Monthly Archive: January 2014

The Fascinating House That Went Unopened For 100 Years

A peculiar Frenchman named Louis Mantin stipulated in his will that his mansion should be locked and remain unopened until 100 years after his 1905 death. His wish was granted, and it wasn’t until October 2010 that the house was opened to the public. Although quite musty and in need of extensive maintenance, the building served as a pristine time capsule of turn-of-the-century France.

The Creepy Mini Coffins Of Edinburgh

In 1836, a group of boys hunting for rabbits unearthed 17 miniature coffins that had been buried in Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh. The coffins average about 10 centimeters (4 in) long and about 2.5 centimeters (1 in) wide; each contained tiny, carved and clothed wooden bodies. Of the original 17, only eight survive, and they’re not giving up their stories. One hypothesis that is that they were carved and buried in tribute to the 17 people that body-snatchers William Burke and William Hare killed and sold for dissection.

The Bible Specifically Says Sodom Wasn’t About Homosexuality

The story of Sodom and Gomorrah has been used to justify homophobia for centuries. A brief aside in Genesis that involves God burning four cities to the ground for crimes of immorality, it’s brought up anytime someone mentions gay rights as way of showing just how much God hates homosexuals. Too bad then that other parts of the Bible specifically state the Sodomites were firebombed for being arrogant rich windbags who hated the poor.

The Child Fighters Of Thailand

Muay thai is the national sport of Thailand, but it’s not just adults who duke it out in the ring. Children boxers are a big draw and attract huge crowds of gamblers. While these matches are hard on their bodies, the kids use their winnings to support their families and pay the bills. Needless to say, it’s pretty controversial.

The American Independence Day Should Be July 2

Independence Day is well known to be the day that America declared their independence from Great Britain. But if that’s the definition of the holiday, it should actually be celebrated on July 2. That was the day that delegates from the colonies assembled in Philadelphia and voted a technically unanimous vote to declare themselves independent from the rule of Great Britain’s monarchy. We only use July 4 because that’s the date on the Declaration of Independence—and that wasn’t even actually signed until August 2.

Difference Between Barrel Rolls And Aileron Rolls

In recent years the phrase “do a barrel roll” has secured its place as a part of our pop-culture lexicon. Usually, the phrase is used to mistakenly refer to an aileron roll. A barrel roll is an aerial maneuver wherein an airplane completes a longitudinal revolution (what we usually think of as a barrel roll) while also following a helical path (think of a plane going around the outside of a barrel). An aileron roll, on the other hand, is achieved when a plane completes this revolution without changing altitude (think of a plane doing a full rotation while flying in a straight line through a barrel).

The Vietnamese Scarface And His Secret War With The CIA

During the 1950s, the Binh Xuyen crime syndicate, led by a former homeless teenager named Bay Vien, rose from a gang of river pirates to the most powerful organization in South Vietnam. They officially controlled Saigon’s police force and Bay Vien almost became Prime Minister. In the buildup to the Vietnam War, the gang changed sides several times, eventually allying with the French to fight an increasingly savage battle against the CIA and its South Vietnamese puppet government.

Fortune Cookies Aren’t Chinese

No Chinese meal would be complete without elegantly folded, fortune-stuffed cookies for dessert. The only problem is, they’re not Chinese. They originated in Japan and are mentioned in fiction and art as early as 1878. Just how they became associated with Chinese restaurants is a bit hazy, but researchers believe it has something to do the popularity of Chinese restaurants skyrocketing after many Japanese restaurants were closed during World War II.

The Disturbing Christian Group That Plays S&M For God

Christianity comes in many different styles and flavors. For every regular Catholic household, there’s another full of snake handlers. For every Protestant Church there’s a Fred Phelps, railing against the universe. But perhaps no single sect is as strange as Christian Domestic Discipline (CDD). A form of S&M, its adherents genuinely believe that spanking and domination brings them closer to God—and they’ve got the Biblical texts to prove it.