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History Science Strange

Nose shaping tool from 1944.

Beauty-conscious girls and young women in the 1940s tried to reshape their noses to make them more appealing. No joke. As this young girl from 1944 is showing us, nose shapers were a way to try to add saucy lift to the tip of one’s nose or smooth out a bump on one’s nose. So, […]

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History People Science

Harley-Davidson founders William Harley and Arthur Davidson posing on their motorbikes in 1914.

When William S. Harley and his buddy, Arthur Davidson, decided to make motorized bicycles in 1901, the first thing they did was to paint a sign saying “The Harley-Davidson Motor Company” to hang above the door of their work shed. This was all before the two men, who were 20 and 21 years old respectfully, […]

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History Science

Oldest map of the New World

Oldest map of the New World engraved on a 500-year-old ostrich egg, circa 1500s. Dating back to 1504, the Ostrich Egg Globe is significant because it is the first globe that includes the New World on it. The New World portion is highly inaccurate – North America is depicted as a cluster of islands – […]

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History

Train at Paris’ Montparnasse Station that derailed as it entered the station, 1895

The Granville-Paris Express came into the station at the Gare Montparnasse terminus a little too hot on October 22, 1895. It seems that the train’s conductor was trying to make up some time to keep the train on schedule, so he was going too fast as he approached the station. By the time the driver […]

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Crime History Science

The Method of the Nail

In the days before X-rays and modern forensics, a popular (and virtually undetectable) technique for murder was to drive a nail into a person’s head. The victim’s hair would hide the wound, concealing any obvious sign of injury or foul play. So people would assume death had occurred from natural causes. The “method of the […]

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Science Strange

Hallucinogenic Fish

Consumption of the flesh of Sarpa salpa, a type of sea bream also known as the “dreamfish,” can cause intense hallucinations. The hallucinations can be terrifying and often involve visions of aggressive and screaming animals, such as giant spiders or squealing birds. However, not all experiences are unpleasant. In 1960, National Geographic photographer Joe Roberts purposefully ate some […]

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History Science

Paradoxical Undressing

People who are freezing to death will often remove all their clothes, as if they were burning up. This strange behavior (referred to as “paradoxical undressing”) is caused by a cold-induced paralysis of nerves, which creates a sensation of extreme warmth. This leads people to try to cool down by undressing, even though they’re freezing. […]

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History People Science

Egg Palatability

After World War II, Dr. Hugh Cott of Cambridge University conducted a series of egg-tasting experiments to determine the palatability of eggs from various species of birds. He assembled a panel of three egg tasters, who were served the eggs scrambled and then rated them on a 10-point scale. Over a six-year period (1946-1951) they […]

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Science

Ears of Corn Have an Even Number of Rows

Ears of corn almost always have an even number of rows. When they don’t, it’s often been considered weird enough to make news. A story is told of one slave owner who cynically promised his slaves their freedom if they could find an odd-rowed ear of corn, figuring they would never find such a thing. […]

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History Science

Cockroach Milk

Diploptera punctata, aka the Pacific Beetle Cockroach, is the only known viviparous cockroach, which means that, like a mammal, its offspring grow inside its body before it gives birth to them. As the embryos develop, the mother cockroach nourishes them with a milk secretion. Researchers have found that this “cockroach milk” is one of the […]

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