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A couple who died of bubonic plague were mocked online. Then, a biologist showed up to shut it down with cold, hard science.

Earlier this year, a couple from Mongolia died of bubonic plague after consuming the organs of raw marmot. They believed the action would bring them good health. While that may sound strange, according to the World Health Organization, the eating of rodent meat is considered a folk remedy in the region.


The loss of two lives is tragic. But it got worse. Soon after news of the couple's demise broke out, people began mocking them on social media. After one Tumblr user decided to turn the conversation into a discussion of how the deceased should have just adopted a vegan diet, another used showed up to explain exactly why the post was wrong, rude, and ethnocentric.

All images in this post via Imgur.

"If you eat a raw dead rat in 2019 you deserve the bubonic plague," the original Tumblr user wrote. "We've all thought about eating a pigeon but it doesn't mean you just pick one off the street and bite into it."

Lots to unpack there, but I'm just going to make two points: 1. No one deserves the bubonic plague — especially for making a mistake; 2. How wonderful to illustrate people one knows nothing about as idiots who pick pigeons up off the street and bite into them.

Fortunately, someone other than an angry blogger stepped in. It was another tumblr user. And they were there to correct misconceptions, explain what happened, and take names. (Without going all off the handle like I might.) (Favorite thing to do!)

"The people who died were an ethnic Kazakh couple in a small Mongolian town," the user wrote. "They didn't eat a dead rat, they ate raw organs from a marmot they had hunted.the plague is an endemic disease in Mongolia, spread largely through contact with marmots (largely as a result of their fleas). unfortunately, due to a lack of information, some people in Mongolia subscribe to the folk belief that eating raw marmot will lead to good health."

"This couple contracted the disease-which is very treatable with antibiotics-but did not receive adequate care in time and, as a result, suffered horrifically before dying. they left behind children, ranging in age from 14-years-old to 9 months. they did not deserve to die."

Wow, okay. That's probably where it should have ended. With the original poster more humble and wise and promising they'd read more than just headlines in the future, but one of their supporters showed up to turn this into an argument about veganism.

And that's when things got heated. Because you know what? Civility is not always enough when people are being awful. Sometimes one has to fight fire with (very contained but still deadly) fire. And that's exactly what this anonymous person (with a clear background in biology) did; showing their detractors that it doesn't matter whether you eat meat or not — what matters is that we treat others with respect.

A little harsh? Absolutely. But an important reminder that we all need to work to understand others and show compassion in the face of tragedy. Even when we can't agree.

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

This article originally appeared on 08.21.18


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Making a priceless memory

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