Monthly Archive: January 2014

How To Tell The Difference Between Diamond And Cubic Zirconia

While one is obviously naturally formed and the other is a man-made impostor, telling the difference between the two can be difficult if you don’t know what you’re looking for. The most conclusive way to tell the difference is with an electronic device that reads the stone’s electrical and thermal conductivity, but you can also look at the surface of the stone for any tell-tale scratches (diamonds shouldn’t have any), the color of the stone’s refraction (the light of a diamond will refract gray), and for flaws that will suggest a naturally made stone. Other tests include breathing on the stone, putting it under a black light, and trying to scratch glass with it.

The Author Of ‘The Outlaw Josey Wales’ Was A Neo-Nazi Terrorist

Until Unforgiven came along in 1992, The Outlaw Josey Wales was widely regarded as Clint Eastwood’s best film as a director, and one of the best Westerns in general. Based on the popular novel by famed Native American author Forrest Carter, it freely mixed violence and amorality to create a darkly ambiguous world where good and evil are almost impossible to distinguish. And with good reason: Over a decade after the film’s release it was revealed that “Forrest” was really Asa Earl Carter—former-Klan member, terrorist, and anti-Semite with a record for attempted murder.

Ponce De Leon Didn’t Search For A Fountain Of Youth

We’ve all heard the story about the silly Spanish explorer who searched all of what’s now Florida for the Fountain of Youth. The problem with the story is that there are no actual documents from his lifetime that make any mention of his fruitless search. In fact, there are no mentions of the Fountain of Youth made in connection with the explorer until after his death; and then, the reference is made by a Spanish court chronicler who was politically aligned with Ponce de Leon’s main political rival: Diego Columbus.

US Police Can Simply Seize Your Belongings

Regardless of whether or not you have committed a crime (or even been charged with one), in most parts of the United States, police officers may confiscate your belongings under a provision called civil forfeiture. “Probable cause” that your possessions may in some way be connected to perceived criminal activity is sufficient for seizure in most cases. In these cases, the burden of proof of innocence rests with the civilian.

Operation Cornflakes: Postal Propaganda In World War II

Operation Cornflakes was a mission undertaken by the OSS, as a means to spread propaganda throughout Germany. The envelopes containing the materials had fake German stamps affixed to them and they were delivered to their destinations by the German postal service, which had been duped into doing so. However, it is unlikely the operation did anything other than annoy German mail carriers.

When The US Army Almost Gassed Salt Lake City

During the 1960s, Army scientists were experimenting with a deadly nerve agent known as VX. They ran a series of tests in the Utah desert, but on March 13, 1968, something went horribly wrong. Thanks to a defective nozzle, an airplane accidentally spilled the toxin on the way to its destination. The wind carried the VX into Skull Valley, a popular farming community, and killed thousands of sheep. But that was better than the alternative: If the wind had been blowing the other way, Salt Lake City was well within range.

The 16th-Century Myth Of Giants In South America

The Age of Exploration resulted in numerous misconceptions and wild fantasies about the New World being spread as fact throughout Europe. According to the diaries, journals, and writings of Ferdinand Magellan and his crew, the Pacific Coast of South America was populated by a tribe of giants called the Patagonians. These giants were so tall that the Europeans were only waist-high to them, and two were even captured to be brought back to show all of Europe.

The Scientist Who Got $10 For A World-Changing Invention

H. Tracy Hall is probably not a name you’re familiar with, but he came up with one of the most important scientific advancements of the 20th century when he conceived of a way to actually create diamonds. A chemist who worked for General Electric, he and his colleagues somehow created a method that resulted in synthetic diamonds that were, by all accounts, exact duplicates of the real thing. The results led to billions for GE as they found numerous uses for his man made diamonds, so GE naturally rewarded him with a whopping $10 savings bond. Being a very intelligent man, he recognized this as a terrible insult, so he left the company and found another way to create synthetic diamonds for which he would hold the copyright.

The Amazing Jewish Boxer Of Auschwitz

Salamo Arouch was a young Jewish boxer who was sent to Auschwitz after the Nazis invaded Greece. However, his skill in the ring saved him from the gas chambers. Arouch fought other prisoners in life-or-death boxing matches for the entertainment of their captors. Two years and over 200 matches later, Arouch was undefeated and still alive.

Komodo Dragons Don’t Kill The Way You Might Think They Do

The 3 meter (10 ft), 100 kilogram (220 lb) Komodo dragon is the largest lizard in the world. It’s certainly deadly, but for years, scientists believed their powerful bite would instantly kill smaller prey, and that bacteria in their mouths would weaken larger prey with a deadly infection. As it turns out, your domestic cat has a stronger bite than a Komodo dragon, and the Komodos aren’t dirty—they’re venomous.