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Ask any kid in almost any country, and they’ll tell you who Big Bird is. But how well do we really know our feathered friend? On the surface, he’s a lovable character from Sesame Street who stands 249 centimeters tall (8’2″)[1] and sports orange feet the size of snowshoes. But there are many sides to
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Some modern technologies were invented to work or look one way but ended up getting modified. At other times, they were invented for particular purposes but were ultimately used in different ways. This is true for several of today’s technologies—from our phones to USBs, air conditioners, sirens, and blockchains, which form the backbone of cryptocurrencies
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For millions of people throughout the world, the university dormitory is an integral part of the higher education experience. Some have fond memories of their dorm rooms; others think of their dorms as one step above a prison cell. Either way, nobody can doubt that “interesting” things tend to happen in dorm rooms. Here, in
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With the recent release of the series Tidying Up with Marie Kondo on Netflix, there was a tinge of backlash regarding her comments about holding onto too many books. She recommends only having 30 at a time. Of course, memes appeared overnight defending book-hoarding with a stunning ferocity. This compulsive craving to collect and hoard
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Roughly 150,000 men of Jewish descent fought in Hitler’s army. While their families back home were being corralled into ghettos and sent off to death camps, these men were in Poland, France, or Russia, spreading the fascist system that was killing their people across Europe. It’s hard to understand, but many Jewish Germans signed up
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Lakes are liminal spaces. The world divides between what is above and what is below. They can also be spooky places where waves behave oddly, and it is easy to imagine all manner of things concealed in the gloomy depths below. While lakes may scare some people away, others actively go to them to search
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We often expect a drug prescription when we visit a doctor. However, physicians seem to be gradually shifting from solely recommending the use of medications to prescribing other unconventional things. These bizarre prescriptions could be issued alone or to supplement a medication or some other treatment. These newer treatments include playing, cycling, singing, visiting museums,
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As children, we’re put to sleep with the help of tales designed to ease us through the darkness and into the wide space of our imaginations. Growing up, these stories have developed with profound messages designed to push us in the right direction in life. But while the magic may never cease to glisten, these
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In many ways, ancient Rome was the birthplace of modern Western culture. It’s easy to see ourselves reflected in its culture and customs, with its focus on liberty and the rule of law. In other ways, though, ancient Rome was more alien than we can imagine. For one, their addiction to bloodthirsty sports in which
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A modern wonder is imaging and our ability to share pictures globally within seconds. People alive today can surf the web and see the most incredible scientific sights without ever having to step inside a laboratory. Pictures showing freshly solved mysteries and violent things in space are fascinating, but they pale next to unusual world
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Despite our differences in opinion and cultures, there’s one thing just about everyone can agree on: Sex is amazing. No matter how much we may enjoy it, though, it’s one of the most mysterious aspects of evolution. Scientists have been trying to answer why we have sex at all for quite some time now,[1] as
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Even after humans fought for centuries to escape the restrictions of this world and thus be able to venture into the cosmos, we finally decided to look back. So, ironically, Earth has been the primary focus of our observations from space. Although scientists have obtained hundreds of thousands of photographs of planets, galaxies, and other
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It’s no secret that couples often speak their own language with one another. When two people become close, they develop their own inside jokes, codes, and nicknames. When we see others doing this, especially in public, it can quickly go from cute to sickening. However, cutesy nicknames and baby talk between two people in love
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Many in China like to claim that their country has seen 4,000 years of continuous civilization. In truth, new evidence hints that Chinese civilization may even be older than that. For those in the West, Chinese history is either completely unknown or only vaguely identified. However, in many mandatory Western civilization courses, professors like to
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The Manhattan Project is famously known as the United States-led endeavor which successfully created the first atomic bomb. The success of the Manhattan Project led to the bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima in 1945 and the total surrender of Japan, ending World War II. The project was extremely complex and dangerous, even causing the deaths
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Sheep leap through the minds of insomniacs, and for some, that is about as interesting as these creatures get. However, sheep are not just farm animals waiting to become mutton. They are at the cutting edge of lifesaving technology and revealed a solid clue about a mysterious and devastating autoimmune disease. Studies aside, sheep stories
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The glorious age of knights, chivalry, and kingdoms is inherently fascinating to us, and nothing represents it better than the art of heraldry. Nearly everyone has a passing interest in heraldry. Haven’t we all Googled our own “family crest” at some point? We know that knights had a coat of arms which they wore on
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Over the decades, people have gamed various lotteries to win millions of dollars. Some have done so legally, some definitely broke the law, and others’ methods were in gray areas. One legal tactic of gaming the lottery, for example, is by buying massive amounts of tickets. However, that is not always possible, depending on state
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Since the dawn of time, men, women, and children alike have feared that which goes bump in the night. Such fears manifest in varied forms in various locations, but each story is kept alive by the universal bond of storytelling—generation to generation, these stories are told as a rite of passage for those old enough
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From the eighth century BC to the fifth century AD, the intertwined cultures of Greece and Rome ruled a great deal of the known world. It was the heyday of the Greco-Roman myths of gods and goddesses, great heroes, and fantastic beasts. It was also the start of attempts to catalog the flora and fauna
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It’s absolutely no piece of breaking news that being attractive provides you with quite a few advantages in life. Many studies have shown that attractiveness is, as we’ve always suspected, associated with a better quality of life, and it definitely makes encounters like interviews and court hearings easier to breeze through than for the rest
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It’s no surprise that life is a bit easier for highly intelligent people, as they’re able to identify and solve life’s problems much more effectively than someone with average or below-average intelligence. Intelligent people are also generally more successful and well-educated, as should be obvious. However, much like all good things, high intelligence comes with
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The humble page is busier than it looks. When it is not inflicting small but strangely painful cuts, things get serious at the paper plane championships. Paper folding also has an insane barrier that not even a machine can beat. Peculiar facts aside, paper is a great material for inventors. Recent creations could one day
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