Monthly Archive: December 2015

Spanking In Schools Has Lasted Longer Than You Might Think

Ohio only stopped corporal punishment in schools in 2009, and it only stopped in New Mexico in 2011. A few years later, it’s still legal in 19 states thanks to a ruling in a 1977 Florida court case that stated schools have every right to hit their students under the Constitution. When students took their school to court, saying paddling and spanking violated their Eighth Amendment rights of freedom from cruel and unusual punishment, the courts said the amendment was designed to protect convicts, not students.

The Shady And Ironic Origins Of Monopoly

According to the official story, Monopoly was created by an unemployed, down-on-his-luck Charles Darrow. Darrow might have created the game as we know it today, but all he really did was do some polishing up and dumbing down of a game that had been invented 30 years before. Elizabeth Magie had spent years creating The Landlord’s Game, patenting it in 1903. Parker Brothers bought her patent for a flat $500; she accepted thinking that they were going to be publishing her game. When a very different version came out, it was attributed to someone else entirely and missing a key component—her set of anti-monopolist rules.

When Putting Children In The Mail Was Legal

At the beginning of the 20th century, it was legal to mail children through the Post Office in the US. Even though the postmaster general tried to put an end to the practice with an official declaration, it continued until the mailing of a three-year-old (via parcel post) from her grandmother to her mother prompted an investigation. Suffragettes in England also tried to take advantage of English postal laws to mail themselves to the Prime Minister, but unfortunately for them, they were simply marked “Return to Sender.”

The Women Who Bred A ‘Master Race’ For Hitler

The ideology of an Aryan master race led Nazi Germany to embark on a twisted program of eugenics beginning in the mid-1930s. Named Lebensborn, the program aimed to increase the number of “racially pure” Germans through selective interbreeding. By World War II, Lebensborn had degenerated into outright kidnapping of children. Survivors still bear the psychological scars to this day.

The Psychologist Who Raised A Chimp With His Baby

Winthrop and Luella Kellogg wanted to know what had happened to feral children to make them feral, so they decided that since it wouldn’t be ethical to raise a child in the woods, they were going to raise a chimp alongside their 10-month-old son. Gua, the chimp, outpaced her human sibling in almost all areas of development, save for the acquisition of words, and imprinted on the child so much that he began speaking in barks and grunts. The experiment lasted for only nine months in the early 1930s.

How A Few Protesters Exposed The FBI

Long before Edward Snowden exposed the NSA, there was William Davidon. A college professor and antiwar activist, Davidon was convinced the FBI was spying on the so-called New Left. That’s when Davidon assembled a crew of protesters to invade an FBI office, steal all the documents, and turn them over to the media.

Pets Can Simulate Our Brains Just Like Our Own Children Can

Many have wondered whether we can form close relationships with our pets that mirror relationships formed with human children. A look at the brain activity of women who looked at both pictures of their dogs and pictures of their human children (compared to scans done while they looked at pictures of unrelated dogs and children) suggest that both our furry children and our human ones trigger extraordinarily similar responses in the brain, especially in centers dedicated to emotion and emotional behavior, reward, and the most basic elements of our personalities.

The History Of Frankincense And A Once Mythical City

We all hear about gold, frankincense, and myrrh around Christmastime, but we rarely hear the fascinating history that goes along with frankincense. At the time of Christ’s birth, the frankincense trade was one that was rich enough to support entire cities, including one called Ubar. Mentioned in the Quran and in stories like Arabian Nights, it was once thought to be mythical. It was only in 1992 that archaeologists finally found the lost, legendary city, and also found several other cities that had once been a part of the incredibly huge—and incredibly prosperous—frankincense trade.

Walking Through The Door Really Is Making You Forget Things

It’s called the doorway effect, and it’s what happens when you walk into a room and completely forget why you’re there in the first place. Work from a handful of different researchers has been pieced together to help explain what’s going on. It’s likely that the parts of our brain that we rely on to process navigational and spatial information are regularly wiped of information when it’s no longer relevant. Walking through a door is a good indication that our environment is now different, and old information gets dumped in favor of new surroundings.