Lost Property on Japanese Trains, Lost Radioactive Tritium and Feet Facts

This short series of reports includes news on lost property on Japanese trains, lost radioactive tritium and feet facts.

| November/December 1982

News briefs on the huge numbers associated with lost property on Japanese trains, a lost radioactive tritium cylinder that fell off the back of a truck and facts about the human foot. 

ABSENT-MINDED UPDATE: Last year, we published a list of lost property on trains left behind by forgetful travelers in Japan's National Railway trains and depots. Well, a new tally is in, and a record amount of cash—$11 million—was found . . . not to mention a diamond worth over $400,000 (it was reunited with its rightful owner), 525,000 umbrellas and 144 sets of false teeth (both categories are down from last year), a live raccoon, and the cremated remains of ten people.

UP ON THE ROOF: A Swedish study of 2,495 chimney sweeps—all of whom had been actively employed in the profession for at least ten years—indicated that there might be a variety of health problems associated with the occupation. Sweeps seem to be five times as likely as the average population to develop cancer of the liver and the esophagus and three times as likely to develop lung cancer . . . have an "excess" (or early) mortality rate of 24% . . . and experience 20% more cardiovascular disease.

OOPS! A cylinder containing radioactive tritium, a component of nuclear weapons, went unrecovered after it fell off the back of a truck en route from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee to an airport. Officials speculate that the person who found the tritium decided to keep it because its white, fiberglass-paneled footlocker-style container would make a nice storage chest . . . despite (or maybe because of?) the fact that it's labeled "radioactive".

IS AN ACCIDENT AN ACCIDENT IF YOU'RE DRUNK? The Center for Disease Control recently released statistics on drownings, which are the second leading cause (the first is motor vehicle accidents) of unintentional death among people aged 5 to 44. Surprisingly, in one study, approximately 47% of adults who drowned were found to have evidence of alcohol in their blood.

HUNTING FOR LAND: Instead of a lottery or an essay contest, an Oregon landowner has come up with a unique way to sell his family's property during these times of tight money: a treasure hunt (scheduled for October 1982). For a $100 entry fee, each participant receives a list of clues to the where-abouts of a facsimile deed to the property. The first person to locate the document wins the $100,000 organic farm . . . which includes a greenhouse, 100 peach trees, and four acres planted in cherries.

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