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The Tale of The Exploding Whale  

Beached whales sometimes spontaneously explode due to build up of gases, mostly methane, as the carcass decomposes. Occasionally, whale carcasses are also exploded using actual explosives, after they have been towed out to the sea, to dispose them quickly. Explosives have also been used to euthanize beached whales. The most famous case of a whale exploding happened in the city of Florence, Oregon, in November 1970, when a dead sperm whale was blown up using dynamite resulting in unintended cons

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2018-12-11 12:40:00

The True Story Behind 'The Pied Piper of Hamelin'  

The story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin is well known. This dark European folktale with unsettling themes of ingratitude and terrible vengeance has been told and retold for generations. The tale goes something like this: In the year 1284, there was a serious rat problem in Hamelin, which was at that time a prosperous port on the river Weser in Lower Saxony, Germany. Barges full of corn and wheat arrived every day which was ground in the mills and made into bread and cakes in the bakeries. But the

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2018-12-08 16:24:00

James Nasmyth's Fake Lunar Photographs From 1874  

In 1874, an astronomer and an inventor together published one of the most influential books of the time on lunar geology, titled The Moon: Considered as a Planet, a World, and a Satellite. In 276 pages, James Nasmyth and James Carpenter summed up three decades of research encompassing all that astronomers knew about the moon, and even attempted to answer some of the still-unanswered questions of the time, such as: Could the moon support life? Did it have an atmosphere? How did its craters form?

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2018-12-07 16:13:00

Barbarastollen: The Underground Archive Where Germany's Cultural Heritage Lives  

On the western edge of Black Forest, deep into the mountains where miners once quarried for silver, lies Germany's cultural heritage. It's housed inside an old tunnel driven into the rocks for nearly 700 meters whose entrance is now barred by a heavy steel door. Behind this door are hundreds of stainless steel barrels stacked waist-high. Inside these hermetically sealed barrels are copies of the country's most important cultural documents and images etched in microfilm. Safely buried und...

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2018-12-06 11:45:00

The World's Largest Vacuum Chamber  

At the 6,400-acre Plum Brook Field Station complex near Sandusky, Ohio, stands five large test facilities operated by NASA to test various aspects of space flight. Most of these were built decades ago at a time when the country's space program was of national importance. But now, these million-dollar facilities have fell into disuse and some are so rundown they would require millions of dollars more to repair. Out of the five still-standing facilities, four have seen no use in the recent past....

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2018-12-04 11:13:00

San Petronio Basilica: The Church That Ticked The Pope Off  

Dominating the central square in the city of Bologna is one of the world's largest church with a unique mismatched façade that has been intriguing visitors for centuries. The upper half is made of bricks, while the lower half is made of marble with intricately sculpted scenes from both the Old and the New Testament. "They just ran out of money," is the usual reply tourists get when they ask what caused the church façade to be left uncompleted. But lack of funds was only part of the prob...

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2018-12-01 12:24:00

The Hitachi Tree of Moanalua Gardens  

About 5 miles northwest of downtown Honolulu, is a 24-acre privately-owned park called Moanalua Gardens, best known for its annual Prince Lot Hula Festival, where locals and visitors partake in a wealth of cultural workshops, demonstrations, food booths, craft vendors, and the festival's central attraction—hula presentations. The festival takes its name and inspiration from the fact that Prince Lot Kapuaiwa, who later reigned as King Kamehameha V, used to entertain his guests here with hula ...

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2018-11-30 15:31:00

Tarpeian Rock: The Cliff Romans Threw Their Traitors From  

The ancient Romans used a variety of horrific methods to execute those condemned to death for crimes ranging from rape and murder, to adultery, libel, and treason. One method called poena cullei, or "penalty of the sack", involved sewing up the thoroughly beaten but still alive accused in a leather sack along with an assortment of live animal, most commonly a cock, a dog, a monkey and a serpent, and then throwing the sack into water. Another method of execution, reserved for the worst crimin...

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2018-11-29 11:55:00

Hotel Belvédère: The Iconic Swiss Hotel at The Edge of The Rhone Glacier  

Located in one of the snowiest regions in Switzerland, the Furka Pass, connecting the cantons of Uri and Valais in the country's south-central region, is considered to be one of the "most iconic, exhilarating and exciting drives" through the Swiss Alps. The scenic road with its tight switchbacks curving up the picturesque mountainside attracts countless tourists. There is the Rhone Glacier with its ice grotto—a one hundred meter long tunnel drilled through the glacier every year that glo...

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2018-11-27 21:16:00

Halifax Gibbet: The Infamous Forerunner to The Guillotine  

Standing inconspicuously in the middle of an empty plot behind some trees, in the small English town of Halifax, in West Yorkshire, is a fearful mediaeval instrument of torture. It's called a gibbet, and for more than three hundred fifty years it beheaded people for crimes as minor as stealing. The Halifax Gibbet is a tall wooden structure with a sharp blade at the top, held up by a rope. The condemned prisoner was positioned below the hanging blade and securely fastened. When the executioner ...

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2018-11-27 14:58:00

The Boot Monument: How America Remembers Its Most Infamous Traitor  

At the Saratoga National Historical Park in New York is an American Revolutionary War memorial depicting a single boot sculpted in stone. The dedication on the memorial reads: "In memory of the most brilliant soldier of the Continental Army who was desperately wounded on this spot, winning for his countrymen the decisive battle of the American Revolution and for himself the rank of Major General." The memorial carries no name, but it's understood that it honors Major General Benedict Arnol...

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2018-11-26 21:34:00

The Salt Mining Elephants of Mount Elgon  

Large herbivores such as elephants often seek out natural mineral deposits such as rocks and soil to supplement their dietary intake of sodium whenever the mineral is not obtained in adequate quantities from woody plants and natural water which elephants consume. So it is not uncommon to find elephants devouring soil and licking rocks high in sodium content. In Mount Elgon National Park on the Kenya-Uganda border, elephants have taken this activity a step further—they have learned to quarry so...

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2018-11-26 11:17:00

The Collapse of Marib Dam And The Fall of an Empire  

Near the ancient city of Marib, in Yemen, lies the ruins of a great dam. Considered to be one of the biggest engineering wonders of the ancient world, the Great Dam of Marib stretched for 580 meters and was easily one of the largest dams of its era. For as long as it stood, the Great Dam turned the desert into an oasis allowing the irrigation of more than a hundred square kilometers of sandy soil centered around Marib, which was then the largest city in southern Arabia. When the dam collapsed in

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2018-11-22 21:17:00

Wrangel Island: The Island of Polar Bears And Wooly Mammoth  

Wrangel Island, in the Arctic Ocean, is one of the most remote islands in Russia. Straddling the International Date Line—the boundary where the eastern and the western hemisphere meet—this rugged volcanic island, where summer temperatures barely climb above freezing, is believed to have been the last place on earth where the wooly mammoth survived, six thousand years after their cousins on the mainland disappeared. This harsh landscape supports a surprisingly diverse ecosystem, including Arc...

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2018-11-21 16:29:00

The 4,000-Year-Old Termite Mounds The Size of Britain  

In the seasonally dry, deciduous forests of northeastern Brazil, obscured by walls of thorny-scrubs, is a vast landscape made up of tens of millions of densely packed earthen mounds. These cone-shaped piles of dirt, each measuring thirty feet wide at its base and twice as tall as a grown man, are waste earth excavated by the termites when they burrow tunnels under the soil. Researchers estimate that there are some 200 million mounds here, covering a vast region nearly equal to the size of Great

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2018-11-21 11:42:00

A Barrel Post Office, Mysterious Disappearances and Moby Dick: The Strange History of Floreana Island  

The Galapagos islands in the Pacific Ocean were once natural stopovers for 18-century whalers, who were drawn to the remote islands by fresh water and a variety of food sources. These whalers would spend months and sometimes years on the job, hunting whales and processing them for the oil and would return only when the ship's hold was full with barrels of whale oil, which at that time was a valuable commodity widely used in oil lamps and making soaps. Islands like the Galapagos provided sailor...

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2018-11-19 21:09:00

Schwerer Gustav: The World's Biggest Gun Ever Built  

Hitler sure had some grand ideas—from mass murdering Jews and conquering Europe, to rebuilding Berlin and draining the Mediterranean sea. Even when generally showing off how great Nazi Germany was, the Führer and his generals liked to do things in style. They even built what would have been the world's biggest hotel, but the project had to be called off because there were more pressing matters at hand, such as invading France. In the 1930s, France constructed a series of massive fortificati...

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2018-11-19 21:02:00

“The Miraculous Journey” By Damien Hirst  

A series of fourteen monumental bronze sculptures chronicling the gestation of a fetus inside a womb, from conception to birth, is one of the most daring sculptures ever to be commissioned and installed in a region that's historically known for his archaic laws and the suppression of women. Titled "The Miraculous Journey", the sculptures sit outside the Sidra Medical Centre dedicated to women and children that opened this week in Doha, Qatar. The sculptures were originally installed in 201...

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2018-11-17 11:47:00

Why Iceland Imports Ice From Other Countries  

The name Iceland is a misnomer. In reality, the country is stunningly green, especially during summer, and only about ten percent of Iceland is actually covered with permanent ice. This is largely due to the warm North Atlantic ocean that keeps the island's climate warm and its coasts ice-free throughout the winter, despite being located so close to the Arctic. Legend has it that Iceland's Viking settlers chose such a morose name to keep out people looking to settle in new lands. They hope...

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2018-11-17 11:45:00

The Korean Exam That Brings The Nation to a Halt  

Every year in November, more than half a million high school students across South Korea sit for the examination of their life—the infamous Suneung or CSAT (College Scholastic Ability Test). It's a grueling eight-hour session of back-to-back exams where students are tested on Korean, English, mathematics, social studies, history and sciences. It's the single most important test any Korean student ever takes in their life. How they perform that day determines which university the student go...

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2018-11-15 15:28:00

A Modern Mosque That's Angering Iranian Muslims  

The fate of a beautiful, avant-garde mosque in the Iranian capital Tehran hangs in balance as the city decides what to do with the partially completed structure. The new Vali-e-Asr mosque that was supposed to open last summer has drawn the ire of Iranian hardliners who are refusing to recognize it as a mosque because it does not have a minaret or a dome. The daring mosque was designed by Iranian architects Reza Daneshmir and Catherine Spiridonoff, co-founders of Fluid Motion Architects, who won

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2018-11-15 12:28:00

The Homeless Jesus Sculpture  

Since 2013, Canadian sculptor Timothy Schmalz has been placing a particular sculpture depicting a homeless man sleeping on a bench in cities across the globe. The life-size bronze statue appears to be anonymous with his face and hands hidden under a blanket, but the gaping wounds on his feet reveal that the person is actually Jesus. Surprisingly, the statue has appeared in front of many churches that have shown extraordinary tolerance for the controversial sculpture. When it was installed at St

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2018-11-15 12:27:00

Tiny Fairy Houses of Isle of Man  

Tiny adorable "fairy houses" are popping all over Isle of Man, a small island sandwiched between Great Britain and Ireland, in the past few weeks. These delightful fortresses and palaces have appeared in glens, beaches, on hillsides and on top of walls. The fairy houses were created by the Swedish art collective Anonymouse MMX, who has a reputation for leaving miniature creations around the world, including houses for mice, "the world's smallest bookstore" and a tiny amusement ...

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2018-11-14 21:02:00

The Tay Bridge Disaster And The World's Worst Poem  

On the night of 28 December 1879, a violent storm lashed across Scotland collapsing an iron bridge that straddled the Firth of Tay and plunged a train into the river killing all on board. It remains one of the worst railway disaster in Britain's history. This great tragedy is remembered largely due to the work of a terribly bad Scottish poet who has achieved much fame throughout the last century as the "worst poet" in history. William Topaz McGonagall's poetry was so bad that he was pelt...

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2018-11-14 20:58:00

Drvengrad: A Traditional Serbian Village That's Actually A Movie Set  

Two hundred kilometers southwest of Serbia's capital, Belgrade, on Mokra Gora mountain only a few miles from the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina is a bustling little mountain town called Drvengrad. It means "timber town", which is correct, for the entire town is made of wood obtained from the area's numerous conifer trees. Even the streets and main square are paved with wooden tiles. Drvengrad has a church, a library, a cinema, a couple of restaurants and shops, but it's not a rea...

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2018-11-13 20:59:00

How Solitary Confinement Saved Ludger Sylbaris From The Deadliest Volcanic Eruption  

At the northern end of Martinique, a French overseas island in the eastern Caribbean sea, stands Mount Pelee, a volcano that famously erupted on 8 May 1902 and totally destroyed the city of Saint-Pierre, that was once known as the "Paris of the West Indies." Only two out of an estimated 30,000 people that lay in the direct path of the eruption's pyroclastic flow survived that day. One was a shoemaker living on the edge of the city who escaped with severe burns. The other was Ludger Sylba...

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2018-11-12 23:09:00

The Paradox of Prince Rupert's Drop  

Prince Rupert's drop is a glass artifact that exhibits two properties that are the exact opposite of each other—they are extremely tough and extremely fragile at the same time. The drop looks like a tadpole with a bulbous head and a long, thin tail. The head is so strong that it can withstand the impact of a hammer, and bullets fired at it at point-blank range have been shown to shatter on impact—the bullet, not the glass. Yet, if you take the drop's tail and snap it with your finger,...

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2018-11-10 15:54:00

The Mystery of Lady Dai's Preserved Mummy  

Believe it or not, this grotesque figure is considered to be one of the world's best preserved mummies. While her face looks swollen and deformed, her skin is still soft to the touch, and there are no signs of rigor mortis anywhere—her arms and legs can still bend. Even her internal organs are intact and there is still blood in her veins. While other mummies tend to crumble at the slightest movement, the mummy of Lady Dai is so well-kept that doctors were able to perform an autopsy more than...

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2018-11-09 20:19:00

Dhanushkodi: The Ghost Town Ravaged By Cyclone  

In the middle of Palk Strait between India and Sri Lanka is a small elongated island called Pamban, and is connected to the Indian peninsula by a 2 km-long, one hundred year old railway bridge. This Pamban bridge, the only connecting link to the mainland, is considered to be one of India's most dangerous. The wind is so strong here that trains slow down to a crawl when crossing the bridge, otherwise it would be blown off the tracks. The bridge's design doesn't offer much confidence either....

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2018-11-08 16:13:00

Dutch Prisons Are Being Converted Into Hotels And Apartments Because of Lack of Prisoners  

The Netherlands has a problem with prisons and prisoners, just like any other country. But while the rest of the world is struggling with overcrowding, the Netherlands is struggling to fill its prisons. Indeed, the country is actually running out of people to lock up, such that the government has been forced to close prisons throughout the country because they have been sitting empty. Crime rates in the Netherlands are falling spectacularly for the past two decades, thanks to the country's wh...

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2018-11-07 13:22:00

ATLAS-I: The Cold War-Era Facility That Tested The Effects of EMP on Military Aircraft  

Flying in and out of Albuquerque, in New Mexico, the United States, one can catch a glimpse of a gigantic wooden trestle standing in the middle of an enormous pit in the desert. Built between 1972 and 1980, this wood and glue laminate structure called ATLAS-I (Air Force Weapons Lab Transmission-Line Aircraft Simulator) was used extensively during the waning days of the Cold War to test how well the United States' strategic assets could withstand the effects of the electromagnetic pulse. An ele...

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2018-11-07 13:20:00

The Buried Village of Al Madam  

About two kilometers south-west of Al Madam, a small town along the old Dubai-Hatta road, is a spooky little abandoned settlement. It was once inhabited by the people of the Al Kutbi tribe, who are among the three prominent tribes living in the vicinity of Al Madam. For some reason the residents packed up their bags and left more than a decade ago. Local legends hold that it's the nasty "jinn" that drove the people away. Jinn is a demon-like supernatural creature that the Arabs and Muslim...

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2018-11-05 16:43:00

Brine Pools: The Lakes Under The Ocean  

Just like there are waterfalls underneath oceans, there can be lakes on seabed too. One is kept separate from the surrounding body of water by density arising from temperature difference, while the other is kept separate by it's salinity. These saline lakes of dense water on the seafloor has distinctive shorelines and surfaces, and they are called brine pools. They are common in the Gulf of Mexico, where the smallest ones are not much bigger than a puddle, measuring just one meter across, but...

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2018-11-03 16:18:00

Letters of Utrecht: The Endless Poem  

In the Dutch city of Utrecht, a poem is growing—one letter at a time, every week, for the past six years. Every Saturday, at around one in the afternoon, members of Utrecht's guild of poets gather at the center of Utrecht, where the end of a long string of letters has currently reached, to carve the next letter in stone and install it in the cobblestone pavement. As new letters are added words begin to form, then sentences and finally verses. It takes about three years to publish an aver...

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2018-11-02 15:51:00

Killer Wasps And Zombie Cockroaches  

The emerald jewel wasp is a deadly and venomous insect, like all wasps are. Their sting can be excruciatingly painful for humans. Nevertheless, this brilliant metallic blue-green tropical wasp found in South Asia, Africa and the Pacific Islands is of little concern to humans unless disturbed. But for cockroaches, this wasp is the stuff of nightmares. The emerald jewel wasp is a parasitic wasp that enslaves cockroaches by injecting mind-controlling venom into their brains. After being stung by th

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2018-11-01 15:57:00

Beijing's Underground City  

One of the entrance to the Underground City in Beijing. Photo credit: Scott Sherrill-Mix/Flickr In the late 1950s, relation between the two biggest communist nations—the People's Republic of China and the Soviet Union—soured because of differing political ideologies, and for a while it appeared as if a major conflict was imminent—a war where neither country would hesitate to use nuclear weapons. In 1969, amidst rising tension, Chairman Mao Zedong ordered his countrymen to dig tunnels...

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2018-10-31 21:43:00

India Unveils World's Tallest Statue  

The controversial Statue of Unity dedicated to India's first deputy prime minister, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, was unveiled today at a remote corner of India's westernmost state of Gujarat. Standing 182 meters tall the gargantuan statue is now the tallest in the world surpassing the Spring Temple Buddha in China, which was until now the world's biggest statue at 128 meters. The base upon which the Statue of Unity stands itself is 58 meters tall, taking the total height of the statue to n...

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2018-10-31 16:13:00

Foucault Pendulum And The Pantheon  

In the old Latin quarter in Paris, stands a magnificent 18th century building—the temple to all the gods, the Pantheon. Originally constructed as a church dedicated to St. Genevieve, it was later converted into a mausoleum containing the remains of distinguished French citizens such as Voltaire, Jean Jacques Rousseau, Victor Hugo, Emile Zola, Marie and Pierre Curie, and Jean Moulin. Today, the Pantheon resembles less of a church and more of a museum. The church had long been stripped off its a...

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2018-10-30 14:53:00

The Disgusting Food Museum  

A new museum aimed to assault the olfactory senses of visitors and churn their stomach opened yesterday in Sweden's third largest city, Malmo. Inside are various exhibits that some cultures supposedly eat, such as fermented shark meat, bull penis, fermented herring, maggot cheese and ant larvae. It's so bad that the museum provide visitors with vomit bags before they enter. "I want people to question what they find disgusting and realize that disgust is always in the eye of the beholder,...

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2018-10-30 11:13:00

Horse-Drawn Boats  

Before diesel and electric engines made sailing convenient, boats and barges had to be either rowed or pulled. In many European countries such as the Netherlands and the UK, and to some extent in France, Germany, and Belgium, horse-drawn boats were common. Horses and sometimes mules and donkeys would walk along the canal on a towpath pulling behind a small tow-boat loaded with goods or passengers. Because the cargo moves on water, friction is minimal, allowing the horse to pull fifty times as mu

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2018-10-30 11:10:00

The Ziggurat of Choga Zanbil  

The Egyptians had pyramids, the Mesopotamians had ziggurats, which are massive brick structures with raised platforms with successively receding levels. Nobody knows what they stood for, but it's presumed that they once contained shrines dedicated to the gods and had living quarters for priests. The Great Ziggurat of Ur in Iraq is one fine example of a ziggurat. But Choga Zanbil is one of the few ziggurats that lies outside Mesopotamia, and it's the largest one among them. The ziggurat stand...

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2018-10-26 14:45:00

Maison Carrée, The Most Intact Roman Temple  

Maison Carree in Nimes, France. Photo credit: Lamax/ The Maison Carree in the city of Nimes, in southern France, is the only ancient Roman building that you don't have to use the word "ruins" to describe. Although not as impressive as the Parthenon of Athens, nor as elegant as the Pantheon in Rome, the Maison Carree retains an integrity in its design, and preserves much of its original ornamentation, unlike so many ancient buildings that have been repurposed through the...

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2018-10-26 11:45:00

The Mines of Messines Ridge  

About 8 kilometers south of Ypres, in the middle of a farm, is a small green pond known as the "Pool of Peace", but its creation was a rather violent event. It was 1916 and the First World War was in its second year. The Germans had occupied the Belgian coast and was using the coastal ports as bases from which they attacked merchant ships and troop transports in the North Sea and English Channel. Capturing these ports became a major objective for the British army. But before that could happe...

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2018-10-26 11:42:00

Damme Canal: The Canal That Napoleon Built To Avoid The British Navy  

A popular way to see the beautiful city of Bruges in Belgium is from a boat cruising along the city's many canals. The historic city center is conveniently enclosed within an 'egg' encircled by canals allowing tourists to take a boat ride around the city center admiring the charming historic houses and churches. The city's canals themselves are worth seeing, particularly the tree-lined Bruges-Sluis Canal or the Damme Canal. The canal is about 15 km long and connects Bruges to the Dutch ...

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2018-10-24 20:49:00

Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge: The World's Longest Sea Crossing  

The world's longest sea crossing connecting Hong Kong with Macau and Zhuhai opened this week in China. The unusual bridge cum tunnel system consist of a series of three cable-stayed bridges and one undersea tunnel, as well as two artificial islands for a total length of 55 km. The largest part of the crossing is the 30-km-long Main Bridge, which is actually a bridge and a 6.7 km undersea tunnel that dips beneath the Pearl River Estuary and emerges at the other end just before the Hong Kong bo...

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2018-10-24 20:48:00

Offa's Dyke: The 1,200-Years-Old Dyke Separating Wales From England  

In south-west England, there runs a great earthwork from the mouth of River Dee near Chester, to the estuary of River Severn near Chepstow, traversing through more than 150 miles, although the earthwork is not continuous. This is Offa's Dyke, and for centuries it has marked the boundary between England and Wales. Offa was the king of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia during the second half of the 8th century. He controlled large swathes of land in the lowlands of Britain to the east and south...

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2018-10-24 10:40:00

Rectangular Iceberg  

Nature follows specific laws, but results are often irregular and asymmetric like clouds and coastline and ocean waves. So when NASA scientists flying over the northern Antarctic Peninsula last week as part of Operation IceBridge spotted a neatly cut rectangular piece of iceberg floating amidst a jumble of broken ice, everybody thought it was pretty interesting. While icebergs with relatively straight edges are common, this was the first time anybody has seen an iceberg with two corners at right

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2018-10-23 16:27:00

Morocco's Abandoned Movie Sets in The Desert  

In the early 1960s, movie director David Lean was scouting for locations to shoot his upcoming movie Lawrence of Arabia when he learned about Ouarzazate. This large desert town, nestled at the foot of the High Atlas Mountains, in southern Morocco had exotic scenery, clear skies and friendly locals, providing an attractive location for movies involving ancient, desert-based story lines. Lean eventually shot most part of the movie in Spain, but many key scenes were also shot in Jordan and in Ouarz

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2018-10-23 12:04:00

Milky Way and moonlight  

Indian Beach at Ecola State Park in Cannon Beach, Oregon.

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2018-10-19 08:44:23

Michigan's Massive Copper Boulders  

In the early 17th century, fur traders traversing Lake Superior in North America heard tales of a fabulous boulder lying on the banks of the Ontonagon River. The boulder was said to be five tones in weight and as large as a house. And it was made of solid copper. Stories about such a prize lying unclaimed in the wild set off many prospectors in the hunt, and it wasn't long before the boulder was located. It really was made of solid copper. Curiously, no effort was made to relocate the treasur...

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2018-10-18 21:34:00

Watch launch of BepiColumbo mission to Mercury  

The ESA-JAXA BepiColombo mission to planet Mercury launches from Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana on October 19 at 9:45 PM EDT (October 20 at 1:45 UTC) Here's how to watch.

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2018-10-18 20:16:58

Report calls for NASA to ramp up search for alien biosignatures  

NASA is again being encouraged to expand its search for alien life - not just intelligent life - all forms of life, including microbes.

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2018-10-18 10:49:04

What makes giant soldier ants?  

Charles Darwin puzzled over why ants come in such wildly different sizes. The question even made him doubt his theory of evolution. New research might explain things

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2018-10-18 10:39:04

How do dogs process words?  

What's happening in your dog's brain when it hears you say squirrel? New research looks at how dog's brains react to human words.

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2018-10-18 10:05:28

Northern lights over Sweden  

Photographer Jörgen Andersson captured the northern lights over Sweden on October 7, 2018.

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2018-10-18 08:51:32

Moon and Mars on October 17 and 18  

Mars isn't as bright now as it was last July and August. But it's still pretty bright! Don't miss it near the moon on these evenings.

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2018-10-17 12:29:14

Chindōgu: The Japanese Art of Unuseless Inventions  

You have definitely seen a chindōgu. They are those ridiculous Japanese inventions designed to solve a particular problem but are, in fact, so clumsy and inelegant that they are an inconvenience to use, and generate a whole lot of new problems. A few examples of chindōgu are: chopsticks with a miniature electric fan to cool noodles on the way to the mouth; glasses with attached funnels that allow the wearer to apply eye drops with accuracy; tiny umbrellas attached to cameras to take picture in...

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2018-10-17 12:14:00

The Lighthouse That Wrecked More Ships Than it Saved  

For more than forty years a lighthouse stood on a large anvil-shaped peninsula jutting into the Tasman Sea near Jervis Bay, in southern Australia. It stood at a place where it shouldn't have, luring ignorant ships into the very rocks they were trying to avoid. The cliffs around Cape St George just south of Jervis Bay was notorious for shipwrecks, and so in the mid-19th century, it was decided that a lighthouse was needed for the safe navigation of coastal shipping. Photo credit: John Eggers/W...

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2018-10-17 12:07:00

Michael Pederson's Fake Street Signs  

Sydney-based artist Michael Pederson creates small signs with humorous messages and tucks them all around his home city at places where you least expect to find them. "Please wait here. Your future self will meet you shortly." says one sign firmly implanted at the edge of a field. Or you walk into a public phone booth and find an official-looking sign announcing that it's a time travel pay phone. "Never press 9" it warns, and you wonder if it's real. Exit signs point at unnatural di...

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2018-10-17 12:02:00

Asteroid 2018 EB has a moon  

Binary asteroids - that is, asteroids with moons - aren't uncommon. More than 300 have been discovered so far. Astronomers found a moon for 2018 EB when it swept closest to Earth on October 7.

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2018-10-17 10:06:30

New species of giant dinosaur identified  

The fossils of Ledumahadi mafube suggest that it was the largest land animal alive 200 million years ago.

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2018-10-17 09:58:54

Venus passages compared  

Venus will sweep near the sun in our sky (inferior conjunction) on October 26. Astronomer Guy Ottewell uses his great skill at illustration to compare this passage of Venus with the last one, and the next one.

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2018-10-16 18:01:14

The Draconids did have an outburst  

Experts had said "no outburst" predicted for the 2018 Draconids. But, since the parent comet had recently passed near, observers knew to watch anyway.

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2018-10-16 10:35:57

The Churches of Chiloé Island  

Off the coast of Chile, a group of about thirty islands belonging to the Chiloe Archipelago make up a fiercely independent community with its own distinct identity visible in the islanders' folklore, mythology, cuisine and unique architecture. So proud the islanders are of their culture that they strongly protested when the government offered to connect the remote islands to the mainland with what would have been Latin America's longest bridge, fearing that tourism would forever erode the...

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2018-10-15 15:14:00

When white dwarf meets brown dwarf, pow!  

In 1670, skywatchers saw a nova, a star that appeared where none had been before. Today's astronomers have learned it was a collision between an aging white dwarf star, and less massive brown dwarf.

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2018-10-14 10:19:29

New technology may help solve mystery of life’s origins  

How did life on Earth begin? A new technology, called Planet Simulator, might finally help solve the mystery.

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2018-10-14 10:04:37

Bees stopped buzzing during total solar eclipse  

In the path of totality of the August 2017 total solar eclipse, bees stopped flying, says a study. "It was like 'lights out' at summer camp."

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2018-10-14 10:00:33

Jupiter in the rearview mirror  

In the final minutes of a close flyby of Jupiter on September 6, the Juno spacecraft captured this departing view of the planet's swirling southern hemisphere.

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2018-10-14 08:24:12

Moon, Saturn and Mars on October 14-17  

These next several nights - October 14, 15, 16 and 17, 2018 - watch the waxing moon move from Saturn to Mars, and with the mind's-eye, envision the invisible dwarf planet Pluto in between these two bright worlds.

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2018-10-14 07:47:09

When 'Blowing Smoke Up Your Ass' Was a Real Thing  

This neat little box containing a pair of bellows and an assortment of pipes and other fixtures is a Tobacco Resuscitator Kit from the 18th century, approved for use and distributed by London's Royal Humane Society, then known as Society for the Recovery of Persons Apparently Drowned. Tobacco was thought to have invigorating properties and the ability to soak up moisture and warm the body from the inside. Thus blowing tobacco smoke through various orifices of the human body was the recommende...

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2018-10-13 13:10:00

Britain's Giant Hillside Chalk Figures  

The Westbury White Horse carved on the hillside near Westbury in Wiltshire, England. Photo credit: tipwarm/ A large portion of Southern England is made up of chalk. This white limestone are the shells of tiny marine organisms that lived and died in the seas that once covered much of Britain some 90 million years ago. As time progressed, layers of calcium carbonate built up and got compacted into a solid layer of rock. Later, tectonic movements lifted the sea floor out of the sea

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2018-10-11 21:48:00

Meet the trillions of viruses that make up your virome  

Just because you don't have the flu doesn't mean that your aren't teeming with viruses inside and out. But what are all these viruses doing, if they aren't making you sick?

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2018-10-11 10:32:55

Autumn in the English Lake District  

How gorgeous is this? Adrian Strand took this photo on October 7, 2018 in the Lake District in northwest England.

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2018-10-11 08:49:56

How The London Bridge Was Sold to America  

For centuries, children and kindergarteners have sung and danced to the tune of London Bridge is falling down, but when engineers discovered that the London Bridge was actually falling down in the early 1900s, it was no laughing matter. The stone bridge was just over a century old, and was the busiest point in London crossed by 8,000 pedestrians and 900 vehicles every hour. Surveyors found that the bridge was slowly sinking—about one third of a centimeter every year. When measurements were tak...

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2018-10-10 16:07:00

Young moon and Jupiter October 10-12  

The moon is back in the evening sky - low in the west after sunset - as a waxing crescent. The bright object near it is our solar system's biggest planet, Jupiter.

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2018-10-10 13:16:36

Astronomers detect ghostly afterglow of cosmic explosion  

For the 1st time, astronomers have detected the faint radio afterglow of a ghost explosion - a kind of cosmic sonic boom - possibly the result of a weird kind of gamma-ray burst.

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2018-10-10 10:33:40

See it! Venus as a crescent  

The planet Venus is heading toward inferior conjunction - when it goes between us and the sun - on October 26. For some weeks now, we've been receiving photos of Venus as a crescent world.

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2018-10-10 09:00:42

Galgano Guidotti And The Sword in Stone  

The story of King Arthur and his legendary sword Excalibur which he pulled out of a rock to prove his divine right to the throne is well known. But what is fiction to the British, is fact for Italians—for in a Tuscan abbey in Montesiepi, is a sword plunged into solid rock. The sword, of which only the hilt and a few inches of the blade is visible, is now preserved at the abbey of San Galgano in the town of Montesiepi, 30 km from Siena. Legend has it, that the sword was driven into the rock by ...

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2018-10-09 19:47:00

Is Voyager 2 nearing interstellar space?  

Voyager 2, launched in 1977, is now about 11 billion miles (17.7 billion km) from Earth. NASA says the spacecraft has detected an increase in cosmic rays, which might mean it's close to becoming only the 2nd human-made object, after Voyager 1, to enter interstellar space.

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2018-10-09 17:19:19

The World's Longest Portico  

Portico di San Luca: Photo credit: Stefano Carnevali/ Atop a forested hill, some 300 meters above the city of Bologna, stands the Sanctuary of the Madonna of San Luca, a 12th century Roman Catholic church. You can drive all the way up to the hill, but you can also walk through a specially constructed corridor. This covered monumental roofed arcade consists of 666 arches and stretches for 3.8 km making it the longest portico in the world.Read more » © Amusing Planet, 2018.

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2018-10-09 15:25:00

South Taurid meteors to peak in October?  

It's meteor season! This shower rarely produces more than 5 meteors per hour (although it's been known to produce fireballs). Now ... when do the South Taurids peak, October or November?

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2018-10-09 13:28:12

Michael heading for Florida panhandle  

The early morning update on Tuesday, October 9, shows Michael as a category 1 hurricane, still forecast to reach major, category 3 status before landfall Wednesday on the Florida panhandle.

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2018-10-09 11:20:56

Whale songs evolve, but calls persist for generations  

Humpback whales have ever-changing and evolving songs. But a new study of whales in Alaska shows their repertoire of calls - including growls, trumpets, and ahoogas - remains more stable. Why?

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2018-10-09 10:37:40

Meet Proxima Centauri, closest star to sun  

The star Proxima Centauri, one of 3 stars in the Alpha Centauri system, is our sun's nearest known neighbor at 4.2 light-years away.

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2018-10-09 10:00:30

Watch 3 whales dive, then leap  

Whale watchers on a cruise out of Nova Scotia got a thrill when they saw 3 whales breach the surface, one after the other. "We did not drive them," the cruise director commented.

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2018-10-09 09:51:27

Hubble is in safe mode. Science operations suspended  

The Hubble Space Telescope has been in safe mode since last Friday evening, following the failure of one of the gyros that helps stabilize it. NASA is analyzing the problem and hopes to resume operations soon.

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2018-10-08 23:20:05

New Zealand's Castaway Depots For Shipwrecked Sailors  

An old castaway hut in the North of Antipodes Islands, New Zealand. Photo credit: LawrieM/Wikimedia Before the Suez and Panama Canals opened, ships sailing from Australia and New Zealand to England and back had to make a treacherous journey through the frigid waters of the Antarctic Ocean fighting fierce winds, huge waves and skirting potentially dangerous icebergs. This route was known as the clipper route—so called because they were usually taken by clippers, a very fast sailing ship of the...

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2018-10-08 21:19:00

Banaba: A Tropical Paradise Destroyed by Mining  

In the Pacific Ocean, halfway between Papua New Guinea and Hawaii, there is a small island named Banaba belonging to a scattered group of islands called the Gilberts. Before European contact, Banaba was a beautiful coral island rich in animal and plant life and with a thriving community that shared close links to people of Kiribati. In 1900, a New Zealand prospector named Albert Ellis working for the Pacific Islands Company discovered that the surface of Banaba was made of petrified guano that h

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2018-10-08 14:13:00

See it! Last night’s SpaceX launch and landing  

Night launches are always fun, and this one - from Vandenberg Air Force Base, north of Los Angeles, California - generated more than its fair shares of awesome images.

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2018-10-08 11:40:25

Microplastics found in sea turtle nesting sand  

Researchers have found microplastics deep in the sand on beaches where sea turtles lay their eggs.

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2018-10-08 10:16:24

Construction begins on ESA’s Plato planet-hunter  

The European Space Agency's next big planet-hunting mission - the Plato space telescope - will continue the search for rocky and potentially habitable worlds orbiting other stars.

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2018-10-07 10:26:28

Cloud shadow over Las Vegas  

Bettina Berg captured this cloud shadow on October 1, 2018.

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2018-10-06 17:01:27

Watch, as black holes spiral closer  

A new simulation by scientists lets you witness supermassive black holes about to collide. One shows them from outside the system, just 40 orbits from merging. The other places you in their midst.

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2018-10-06 14:00:12

Groundbreaking science from ultra-close orbits of Saturn  

Last year, in its Grand Finale, the Cassini spacecraft dove repeatedly between Saturn and its rings. This week, 6 teams of researchers published new research based on Cassini's final days and those daredevil dives.

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2018-10-06 10:58:21

Robert Peary's Meteorite And Minik  

Many historical figures are celebrated for achieving great things but conveniently forgotten of all the terrible things they did to other people. Christopher Columbus is one prime example. A quick Google search will reveal dozens of beloved characters with shady personalities, but one story that is not told often is that of Arctic explorer Robert. E. Peary who is widely believed to be the first person to have reached the North Pole in 1909. This story, however, begins a lot earlier. About 10,00

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2018-10-05 11:17:00

Baby giraffes inherit spot patterns from mom  

A new study suggests spot patterns are linked to survival rates of young giraffes.

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2018-10-05 10:17:25

New dwarf planet nicknamed The Goblin  

The Goblin is a very small dwarf planet, very far away. It might help astronomers in their search for a much bigger world - the long-sought Planet X.

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2018-10-04 18:15:15

The Mountain That Japan Hid From The World  

Photo credit: 663highland/Wikimedia Inside the Shikotsu-Toya National Park, in the island of Hokkaidō, not far from the active stratovolcano, Mount Usu, there is a 400-meter tall volcanic peak called Shōwa-shinzan. Shōwa-shinzan is Japan's youngest mountain. It appeared on 28 December 1943 out of a wheat field accompanied by strong tremors and hot lava. As the molten magma broke through the surface, it uplifted the field and over the following two years the lava dome continued to rise unti...

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2018-10-04 15:26:00

Did the Hubble telescope find the 1st exomoon?  

Astronomers have tantalizing new evidence for a possible Neptune-sized moon orbiting the gas-giant planet Kepler-1625b, some 8,000 light-years away.

what do you think?

2018-10-04 09:00:13

Zap! Lightning strikes Empire State Building  

Lightning strikes New York City's Empire State Building and One World Trade Center.

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2018-10-04 08:25:26

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