Monthly Archive: December 2013

The Deadly Somali Cure For Mental Illness

One in three Somalis suffer from some form of mental illness, but unfortunately, their symptoms are usually mistaken for demonic possession. As a result, they are tossed into cages with hyenas, creatures which can supposedly drive the spirits away. However, one man nicknamed “Dr. Hab” is trying to end this barbaric practice and open mental health hospitals across the country.

The Darker The Mane, The More Powerful The Lion

A lion’s mane isn’t just there for protection: The color indicates the male’s strength and health, letting potential mates—or rivals—know just how powerful the lion is. The darker the man, the closer the male is to the top of his game. The color can fluctuate based on how much stress or trauma the lion has experienced.

‘War of the Worlds’ Didn’t Cause Mass Panic

“War of the Worlds” has the dubious distinction of being the radio program that threw the country into mass panic in 1938. People fled their homes and took to the streets thinking that aliens had invaded. It’s a great story about the power of fiction, but unfortunately only a small percentage of the country’s population even heard the original broadcast, and there was no mass panic in the streets. In an attempt to discredit the newfangled radio as a medium, newspapers greatly exaggerated the public’s reaction, and that exaggeration grew into myth.

Difference Between Fine China, Bone China, And Porcelain

Bone china, fine china, porcelain: They can look very similar, but there’s a definite difference in what they’re made from. Bone china is, as its name suggests, made from bone—cow bone in particular, although in rare cases you could be eating off of a plate made from a dead person. The same manufacturing processes are used in making fine china, but without the bone content. Porcelain is also created in much the same way, but it’s fired at a higher temperature and the end result is much harder.

Roman Gladiators Didn’t Die In The Arena As Often As You Think

“Those about to die, salute you.” The ancient gladiator’s famous greeting to the emperor is likely anachronistic, but its widespread acceptance as fact reflects modern ideas about the arena: Two men enter, and only one man leaves (alive). However, thanks to factors like cost, training, and even fan interest, modern research indicates gladiators actually had an 80–90 percent chance of surviving a trip to the arena.

The Difference Between Hoodoo And Voodoo

Pop culture continually intermixes many African Diasporic traditions and portrays them exclusively as Voodoo. However, most of what is portrayed in books, movies, and television is actually hoodoo. Voodoo is a religion that has two markedly different branches: Haitian Vodou and Louisiana Vodoun. Hoodoo is neither a religion, nor a denomination of a religion—it is a form of folk magic that originated in West Africa and is mainly practiced today in the Southern United States.

Swedish Children’s TV Is Really, Really Creepy

We’re used to children’s TV being bizarre—like something dreamt up on a headful of acid by some deranged network writer. But in Sweden that weirdness goes one step further. Not content with bending young minds with insane colors and singing animals, popular show “Biss och Kajs” also features characters such as a giant singing butt, a sentient stream of urine, and a woman dressed up as a lump of poop.

Pope Francis Had Already Retired When He Was Elected

Pope Francis is the most popular pope in living memory, a global figure nearly everyone agrees is awesome and a huge boon to the Catholic Church. But his election was far from a certain thing. At the point when his predecessor stepped down, Francis (then Jorge Mario Bergoglio) had already sent his letter of retirement to the Vatican–in keeping with the edict that cardinals must hang up their cloth at 75.

The Difference Between Koi And Goldfish

Two species of carp are often kept in ponds and larger home aquariums. Both are Asian in origin and appear superficially similar. Goldfish are actually descended from crucian carp, while the koi have barbels, grow longer, and are in fact a fancy domesticated version of the common carp. Although more widely known in the wild, the koi fancy is more “elite” than the goldfish scene, with millions of dollars being invested in the finest fish.