Best Facts of the Week - Page 3

Alligator blood can fight HIV and may be coming to a drugstore near you in the next 5 years

Turns out Charlie Sheen had it all wrong—tiger blood is not where it's at. Alligator blood, however, could solve a whole slew of human health issues in the future.

It all began when scientists wondered why alligators so rarely have infected wounds despite their many violent fights over territory and mates in swampy, bacteria-ridden environments. This led them to run tests on the animals' blood. Chemists in Louisiana discovered that while humans can fight against 8 strains of bacteria, alligators can destroy 23 strains, including strains known to be resistant to antibiotics. It can also destroy a significant amount of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

One of the co-authors of the study, Lancia Darville from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, explains that peptides or strands of protein in alligators' blood helps them stave off infections. Darville explains, "Once we sequence these peptides, we can obtain their chemical structure to potentially [create new] drugs."

Despite potential problems such as the fact that higher concentrations of the alligator serum can prove toxic to human cells, the study team of scientists and biochemists believes that pills and creams containing safe levels of the alligator peptides could be on shelves at local pharmacies and drugstores within the next five years. These products would be especially useful for burn victims and those who suffer from auto-immune diseases.


The United States military once executed a plan called 'Operation Moolah'! What was it?

During the Korean War, United States Air Force pilots reported that the Soviets' new MiG-15 jet fighter was superior to all United Nations aircrafts. The US was desperate to get its hands on one and so secretly designed what they would call 'Operation Moolah'. The operation was an effort to get a Communist pilot to defect and fly his MiG-15 to South Korea, undamaged.

Operation Moolah was approved on March 20th, 1953 and offered $50,000 to any Communist pilot who defected, with an additional $50,000 to the first to do so. The plan also guaranteed political asylum, resettlement in a non-Communist country, and anonymity if desired.

In September of the same year, Lt. No Kum-Sok of the 2nd Regiment, Korean People's Air Force, flew a MiG-15bis to South Korea and gave it up. He was unaware of the operation, however, and later stated that he didn't think money would motivate any North Korean Pilot to defect. No was urged by the CIA to take a free education at an American institution of his choosing instead of the $100,000 reward.

The aircraft, as well as the information No provided, proved very helpful to the United States and their allies. No was questioned numerous times over the course of months after his defection.

Nobody's certain where the idea for Operation Moolah came from. One story is that it originated in the Army's Psychological Warfare Branch, while another is that the idea was thought up by an unidentified war correspondent. One thing both versions of the story agree on is that the idea was first circulated as a rumor.

Although there was a defection, it's hard to say that the operation was successful. Similar operations have been carried out by various nations since, only one of which—Operation Diamond—was undoubtedly successful.


Matt LeBlanc was on his last $11 when he auditioned to play Joey on Friends!

Matt LeBlanc started off his career in a bunch of well-known commercials in the late 1980s. He was in a Heinz, a Levi's, and a Coca-Cola commercial. Then he got a couple of gigs on TV shows in 1988 through 1991. They either made it through one full season and were nixed or they didn't even make it through a whole season before being cancelled.

He made it into several music videos, too, including in a Jon Bon Jovi and an Alanis Morissette where he played her boyfriend. He was almost always cast as an Italian. In reality he is of Dutch, French, English, Irish, and Italian descent. In 1994, he auditioned for a little show called Friends as Joey Tribbiani.

He had only $11 in his pocket at the time and he luckily landed the job. After he was given his first paycheck the first thing he did was buy himself a hot meal. The show did him and his cast members well and brought him great fame. He played Joey Tribbiani for the next 12 years and even got a spin-off show called Joey after Friends ended. He was in a couple movies in the 2000s and finally was cast as himself in a TV show in 2013.


Some awesome lists!

Iran has the highest female to male ratio in universities among all sovereign states.

In Iran, more than 70% of alumni in engineering and pure sciences are women. The country’s literacy rate is at 80% well above the 60% average for the region.

Their school system is similar to the US in that it has primary education as K-12 and higher education degrees are at 2 year, 4 year, and doctoral programs. Iranian universities graduate 750,000 skilled students annually. Women were given greater opportunities in receiving education after the Iranian Revolution. They definitely seem to use it to their advantage.


The temporary town set up for Burning Man in Nevada has a higher population than the state Capital!

As of 2013, Black Rock City, a temporary town sprung up for the Burning Man Festival comprises a population of over 60,000 people compared to Carson City, Nevada's population of about 55,500. When the festival is over, the Black Rock desert goes back to being unpopulated.

The festival has grown in popularity in recent years. The event is described as an experiment in community, art, radical self-expression, and radical self-reliance. It is held in the last week of August and ends today, on Labor Day.



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