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Snake oil works!

Chinese immigrants working on the Transcontinental Railroad used snake oil to treat their sore muscles.

Chinese water-snake oil contains 20 percent eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), one of the two types of omega-3 fatty acids most readily used by our bodies. Salmon, one of the most popular food sources of omega-3s, contains a maximum of 18 percent EPA, lower than that of snake oil.

Omega-3s reduce inflammation in muscles and joints. Hearing about this, fraudulent medicine salesmen started selling “rattlesnake oil”. Rattlesnakes have far less omega-3 fatty acid, but nevertheless, the medicine never included any actual snake oil.

Via Neatorama.

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Edison predicts the 21st century: everything will be metal

Thomas Edison in 1911, predicting 2011:

Books of the coming century will all be printed leaves of nickel, so light to hold that the reader can enjoy a small library in a single volume. A book two inches thick will contain forty thousand pages, the equivalent of a hundred volumes; six inches in aggregate thickness, it would suffice for all the contents of the Encyclopedia Britannica. And each volume would weigh less than a pound.

In his defense, he totally predicted air travel replacing train travel. Then again, he also thought that at his time, they were “already on the verge of discovering the secret of transmuting metals, which are all substantially the same in matter, though combined in different proportions.”

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