If you want to keep something safe, build a mountain fortress above the Arctic Circle. That’s the thinking behind the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. Almost every nation keeps collections of native seeds so local crops can be replanted in case of an agricultural disaster. The Global Seed Vault, opened in 2008 on the far-northern Norwegian island of Spitsbergen, is a backup for the backups. It’s badly needed as many as half the seed banks in developing countries are at risk from natural disasters or general instability. The vault can hold up to 4.5 million samples, which will be kept dry at about 0°F (-18°C). Even if the facility loses power, the Arctic climate should keep the seeds viable for thousands of years.
Nearly 500,000 Purple Heart medals were manufactured in anticipation of the casualties resulting from the invasion of Japan. To the present date, all the American military casualties of the sixty years following the end of World War II—including the Korean and Vietnam Wars—have not exceeded that number. In 2003, there were still 120,000 of these Purple Heart medals in stock. There are so many in surplus that combat units in Iraq and Afghanistan were able to keep Purple Hearts on-hand for immediate award to wounded soldiers on the field.
One billion seconds is 31.69 years or a little more than 11,574 days. In the context of a human lifespan, I will personally cross the one billion second threshold around dinner time on May 2nd, 2021. Jean Calment holds the record for individual longevity, clocking in at an impressive 3.86 billion seconds of life. To put that in context, Calment's lifespan covers more than 1% of the total longevity of human civilization, which has been around for roughly 378 billion seconds.
It's been estimated that 70 percent of the volume of trading on the stock exchanges is done by something called flash traders, which are basically computers that buy and sell stocks and hold them for about 11 seconds on average. All of the discussions around what moves the market, the economy, politics, regulations, company earnings it’s really all out the window given there’s just no way that a computer holding and selling a stock in 11 seconds is going to be able to do all of that analysis. Essentially, there’s no clear-cut explanation for why stocks move up and down every day. And frankly, the fact that we have media trying to make these reports about how it’s related to this or that is just not very helpful for the average investor.
A scold’s bridle, sometimes called a brank’s bridle or simply branks, was an instrument of punishment used primarily on women, as a form of torture and public humiliation. First introduced by the Church of Scotland in 1567, the device saw use across Europe and the New World until the mid 18th century.
The device was an iron muzzle in an iron framework that enclosed the head. A bridle-bit, about 2 inches long and 1 inch broad, projected into the mouth and pressed down on top of the tongue. The curb-plate was frequently studded with spikes, so that if the offender moved her tongue, it inflicted pain and made speaking impossible. Woman who were seen as witches, shrews and scolds, were forced to wear the branks, locked onto their head.