Monthly Archive: November 2013

Why Pubic Lice Are Becoming Endangered

Most people had head lice as a kid, but fewer will admit to a pubic lice infestation. The crab louse is a harmless critter, but can cause irritation if it sets up home in your groin. Having a shave or wax down there is a lot less obvious than getting a buzz cut up top, so getting rid of these annoying ectoparasites is usually easy. Yet keeping downstairs hairless is increasingly popular in general, which is bad news for little Pthirus pubis seeking to spread. Ever since Carrie Bradshaw and pals made going bald popular, crab lice have been seen less and less.

The Romans Pioneered Nanotechnology In AD 400

At first glance, the Lycurgus Cup looks like just another intricately crafted artifact on display at the British Museum. For a long time, that’s just what it was, until the discovery of how this color-changing cup works proved that the ancient Romans not only pioneered a technology that we think of as cutting-edge even today, but that it wasn’t an accident. And now, we’re using that technology as the basis for some modern miracles.

Jackie Robinson’s Older Brother Was An Athletic Pioneer First

Anyone familiar with the sport of baseball knows all about Jackie Robinson, the man who famously broke the color barrier as a black man playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Just within the last year, a movie was released detailing his story. But what people probably don’t realize that he wasn’t even the first member of his family to achieve greatness and make a statement for racial equality in athletics, as his brother, Mack, finished just behind Jesse Owens at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin.

Small-Town Cops Have Received Free War Equipment Worth Billions

The 1033 Program is a piece of legislation you may not be familiar with, but it has seen military hardware worth $4.2 billion pass into the hands of small-town state police since 1997. Over $500 million of that was in 2012. The law was designed to allow spare military equipment to be efficiently reused to combat drugs and terrorism, but a lack of oversight has allowed any police chief or sheriff to acquire anything they want for any reason. Municipal police forces have received — for free — tanks, armored mine-proof vehicles, drones, surveillance blimps, high-powered rifles, and parts from A-10 anti-tank planes.

The Cruel Experiment That Turned Teenagers Into Nazis

In 1967, a high school history class in California became the lab rats of an experiment to study the rise of Nazism. Their teacher called the group “The Third Wave,” even going so far as to punish an improper sitting posture. Within days, they had a motto, flag, salute, and began to view themselves as an exclusive, elite group. The experiment was killed by the fifth day, as the students were beginning to spiral out of control and becoming aggressive.

Dogs’ Emotions Are Surprisingly Human

Detecting the emotional capacities of a creature that can’t communicate in the same language as we do can be a complicated thing. Humans are left interpreting the body language and vocalizations of all sorts of animals and filtering them through our own point of view. But recently, science has given us another way to look at how dogs experience emotions. A direct look at what’s going on in their brains has shown that dogs have very similar brain chemistry to humans, and the electrical activity that shows up in their brains at certain stimuli mirrors our own.

The Mad Butcher Of Kingsbury Run

In Cleveland in the 1930s, a serial killer stalked the shantytown of Kingsbury Run, dismembering his victims with surgical precision. He was called “The Mad Butcher of Kingsbury Run,” or just “The Torso Killer.” The detective out to stop him was Elliot Ness, the same Elliot Ness who’d tangled with Al Capone a few years earlier. Even though a suspect was eventually arrested, the “Torso Killer” may have escaped to carry on killing — Elliot Ness received taunting letters for the rest of his life.

The First Automobile Fatality Occurred At 4 MPH

An 1869 ride-along in a steam-powered car turned deadly when the vehicle arrived at a bend in the road. The vehicle was not capable of moving at high speeds, and the Red Flag Acts had limited the speed limit to 6 kilometers per hour (4 mph), but one passenger, Mary Ward, was thrown from the car and run over. She was killed almost instantly.