Monthly Archive: January 2014

11,319

The Blind Man Who Goes Mountain Biking

Going blind or being blind from birth is a difficult situation to be in. We live in a world where sight is considered one of our most important senses and most things are built with that in mind. However, some blind people have figured out how to use echolocation in a manner similar to bats to navigate. Recently, a technological tool to aid in the use of this ability was successfully tested.

5,061

Obamacare Was Invented By Nixon

The Affordable Care Act (also known as “Obamacare”) is one of the most divisive policies ever pushed through by an American president. Designed to ensure everyone is insured in the event of illness or injury, it’s sent the Republican Party mad with rage—with prominent conservatives calling it “the end of freedom.” Yet the concept of Obamacare was originally proposed by Nixon Republicans in the 1970s, and fully supported by the GOP while Democrats campaigned against it.

3,483

The Different Kinds Of Stress

Stress can seem as ever-present as it is terrible; what you might not know is that you’re constantly being subjected to different types of stress, and learning to recognize them is the first step in successfully coping. Acute stress is the type that’s brought on by an immediate threat. Chronic stress happens when a person is exposed to the same stressful situation over a long period of time, and episodic stress happens when a person’s actions bring the stress upon themselves.

425

The Chess-Playing Robot Hoax Of The 18th Century

In 1770, an astonishing robot was unveiled that possessed the artificial intelligence needed to defeat any human players in a game of chess. Nicknamed “The Turk,” this animatronic chess champion was created by Wolfgang von Kempelen, and it toured Europe and America until it was destroyed in a fire in 1854. That’s when it was revealed it wasn’t a robot at all, but an elaborate hoax, with a human chess master hiding inside The Turk all along.

732

Underground Bacteria Will Outlive All Life On Earth

Over the next few billion years, the Sun will burn increasingly hotter. As that happens and temperatures on Earth start getting toasty, mass extinctions will occur, starting with the larger animals and working their way down to the microscopic level until the surface of the planet is nothing more than a charbroiled wasteland. The last life on Earth will exist in a few colonies of extremely durable bacteria living deep underground.

3,525

‘Mein Kampf’ Is An Amazon Bestseller

We’ve all heard of Mein Kampf. Adolf Hitler’s atrocity against literature was the Bible of the Nazis—a turgid tome filled with hatred, bile, and incitation to genocide. Although it was reviled for many years, it’s recently made a comeback and is currently one of the best-selling eBooks in the world, topping the Amazon charts in the US, UK, and Europe.

8,232

The Difference Between Moss And Lichen

Mosses and lichens are both simple organisms we’ve all seen growing on trees and rocks. Mosses are defined as simple plants with the most basic of root structures, leaves, and stems. Lichens are a very different type of creature, called a composite organism. Not just a plant, lichens are actually a single entity created from a joining of algae and fungus.

2,523

The Real Blueprints For A Euthanasia Roller Coaster

The ideas of euthanasia and assisted suicide are always hotly debated topics. Lithuanian writer and artist Julijonas Urbonas is taking that debate one step further with his plans for a Euthanasia Coaster, a roller coaster that is guaranteed to kill its passenger with a 500 meter (1,640 ft) drop and speeds up up 160 kilometers per second (100 miles per second). The idea was inspired by his longtime love of amusement parks, and he stresses that it would be a euphoric, painless way to die.

6,789

The Planet Screams Before Every Volcanic Eruption

Right before a volcano erupts, the Earth emits a series of shock waves, miniature earthquakes that ripple through the bedrock at increasing frequencies as the pressure below the volcano builds — a rising scream straight from the bowels of the Earth.

2

The Elephant Who Served Both The Axis And The Allies

Asian elephant Lin Wang was thrust into World War II as a pack mule, hauling Japanese supplies around in the jungles of Burma. In 1943, his time with the Axis came to an end: He was captured by Chinese soldiers, who employed him for the same purpose. He lived to be the world’s oldest elephant.