During a peak of violent crime in New York City, ordinary guy Bernhard Goetz made international headlines when he defended himself from an attempted mugging in a subway car by shooting his four attackers. He became known as the “Subway Vigilante.”
Although often mistaken as the same animal, chimpanzees and bonobos are two separate species within the same genus. They are 99.6 percent genetically similar to each other, but have different appearances and vastly unique social behaviors. The biggest differences between the two are in how they govern their societies: Chimps are led by an alpha male and tend to maintain order through aggression, while bonobos are dominated by females and keep the peace through sex.
In recent years, there has been a massive upswing in suicides among members of the American military. While it may seem obvious to blame the post traumatic stress of being deployed to overseas war zones, researchers have found that more than half of those who have killed themselves have never left American soil or seen combat. The cause is currently unknown, and a study is underway.
A long-held belief is that dogs are color-blind and are only able to see in shades of black, white, and gray. It was believed that dogs primarily used brightness, not color, to identify objects. However, a team of Russian researchers recently conducted experiments that show dogs can actually detect and differentiate between several colors.
In what has been dubbed “the greatest art theft of the 20th century,” an Italian thief by the name of Vincenzo Peruggia walked into the Louvre on August 21, 1911 and stole Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. He held the masterpiece for over two years, until he was arrested it while trying to sell it to an art dealer.
Somewhere around 80 percent of all medical research—the studies that determine what’s good for us and what new drugs are awesome—are flawed or outright lies made up by the people conducting them. The reason for this is a simple, sometimes-innocent conflict of interest (though it’s usually not innocent). Drug companies desire certain results from a new product for obvious, financial reasons. Researchers desire funding and often only get it if they can deliver on an outcome. And sometimes, just wanting something to happen makes a scientist more likely to see things that aren’t there.
Girls as young as five years old are sent to fattening farms in Mauritania where they are forced to consume thousands of calories each day. This tradition is known as leblouh, a grooming program for girls so they can find better husbands in the future.
First-time visitors to Paris are occasionally stricken with a disorder characterized by acute delusions, anxiety, feelings of persecution, and various psychosomatic conditions like dizziness and sweating, among others. For some reason, Japanese tourists are much more susceptible to this disorder, known as Paris Syndrome.
Shortly after World War II, the US and Guatemala conducted a secret study on the effects of penicillin on various STDs, especially syphilis. The reason it was kept under wraps? The subjects were unaware they were being infected, because no one informed them of the experiments. Prostitutes infected with STDs were paid to transmit their diseases and, if they were unsuccessful, doctors would manually infect the subjects, pouring the bacteria on open wounds or injecting it into their spines.