg hunt!
1. Going To Space May Not Actually Be Such A Great Idea For Most People
Many people find the idea of space travel extremely romantic – it sounds incredibly cool, and almost every Sci-Fi movie is set in space in some form or another. However, as neat as it sounds, being in space is actually pretty awful. Even if you could get past all the issues of having to use vacuum tubes and other gadgets to do every basic task, you would have to deal with the fact that space will quickly eat away at your physical and mental health. See, the reason that NASA always demands people who are absolutely the most fit possible, and in totally perfect health, is that anyone else almost doesn’t even stand a chance at all of handling the rigors of space travel.
Many astronauts, due to the unique effects on their bodies, come back with permanently decreased eyesight. Sleep deprivation is common, and the mental and physical stress is very difficult to handle. After prolonged time in space, atrophy of your muscle tissue, as well as your actual bone structure, are common. This is another reason why NASA does not want any astronaut to stay in space for too long without taking a break. To make matters worse, astronauts often report seeing flashes of bright light directly in their brains. This is radiation, and is possibly doing all kinds of different damage to them that won’t be fully understood until later. Even in low earth orbit, this can be dangerous. Farther out at space, the effects could be a lot worse. On top of this, scientists have reason to believe that the immune system also doesn’t work as well in space – although this could also be due to the exposure to radiation weakening it. Either way, while space certainly sounds like a fun place to be in movies, for now, they can leave the real thing to the astronauts.