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I saw this clip about McDonald's workers being told to put mustard on burns, and I had to Google it.

There's a dirty little secret when it comes to getting on-the-job burns when working at a place like McDonald's. And yes, I'm aware that not every franchise does this … but a lot of them do.

I saw this clip about McDonald's workers being told to put mustard on burns, and I had to Google it.

I actually worked at a fast food place (hint: rhymes with “parties") for a few years when I moved to Kansas City after leaving college. Yes, burns were frequent. So were megalomaniac bosses and hella long shifts, for that matter — but I digress.

I do not remember anybody telling me to put mustard on my burns, but it wouldn't surprise me if that actually did happen.


What I DO remember is watching a coworker of mine — a single mother trying to work as many hours as she could — burning herself badly when she made a small mistake in judgment and grabbed an extremely hot pan. Mistakes like that happen when you're exhausted.

She was in tears, but she didn't want to tell management because she needed the job so badly.

I can tell you: That kind of thing happens every day.

If you don't want to watch the video at the bottom, here's a quick summary:

Some McDonald's workers report that disposing of hot grease has become a challenge because the machines designed to do it don't work anymore. As in, they're broken. Instead, they say, they're instructed to pour the hot grease into a garbage bag filled with ice. Yummy.

They're supposed to have elbow-length gloves on to prevent burns, but of course, those disappear at some point and are never replaced, which is why you see the paper towel being used above. Of course, burns happen. And in many cases, employees are told to treat the burns with … cream? Medicated ointment? Some other modern medical thinger that would protect the skin from damage?

Ahem.

(Yes, I'm aware that it's an old-fashioned remedy that can sometimes help with pain, but it's far from sanitary or even very wise. That is what came back on my Google search results, anyway. And, really ... mustard?!)

Employees say the first-aid kits are frequently minimally stocked or even empty, so there really aren't a lot of options when they burn themselves. So ... condiments!

Yes, fast food workers are pissed. For good reason. It's not just about the wages, however.

Here's the three-minute video if you've got the time — and the stomach — to find out more.

Warning: At about 02:30 are some graphical images of skin burns.

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When "bobcat" trended on Twitter this week, no one anticipated the unreal series of events they were about to witness. The bizarre bobcat encounter was captured on a security cam video and...well...you just have to see it. (Read the following description if you want to be prepared, or skip down to the video if you want to be surprised. I promise, it's a wild ride either way.)

In a North Carolina neighborhood that looks like a present-day Pleasantville, a man carries a cup of coffee and a plate of brownies out to his car. "Good mornin!" he calls cheerfully to a neighbor jogging by. As he sets his coffee cup on the hood of the car, he says, "I need to wash my car." Well, shucks. His wife enters the camera frame on the other side of the car.

So far, it's just about the most classic modern Americana scene imaginable. And then...

A horrifying "rrrrawwwww!" Blood-curdling screaming. Running. Panic. The man abandons the brownies, races to his wife's side of the car, then emerges with an animal in his hands. He holds the creature up like Rafiki holding up Simba, then yells in its face, "Oh my god! It's a bobcat! Oh my god!"

Then he hucks the bobcat across the yard with all his might.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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