You could scream in Iceland without making the trip
Pandemic or not, most people could use some stress relief, and in July 2020, Iceland’s tourism board offered that to the rest of the world in the form of scream therapy. Sure, you could just scream into your pillow, but through the country’s “Let It Out” program, anyone can record their best blood-curdling scream on their phone, tablet, or laptop, and have it played on a loudspeaker somewhere in Icelandic nature. It’s free and easy to participate in this ongoing program, and it’s not too late to let your scream loose from a picturesque mountaintop or waterfall. There is also a feature on the website that allows you to listen to other people’s screams, in case that would make you feel better.
An Austrian tourist damaged a 200-year-old statue while taking a photo
For many people, documenting their trips through photos is an important part of their travels. And while some stick to landscapes, others opt for some of the many tried-and-true tourist poses designed to impress friends and family back home, like the ones where a person looks like they’re holding up a well-known structure like the Eiffel Tower or the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Another classic involves someone standing next to a statue and recreating its pose. Unfortunately, this is exactly what an Austrian man was doing in August when he damaged a 200-year-old sculpture in Italy. The incident took place at the Museo Antonio Canova in Possagno, and according to museum officials, the man was leaning up against the sculpture and attempting to strike the same pose, which resulted in several toes breaking off of the original plaster of Paolina Borghese Bonaparte As Venus Victrix, which was commissioned in 1804 by Prince Camillo Borghese.
Mystery seeds popped up from China
Starting in July, US residents in all 50 states began receiving unsolicited packages from China containing unidentified seeds. Immediately, the US Department of Agriculture issued warnings, urging people not to plant the mystery seeds, fearing they were some type of invasive species. By August, the agency had identified at least 14 species of seeds that had been sent over from China, including mustard, cabbage, morning glory, mint, sage, rosemary, lavender, hibiscus, and rose. Two months later, the USDA had identified approximately 5000 seed species coming from 44 countries of origin.
Ultimately, the USDA noticed two trends. The first was cases where people did, in fact, order seeds online but didn’t expect them to come from a foreign country. The second was that many of the seeds were sent as part of an Internet “brushing” scam, which is one part of the process where merchants invent fake customers and positive reviews to boost their sales. In these cases, the reviews won’t go through unless there is evidence that the transaction is completed. To get to that point, the company sends cheap items – like seeds – to strangers.
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