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One of the strongest predictor of a rise in obesity in the US is the decline in cigarette smoking!

Obesity is a national problem in the US. Some estimates say 30% of Americans are currently obese (defined by having a body mass index of 30 or more). This is a huge increase from just 25 years ago. So what is causing this increase? People gain weight by consuming more calories than they burn--what is influencing them to do this? Fast food? An increasingly sedentary lifestyle?

The National Bureau of Economic Research studied a number of socio-economic factors related to weight gain to see which had the most effect. Some of the factors they considered were food prices, employment, physical activity at work, urbanization, cigarette smoking, and prevalence of restaurants.

Surprisingly, they found that cigarette smoking had the largest effect. A decline in cigarette smoking, which can hinder weight gain, accounts for about 2% of the increase in obesity.


The Devil's Kettle waterfall empties into a sinkhole. Nobody knows where that sinkhole leads to!

Minnesota is the land of 10,000 lakes. It's also home to some other bodies of water, some of them rather odd. One such odd formation is the Devil's Kettle, which stems off of the Brule River.

About 1.5 miles from the river's mouth, it split into two over a mass of rock. The eastern part flows over a 50 foot waterfall and continues on. The western flow falls 10 feet into a hole and then disappears into the ground. The source of this has yet to be found.

Some believe the water rejoins the river later or has a separate outlet to Lake Superior, but this has not been confirmed. Researchers have tried to locate the outlet by putting colored dyes and ping pong balls into the Devil's Kettle but to no avail. There is even a legend that a car disappeared into the sink hole but this is highly unlikely.


A 15-year-old boy stole a giant Caterpillar earthmover and took it on a 12 mile joy ride through Tucson

On June 2, 2005, 15-year-old Duncan Dresner stole an earthmover from a construction site in Tuscon. He then proceeded to drive 12 miles through the city. He led police on a chase as he swerved from lane to lane and ignored their commands. At one point, he hit a utility pole and caused a power outage.

In a final attempt to stop Dresner, police officers stood in front of the earthmover with their guns drawn. The earthmover reversed toward the officers, and they fired on it. A bullet hit Dresner in the spine and paralyzed him from the sternum down.

Dresner pleaded guilty to eight counts of endangerment. While Dresner and his attorneys argued that this was a stupid decision by an upset boy, police officers were infuriated by the fact that Dresner carelessly put so many citizens in danger on his joy ride.


Lex Luthor from Smallville also voiced the Flash in Justice League Unlimited!

In 2001, Rosenbaum received a Saturn Award for his portrayal of Lex Luthor on Smallville. Continuing in the comic book genre, he played Wally West (a.k.a. The Flash) in the DC Comics animated series Justice League, Static Shock, and Justice League Unlimited as well as portraying a younger Wally West as Kid Flash in Teen Titans.

In the third season Justice League episode "Great Brain Robbery", Rosenbaum reprised his role as Lex Luthor when his character was trapped in Clancy Brown's Lex Luthor's body. In February 2007, Rosenbaum confirmed that he would be leaving Smallville after season seven of the show, but later returned to the show's final episode.


Playing a B flat on a tuba arouses male alligators.

In a 2007 news story, it was revealed that a reporter from Tampa, Florida, was successful in trying to replicate an experiment conducted on 1944. The experiment, “Response of Captive Alligators to Auditory Stimulation,” had one goal, which was to see how gators reacted to certain sounds (as the name suggests).

The experiment was conducted at Gatorland, a tourist attraction near Kissimmee, Florida. William Mickelsen, the Florida Orchestra’s star tuba player and one of his students played different notes on the tuba to see how gators reacted. When a B flat was played, alligators swam toward the tuba players.

When the tuba players went down to the boardwalk and played through the wood, the male alligators even repeated the B flat. It was also confirmed that it is only the mating male alligators who are attracted.

They are famously noisy during the spring (mating season), which could explain a link to the response to the B flat. Tim Williams, an alligator wrangler who guided the group, claims to have also heard gators respond to the sound of airboats.



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