Cruise Ship Full of Scientologists Is Quarantined Due to Measles Outbreak

In yet another example of Madam Secretary predicting reality, a cruise ship was quarantined on the Caribbean island of Saint Lucia following the news that a passenger onboard had been diagnosed with measles.

But not just any old cruise ship – a Scientology cruise!!!

Image Credit: Pixabay

Saint Lucia’s chief medical officer, Dr. Merlene Fredericks-James, said that, after discussions with other regional health authorities, the decision to order passengers and crew to remain onboard the docked ship was made. The fact that measles is highly contagious surely played a large role in the outcome.

Saint Lucia has had no confirmed cases of measles since 1990, and if their health department has anything to say about it, the island will remain measles-free.

Image Credit: Public Domain

“We believe it’s largely because we’ve continued to immunize our population. And we encourage all persons in particular parents to ensure their children are vaccinated to prevent this disease from occurring.”

The ship was identified as the Freewinds and was docked in Castries, the country’s capital. Also, as we’ve already mentioned, it belongs to the Church of Scientology. According to scientology.org, the Freewinds “is the home of…a religious retreat ministering the most advanced level of spiritual counseling in the Scientology religion.” It also says that journeying on the Freewinds “is the most significant spiritual accomplishment of [a Scientologist’s] lifetime and brings with it the full realization of his immortality.”

Interesting because, of course, the religion is well-known for not believing in modern medicine, even though their official position is that their members should follow doctors’ advice on physical health matters.

Image Credit: Pixabay

Also, the ship’s doctor has since requested 100 doses of the vaccine for others onboard. Nothing like an infectious disease in a confined space to make one reconsider their belief in science.

The vaccines have been provided at no cost.

Since the quarantine was declared, the ship has left port and returned home to the Dutch Caribbean.

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10 Countries Where You Can Live for Under $1000 a Month

If you’ve ever fantasized about getting away and starting over, it turns out that it is very possible to move to another country and live more cheaply, while probably also experiencing less stress and boredom. Thrillist listed 10 countries where you can live for under $1000 per month, including housing and food, plus entertainment. I can already feel my stress melting away.

Several of the countries on the list are in Asia, but there are countries all over the world: Africa, Europe, South America, and the Caribbean.

Right, so let’s start with Asia. Laos, Vietnam, Nepal, and India are all countries where you can live a comfortable lifestyle for under $1000 a month. All of these countries offer amazing food options and endless options for ~adventure~.

Nepal
Photo Credit: iStock

On the border of Europe and Asia, we have both Georgia and Armenia. Armenia is apparently known for its smart people and sunshine, while next-door neighbor Georgia is clean and safe, with a rambunctious nightlife.

In Africa, we have Zimbabwe, an unbelievably gorgeous place that uses US dollars and is “Africa’s adrenaline capital.”

In the Caribbean, there’s Grenada, a small island that is often confused with Guyana but is NOT the same. If you want to achieve a whole new level of relaxation, this is the place.

Grenada, West Indies
Photo Credit: iStock

Also on the list is Bolivia in South America. The visa is $160, but everything else is mega cheap. Tiny bonus: You can walk an alpaca on a leash for free???

Lastly, there’s Montenegro in Eastern Europe. It’s a tiny country with beautiful beaches and mountains. Need I say more?

Time to go do A LOT more daydreaming.

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Idaho’s Airbnb Listings Now Feature a Giant Potato, Which You Can Rent for $200

Airbnb has revolutionized the hospitality industry, but there’s a new location you can rent out that is revolutionizing Airbnb. It’s a potato, located in Idaho (because, of course).

From the outside, it looks like the potato couldn’t possibly be habitable — again, it is A POTATO — but in fact, it features a queen-sized bed and a fireplace.

It’s called the Big Idaho Potato Hotel.

Upon further reading about the Airbnb, it quickly becomes clear that the potato is fake, which is a real bummer but also a relief. The tuber weighs six tons, and it’s 28 feet long, 12 feet wide, and 11.5 feet tall.  It’s made of steel, plaster, and concrete.

The outside looks appealing, in the sense that potatoes are delicious, but also very unappealing, in the sense that you’d never think to spend the night in one.

But inside, there’s air-conditioning, a kitchenette, and a small bathroom.

Posted by Famous Idaho Potatoes on Monday, April 22, 2019

The giant potato was originally created to promote potatoes across the country. After six years of traveling the country on the bed of a truck, it now has a much trendier purpose: millennials pay over $200 a night on Airbnb to sleep inside of it and take Instagram photos.

The Big Idaho Potato Hotel sits in a giant field in Boise, Idaho, with views of the Owyhee Mountains.

Posted by Famous Idaho Potatoes on Monday, April 22, 2019

It has zero reviews on Airbnb due to being brand new, so… Who’s going to book this place first?!

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Japan’s Wisteria Gardens Will Take Your Breath Away

Spring is in the air all around, and after a long and dreary winter, it’s truly a delight to see all of nature in bloom again. This time of year is truly a magical season, but it’s especially gorgeous in Japan.

There’s a natural tendency for most of us to think of cherry blossom when we picture springtime in Japan, but today we’re here to put the spotlight on something we think is JUST as magical (if not more) – wisteria vines.

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Wisteria plants grow long, flowering vines with flowers of various shades including white, yellow, pale blue, pink, and purple. Throughout Japan, there are several gorgeous wisteria gardens with man-made canopies for the plants to spread out on.

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One of the most popular wisteria gardens in Japan is the Kawachi Wisteria Garden, located in the northern end of Kyusu Island. This private garden is only open to the public during wisteria season (April-May) and the maple leaf season in the fall.

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The garden’s most prominent features are two 330-foot tunnels draped by 22 different varieties of wisteria plants.

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Ok, definitely adding this to my bucket list.

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This Map Compares the Education Level in Each State to a Corresponding Country, and it’s Offending Everyone

We all know Americans like to think they’re number one at just about everything, but the truth is…that’s just not the truth. In fact, perhaps it’s their low education levels that makes them believe such a thing in the first place!

According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation, American students rank 28th in math and science scores (for those not good at math, it means there are 27 better countries). The educated people at Home Snacks made a map of the United States comparing each state with a foreign country that is said to have similar education levels, using the United Nations Development Program index. Understanding this map will take knowledge of both United States and world geography, which means you’ll most likely get it if you live in the Northeast.

usmapfinal-YkBDxYHere it is zoomed in, if that helps you focus.

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The Northeast and Midwest tend to be on a similar track as European countries.

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While the Southeast is largely comparable to Central America and Africa.

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The Northwest appears to be the most diverse.

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Although the Southwest is pretty diverse in its own right.

I guess like everything else in America, there are advantages and disadvantages to living in every nook and cranny of the country – but I’m not placing any bets on people deciding to forgo their home state for better education grounds anytime soon.

(h/t: Someecards)

We know you can choose a lot of sites to read, but we want you to know that we’re thankful you chose Did You Know.

You rock! Thanks for reading!

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Startling Report Finds the U.S. Has Over 47,000 Bridges That Are “Structurally Deficient”

Rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure has been a big talking point among politicians over the past several years, but it doesn’t seem like any real action is ever taken.

And the news isn’t getting any better. A new report from the American Road and Transportation Builders Association revealed that more than 47,000 bridges in the U.S. are in bad condition and need urgent repairs. The organization estimates that it would take 80 years to repair all the bridges in the U.S. that are deficient.

Stillwater Bridge, MN
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The term “structurally deficient” doesn’t necessarily mean that a bridge is in danger of collapsing, but it does mean that a bridge needs repairs and renovations. Clearly that’s not a good thing.

Alison Black, the chief economist for the American Road and Transportation Builders Association, said, “In addition to those bridges that are structurally deficient, about 4 out of 10 bridges across the country need some sort of major rehabilitation work. So unfortunately, it’s not just these 47,000 structures that need to be fixed.”

Arlington Memorial Bridge, VA
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The report says that the deficient bridges in the U.S. are crossed 178 million times each day. Many notable bridges are on the “structurally deficient” list, including the Brooklyn Bridge, the Arlington Memorial Bridge that connects Washington, D.C. and Arlington, Virginia, and the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge that stretches across the San Francisco Bay.

San Mateo Bridge, CA
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

To add insult to injury, 2018 saw the slowest rate of repairs in five years. According to Black, “There’s not a lot of new money. It really is just keeping pace with project costs and inflation. I think if we saw a significant increase in the federal funding side of this that would really go a long way to help states that are trying to provide some of these repairs and fix these bridges.”

Let’s all hope that our local, state, and national politicians can work together to repair our infrastructure and ensure the safety of the millions of Americans who drive across these bridges each and every day.

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Australia Just Banned Travelers with Domestic Violence Charges From Entering the Country

Good on ya, mates! Australia just took a stand against domestic violence in a major way. Pay attention, world!

The country made headlines in the past when it denied visas to singer Chris Brown and boxer Floyd Mayweather due to their domestic violence convictions, and now the nation has decided to ban all visitors to Australia who have a conviction for domestic violence against women or children.

The law became official on February 28, 2019, and applies to anyone from any country who is seeking a travel visa to Australia. Also, if a person is currently visiting or working in Australia on a visa and they have a record of domestic violence, they will be kicked out of the country.

Australia’s Immigration Minster, David Coleman, said, “If you’ve been convicted of a violent crime against women or children, you are not welcome in this country.”

Coleman and other Australian politicians believe that this is a step to lower Australia’s domestic violence. “By cancelling the visas of criminals we have made Australia a safer place,” Coleman said in the public statement. “These crimes inflict long lasting trauma on the victims and their friends and family, and foreign criminals who commit them are not welcome in our country.”

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20 Photos of Entirely Wholesome Encounters with Uber/Taxi Drivers

Rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft have changed the transportation game and made a car ride readily accessible to everyone. But, in return for that convenience, you get kind of a mixed bag when it comes to the driver that you get.

You might get the silent type of driver who doesn’t want to say a word, or you might get a total chatterbox who tells you their life story. Or you might just get a total character.

Here are 20 photos people shared of funny and weird things they experienced on their rides.

1. “My Uber Driver Was A Slimmer, Cooler, Mustached Version Of Myself”

Photo Credit: Reddit

2. “This Bangkok Taxi Driver Being A Real Bro”

Photo Credit: Reddit

3. “Funding Our Uber Driver’s Vacations!”

Photo Credit: Reddit

4. “My Uber Driver Had An NES Set Up In The Backseat”

Photo Credit: Reddit

5. “My Friend Is A Lyft Driver And Turned His Car Into A Voter Registration Booth”

Photo Credit: Reddit

6. “In The Back Of A Taxi. It’s A Fair Request”

Photo Credit: Reddit

7. “Our Halloween Uber Driver Asked Us To Pose For A Picture With Her That She Could Send To Scare Her Husband – Who Was Worried About Her Driving Out Late. Mission Accomplished”

Photo Credit: Reddit

8. “This Is My Uber Driver Beni, He Took Me To The Hospital And Keeping Me Company Since Most Of My Family Lives Out Of The State”

Photo Credit: Reddit

9. “My Cab Driver Tonight Was So Excited To Share With Me That He’d Made The Cover Of The Calendar. I Told Him I’d Help Let The World See”

Photo Credit: Reddit

10. “A Note Hanging From This Taxi Driver’s Steering Wheel”

Photo Credit: Reddit

11. “I Just Rode With The Highest Rated Uber Driver In NYC”

Photo Credit: Reddit

12. “Sign In A Taxi Cab”

Photo Credit: Reddit

13. “I Don’t Think The Uber Riders Will Find My Halloween Decoration As Funny As I Do”

Photo Credit: Reddit

14. “We Asked Our Cab Driver What The Best Tip He Ever Got Was. Turns Out He Had Received That Tip Earlier Tonight!”

Photo Credit: Reddit

15. “My Uber Driver Has Sticky Notes From All Of His Passengers On The Roof Of His Car”

Photo Credit: Reddit

16. “My Uber Driver Was Dressed Like Superman”

Photo Credit: Reddit

17. “Welcome To The Peach State! My Atlanta Lyft Driver Has Peaches Ready For Her Riders!”

Photo Credit: Reddit

18. “Starting My St Patrick’s Day In This Uber”

Photo Credit: Reddit

19. “My Uber Driver Picked Me Up From The Airport In 5 Minutes, Which Is Insane Considering He Drove All The Way From 2002”

Photo Credit: Reddit

20. “Getting Out Of My Lyft And The Driver Handed Me His Business Card”

Photo Credit: Reddit

Let’s hope all our upcoming rides will be this eventful!

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Meet the Man Who’s Been Living on a Cruise Ship for 13 Years, aka “The Captain”

He has taken his lunch and dinner every day at the same corner table now for thirteen years. Slim and distinguished, the passenger is lovingly known by the Seven Seas Navigator crew as “The Captain.”

Photo Credit: Forbes

Morton Jablin is 94 years old, sharp, and quite elegant-looking. So, why has he chosen to spend the last 13-years on a boat?

Jablin was born and raised in Brooklyn before he went abroad with the U.S. Navy Office of Naval Intelligence in WWII. After he returned to the States in 1946, he worked as a pharmacist, married his wife Charlotte and raised two children. He eventually started a successful lace-making business.

Throughout their marriage, Jablin and Charlotte traveled all over the world on various cruise lines. When Charlotte passed 13 years ago, Jablin decided to make his globetrotting full time and settled on the Navigator as his new home.

Living on the ship has allowed Jablin to keep a simple routine – one that ensures he knows where everything is, which is particularly important because he is steadily losing his eyesight and is now 90% blind. Other than the occasional doctor appointment, he no longer participates in shore excursions. “Charlotte and I had already been everywhere.”

His corner table in the Compass Rose Dining Room is permanently reserved for his daily lunches and dinners and is set for him exactly the same way for every meal.

Photo Credit: Regent Cruises

His suite has been customized to meet his needs, and he exercises daily by walking on a deck that is usually empty. Casinos aren’t his thing, but he enjoys the onboard musical performances.

Family visits him when the ship docks in Miami, and he can always call them on his cell phone. Although other passengers will sometimes start conversation, Jablin really considers the crew as his friends and family.

Jablin summed up his life at sea this way. “I couldn’t achieve this lifestyle anywhere else. If I need a nurse or doctor, someone is in my cabin within five minutes. No matter what the time of day, if I need something, someone is here in 10-15 minutes. If I weren’t on this ship, I would have to have someone living with me.”

“Where else could I feel this secure and safe? Life on board couldn’t be better,” he said.

He kind of has a point, don’t you think?

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