6 Brilliant 'Solutions' That Only Made Things Worse
Every problem has a solution. Unfortunately, a lot of those solutions end up making things way worse than they ever were before. But hey, it's the thought that counts, right? No. Not when that thought is "What would this situation look like on fire, and covered in urine?" That had to be the inspiration behind embarrassing disasters like these.
Indian Drivers Get Around Traffic Restrictions By Buying More Cars, Causing More Traffic
India is basically one big traffic jam which a billion people happen to live in. Desperate to reduce the number of vehicles on the streets (and the shit they pump into the air), Delhi's authorities decided to adopt an idea used by other cities around the world: the odd-even scheme. As in, cars with plates ending in odd numbers and cars with plates ending in even numbers can only go out on alternating days.
In theory, this should force people to either carpool or suck it up and use public transportation. But in practice, it just made them buy more cars to get around the rule. According to a study by an Indian university, air pollution went down in Delhi the first time the rule was tried, but on the second attempt it increased by 23%. Not coincidentally, the number of cars on the roads went up too. There's no way the authorities could have known the scheme would have this effect ... unless they'd looked at Mexico City, where precisely this had already happened.
In Mexico, CO2 levels dropped by 11% at first, but they eventually went up by 13% as people rushed to buy more cars. And like in India, these second vehicles were mostly used ones, because they're cheaper and you know what number you're getting on the plate. But they also tend to be older, shittier, and pollute more. Despite this, India intends to continue using the odd-even scheme periodically. So we hope everybody enjoyed the free trial period for "breathing." It has now expired.
Georgia's Bounty On Boars Causes The Boar Population To Go Up
Out-of-control boars are a serious international problem, as we've been shouting from the rooftops for some time now. In Fort Benning, Georgia, packs of feral pigs go around chowing on vegetation, animals, and basically anything else in their path. In an attempt to put an end to their reign of terror, Fort Benning not only gave hunters the go-ahead to kill these bastards, but also offered a $40 reward per hunted pig. That sounds like the basis for the bloodiest episode of The Mandalorian yet.
Things were going smoothly at first, with 900 pigs put down within seven months. But then the government noticed something odd: The pig population was actually rising instead of dropping. It turned out that by using bait to catch the pigs, the hunters were giving the animals more resources and helping them reproduce faster. They were also focused on killing "trophy" pigs that would look cooler on Facebook banner photos, but not necessarily the ones that would affect population growth. Plus the hogs were being introduced to traps they hadn't seen before and learning how to avoid them. Fort Benning paid hunters over $57,000 to accidentally make their problem even bigger and smarter than it was before. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the all-pig reboot of Deep Blue Sea.
A Global Treaty To Lower Greenhouse Gas Emissions Ends Up Causing More
The Kyoto Protocol's Joint Implementation mechanism works by providing countries with credits for burning their greenhouse gases instead of setting them loose into the atmosphere. Each country has a quota to meet, and those who surpass it can sell their credits to other, lazier countries who haven't met their quotas. The idea is that it doesn't really matter who's burning those gases, as long as the quotas are met by someone.
But while some countries tried to avoid leaving a burned-up hellscape for future generations, others saw a chance to make a quick buck. Countries like Russia and Ukraine realized they could make money by creating more greenhouse gases, burning them, and then selling those extra credits. Over 90% of the credits were issued by the Ruskies and the, uh, Ukrainkies alone, and 75% didn't represent actual emission reductions.
The fallout? A study by the Stockholm Environmental Institute (verified by the UN) found that the Joint Implementation mechanism resulted in 600 million extra tons of carbon dioxide equivalent being sent up there. In other words, this plan to clean up the air ended up making the world a dirtier place, both literally and figuratively.
An Island Wipes Out Feral Cats, Gets Overtaken By Rabbits
Macquarie Island was a tiny slice of paradise that was gradually turned into a poison pot. All because of some adorable rabbits.
Back in the day, sailors had a tradition to leave rabbits on islands as a possible food supply for future castaways. In Macquarie, these rabbits served as an easy prey for the feral cats the sailors used to control their mice problem, boosting the feline population. But no one beats rabbits when it comes to doin' it, so their numbers grew regardless. By the 1970s, the island was packed with around 130,000 rabbits, which wreaked havoc on the ecosystem and traumatized everyone else with their public sexcapades.
To solve the problem, experts intentionally infected the island with myxomatosis, a disease which is particularly good at killing rabbits. It worked, reducing those 130,000 down to a mere 10,000. The island's ecosystem started to recover ... until those feral cats we mentioned earlier got hungry. With fewer rabbits to hunt, the cats diversified their diet and started going after the local burrowing birds. Experts couldn't risk the extinction of this species, and did what humans do best -- shoot the hell out of some cats.
By the year 2000, the last feral cat was shot down. Finally, order had been restored to the island! Until Act 3 of this dramatic story reintroduced an old villain: the freaking rabbits again. With all the feral cats gone, no disease (even one from the fifth dimension) could contain their numbers. Their population kept on growing until they'd practically chewed down the whole island. This then resulted in a landslide, which almost wiped out an entire penguin colony. The government dealt with this by ... you guessed it, shooting all these damn rabbits, plus all the mice and rats while they were at it, which took seven years and $25 million. Guys, just give it to the rabbits. They won, damn it all. They won.
Free Mosquito Nets Are Repurposed As Fishing Nets, Leading To Overfishing
In Africa, hearing a mosquito buzzing by your ear isn't an annoyance, but a possible death sentence. They spread diseases like malaria, dengue, and Zika. So it's a good thing that there's an effective and widespread solution: insecticide-treated mosquito nets. Literally millions of them are distributed every year for free by aid organizations, saving countless lives. Problem is, these nets are a little too effective. Which leads to this:
Yep, locals (not just in Africa, but also in places like the Philippines and Bangladesh) have started sewing the nets together to use as fishing tools. Since the holes are too small for insects, they are also pretty good at not letting a single fish through. This not only contributes to the dwindling number of fish in parts of Africa, but also gives the fishermen no incentive to go back to the shitty, more expensive nets they were using before. They know what they're doing is wrong, but some of them insist that if it wasn't for these nets, they'd starve to death, and then there'd be no one for the mosquitoes to bother anyway.
But here's the rub: These nets are covered in poison and regularly put straight into the water. The amount of insecticide is too low to seriously affect humans directly, but fish are much bigger pansies, and we simply don't know how they'll do in the long run. OK, this is starting to sound disturbingly like the start of a SyFy movie about flying vampiric fish.
A Man Gets Cured Of Epilepsy ... And Becomes Addicted To Illegal Porn
Here's the tragic tale of the man who traded the bad kind of stroke for the even worse kind of stroke. The man, who went by "Kevin" when interviewed by Radiolab, had suffered epileptic seizures since he was a teenager. Fed up with that noise, he decided to have a hardcore operation called a hemispherectomy, wherein they literally cut away part of your brain. He went through with it, and it worked! No more seizures! The part of his brain that caused them was gone. Unfortunately, so was the part of his brain that told him not to jerk it to extremely gross, extremely illegal things.
The operation gave Kevin something called Kluver-Bucy syndrome, which is caused by damage to the anterior temporal lobe. Without the part of his brain which regulates the manifestations of sexual desires, Kevin basically became a robot who couldn't stop himself from delving into his darkest fantasies -- stuff involving corporal fluids, animals, and what he called "xeno sex" (sex with aliens). His browsing history got weirder and weirder, until one day he found himself downloading kiddie porn.
Kevin was arrested in 2006, and a neurosurgeon explained his condition during the trial. But since he's a regular dude and not, say, the lead singer of a beloved '60s British explosion band, he was eventually sentenced to 26 months in federal prison. He's currently out and in successful treatment -- at least until the aliens come to take him to his second trial, this time in front of an intergalactic tribunal.
Christian Markle is a pretty cool dude. Hit him up on Facebook.
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