3120 CE. During a routine scan of planets in the Solar Federation, a surveillance probe detects a shiny object reflecting from XP-3. A signal is transmitted to Inter-Galactic Command, which quickly dispatches The Rocinante for a closer look. Unbeknownst to the crew, the lifeless, toxic sphere — long ago ravaged by nuclear war, disease, and climate transformation — will soon yield a bounty of peculiar items…
The scene just described might seem like the opening of a science fiction flick, but future archaeologists will find themselves nonplussed by the piles of weird stuff found on the third rock from the sun.
By now, most people are aware that cigarettes are bad for you. Extensive studies and millions of deaths have led to widespread public bans on smoking and not-so-subtle warning labels declaring THIS PRODUCT WILL KILL YOU. As a result, a new alternative to lighting up was born.
Vaping involves a battery-powered heating device (including e-cigarettes), which vaporizes liquid inside a cartridge or reservoir. The user then inhales the nicotine-laced aerosol residue. Unlike conventional cigarettes, which contain over 7,000 chemicals (several of which are carcinogenic), vaping is marketed as a ‘healthier’ substitute than sucking on old fashioned cancer sticks. Or is it?
Although more information is needed before long-term effects can be fully understood, health concerns related to vaping — especially respiratory injuries — are becoming increasingly common. Meanwhile, shops continue popping up everywhere, featuring terrible puns (Planet of the Vapes, Darth Vaper, etc.) that will only further confuse a 31st century Indiana Jones.
There’s an old French saying: “Il faut souffrir pour être belle.” Roughly translated, it means, “beauty is pain.” Although dangerous fashion trends are nothing new, sticking a needle between your eyes and injecting a deadly form of bacteria seems a bit excessive.
Botox was originally designed to treat muscle spasms until a patient’s wrinkles suddenly disappeared. Before long, the miracle serum vials emerged as a multi-billionaire dollar business for anyone looking to defy the dreaded ravages of old age.
According to Dr. John Paul Tutela, MD, a board-certified plastic surgeon in New York, “Botox is a cosmetic injectable neurotoxin that is a very diluted form of botulinum toxin, which is found in the bacteria Clostridium botulinum. In this diluted format, it is used to relax your muscles—typically in your forehead, in between your eyebrows, and around your eyes.”
While it’s always best to have a trained professional administer these procedures, the product has become readily available online for those looking to save a few bucks and go the DIY route. Big mistake. Even though free delivery and a BOGO (Buy One Get One) coupon can be tempting, the risk of permanently damaging your face should probably be left to the pros.
6. Silicone Breast Implants
On November 26, 1922, famed Egyptologist Howard Carter stood at the doorway leading to the long-buried tomb of King Tutankhamun. As Carter peered into the darkness with a flickering candle, his patron, Lord Carnarvon, asked: “Can you see anything?” Carter replied: “Yes. Wonderful things. Wonderful things!”
It’s a safe bet that probably won’t be the response when graveyards like Hollywood Forever Cemetery are excavated in the distant future. Instead of golden treasures and priceless artwork, a trove of synthetic orbs will be discovered next to piles of dusty old bones.
Breast augmentation surgery originated in the early 1960s when Drs. Frank Gerow and Thomas Cronin first invented silicone breast implants. Since then, the procedure has been performed on countless women, from porn stars to First Ladies, all seeking to be fuller-figured gals at any cost.
5. The Sport of Hurling
Hurling is a stick and ball game steeped in ancient Irish history. Billed as the fastest sport on grass (Giancarlo Stanton may beg to differ), it combines elements of hockey, baseball, and lacrosse — or as rocker Noel Gallagher once described it, “gang war with sticks.”
Teams of 15 players square off on a rectangular grass pitch with H-shaped goals at each end, using a wooden stick (‘hurley’) and a stitched leather ball (‘slioter’) that can travel at speeds over 110 miles per hour. Goals are scored by hitting the ball into the net, which is worth three points, and putting the ball over the crossbar scores a point.
The athletic, highly skilled game is fast-paced and played over two 35-minute halves. It’s also extremely hard-hitting. But unlike other violent contests such as Aztec and Mayan ball games, at least the losing captain isn’t sacrificed to the gods.
4. Bleached Flour
A staple found in most kitchens, bleached flour is a versatile foodstuff used to make many of our favorite baked goods, from bread and cakes to cookies and doughnuts. Unfortunately, it also undergoes a transformation that strips away nearly all of its nutrient value and contains the same chemicals used to disinfect swimming pools.
The production of flour dates back to prehistoric times, in which grains such as wheat are milled into a powdery meal. Later, bleaching agents (benzoyl peroxide, chlorine gas, etc.) were added to the mix to speed up the aging process, brighten the color, and create a longer shelf life.
Although this refinement produces a softer texture resulting in moist and fluffy desserts, the loss of minerals and vitamins can impact one’s health. Furthermore, when combined with other ingredients such as sugar, oils, and preservatives typically associated with beloved processed foods, the likelihood of obesity, diabetes, and cancer is drastically increased.
3. Thrill Rides
The new HBO Max documentary Class Action Park “explores the legend, legacy, and truth behind the world’s most insane amusement park.” Throughout the 1980s, thrill-seekers flocked to the New Jersey attraction, where the price of admission included head injuries, broken bones, and even death by electrocution.
From small-town carnivals to world-renowned destinations, thrill ride accidents continue to occur at an alarming rate. Roughly 30,000 amusement park-related injuries are reported each year in the US, often stemming from loose regulations, poorly-trained staff, and structural flaws.
In 2016, a 10-year-boy was decapitated when his raft on “the world’s tallest waterslide” went airborne and hit a metal pole at the Schlitterbahn Waterpark in Kansas City, Kansas. Murder and other criminal charges were filed against the designers and operators of the 17-story ride. The case, however, was later dismissed by the local county judge.
2. 8-Track Tapes
Here’s a nostalgic riddle for you: What was portable, melted like butter, and sounded terrible? If you guessed 8-track tapes, give yourself a well deserved martini while cruising down memory lane with speakers on full blast.
As the first commercially successful platform for playing recorded music in the car, 8-tracks became wildly popular as the must have automobile accessory. Plastic cartridges contained a spool of magnetic-tape on a loop, featuring four program segments comprised of two tracks for stereo sound — hence the term “8-track.” By 1967, all Ford vehicles offered the tape player as a dash-mounted upgrade option.
These bulky ‘carts’, however, had several shortcomings. The tape would often fade in and out, become tangled up, or simply broke. Additionally, the plastic components easily warped from being left in the player too long. After peaking in the late 1970s, 8-tracks were eventually replaced by smaller cassette tapes, which then became obsolete with the arrival of compact discs a decade later.
Shakespeare tells us that “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.” Unless, of course, you’re a Kardashian, in which case a sex video and 24/7 TV cameras would lead to a global empire.
Since 2007, the queens of reality TV have garnered fame and fortune with their hit show, Keeping Up With The Kardashians (KUWTK), revealing all the intimate ups and downs of what it’s like to be “famous for being famous.”
Kris, the matriarch (or “momager”) of the clan, had her first brush with celebrity back in the 1990s when her ex-husband helped acquit OJ Simpson of a brutal double murder. She later married Bruce Jenner and had two more daughters, only to wind up single again when Bruce came out as a woman named Caitlyn.
The family recently announced via Instagram that the show would end in 2021 after a record-setting 20 seasons on the air. Years from now, the discovery of landfills strewn with KUWTK merchandise will undoubtedly lead to some serious head-scratching. The same goes for all those boxes of Wheaties featuring a heavily jacked decathlete who bears a striking resemblance to Caitlyn.