The Viral 18th-Century Mommy Letter Ghostwritten By Ben Franklin

In 1747, Polly Baker made an impassioned speech, pleading with the courts to not be held criminally responsible for bearing a child out of wedlock. It was only 30 years later that the truth about her came out: The speech that had moved so many people had been entirely made up by Benjamin Franklin. Franklin had his own illegitimate child, and although they had been close all through the boy’s youth, they eventually ended up on opposite sides of the American Revolution. A year before he died, the elder Franklin officially disinherited his only son.

The Wild And Daring (Non-Scientific) Exploits Of Isaac Newton

Isaac Newton, as the warden of the Royal Mint, led the British government in cracking down on counterfeiters. Among his targets was the prolific William Chaloner, who would confess to minting somewhere around £30,000 worth of coins alone during his career. When Chaloner’s first arrest sent him back to the street, Newton spent a year and a half building up a pile of evidence against him. He even went undercover in some of the most dangerous parts of London, creating a network of spies, informants, and witnesses that eventually helped him see Chaloner hung for his crimes.

Domino’s Noid: A Tragic Tale Of Mascots, Hostages & Suicide

Domino’s Pizza had one of the most bizarre mascots of the 1980s: the Noid. A demented little gremlin in a red onesie, the Noid was an anti-pizza monster. (Only Domino’s pizzas were Noid-proof.) In 1989, Kenneth Noid had grown convinced that the campaign was specifically targeting him, so he took two Domino’s employees hostage at a store in Atlanta. Deemed to be a paranoid schizophrenic, he was passed into the state’s mental health system and ultimately committed suicide in 1995, still under the impression that the Noid was after him.

The Age Gap In A Relationship Might Lengthen Or Shorten Your Life

In studies that look at the impact of age gaps in relationships, it’s been found that not only does the number of years between you increase your likelihood for divorce, but that it also impacts your life span. In couples with an older man and younger woman, the man’s longevity usually increased in the studies, while the woman’s decreased. When the opposite is true and the woman is older, her lifespan also decreased in the studies. That’s not to say marriage is a bad thing, though, as life expectancies for married people are higher than for unmarried people.

Spring Is Getting Shorter, But Summer Is Getting Longer

Spring is getting shorter—by 30–60 seconds every year—and summer’s getting that extra bit of time. Summer is already the longest season. The time shift all has to do with the wobble of the Earth on its axis and the point where the planet reaches its perihelion. The change is nothing new. At one time, a day as 21.9 hours long and a year was around 400 days long. We’re on pace to lose a whole day of spring by the year 3000.

An Earthquake Could Send Radiation Into The Aral Sea At Any Moment

Mailuu-Suu, Kyrgyzstan, is a town that was left horribly polluted by uranium mining during the Cold War. Residents live and work in unsafe levels of radiation to this day. The seismically active town’s situation could be exacerbated by an earthquake or landslide releasing radioactive waste, and radiation could even be carried by rivers all the way to the Aral Sea.

How Pets And Children Can Keep Women In Abusive Situations

In the US alone, over 42 million women have been assaulted and/or stalked by a husband or boyfriend at some time in their lives. Up to 60 percent of their children are also likely to suffer abuse from their fathers. Victims may feel that they have to return to their abusers to protect their children because women rarely get sole custody and abuse can escalate toward the children otherwise. According to the Humane Society, 33 percent of abused women also stay in harmful relationships to protect their pets and 25 percent return to their abusers for the same reason. The PAWS Act was recently introduced in the US Congress to provide money for emergency shelters for pets of abuse victims.

When Monopoly Helped Allied POWs Escape In World War II

Boredom proved to be quite a problem in World War II prisoner-of-war camps, and the Germans allowed charity groups to pass on board games to the Allied prisoners in an attempt to keep them placid. A fake charity (actually M19), distributed innocent-looking Monopoly games to prisoners. Inside the board itself, the tiny hotels, and other pieces, prisoners found German money, maps printed on silk, and escape kits. These kits helped thousands of men to escape.

Can Science Measure Morality Or Courage?

A Belgian statistician invented the BMI scale in 1832, and he didn’t stop there. A proponent of “social physics,” Adolphe Quetelet believed that everything could be measured and compared, and that statistics was the key to unlocking the mysteries of social phenomenon. He spent years trying to develop scales for measuring things like morality and courage.

Your Height Could Influence How You’ll Die

A series of studies that have looked at the correlation between height and death have come across some startling statistics. While shorter people are statistically more likely to die from heart disease or stroke (possibly because of the size of the arteries), taller people have a higher chance of being diagnosed with cancer. Taller women are at a higher risk of developing blood clots than shorter ones, but many other factors—including things like lifestyle and genetics—make the whole matter incredibly complicated.