Monthly Archive: July 2015

The Mysterious Turkish Tombs That Quickly Dissolve Bodies

A site from the fourth century BC that sits between Troy and Pergamon, Assos in Turkey has suffered from botched excavations, extended neglect, and people carting away remnants of the ruins for personal use. Nevertheless, Assos is well-known for its flesh-eating tombs that cause bodies to decompose completely in just 40 days rather than the normal 50–200 years that occurs elsewhere. Baffled scientists are studying the stone used in the Assos sarcophagi to determine if it contains a special property that will solve this unusual mystery.

How A Crime Ring Repeatedly Beat McDonald’s Monopoly

In the McDonald’s Monopoly sweepstakes, the odds of winning a prize (mostly food prizes like fries) are about one in four. However, the odds of winning the top prize of $1 million are a whopping 1 in 602,000,000. Some people have tried to beat the odds legally. But starting around 1995, one man who worked on the security team for Simon Marketing, Inc., which ran almost all of McDonald’s promotions, stole valuable game pieces from the promotions. His crime ring collected top prizes worth a total of over $20 million before the FBI arrested them in 2001 and the scheme was finally stopped.

Post-Ebola Syndrome Can Turn Your Blue Eyes To Green

Initially, most Ebola patients died, so there weren’t enough survivors to give us good information on the long-term effects of the disease. However, we’re now learning that Ebola may continue to infect survivors in certain parts of the body—such as the eyes, brain, ovaries, and testicles—that are protected from our immune systems. Men are now advised to use condoms indefinitely to avoid spreading the disease through unprotected sex. Many survivors are also at risk of developing blindness, deafness, joint pain, chronic headaches, and more. In one case, an Ebola survivor’s eye turned from blue to green while his eye was infected with the virus.

The CIA Spies Behind Disney World’s Secretive, Fake Cities

Paul Helliwell and “Wild Bill” Donovan were two of the most notorious spies in American history, adept at setting up front companies and running disinformation campaigns. Which is exactly why Walt Disney hired them to help him build Florida’s Disney World. In a classic piece of corporate subterfuge, Helliwell and Donovan helped Disney build two fake cities that would grant him total control of the local government.

Lenin’s Body Isn’t Getting Older, It’s Getting Better

Lenin is the poster child for long-term embalming. For 90 years, his handlers have kept his body looking relatively the same, although everything is not as it appears. They re-embalm Lenin’s entire body every two years, giving him microinjections, or booster shots, of embalming fluid between those times. They also replace his body parts as needed. From the 1950s to the 1980s, as many as 200 people worked at Lenin’s mummy lab, much of it on research. In the 1990s, they suffered funding cuts, but private contributions allowed the lab to continue its work.

Armageddon’s Prison-Bound Church

Before 313, Rome forbade the practicing of Christianity. The discovery of one of the earliest examples of a Christian church, located in Megiddo, the site of Armageddon, is an incredible one made even more impressive by inscriptions that link the occupying Roman forces to the development of the church. Unfortunately, it’s also at the site of a prison, but while that makes tourism difficult, it also means the inmates have been instrumental in helping to excavate the site.

Happiness Isn’t A Good Thing In All Cultures

Being happy isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be, and a recent study has shown that there are a ton of different thoughts on happiness. Far from being a human drive and desire, it’s a state that’s more of a culturally created one. While many Westerners strive for happiness as their end goal, many others have a severe aversion to happiness. There’s a wide range of reasons for that, from fear that the universe will soon balance extreme happiness with extreme sadness to the idea that being incredibly happy makes you a morally questionable person.

Discrimination Against Atheists Is Alive And Well

Atheism is on the rise, and it’s also becoming an idea that’s very, very threatening to many. The result is discrimination, hatred, and suspicion, to the point where there are organizations being formed to help support those who are atheists. Studies have suggested that being confronted with an atheist point of view makes others question their own beliefs, think about death more and, consequently, think about what comes after.

Queen Victoria Was Faking Her Domestic Bliss

We’ve been led to believe that Queen Victoria was madly in love with her husband, Prince Albert, and that she went into mourning for the rest of her life after he died. But she and Albert were engaged in a constant power struggle while he was alive. While it’s true that Victoria wore black for the rest of her life after he died, she spent her time scheming to control her rebellious children instead of mourning her lost husband.