Monthly Archive: June 2014

2,230

The Concrete Arrows That Range Across The United States

Back in the early days of airmail, flying across the US was risky business. Pilots didn’t have radar and had to rely on landmarks to find their way. Wanting to make things easier (and speed up delivery time), the USPS decided to set up concrete arrows across America, pointing the way from one coast to the other.

2,473

When Nostalgia Was Considered A Crippling Mental Illness

We think of nostalgia as being those moments when we fondly remember something that’s happened to us in the past. Nostalgia didn’t always have such a warm connotation though, and was originally thought to be a mental illness. Emigrants and soldiers would often fall victim to nostalgia, and it was thought that if it wasn’t stopped fairly quickly, it would end in victims wasting away and losing their ability to adjust and cope with daily life.

2,385

6 Revolutionary Soldiers Lived To The End Of The Civil War

As one of the eldest certifiable veterans of the American Revolutionary War, no one can doubt that the 106-year-old Lemuel Cook boasted a turbulent life. Yet Cook (and eight other men) lived through the late-18th and early-19th century . . . and even saw the end of the American Civil War. Incredibly, having lived into the age of photography, pictures of these men are still available for us to see.

2,985

The Genetic Disorder That May Prevent Racism

Racial biases exist in all people of every age and every nationality; studies have shown that most of us start forming our racial biases before we even learn how to talk. Yet some children have absolutely no racial biases whatsoever—and those children have something called Williams syndrome. The syndrome, which isn’t all about a lack of racism, is a genetic condition in which children are born with about 26 fewer genes than normal. Other characteristics associated with the condition include a lack of social anxiety, no fear of strangers or new situations, as well as physical problems like joint stiffness, cardiovascular disease, and high levels of calcium in the blood.

691

The Incredible Journey Of An Eel

For Westerners, freshwater eels are a rather unappreciated fish and, if considered at all, are usually thought of as slimy bottom-dwellers that are better left alone. However, what many don’t realize is that eels have incredibly interesting lives, which includes a total metamorphosis and an incredibly long migratory journey into the open ocean.

1,924

Native Americans Didn’t Always Use The Whole Bison

Native Americans are often revered for how in touch with nature they were. One of the things most often cited as evidence of this is how they would use every single part of every bison that they killed. In reality, many tribes engaged in extremely wasteful practices. Some Blackfoot, for example, would drive entire herds over cliffs and pick out the pieces they wanted to use from the pile at the bottom.

1,049

The Mad Russian Who Tried To Breed Chimpanzees With Humans

Ilya Ivanov was a Russian scientist who rose to prominence in the early 1900s due to his efforts to breed humans with chimpanzees. However, he was unable to get anyone impregnated, much less create a hybrid. (We’ll let you decide if his failure is a good thing or a bad thing.)

7,877

The Surprising Cuisine Of Prehistoric Europeans

The tough, brutal environment of prehistoric Europe conjures up images of gruff cavemen hunting giant mammoths and stuffing their faces with barely cooked flesh. It’s a brutal—and tasteless—meal. But prehistoric Europeans did have a splash of modern cuisine in their diets: In addition to using spices in their cooking, ancient Europeans were particularly fond of milk and cheese.

2,132

The Strange Executions And Burials Of Sir Walter Raleigh

Sir Walter Raleigh was a longtime favorite of Queen Elizabeth, but after she died he found himself facing execution by order of James I. He narrowly dodged his first execution date, sent off to find the mythical city of El Dorado. Failing to find that and being accused of treason did finally get him executed, but that’s not the end of the story. While most of his body was buried, his mourning wife was given his embalmed head in a velvet bag, and kept it with her until she died.

448

The Ring Of Criminals Dedicated To Smuggling KFC Meals

With no franchise restaurants allowed in Gaza, sometimes the residents get an appetite for something they can’t easily get. Kentucky Fried Chicken tops the list of things these Palestinians have a hunger for, and ambitious smugglers made a business out of delivering KFC through the thousands of underground tunnels that formerly existed between Egypt and Gaza.