Monthly Archive: April 2014

1,759

The Chinese TV Show That Showed Death Row Inmates’ Last Minutes

The Chinese show Interviews Before Execution took reality TV to unsettling new levels. For six years, reporter Ding Yu interviewed death row inmates, many of whom were only minutes away from walking the green mile. As you might assume, the program was wildly popular, and it sometimes got a bit dramatic.

8,360

Zulu Warriors Killed Napoleon (The Fourth)

Napoleon IV, grand-nephew to Napoleon and son to Napoleon III, was killed by Zulus while serving with the British in South Africa at the age of 23. His death caused a major scandal and saw the officer meant to watch over him brought to trial, as well as ending the slim hopes of a Bonapartist restoration in France.

10

The Many And Varied Types Of Archaeology

Archaeology is one of those careers we’d all like to have, as long as we can be Indiana Jones. It’s rarely like that, though, and it’s also one of those careers that’s been vastly misrepresented by the media. Archaeologists aren’t just archaeologists: They’re marine and underwater archaeologists, prehistoric archaeologists, battlefield archaeologists, aerial archaeologists, or even biblical archaeologists.

14

The Unfortunate Australian Utopia In Paraguay

In 1893, 220 Australians sailed out of Sydney to start a new life in Paraguay. Their settlement, named New Australia, was to be a “socialist utopia,” and went about as well as anything bearing that description, quickly abandoning its founding principles and even splitting in two. Today, a substantial number of Paraguayan Australians still exist and continue to maintain some of their heritage.

1,074

Some Animals Can Consume Knowledge Through Cannibalism

“Certain species of flatworm have been gradually taught to run a maze. If you grind them up and feed them to a second batch of flatworms, the second batch can run the maze on the first try.” –Peter O’Toole in “Phantoms.”

The above statement got everyone looking for proof, because even a rotter of a movie can’t throw around scientific statements without there being some truth to them. It turns out that this fact is a fact, true, and very difficult to believe. Experiments from the 1960s show that it even works in rats and mice.

6,341

Cracking Your Knuckles Won’t Give You Arthritis

It’s a habit that some people find relief in, and others find annoying. Everyone who’s done it has probably been told that they’re increasing their risk for arthritis, but there’s absolutely no medical evidence to support this claim. There are, however, other dangers such as dislocated fingers associated with obsessive knuckle-cracking, so many medical experts recommend you still don’t do it.

2,090

The German City Caught In The Middle Of World War III

The small city of Fulda was on the border between West and East Germany in the Cold War. It was the most likely area of attack for eastern European and Soviet forces in the event of World War III and unsurprisingly, over a million soldiers faced each other off in the region. Soviet forces would have attempted to break through there and exploit the routes through the valleys and mountains to the strategic city of Frankfurt. Had war broken out, one of, if no the largest tank battle would have taken place between American and Warsaw pact forces, with the use of nuclear weapons being very likely, from land mines to short range missiles. Fulda would have been turned into a nuclear wasteland, littered with corpses and smoldering vehicles and buildings.

1,252

The Russian Terrorist Plot That Backfired Horribly

Narodnaya Volya was a Russian left-wing revolutionary terrorist group. Formed in 1879, Narodnaya Volya was passionate about political reform for the lower classes in a radical way. Frustrated by a lack of attention, the group decided to assassinate the czar (who was ironically also sympathetic to the lower classes) in 1881. After they did so, antiterrorist sentiment skyrocketed and the group was completely eliminated within a year.

1,053

Civilization Didn’t Evolve to Agriculture The Way You Think

Originally found and dismissed in the 1960s, Gobekli Tepe is rewriting how we think of the evolution of modern society. Approximately 11,600 years old, the ancient temple was the center of a civilization that gave rise to some of the oldest known strains of crops and marked the change between hunter-gatherers and a farm-based society—and it might not have happened how we think. The temple construction pre-dates the strains of domestic crops, suggesting that agriculture didn’t come first after all.

370

Sequoyah, The Illiterate Man Who Created A Language

Sequoyah was a of the Cherokee Native American. An illiterate silversmith, he needed a way to track his clients and do other paperwork. So over several years, this man who couldn’t read or write any language developed an entire new writing system for the spoken language of the Cherokee people.