Monthly Archive: August 2014

11

Mondays Are Actually No Worse Than Any Other Day

Mondays are the worst, aren’t they? Back to school, back to work, the weekend so far away . . . only, it’s a cultural myth that Mondays make us feel the worst about life. According to research, it’s not that Monday is actually worse for our moods than other days, it’s just gained something of a popular reputation. Sadly, that’s not saying Monday isn’t depressing, it’s just saying that all days are pretty equally miserable.

40

How To Tell If A Modern Miracle Is Genuine

Earning the title of “saint” is no walk in the park. If you want to be canonized, you need to perform two miracles from beyond the grave . . . and then things get really complicated. To prove these “miracles” are actually miraculous, the Catholic Church employs 100 doctors who investigate claims of supernatural healing.

1,399

The Origin Of Murphy’s Law And Why It’s Real

If anything can go wrong, it will. This pessimistic phrase has been around for a long time, but it was only called Murphy’s law when US Air Force colonel John Stapp applied the label after a technician working on his experiments with G-forces showed up with some key components that were completely defective. Until Stapp applied the unlucky man’s name to the rule, it was earlier known as Sod’s Law. And researchers have found out that it’s a real thing—so next time it feels like the world is out to get you, it really might be.

1,607

The Vicious Booby Trap That Nailed Colin Powell

Back in the 1960s, Colin Powell was a young soldier fighting communist forces in Vietnam. However, he had way more than bullets and bombs to worry about. The enemy had spread booby traps across the country, and during one hike in the brush, Powell learned the hard way that you should always look where you step.

2,361

The Bald Knobbers: Missouri’s Deadly Vigilantes

At the end of the US Civil War, law enforcement in the Ozark region of Missouri was basically non-existent, and lawlessness reigned. Fed up with the crime and unpunished murderers, the Bald Knobbers group formed with the noble goal of bringing law and order back to the area. Unfortunately, these masked vigilantes became as corrupt as the people they were fighting against, and although they did instill some order, they did so with violence and terror.

2,368

The Difference Between A Real Smile And A Fake One

Admittedly, some people are better at pulling it off than others, but according to scientific research, there’s still a definite difference between a real smile and a fake one. It all has to do with the interaction of the muscles around the mouth and cheeks with the muscles in the eyes, and there’s only one unique combination of these muscle movements that results in a smile that means happiness or contentment. Other types of smiles—including the one that you give at a really bad joke—can mean anything from sadness and smugness to barely concealed annoyance.

1,097

The Creator Of Modern Shopping Malls Hated Them

Victor Gruen is credited as being the creator of modern shopping malls, but his vision of the mall was nothing like what we see today. In fact, he hated what his ideas were turned into by money-hungry developers. Originally, Gruen envisioned shopping malls as something of an urban paradise, with massive green spaces, fountains, and running water interspersed with stores of all sorts and public services like banks and post offices. It wasn’t long—only a few decades—before more commercially minded designers seized on the idea, turning it into what we know today as the shopping mall, and causing Gruen to disavow any affiliation with the tragedy.

2,804

Some People Actually Want To Become Amputees

There is a psychological condition called body integrity identity disorder (BIID) which leads sufferers to believe that they have limbs which should not be there and that they would feel happier without them. Sufferers have been known to arrange accidents or undergo medical procedures in an attempt to fulfill their desire of becoming an amputee. There may also be a sexual component to the condition whereby the sufferer is aroused by the image of himself or herself as an amputee.

2,226

The Children’s Books Of The North Korean Dictators

We all know North Korea’s dictators are nuts, but did you know they’re beloved children’s authors? With a team of dedicated and terrified ghostwriters, both Kim Jong-il and Kim Il-sung have penned stories like “Boys Wipe Out Bandits” and “The Cock and the Butterfly,” respectively. Naturally, everybody in North Korea loves these timeless classics . . . or else.

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Why You Should Wipe Yourself With A Goose’s Neck

In the early 16th century, French monk Francois Rabelais released his famous comic work Gargantua and Pantagruel. A satire on (among other things) Renaissance learning and the Europe of the time, it nonetheless contained plenty of digressions on all sorts of odd topics. The oddest of these would probably be the passage where Rabelais recommends a goose’s neck as an ideal alternative to toilet paper.