Nap Anywhere

One of the coolest inventions ever. The NapAnywhere is a clever little foldable neck rest which cradles your head on your shoulder so you can snooze when traveling without getting a deformed and stiff neck. The product is made of a soft outer shell which covers a stable but moldable inner frame. To use, just shape the thing to your head and shoulders and secure with the optional strap.

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The cool thing is it can be reset to a handy bag friendly flat shape when you’re done, so you’re not faced with the hassle of having to stuff a bulky pillow into your bag or pocket at the end of the journey. The whole thing certainly looks like it could finally put an end to the crick neck you get after you’ve dribbled your way through the sleep session on a long trip. The product is available in five colors for $59.

Turmeric

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It’s a quintessential spice in curry, a relative of ginger and one of the healthiest ways to add flavor, and color, to a home-cooked meal.

Turmeric has been used to relieve everything from liver problems to depression to ringworm in folk medicine, but, like many alternative therapies, there’s not always much research to back up the ancient wisdom.

But that doesn’t mean turmeric’s powers are to be discredited altogether. Here, a look at what we do know about this powerful seasoning.

Turmeric can tame heartburn and an upset stomach.
In a small 1989 study, supplements made from the turmeric plant were found to be more effective at curbing heartburn and indigestion symptoms than a placebo, possibly because of the plant’s known powers to fight inflammation, Everyday Health reported.

Curcumin, the compound in turmeric responsible for that bright hue, is behind a whole host of the health benefits attributed to the spice. A 2012 study examined one perk of curcumin in particular: the ability of the extract to prevent heart attacks among bypass patients. The study followed 121 patients who had bypass surgery between 2009 and 2011. Three days before surgery through five days after, half of the patients took curcumin capsules, while the other half took placebo pills. During their post-bypass hospital stays, more people in the placebo group experienced a heart attack (30 percent) compared with those in the curcumin group (13 percent), Reuters reported. While not a substitute for medication, the researchers pointed out, the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin may contribute to as much as a 65 percent lower chance of heart attack among bypass patients.


Among people with prediabetes, curcumin capsules were found to delay the onset of Type 2 diabetes in a 2012 study. Over nine months, study participants were given either curcumin supplements or placebo capsules. Just over 16 percent of people taking the placebo pill were diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes by the end of the study, while no one taking curcumin was. Again, researchers chalk these results up to the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant powers of the compound.

While studies in humans are still in very early stages, lab and animal studies have shown promising effects of curcumin in the fight against cancer. Curcumin “interferes with several important molecular pathways involved in cancer development, growth and spread,” according to the American Cancer Society, even killing cancer cells in the lab setting and shrinking tumors and boosting the effects of chemotherapy in animals.


Aromatic turmerone or ar-turmerone is not as well-studied as curcumin, but it also likely plays a part in the turmeric puzzle. In a recent study, researchers found ar-turmerone promotes repair to stems cells in the brain. The study examined the effects of the compound in rats on a type of stem cell that is also found in adult brains. These stem cells are involved in recovery from neurodegenerative diseases like stroke and Alzheimer’s. The compound could potentially be used in the treatment of these diseases in the future, the findings suggest.

The new study builds upon a larger body of research suggesting curcumin may improve overall memory in Alzheimer’s patients, due to a wide range of possible pathways, according to a 2008 review.

Curcumin has been definitively deemed to carry anti-inflammatory powers, although its exact pathways still aren’t completely understood. However, that knowledge has led to a number of studies examining the benefits of turmeric to people with joint pain or arthritis. One of the most promising found that turmeric extract supplements worked just as well as ibuprofen in patients with knee osteoarthritis.

The FDA doesn’t regulate dietary supplements the same way it regulates food or conventional medication, so not every supplement is created equal. Also, certain supplements, including those made from turmeric, can interact with other medications. Turmeric may slow blood clotting, for example, so people taking drugs with the same effect, like anticoagulants, should be cautious about taking turmeric supplements, according to the National Institutes of Health. And of course, it’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor before starting any kind of supplements.

Salem Witch Trials and Giles Corey

In the Spring of 1692, a group of young girls in Salem Village, Massachusetts accused others in their village of practicing witchcraft, unleashing a hysteria that caused the deaths of at least 24 people. Most of the deaths were caused by hanging, or occurred in prison, but the case of Giles Corey, who was accused of colluding with the devil, was different. Giles refused to submit to the lunacy of the Salem show trials, and knowing that making a plea would result in his estate and possessions being forfeited to the government instead of being passed on to his children, he declined to plead either guilty or not guilty. Giles was subsequently subjected to the brutal practice of ‘pressing’ in an attempt to force a plea out of him. He died during the process, but in full possession of his estate, which was passed on to his two sons-in-law, in accordance with his will.

The events that led to the Salem Witch trials began with two young girls, nine-year-old Elizabeth Parris, and 11-year-old Abigail Williams. In January of 1692, Parris and Williams began having fits the involved uncontrollable outbursts of screaming and violent contortions. A local doctor diagnosed the girls with “bewitchment,” and soon other young girls in the area began exhibiting the same symptoms. The girls accused three women of bewitching them – Parris’ Caribbean slave, Tituba, Sarah Good, and Sarah Osborn. The accused were brought to trial. Tituba confessed to practicing witchcraft, preserving her own life. Accusations continued, and some of the accused began pointing fingers at others, in an effort to spare their own lives. The hysteria spread rapidly throughout the town.

During the trials, the young accusers would be present in the court room, writhing and screaming in supposed pain. Specific accusations included seeing the accused transform into animals, the accused coming to their bedside to torture them, suckling a yellow bird between their fingers, and asking them to sign the devil’s book. 

While many accused witches died by hanging, or while in jail, Giles Corey’s death was different. Corey was a prosperous farmer in Salem. He was married three times, to wives Margaret, Mary, and Martha. During the Salem witch trials, Corey and his wife Martha were accused of witchcraft. Accuser Mercy Lewis testified that the apparition of Corey appeared before her, asking her to sign the devil’s book. Corey sat in prison for five months, awaiting trial.

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In September 1692, Corey went to trial. Almost a dozen witnesses came forward stating they had seen Corey serving bread and wine at a witches’ sacrament. Knowing that he would be convicted and executed, as had occurred to all those before him, Corey refused to plea to the charges. By avoiding trial and execution, Corey would be able to preserve his farm for his two sons-in-law. If he had been accused and executed, his estate and possessions would have become property of the state upon his death.

At the time, the consequence for refusing to stand trial was a practice known as pressing. The accused would be stripped naked, and placed upon the ground with boards across his chest. Heavy stones would be placed upon the boards, one at a time, causing agonizing pain as their organs were crushed and their body was pressed into the ground. Pressing was a public event, to be witnessed by family and neighbors. It would ultimately lead to one of two outcomes: either the individual would give in under the pain and pressure and make a plea, most likely resulting in a conviction and subsequent death by hanging, or he would refuse to plead and would die by pressing.

While the heavy stones were placed upon Giles Corey’s chest, he did not yell out in pain, nor did he give in to his tormentors requests. Instead, he is famously known for shouting out “more weight!”, every time he was asked to make a plea. It is clear that his intention was to die by pressing, in the hopes of saving his wife, and preserving his farm and possessions for the sake of his children. Around noon on September 19, 1692, Corey died from pressing.

The witch trials of Salem, which became a highly influential event in U.S. history, have been used in political rhetoric and popular literature to highlight the dangers of isolationism, religious extremism, false accusations, and breakdowns in due process.

Daughter of a Slave Gets Confederate Burial Ceremony

The daughter of a slave, Mattie Clyburn Rice was adamant about one thing: Her father was a Confederate soldier.

Before she died in September at the age of 91, Rice fought to get the Civil War service of her father, Weary Clyburn, recognized. “People didn’t believe her when she said he was a Confederate soldier,” Tony Way, a member of the Sons of the Confederate Veterans, told The Associated Press. “She spent years searching records until she found his pension record approved by the state of North Carolina.”

Clyburn went to war with his master as a cook, and ended up saving his life when the pair came under fire. The pension record says that Clyburn’s “services were meritorious and faithful toward his master and the cause of the Confederacy.” However, a letter from June 18, 1930, states that the pension would not be given to his widow since “negro pensioners are not classified as Confederate Soldiers…” Historian Kevin Levin says that men like Clyburn were not soldiers, and were instead “dragged” into war. “It’s unfortunate that we can’t remember these men for who and what they were,” he told AP. “These were men forced to comply with their master’s wishes as they had always been forced to do.”

Clyburn was in his 80s when Rice was born. His obituary says he was laid to rest in “the Confederate uniform of gray;” it also called him “a white man’s darkey.” Rice’s ashes were buried at the foot of her father’s Monroe, North Carolina, grave on Saturday, as members of the United Daughters of Confederacy and a color guard of Confederate re-enactors looked on.