Monthly Archive: September 2015

How Attitude Differences Could Explain Online Trolling

Recent research has found that a person’s dispositional attitude—whether they’re a positive or negative person—exists as a personality trait that’s separate from other traits. It’s like being introverted or extroverted, and knowing which one you are can help you when your personality starts sabotaging things. For example, it might indicate whether you’re going to be predisposed to like or hate the next installment of your favorite movie series.

Archaeologists Might Have Found Dracula’s Dungeon In Turkey

While restorations were being made at Tokat Castle in Turkey, two dungeons were discovered where Vlad the Impaler, the real-life inspiration for the fictional Dracula, may have been imprisoned as a young prince by the Ottomans in the 15th century. Some historians believe these early experiences shaped Vlad’s later sadistic behavior of impaling his victims. After his release, Vlad fought the Ottomans for most of the rest of his life, although he later died in one of those battles.

India’s Mysterious, Rebellious Bread Deliveries Of 1857

In 1857, rebellion was boiling in India among a native population that was sick of the British imposing their rule and culture. When the British government discovered men were mysteriously appearing with bread, passing it along to others the next town or village over, and leaving only instructions to bake more bread and pass it along, they were convinced there was some sort of message being sent via pastry. What it was, no one seemed to know . . . because it was all a big coincidence. Now, historians think that it was simply begun as a way to alleviate the symptoms of cholera, but in the 19th century, the mysterious messages spreading across the country were the stuff of top secret terror.

Hedy Lamarr’s Great Escape

Before she was a Hollywood superstar, Hedy Lamarr found herself trapped in a “prison of gold.” As a teenager, the young actress married Fritz Mandl, a weapons manufacturer who kept her locked up in his mansion. Eventually, Lamarr grew so desperate that she concocted a crazy escape plan involving drugs, a disguise, and Louis B. Mayer.

The Concert Pianist Who Fled North Korea For Playing The Wrong Song

In 2001, Kim Cheol-woong was a successful pianist who was getting ready to marry his childhood sweetheart. Then a passerby reported Cheol-woong to the North Korean state security department for playing a banned song in his own home. He was interrogated and forced to apologize. The episode frightened him so much that he quietly escaped the country, leaving his family and his jilted girlfriend behind with no warning. Cheol-woong went to China and eventually became a South Korean citizen. Today, he’s married and has a flourishing career as a concert pianist. His ex-girlfriend stayed and married an actor.

The Birds That Developed Their Own Egg Recognition Software

Cuckoos (and some other birds species, like the cowbird) are known for laying their eggs in the nests of other birds in hopes of conning someone else into raising their young. Host species have been found to be fighting back, though. Some have developed a complicated system of patterns that seem to use a system similar to facial recognition software to allow birds to recognize their own eggs. Other birds have evolved to lay different colored eggs in one clutch, making it harder for cuckoo eggs to blend in. And if a yellow warbler discovers an intruder, they simply entomb the egg—along with their own—in the bottom of the nest and try again on top of the remains.

The Haunting Monument To The Murdered Children Of Lidice

The Nazis enjoyed inflicting the ultimate torture on Jewish parents, watching their children being taken from them to be abused and die. In Lodz, Poland, children under 10 were voluntarily given up by the residents for extermination, supposedly to save others (who were later killed anyway). But the children’s names and faces are mostly forgotten now. Marie Uchytilova did not want the children of Lidice, Czechoslovakia, to be forgotten that way. On the site where the village originally stood, she created a haunting sculpture to honor the memories of the 82 Lidice children who were gassed to death by the Nazis at Chelmno in 1942 in retaliation for the assassination of Nazi official Reinhard Heydrich.

The Gatekeeper Of The Manhattan Project

When it comes to the development of the atomic bomb, it’s always the scientists that get all the credit. But the project would have looked very different if not for the organizational genius—and warm, welcoming manner—of one woman: Dorothy McKibbin. McKibbin signed on to be a secretary in a housing project in Santa Fe, and within a few years, she was overseeing everything that went on in and around Los Alamos. From getting new recruits settled in to organizing shipments and requisitioning everything from scientific equipment to furniture, McKibbin did it all. And she did it never knowing what she was actually overseeing.

The Rock Song Lyrics That Spurred A Two-Year FBI Investigation

The silliest FBI investigation into rock music occurred when The Kingsmen’s song “Louie Louie” hit #2 on the charts in 1963. Parents were outraged by the alleged obscenities in the song. One even wrote to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy. The governor of Indiana banned the record, and Michigan almost did, too. Some radio stations wouldn’t play it. But the FBI surpassed them all with a two-year investigation that ended with a 119-page report of their findings, which can be summarized as “the parents had really dirty minds.” The incredibly tame lyrics are about a sailor and his love for his girlfriend.