Monthly Archive: February 2014

There’s Sugar Floating Around In Space

In 2012, astronomers studying the warm gases surrounding a newly formed star, IRAS 16293-2422, discovered something strangely familiar: sugar. More precisely, molecules of glycoaldehyde; a type of odorless sugar comprised of carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen. This discovery is important because—as well as demonstrating that molecules can form in the most barren regions of space—glycoaldehyde is one of the key building blocks of life.

Geese Are The Best Guard Animals In History

In Ancient Greek myth, the entrance to the underworld was guarded by Cerberus: the meanest, ugliest, most ornery, three-headed dog that underworld money could buy. But it turns out that Hades, the ruler of the land, missed a trick. From the two birds that saved Ancient Rome to their modern equivalent guarding Brazilian prisons, history has shown that even Hercules would likely have been flummoxed by a simple guard goose.

Gasoline Used To Be Considered Garbage

When oil refineries began production in the mid-19th century, the primary goal was the extraction of kerosene to fuel the lamps whose popularity was only superseded by electric lighting decades later. In the meantime, kerosene production resulted in a highly flammable volatile by-product called gasoline. Until the advent of the automobile, gasoline was simply a waste product which was disposed without a second thought.

The Richest Swindler Prince Of The New World

In the early 1800s, a Scot named Gregor MacGregor appealed to the brave, adventurous side of his people in an attempt to get them to help him colonize a fertile, rich land that he had recently been made prince of. The land was Poyais, and there were promises of gold, silver, friendly natives, and riches for everyone. The only problem was that Poyais didn’t exist as he advertised, and that was only discovered after MacGregor raked in £3.6 billion in today’s money and sent several ships of settlers off to the uncharted land.

The Most Successful Painter To Never Exist

He was known by the name Pietro Psaier. He was a contemporary of some of the greatest pop artists to date, including Andy Warhol, the man who catapulted the genre into the public’s eye. The only problem is nobody seems to know who he was. He existed, certainly, or at least the name did. Many paintings are accredited to him, and his existence was acknowledged in a press release in 1963, which contained many details on his identity, such as his age, accomplishments, and relationship with Warhol. Otherwise, almost nothing at all is known about the man, and his existence is a complete mystery.

The Assassination Of The First King Of America

America’s only kingdom was formed on June 8, 1850, when Mormon convert and leader James Strang declared Michigan’s Beaver Island to be his kingdom, where he would rule over his followers as “King of the Kingdom of God on Earth.” The island wasn’t just inhabited by his followers, and he succeeded in driving most of the natives out within the first few years he “ruled” there. Many of his policies proved unpopular, such as the idea women that should wear bloomers instead of skirts, that polygamy was law, and his insistence on holding all political offices on the island. After the US government failed to remove him from power, a group of assassins finally did.

The Different Types Of Stone Circles

Stonehenge is perhaps the most well known of all the stone circles that are still strewn across the British countryside. A henge is characterized by earthworks consisting of an inner ditch and an outer bank and can also contain either stone or timber circles. Henges can also be classified by the number of circles they have, as well as their size, shape, and number of entrances.

The Creepy, Bloody History Of Execution Rocks

The aptly named Execution Rocks is the site of a lighthouse off the western end of Long Island Sound. Unproven folklore says that the rocky island got its name from the British soldiers who would chain colonists to the rocks and execute them via high tide. In the 1920s, serial killer Carl Panzram used the island as a dumping ground for bodies, and it’s long been a hotbed for claims of paranormal and ghostly activity.