A list of curious facts
One: Once a year, the men in Kerala dress up as women to offer prayers at the Chamayavilakku festival at the Kottankulangara Sri Bhagavathy Temple in Kollam. They hold traditional lamps and offer prayers—in the hope they come true. Here’s the legend behind the tradition:
According to the temple legend, a bunch of cowherds tried to break a coconut by hitting it on a stone, which suddenly started bleeding. It was found by astrologers that the stone contained divine energy of Vanadurga and the locals were instructed to build a temple around it. It is believed that the first poojas of the temple were conducted by the cowboys wearing the clothes of women, which eventually led to the unusual custom.
Of course, the festival is also highly popular in the transgender community—but many of the devotees are cis men. (The Hindu)
Two: Did you know that tacky merch from epic corporate failures sell for a pretty penny—far more than their shares fetched at the bitter end? For example, WeWorks mugs for $500. Even more insane: a $100 gift card from the infamous Theranos that is now going for $10,000. That’s a way bigger fraud than its founder Elizabeth Holmes ever pulled. The Guardian has a list of ten other such absurd ways to waste your money. The only one that impressed us: this baseball hat birthed by a Lehman Brothers X MTV collab. Aww, way back when Wall Street bros and MTV was cool!
Three: This is not a curious but horrific fact—but nonetheless worth sharing. Did you know the Iraq war has resulted in a staggering jump in cancer rates due to US bombings—far higher than the fallout from the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
After the bombing in Japan, the rates of leukemia among those living closest to the detonation increased by a devastating 660%, about 12 to 13 years after the bomb (which is when radiation levels peaked). In Falluja, leukemia rates increased by 2,200% in a much shorter space of time, averaged just five to 10 years after the bombings.
Researchers also found that there was a 1,260% increase in the rates of childhood cancer in Fallujah—and a 740% increase in brain tumours. The study documenting this shocking data came out in 2010. It’s odd how we never speak about this—even as we wring our hands over all the excesses of World War II. It’s hard to #NeverForget something that no one ever told us, yes? (The Guardian)