Monthly Archive: December 2013


The Christmas Fighting Festival Of Peru

Every Christmas, the Andean citizens of the Chumbivilcas province settle their grudges during the fighting festival of Takanakuy. All legal disputes and personal issues are solved when these people go toe-to-toe in bloody MMA-style matches. In addition to these Christmastime brawls, revelers wear wild costumes, sing, dance, and consume copious quantities of alcohol.


The Difference Between Bactrian And Dromedary Camels

A dromedary is a subspecies of camel, native to deserts across India, Africa, and the Middle East. So what’s with the animals that have one hump and the ones that have two? That’s where the difference comes in; the dromedary has one hump, while the other subspecies of camel, the Bactrian, has two. And also unlike their more popular cousins, the Bactrian lives in the searingly hot (and freezing cold) rocky deserts of Central and East Asia.


The Victorians’ Creepy Christmas Eve Tradition

Ah, Christmas Eve. A time for family, eggnog, and . . . ghost stories? For the Victorians it was. For years, it was tradition for a family to gather by the fireplace the night before Christmas to trade ghost stories—often tales the storyteller himself claimed to have experienced first-hand.


The Kidnapped Texas Settler Who Forgot English

In 1836, the Parkers, a family of pioneers in the American West, were attacked by a force of mounted Comanches in Central Texas. The Parkers fled for their lives—some escaped, some were killed, and some were kidnapped. Among the abducted was nine-year-old Cynthia Ann Parker. She assimilated to Comanche life extremely well; when she was found over 20 years later, she had even forgotten English.


The Difference Between Legends, Myths, And Fairy Tales

Legends, myths, and fairy tales are all various types of folklore, most of which have been passed down through generations. Legends are usually based on some sort of historical fact and have had their characters or events embellished over the tellings and retellings. Fairy tales generally have some sort of fantastic element, and might feature magic, imaginary creatures, and often a conflict between sides that are clearly good and evil. A myth has its basis in religion, often telling stories of supernatural beings or creators, and usually explaining some sort of natural phenomenon.


Santa Claus And Gandalf Have The Same Origin

Santa Claus is one of the most recognizable images in the world. Gandalf, a wizard, is a central character in J.R.R. Tolkein’s “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of The Rings” books. Both figures derive their backstories from Odin, the Norse supergod.


The Real-Life Indiana Jones Saving Britain’s Lost TV

Philip Morris is a man with one of the strangest jobs in the world. Known as the “Indiana Jones of TV,” he travels to distant, war-torn countries risking life and limb in search of priceless cultural artifacts: the missing episodes of Sci-Fi show “Doctor Who” destroyed by the BBC over 30 years ago.


Real Christmas Trees Are More Eco-Friendly Than Fake Ones

In recent times, many people have been switching from real Christmas trees to fake ones in an effort to be more environmentally friendly. But contrary to popular belief, fake trees are usually worse for the environment, and it could take over 20 years of use for the ecological costs to balance out.


Mysterious Tiles Keep Popping Up Across The Western Hemisphere

Since 1985, mysterious tiles have been showing up imbedded in streets across the United States and deep into South America. Made from linoleum, asphalt crack filler, tar paper, and glue, these tiles all bear a similar message—most read something along the lines of “TOYNBEE IDEA / IN MOVIE 2001 / RESSURECT DEAD / ON PLANET JUPITER.” Tiles are still appearing almost 30 years later, and still no one knows who’s laying them or what their cryptic messages mean.


The Difference Between Nuts, Legumes, And Drupes

A legume is typically a pod with multiple seeds that will start to open on its own as it becomes ready for harvesting. A nut is typified by a hard outer shell protecting a single seed that we would call the “nut,” and does not open on its own. A drupe is basically a nut with a pulpy fruit around it. An example of a drupe whose nut seed you wouldn’t eat is a peach; one whose seed we would eat is an almond.