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ODB: The Big Stink

In August 2013, large crowds gathered at the Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to witness the blooming of the tropical plant known as the corpse flower. Since the flower is native to Indonesia, and may flower only once every several years, its blooming is a spectacle. Once open, the huge spiky, beautiful, red bloom smells like rotten meat. Because of its putrid fragrance, the flower

ODB: A Fishing Lesson

I was fishing quietly on the clear, still waters of Piatt Lake, casting next to a lush weedbed. I watched a large smallmouth bass sneak out of the thick vegetation to investigate. He approached the tempting night crawler on the end of my line, stared at it, and backed into the weeds. This happened several times until he spotted the hook. Then he whipped his tail and disappeared into his lair, neve

ODJ: no ordinary struggle

Near the conclusion of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Return of the King, Frodo is on the verge of completing his mission to destroy the Ring of Power. With the fate of Middle Earth hanging in the balance, all that’s left is to cast the ring into the fires of Mount Doom.But he can’t do it.Even with so much at stake, the humble hobbit is unable to let the ring go. The ring’s

ODJ: the biscuit tin

A little boy’s mother baked a batch of cookies and placed them in a biscuit tin, instructing her son not to touch them until after dinner. Soon she heard the lid of the tin move, and she called out, “Son, what are you doing?”

ODJ: temptations we face

This is the last snack I’m going to eat today, you tell yourself. Then 5 minutes later you’re looking for another one! Michael Moss, in his book Salt Sugar Fat, reveals how food companies study ways to ‘help’ people crave junk food. Some of the food industry’s biggest names hire ‘crave consultants’ to determine people’s ‘bliss points’—the conditions when foo

ODJ: staying alert


Writer and media consultant Phil Cooke was on a business trip to Calgary, Canada. More than a thousand miles from home, he thought he was walking around in total anonymity until someone tapped him on the shoulder and asked, “Aren’t you Phil Cooke?” The man who made the inquiry had read Cooke’s books and followed him through social media. Phil wasn’t doing anything that could have damaged

Transformation

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I enjoy watching the weight loss reality show The Biggest Loser. Each season, contestants are pushed to the limit by demanding personal trainers in order to shed unwanted mass.

ODB: Way Out

While in London recently, I decided to take the underground train to my destination. So I paid my fare and descended into the depths of London to catch my train. But getting out of the station can be a scary experience for someone who is unfamiliar with the system. If you don’t find the exit, you can quickly get lost in the tunnels.Being alone in a sparsely populated underground tunnel is an uns

ODB: A Way Of Escape

Highway 77, which passes through the Appalachian Mountains in West Virginia, features a series of runaway truck ramps. These semi-paved exits appear in an area of the highway where the altitude drops nearly 1,300 feet over the course of about 6 miles. This steep descent combined with the road’s winding path can create problems for motorists—especially truck drivers.Just as a runaway truck need