Don't Move On.......StaggerON!
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A 14th-century castle, but a very modern lord
Charlie Courtenay, the 19th Earl of Devon, leads a double life. Half the week, he works in London as an intellectual property barrister and as the newest hereditary peer in the House of Lords; the rest of the time, he’s the 28th generation of his family to run Powderham Castle, the 14thcentury manor house near Exmouth, Devon.
Born in 1975, he grew up at Powderham, the son of Hugh Courtenay, the 18th Earl of Devon and his wife, Diana. After Eton, Cambridge and the Bar, Charlie went to Los Angeles on a rugby tour.
He found a reason to stay when he met the actress Allison Joy “AJ” Langer, of Baywatch and My So-called Life fame, in a bar in Las Vegas. It was love at first sight. The couple were married in 2004, and settled down to life in California with their two children, Lady Joscelyn, 11, and Jack, Lord Courtenay, nine. More
Santa deniar arrested after giving children the ultimate Christmas spoiler
A 31-year-old Texan has been arrested after telling children at a church breakfast that Santa Claus doesn’t exist, refusing to leave even as police arrived.
In the latest attack on Christmas, a breakfast with Santa event at a church in Cleburne, Texas was disrupted by 3 protesters angry that parents were teaching their children about “fake” Santa. Holding up anti-Santa placards and shouting less-than-festive slogans, the protesters confronted people arriving, admonishing parents for encouraging belief in Santa and yelling to their children that he doesn’t exist.
31-year-old Aaron Urbanski of Joshua ended up on the law’s naughty list after refusing the church’s demands to leave the premises. When police arrived, Urbanski was arrested for trespassing . More
Italian mountaineers criticise day-trippers for tackling Alpine peaks in shorts and trainers
Italian mountaineers have been left aghast this summer at the number of ill-prepared day trippers trying to climb some of the country’s highest Alpine peaks in shorts and trainers.
There have been a spate of incidents in which bewildered climbers have come across tourists wearing jeans and sweatshirts trudging through the snow at altitudes of up to 13,000ft.
Alpine guides are warning that many people have no idea of the challenges they face in the Alps and the Dolomites and are risking their lives.
Seven people have died on the Italian side of the Matterhorn so far this summer, with experts saying that at least four of those were caused by poor preparation and inadequate equipment. where the similarities end. More
What's the Best Time of Day to Drink Coffee? The U.S. Army Found the Answer
If you love caffeine, you may think there's never a wrong time for coffee, but a new study says there is a right time to get the most out of your daily cup.
Researchers from the United States Army developed an algorithm that makes personal recommendations for timing your caffeine consumption, so you can drink the least amount of coffee to achieve the maximum level of alertness. They published their study in the May issue of the Journal of Sleep Research.
The study found that the algorithm helped people improve their alertness by up to 64 percent — without consuming any more caffeine than normal. On the flip side, it found that with the right dosing schedule, people could reduce their caffeine consumption by up to 65 percent and still achieve peak alertness. More
12 Things Mentally Strong People Do That Nobody Else Does
You’ve no doubt heard a million times that you should exercise. But how many people have suggested that you become more mentally fit?
I’m not just talking about doing a crossword puzzle to combat dementia -- I’m talking about becoming mentally strong.
When you do, you’ll be better equipped to regulate your thoughts, manage your emotions and boost your productivity.
Here are 12 things mentally strong people do. More
Amish man starts "Uber" ride service with his horse and buggy
COLON, Mich. — Anyone who has ever taken an Uber ride knows it's convenient and very popular so one man in St. Joseph County has found a way to make ride sharing more scenic.
Timothy Hochstedler calls it Amish Uber. He is adding some horsepower to ride sharing.
The newest taxi service in Colon has four wheels, four legs and good gas mileage. Inside his horse and buggy, people share a ride and Hochstedler gets to share some stories. Everyone's happy.
"Uber is a cool thing, every single year something new comes in and Uber is hot right now, so we have the Amish Uber. We can deliver people to their front door steps," Hochstedler said. More
Print-your-own gun debate ignores how the US government long provided and regulated firearms
The current debate over a Texas company’s “right” to allow anyone to download blueprints to its 3D-printed guns is following the same well-trodden terrain as every firearms fight for the past few decades: differing interpretations of the Second Amendment.
Cody Wilson, the founder of Defense Distributed and the creator of the first working plastic gun in 2013, argues it’s about every American’s right to bear arms. “I believe that I am championing the Second Amendment in the 21st century,” he told “CBS This Morning.”
On the other side are the federal judge who is temporarily blocking the release of the blueprints, the eight state attorneys general who sued Wilson’s company from putting the designs online and gun control advocates across the country who want the government to do more to regulate firearms. More
The secret to that black ice cream you’ve seen everywhere
Just as quickly as the unicorns went extinct, jet-black ice cream has ascended from the depths to take over Instagram feeds the world over.
Black ice cream is not a new phenomenon, having made a similar surge in popularity last summer. It’s generally an ice cream made with activated charcoal.
While some may recognize that ingredient for its detox abilities used in hospitals and emergency rooms, it’s not exactly the health food that some places market it to be. Others might be familiar with charcoal’s popularity in beauty products like face masks and toothpastes.. More
Peeing in trash cans, constant surveillance, and asthma attacks on the job: Amazon workers tell us their warehouse horror stories
A former Amazon warehouse worker described being stopped in his tracks by an "awful smell" emanating from the trash cans. The stench, he said, was "unmistakable" and led him to one conclusion: His coworkers were so worried about taking too long on a bathroom break that they had resorted to urinating in the bin.
"I never witnessed anyone in the act but have witnessed the aftermath," the US staffer told Business Insider. "In three instances I had noticed an awful smell, pinpointed the location — trash bins that are scattered throughout the multitiered mezzanine — and reported it. From what I heard afterward, camera evidence got these associates fired." More
Deep in the Swamps, Archaeologists Are Finding How Fugitive Slaves Kept Their Freedom
The worse it gets, as I wade and stumble through the Great Dismal Swamp, the better I understand its history as a place of refuge. Each ripping thorn and sucking mudhole makes it clearer. It was the dense, tangled hostility of the swamp and its enormous size that enabled hundreds, and perhaps thousands, of escaped slaves to live here in freedom.
We don’t know much about them, but thanks to the archaeologist hacking through the mire ahead of me, we know they were out here, subsisting in hidden communities, and using almost nothing from the outside world until the 19th century. The Dismal Swamp covered great tracts of southeast Virginia and northeast North Carolina, and its vegetation was far too thick for horses or canoes. In the early 1600s, Native Americans fleeing the colonial frontier took refuge here, and they were soon joined by fugitive slaves, and probably some whites escaping indentured servitude or hiding from the law. From about 1680 to the Civil War, it appears that the swamp communities were dominated by Africans and African-Americans. More
During Prohibition, Vintners Sold “Wine Bricks” Rather Than Wine
One of humankind’s most endearing (and annoying) qualities is its ability to skirt, outthink and get around nearly every restriction that gets in its way. That was certainly during Prohibition, as people all over the United States found ways to sneak around the law. And one particularly charming example involved winemakers, writes VinePair’s Adam Teeter.
The entire winemaking industry, was, of course, threatened by Prohibition. But Teeter writes that rather than risk tearing down their vineyards and face permanent ruin if the law was eventually overturned, vintners decided to team up with bootleggers. Rather than making the wine on the premeses, they created “wine bricks” out of concentrated grape juice for home brewers (and bootleggers) to dissolve and use in the privacy of their own homes. More
Australian birds have weaponized fire because what we really need now is something else to make us afraid
Dick Eussen thought he had the fire beat. It was stuck on one side of a highway deep in the Australian outback. But it didn’t look set to jump. And then, suddenly, without warning or obvious cause, it did.
Eussen, a veteran firefighter in the Northern Territory, set off after the new flames. He found them, put them out, then looked up into the sky.
What he saw sounds now like something out of a fairy tale or dark myth. A whistling kite, wings spread, held a burning twig in its talons. It flew about 20 metres ahead of Eussen and dropped the ember into the brittle grass. More
Israeli Scientists Decode One of Last Encrypted Dead Sea Scrolls
A team of scientists from the Department of Bible Studies at the University of Haifa, Israel, has deciphered one of the last obscured parts of the Dead Sea Scrolls, a collection of almost 1,000 ancient manuscripts in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek discovered in caves near Qumran in the Judean Desert in the 1940-50s.
Members of the Qumran sect, who referred to themselves as the Yahad (‘Together’) community, were a fanatical group that lived a hermitic life in the Judean Desert. They wrote numerous scrolls, including a small number written in cryptic script.
The newly-deciphered Qumran scroll (dubbed 4Q324d) — reconstructed from 60 tiny fragments, some smaller than one cm2 — contains information about the most important dates in the sect’s 364-day calendar. More
Shark 'EATS' fisherman then spits out camera in HORROR GoPro clip
Raymond Pascoe was filming underwater during a feeding frenzy of lemon sharks – thought to be harmless to humans – on a recent fishing trip.
But suddenly, the fisherman found himself surrounded by ravenous bull sharks instead.
The sharks can grow up 11ft long and are blamed for the majority of near-shore shark attacks on humans.
In the scary footage – filmed on Raymond’s GoPro at the Swains Reef National Park off Queensland, Australia – one of the massive bull sharks launches an attack. The shark swims towards the camera, before opening its jaws and attempting to swallow it whole. More
Bitcoin: Seven questions you were too embarrassed to ask
This week, bitcoin has gone through a wrenching selloff, falling from a high of $19,500 earlier this week to below $13,000 on Friday.
In recent months, the currency's astonishing gains—it was worth less than $1 in early 2011—and subsequent decline has caused a lot of people to wonder if they should be paying attention to the technology. While almost everyone has heard of bitcoin at this point, many people are fuzzy on the details: what is a bitcoin, exactly? How do I buy some? What would I use it for?
We're here to help. Read on for a beginner's guide to bitcoin. We'll explain what bitcoin is, how it works, and what ordinary people should know about the technology. More
Cops bust Santa Claus after finding crack pipe next to costume
Santa Claus is coming to ... jail.
A 66-year-old man who volunteers as Santa in New Jersey was caught with a crack pipe and other drug paraphernalia in his vehicle during a traffic stop, according to authorities.
South Hackensack police officers also found empty bags of crack and heroin, along with a hypodermic needle, during a search of Charles Smith's vehicle on Monday. The crack pipe was found next to a Santa Claus costume.
The "Bad Santa" does volunteer work for Toys for Tots. More
Sky Penis, the Gift That Keeps on Giving
Celebrate Fall 2017's most viral military scandal with the EA-18G Growler Sky 'Art' Christmas Ornament, available for $8 from Planeform. Precisely laser cut using an Epilog CNC Laser, the ornament is roughly 4" across.
10 Secrets Traffic Cops Aren’t Telling You About Avoiding a Speeding Ticket
You can keep yourself and your loved ones safe—not to mention the people you’re sharing the road with—by simply observing the speed limit. Along with knowing these valuable safe driving strategies, slowing down makes a lot of sense—speeding is the number two cause of motor vehicle accidents. (Distracted driving is number one, drunk driving comes in third.)
That said, as a general matter you can probably drive a few miles per hour above the speed limit without attracting the attention of police officers, according to every police officer we spoke to—including retired Police Captain Michael Palardy (Millburn, NJ). If the only thing you’re doing wrong is driving a few miles per hour over the speed limit, says Harold Hilliard, retired Plano, Texas police officer, you’ll probably be fine. More
Mysterious Skeletons Bearing Horrific Injuries Show Early Ritual Violence in the Andes
A team of archaeologists has uncovered early evidence of ritual violence in Peru’s northern highlands, providing new clues to what lay behind the development of bloody ceremonial mutilation in ancient Andean civilisation.
According to an article published in the journal Plos One, archaeologists examined the remains of 104 individuals from a site called Pacopampa, a place home to “impressively large, ceremonial architecture,” that may have played host to “a complex society founded on ritual activity.”
Seven of the people showed signs of trauma; and while those buried at Pacopampa were from both elite and commoner classes, all those with evidence of trauma were probably from lower castes. More
10 Crazy Facts About Living At The South Pole
It takes a special person to strand themselves at the bottom of the Earth in the name of science.
But that is exactly what a handful of humans do each and every summer (when it is winter in the Southern Hemisphere) at the Geographic South Pole. Antarctica is the coldest and driest place on the globe, and our southern pole is one of the most isolated places.
Those who live at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station for the winter are assured a season full of adventure, isolation, and a one of a kind experience that has been afforded to only a handful of people. Living at the South Pole, while difficult, presents some of the world’s most interesting domicile oddities. More
To Open or Not to Open The 1,650-Year-Old Speyer Wine Bottle
Contemporary historians have been debating for a few years now if they should open the Speyer wine bottle, which is believed to be the world’s oldest bottle of wine. The Pfalz Historical Museum in Germany has been home to the legendary 1,650-year-old bottle that is sealed with wax and contains a white liquid.
Even though the oldest evidence of wine production was found in Armenia around 4100 BC, it would be safe to say that Western tradition of producing and drinking wine most likely started in the territory of Classical Greece, when people drank it during breakfast. A person who didn't drink wine in ancient Greece was considered a barbarian and the Greeks worshiped Dionysus as the God of wine and partying.
It’s no secret that the older a bottle of wine is, the better its contents will taste. In this case, however, the Speyer Bottle is so old that many experts doubt if its wine is drinkable. Widely considered as the oldest known liquid wine recovered from any archaeological site, the bottle has been dated between 325 and 350 AD.
Although it was analyzed by a chemist during the First World War, the bottle was never opened. A splash of olive oil and a seal of hot wax has kept the white wine liquid down in the 1,650 years since it was made. The wine bottle has been on display at the Pfalz Historical Museum for more than a century and though it is a curious artifact no research team dares to open it. More
What Happens to Wolves When They're Raised Like Dogs?
Wolves and dogs are separated by 15,000 years of evolution, during which time the species have veered off into radically different directions. Dogs still retain many of their ancestral behaviors, but less is known about any latent “dog-like” tendencies among modern wolves. A new study of human-raised wolf pups suggests wolves can become attached to their owners in a manner reminiscent of dogs—but that’s where the similarities end.
New research published today in Royal Society Open Science shows that wolf puppies, when raised by humans, display signs of both attachment and affection towards their owners, and that these feelings last into adulthood. The study also shows that extensively socialized wolves are relatively comfortable around human strangers, though they sometimes exhibit a bit of fear. These findings hint at behaviors that may have led their four-legged ancestors to seek out and find comfort among humans, leading to the emergence of those super-cuddly, face-licking furballs known as dogs. More
Fidelity to allow clients to see digital currencies on website
Fidelity Investments will allow its clients to see their holdings of bitcoin and other virtual currencies held on digital asset exchange Coinbase on the company's website, said Chief Executive Abigail Johnson on Tuesday. The move will make the Boston-based asset manager one of a handful of large financial services firms to have integrated digital currencies into its website.
A Fidelity spokesman said the new initiative may be launched in the second or third quarter this year.
The company is testing the Coinbase holdings integration with its employees, Johnson said. "I love this stuff – bitcoin, ethereum, blockchain technology – and what the future holds," Johnson said at a blockchain conference called Consensus in New York City. Blockchain, a shared online ledger of transactions which first emerged as bitcoin's underlying technology, has been attracting growing investments by established financial institutions which hope it can help them save money and time. Ethereum, a type of blockchain technology which can be used to build more complex applications, has also garnered interest from mainstream corporations. More
Holy guacamole, that’s got to hurt!
No self-respecting bruncher would consider a late breakfast without a little smashed avocado on toast — but for many it comes at a high price.
Surgeons say growing numbers of amateur chefs are reporting to accident and emergency departments with what they are calling “avocado hand”; serious stab and slash injuries that are the result of failed attempts to penetrate the fruit’s hard outer casing with a sharp knife before encountering a resistant inner stone.
The British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons is calling for safety labels on the fruit to staunch the flow of injured patients to hospitals. Many cases involve serious nerve and tendon injuries, requiring intricate surgery — and even then some patients never recover the full use of the hand. More
How Not to Be Offended
There is an ancient and well-kept secret to happiness which the Great Ones have known for centuries. They rarely talk about it, but they use it all the time, and it is fundamental to good mental health. This secret is called The Fine Art of Not Being Offended.
In order to truly be a master of this art, one must be able to see that every statement, action and reaction of another human being is the sum result of their total life experience to date.
In other words, the majority of people in our world say and do what they do from their own set of fears, conclusions, defenses and attempts to survive. Most of it, even when aimed directly at us, has nothing to do with us. Usually, it has more to do with all the other times, and in particular the first few times, that this person experienced a similar situation, usually when they were young. More
These high school journalists investigated a new principal’s credentials. Days later, she resigned.
Connor Balthazor, 17, was in the middle of study hall when he was called into a meeting with his high school newspaper adviser.
A group of reporters and editors from the student newspaper, the Booster Redux at Pittsburg High School in southeastern Kansas, had gathered to talk about Amy Robertson, who was hired as the high school’s head principal on March 6.
The student journalists had begun researching Robertson, and quickly found some discrepancies in her education credentials.
For one, when they researched Corllins University, the private university where Robertson said she got her master’s and doctorate degrees years ago, the website didn’t work. They found no evidence that it was an accredited university. More
World War Zero brought down mystery civilisation of sea people
THE Trojan war was perhaps grander than even Homer would have us believe.
In fact, the epic conflict may have been a final act in what one archaeologist has dubbed “world war zero” – an event he claims brought the eastern Mediterranean world to its knees 3200 years ago.
And the catalyst? The Luwians – a mysterious and arguably powerful civilisation overlooked by archaeologists. So says Eberhard Zangger, head of the non-profit foundation, Luwian Studies, in Zurich, Switzerland.
The story goes like this. By the second millennium BC, civilisation had taken hold in the eastern Mediterranean. The Egyptian New Kingdom coexisted with the Hittites of central Anatolia and the Mycenaeans of Greece. Then in little more than a generation, all of them had collapsed. Was the culprit climate change? Earthquakes? Social unrest? Experts can’t agree. More
Halve Maan Brewery Beer Pipeline
In the heart of the medieval city of Bruges is a remarkably contemporary innovation: the world’s first legal beer pipeline.
Running underneath the city streets, the tube transports 1,000 gallons of beer per hour—the equivalent of 12,000 bottles—from one of the country’s oldest still-operational breweries, Halve Maan (“half moon”), to its bottling plant two miles away.
Brouwerij De Halve Maan opened in Bruges in 1856.
A century and a half later, in 2016, a crowdsourcing campaign was launched to raise funds for the beer pipeline. The 500+ donors received a priceless thank you gift: free beer for life. Today, visitors can glimpse a section of the pipeline through a transparent manhole cover cut into the cobblestone street. More
Did Inadequate Women’s Healthcare Destroy Star Wars’ Old Republic?
The central, overarching conflict of the first six Star Wars movies is that a democratic republic devolves into an authoritarian dictatorship. A key part of that political coup is Anakin Skywalker turning to the dark side and becoming Darth Vader. The way the story is told implies that the fall of the Republic and fall of Anakin Skywalker are linked—young Anakin is prophesied as the one to "bring balance to the Force." Indeed, Darth Vader's redemption and death coincide with the fall of the Empire and the rise of the New Republic.
Anakin's turn to the dark side begins in Episode II with the death of his mother, but it's really the events of Episode III that are instrumental in changing him. And if you think about it, the trigger for his metamorphosis is extremely weird. Anakin Skywalker allies himself with Palpatine in hopes that he can use the dark side of the Force to save Padme Amidala from death in childbirth.
Shortly after Padme announces to him that she's pregnant, Anakin has a dream that she dies while giving birth. The dream feels similar the same one he had about his mother before she died. "It's just a dream, honey," Padme tells him the next morning. "Yeah, okay," he replies, but the man never regains his chill. More
The Mating Song Of The Last Kauai 'O'o Bird On Earth Is Haunting
When you hear birds chirping in the springtime, it's safe to say that they're calling out to potential mates. Because it's such an ordinary sound, it probably doesn't occur to you that it could be the last time that bird's call is ever heard.
While it's a far-fetched idea, that was the thought going through the heads of researchers in 1987 as they recorded the last male Kauai 'O'o bird singing on the Hawaiian island of Kauai.
The small bird had been pushed to extinction by the introduction of non-native species.
By 1987, there was only one left — a single male. In the video below, you can hear the last mating song of the Kauai 'O'o bird as he calls out to a mate that would never answer. More
14 Amazing Psychology Facts You Should Keep to Yourself!
There have been tests since as early as 1933 that prove that once intended goals are announced, people are less likely to follow through with them as they lose motivation. This is thought to happen because doing so satisfies a person’s self-identity just enough to prevent them performing the hard work to achieve those goals.
A new study held at the University of Groningen has shown that music has a dramatic effect on perception. The study focused especially on the ability of people to “see” happy faces and sad faces when different music tracks were listened to. Listening to particularly happy or sad music can even change the way we perceive the world.
Happiness has become an increasingly popular field focused on the scientific study of emotional well-being. Research has suggested that people often sacrifice things that make them happy such as vacations or going out to certain events, in order to afford possessions (such as property). More
'Bad Santa' arrested in Jacksonville for allegedly selling drugs
The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office has arrested a "Bad Santa" for allegedly selling drugs.
Isaac Geiger, 41, was arrested Monday for possession of methamphetamine with intent to sell, possession of marijuana with intent to sell and resisting an officer without violence, according to JSO Inmate Information Search.
JSO was called to the 800 block of Golfair Boulevard after getting numerous recent complaints of drug activity.
Police saw Geiger standing at the driver’s door of a U-Haul rental truck in the parking lot of the business. Geiger was wearing a red and white Santa Claus outfit with hat and white beard. More
Hark the Hipster Nativity Set!
Okay, Mary and Joseph didn’t take a selfie on that starlit night Jesus was born, Lord knows.
No matter. They do in a Hipster Nativity Set that puts the momentous occasion in today’s terms. “What if Jesus was born in 2016?,” a teaser video for the set asks. Which explains Joseph’s denim shirt and man bun, Mary’s coffee to go, gluten-free chow for adorable livestock and a planet-friendly solar panel on the humble stable’s roof. The Messiah’s in the details.
And in this tableau, Three Wisemen, each 7 inches tall, arrive on segways with Amazon Prime gift boxes slung under their beefy arms. More
Riding through the wild heart of Alaska and Canada
It takes courage to travel the northern regions of North America. It takes an even braver soul to make the trip on a motorcycle in late May, when winter is still hanging around like a house guest who has overstayed his welcome.
Progressive’s Director of Distribution for Special Lines Chuck Mozingo just happens to be one of these adventurous people. And the 4,400-mile journey he embarked on with his 14-year-old son from Anchorage, Alaska, to Cleveland proved to be as rewarding as it was challenging.
Chuck’s adventure began with a simple phone call from a friend in Anchorage who’d recently completed a motorcycle trip to the states bordering Canada. “I mentioned how I’d love to buy a motorcycle just to drive it home to Cleveland. And the more we talked, the better it sounded. So my friend said he’d keep his eye out for any bikes for sale. “
It seemed like that was that.” More
Why Growing Food is The Single Most Impactful Thing You Can Do in a Rigged Political System
The most effective change-makers in our society aren’t waiting around for a new president to make their lives better, they’re planting seeds, quite literally, and through the revolutionary act of gardening, they’re rebuilding their communities while growing their own independence.
Every four years when the big election comes around, millions of people put their passion for creating a better world into an increasingly corrupt and absurd political contest.
What if that energy was instead invested in something worthwhile, something that directly and immediately improved life, community, and the world at large?
The simple act of growing our own food directly challenges the control matrix in many authentic ways, which is why some of the most forward-thinking and strongest-willed people are picking up shovels and defiantly starting gardens. It has become much more of a meaningful political statement than supporting political parties and candidates. More
Coming soon: Sweden’s smelly fermented fish
Cherished and reviled in equal measures, Swedish fermented herring may just be one of the most divisive dishes in the world. And it isn’t going anywhere.
The preparatory work for the 2016 surströmming season is now underway, with the fish currently being plucked out of the Baltic Sea before they are stored away for months to stew in their own bacteria, ripening for fermented food lovers everywhere.
Its rotten egg-like smell has been mistaken for a gas leak. One 25-year-old tin required protective gear to open. And Americans tasting the foodstuff for the first time likened it it to “sewage”, a “baby diaper” or a “dead body”.
Yet many Swedes continue to eat surströmming, a centuries-old tradition that stems from the time when Swedish workers were paid for their labour in herring. The fermentation process, smelly as it is, allowed the labourers to store their fish for longer. More
Otherworldly Photos From Inside One of the World's Largest River Caves
Deep in Laos lies a four mile-long river cave—an underground cache filled with 65-foot stalagmites, gigantic rimpools, cave pearls and even (gulp) giant spiders. Though it opened to tourists in 2005, Tham Khoun Xe's location is so remote and the cave's watery interior so extensive (with occasional underground rapids blocking the way), few have explored it.
For photographer Ryan Deboodt, Tham Khoun Xe's inaccessibility offered a tantalizing challenge. Deboodt has spent a good portion of the last five years underground documenting caves, which are among the world’s least-documented geological formations.
Some speleologists estimate that at least half of the world's caves have never been visited by humans.
At first, Deboodt didn't plan on devoting his career to photographing caves: He just wanted to explore them. The Bejing-based photographer first began documenting his otherworldly subjects in 2011, when his wife’s job took the couple to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Their move coincided with a deluge of caving discoveries in the region—most notably the exploration of Hang Son Ðoòng, the world’s largest cave passage. After coming face to face with some of these spectacular formations, Deboodt felt compelled to share these hidden landscapes with the world. More
Why smart people are better off with fewer friends
Hell might actually be other people — at least if you're really smart.
That's the implication of fascinating new research published last month in the British Journal of Psychology. Evolutionary psychologists Satoshi Kanazawa of the London School of Economics and Norman Li of Singapore Management University dig in to the question of what makes a life well-lived.
While traditionally the domain of priests, philosophers and novelists, in recent years survey researchers, economists, biologists and scientists have been tackling that question.
Kanazawa and Li theorize that the hunter-gatherer lifestyles of our ancient ancestors form the foundation for what make us happy now. "Situations and circumstances that would have increased our ancestors’ life satisfaction in the ancestral environment may still increase our life satisfaction today," they write. More
The Very Strange History of the Easter Bunny
While you’re biting the heads off your chocolate bunnies this weekend, you might wonder how cartoon rabbits became so central to our Easter celebrations. It’s tempting to assume that because there’s no biblical basis for the Easter Bunny, rabbits and hares have no religious significance – but that’s just not the case.
Leviticus 11:6 states that the hare is an unclean animal: “The hare, for even though it chews the cud, it does not have divided hoofs; it is unclean for you"”, but in Christian art, it is regularly associated with rebirth and resurrection.
In fact, the symbol of a circle of three hares joined by their ears has been found in a number of churches in Devon. Like much of our cultural “bunny” symbolism, the meaning of this image remains mysterious – and The Three Hares Project has been set up to research and document occurrences of the ancient symbol, examples of which have been found as far away as China. More
Why we get naked at Mardi Gras: simple economics, says LSU prof
Wesley Shrum, a sociologist at LSU, knows why we get naked at Mardi Gras. Well, maybe not you or me, but -- you know -- those people. Flashing for beads makes economic sense.
"It's a deeply conservative ritual that reflects free market economics," Shrum said.
Ok, let's back up for a moment.
At first, the way you got beads was from a float. Fake royalty threw beads to plebeians below.
"You don't have to be a very insightful sociologist to say, I wonder what people dressed like nobles and people on the streets represent," Shrum said. "That represents an upper class and a lower class." More
6 stunning Star Wars filming locations you can actually visit
Did Vikings love to wear BLING? Iron Age settlement reveals feared warriors had a soft spot for delicate glass and amber beads
They may have been better known for raping and pillaging their way around Europe, but it seems Vikings also liked to show off their hard-earned gold by adorning themselves with bling.
Archaeologists have discovered delicate blue glass and amber beads at the site of a former Viking settlement in the middle of Norway's Ørland peninsula.
The Iron Age site reveals how the Vikings who lived there appear to have traded their wealth for trinkets and pieces of fine jewellery.
The 1,500-year-old village was unearthed as experts investigated the site ahead of plans to extend a military airbase on the site. The airbase is being designed to accommodate a fleet of 52 new F-35 jet fighters. Covering an area of more than 22 acres (9 hectares), the site contains a treasure trove of Viking artefacts, according to the archaeologists. More
Zombie nativity creates stir in Sycamore Township
SYCAMORE TWP., OHIO -- Jasen Dixon is living a dream this holiday season. For some though, his unique take on the Christmas nativity may be a nightmare.
”I wanted a zombie scene actually, a manger scene,” Dixon said. “All I had to work with since I work at 13 Room Haunted House is zombies. It’s a different take. I hand made everything, but Joseph and baby Jesus, so it’s kind of artsy.”
Dixon’s homespun creation stands about 8 feet tall with a roof, hay, and lights, all atop wooden skids. Reaction to the display, located on Vorhees Road no less, has drawn some ire, and some shrugs. More
The Stunning Evolution of Millennials: They've Become the Ben Franklin Generation
AprilWealthfront - an online financial services start-up targeted squarely and unashamedly at Millennial wallets - raised $64 million last month.
That's on top of $35 million that venture firms plowed into the company earlier this year.
Every sweeping cliché about Millennials - that they are addicted to the itch and twitch of immediate gratification, that they are not interested in participating in the casino stock market - is being sent to the generalization graveyard.
Not just because of the success of Wealthfront - who has crossed $1 billion in assets under management - but also the growth of Betterment, LoanVest and others who have a hungering eye on the $7 trillion in liquid assets that Millennials will have in their generational clutches within the next five years.
What's particularly revelatory about the success of Wealthfront - they reached one billion in two-and half years, while it took Chuck Schwab six years to get there - is its canny use of technology and whizzy algorithms, the deities of the Millennial, in the service of a rather boring, long-term, Ben Frankliny investment conservatism. This is more often associated with people who need hip replacements than hipsterst. More
Automatically organic: Bringing customers not to future, but to farms via self-serve stores
PARIS - Diners in Paris are flashing back — and forward — to the era of the automat, but this time with a nod to organic farming.
A precursor to the era of fast food, automat eateries served hundreds of thousands of customers a day throughout the mid-20th century, allowing on-the-go diners to pick hot dishes from coin-operated metal lockers. Today, entrepreneurs in France and Scotland are appropriating the concept that once symbolized modernity to help customers get back to the land. Their automats offer not burgers and fries, but fresh and local produce and other ingredients.
Joseph Petit employs no staff at his two Paris stores. Both called Au Bout du Champ — "at the end of the field" — the small spaces are stacked with metal cubbies containing just-picked strawberries, hours-old eggs, and neat bunches of carrots or spring onions, depending on the season. Customers simply choose the box that contains the food they want to buy, then pay at a console which then opens the appropriate door.
It's a system, Petit said, that brings fresh food to urban areas where few other options exist, while also supporting local, small-scale agriculture. More
Back to the Future Day: the movie’s 2015 predictions and the hoax, explained
Back to the Future was content to travel from 1985 back to 1955, but Back to the Future Part II zipped every which way, just because it could. Writer/director Robert Zemeckis and co-writer Bob Gale went from 1985 to 2015, back to an alternate 1985 for a dystopian nightmare sidebar, and then further back still to the 1955 they had crashed in the first movie. It is a hugely ambitious movie that envisions several parallel worlds all at once, and even if it's not always successful, it can't be faulted for a lack of imagination.
More importantly, Back to the Future II speculated on what 2015 was going to look like, and there is nothing fandom loves more than picking apart the object of its affection for sport.
Most movies set in the future jump far enough ahead to be completely removed from modern society, or at least don't peg a specific date to the action at hand (see: The Martian, Her). But Back to the Future Part II had to be close enough to 1985 that Marty (Michael J. Fox) could collide with his future self. The first film leapt 30 years into the past, so it only made sense to leap 30 years into the future in the second. More
Amazon is Great Place to Work (As Long as You Have No Personal Life, Never Get Sick)
We already knew that those who work at Amazon’s warehouses had to endure punishing hours and demands. But they’re hardly alone. The New York Times published a fascinating look at how Amazon is also pushing white-collar workers to the extreme. After speaking with more than 100 current and former Amazon employees, reporters Jodi Kantor and David Streitfeld reveal how working at one of the great success stories of the digital age can be fascinating but often brutal. As several Silicon Valley companies try to woo talent with perks, Amazon “offers no pretense that catering to employees is a priority.”
Amazon does not hide the fact that its workplace culture isn’t for everybody. In fact, it says it outright in one of its recruitment videos. “You either fit here or you don’t,” says Nimisha Saboo, a senior technical program manager, in one of the videos posted on YouTube. Amazon’s top recruiter says so as much to the Times: “When you’re shooting for the moon, the nature of the work is really challenging. For some people it doesn’t work.” More
Murder, Transsexuals, And The Price Is Right: The Story Of The Dale Car Hoax
April Fool's Day internet browsing is not like every other day. Every story is a probably lie, and for once the normally foolproof policy of believing everything you read on the internet is not recommended. This story is different, though. This is an entirely true story about a whole massive load of lies. It involves a car, a transgendered woman, a murder, and Bob Barker. It has everything. It's the strange story about a strange car called the Dale.
The Dale story starts in the Deep Malaise Era of the mid 1970s. Gas was starting to get really expensive, and all over America people were looking at their massive, thirsty V8s and starting to wonder if lumbering around town in a Delta 88 was really worth being forced to put a kidney on the market to pay for the gas. People were getting desperate for a new, cheaper, more radical automotive option, and the Dale seemed to fit that need perfectly.
The Dale does look pretty much exactly like what you'd think a mid-70s "revolutionary" car would look like: a Corbin Sparrow, basically. It was a three-wheeler, because of course it was, but at least the wheels were in the preferred "tail dragger" configuration with two up front. More
There are hundreds of 'micronations' you've never heard of
Kings, presidents, emperors, and even supreme dictators gather together today just outside of Disneyland in Anaheim, California.
If you’re wondering why you haven’t heard of this large assembly until now it’s because the countries represented aren't technically real.
It’s a meeting of “micronations” — countries that exist almost entirely online, or are comprised of one person — called MicroCon 2015. There are approximately 400 of them out there, according to some reports.
So what do micronations actually look like? Depends on the theoretical nation. The Principality of Sealand, the most famous example of a micronation, located on a sea fort off the shores of the United Kingdom, invites one to become a Lord, Lady, or Baroness on its official website. More
7 countries where Americans can study at universities, in English, for free (or almost free)
Since 1985, U.S. college costs have surged by about 500 percent, and tuition fees keep rising. In Germany, they've done the opposite.
The country's universities have been tuition-free since the beginning of October, when Lower Saxony became the last state to scrap the fees.
Tuition rates were always low in Germany, but now the German government fully funds the education of its citizens -- and even of foreigners.
Explaining the change, Dorothee Stapelfeldt, a senator in the northern city of Hamburg, said tuition fees "discourage young people who do not have a traditional academic family background from taking up study. It is a core task of politics to ensure that young women and men can study with a high quality standard free of charge in Germany."
What might interest potential university students in the United States is that Germany offers some programs in English -- and it's not the only country. Let's take a look at the surprising -- and very cheap -- alternatives to pricey American college degrees. More
Lost Lake drains: Mount Hood phenomenon, lake drains down lava tube each spring
Lost Lake on Mount Hood is a little known natural attraction that is as awe inspiring as its polar opposite, the Old Faithful the geyser.
This Mount Hood lake does something amazing each spring and while Old Faithful makes a spurting deposit of water, Lost Lake makes a swirling withdrawal of its water.
Each spring this lake in Oregon swiftly drains down a lava hole which is about six-feet in circumference, but unlike Old Faithful, scientists aren’t sure where the water goes! Jude McHugh, a spokesperson for the Willamette National Forest, explains that the hole the water drains into is called a lava tube.
According to Laboratory Equipment.com, this six foot round hole is on the north side of the lake. It has been there ever since anyone can remember, reports the local news. The lava tube is "caused by still-wet lava flowing downward into the earth, leaving an opening in the ground as it hardens." More
Exploding Head Syndrome: The Weird Sleep Phenomenon That’s Way More Common Than You Thought
Ever hear an “explosion” in the night that didn’t seem to exist? One that you never told anyone about, for fear they’d think you were going insane? According to Washington State University researchers, roughly one in five people experience the psychological phenomenon known as “exploding head syndrome,” which involves being awakened by an inexplicable loud – yet nonexistent – noise.
Exploding head syndrome generally happens when a person is falling asleep, and scientists believe it’s the result of a kink in the brain’s mechanisms as it’s turning off. You can think of the brain shutting down like a computer would: Motor, auditory, and visual neurons begin to flick off in stages.
However, the “exploding head” phenomenon occurs when, instead of shutting down gradually and slowly, the auditory neurons crash all at once — and with a bang. “That’s why you get these crazy-loud noises that you can’t explain, and they’re not actual noises in your environment,” says researcher Brian Sharpless, an assistant professor at Washington State University and the director of the university’s psychology clinic, in a press release. More
Why many restaurants don’t actually want you to order dessert
If you think you're doing a restaurant any favors by ordering dessert, you might want to think again.
Dessert can be delicious. And it can be profitable, too. But generally speaking, when diners extend their meal with slices of chocolate cake, cups of ice cream, and servings of crème brûlée, it can come at restaurants' expense.
"It's hard to make money on desserts in the restaurant business today," said Tyler Cowen, an economics professor at George Mason University who has written extensively about the economics of eating out. "I don't think many [restaurants] benefit when people order them anymore." There are many problems with dessert, but it all starts with one pretty simple truth: The restaurant industry is a place of razor thin margins, and dessert tends to offer one of the thinnest. More
Ghost Town Mysteries: The 30-year slumber of Kitsault, B.C.
After over 30 years, the Kitsault mine is coming back to life.
The ghost town built for it isn’t. Last month, Avanti Mining received federal and provincial clearance to begin work reopening the molybdenum mine, 140 kilometres north of Prince Rupert.
Avanti CEO Gordon Bogden says that workshops are scheduled in Terrace, New Aiyansh, and other communities as they prepare to begin construction next year.
They plan to employ up to 700 people during the two years of construction and 300 permanent workers when the mine opens in 2017.
At its height, the mine could produce 45,500 metric tonnes of ore per day. “It’s moving in the right direction,” says Bogden, who says they’ve signed agreements with the First Nations groups in the area. More
What French Kids Eat For School Lunch (It Puts Americans To Shame!)
I walked into the dining room to see tables of four already set — silverware, silver bread basket, off-white ceramic plates, cloth napkins, clear glasses and water pitchers laid out ready for lunch.
I was standing inside my children’s public elementary school cafeteria, or “cantine” as the French call it, in our local town near Annecy, France. As part of my research into why French kids aren’t fat, the local city council gave me a tour of the public school’s cantine and kitchen and let me ask any question that came to mind.
There are many theories as to why the French, and French children in particular, do not suffer from weight problems, obesity, diabetes, and hypertension like their American counterparts. Eating moderate quantities of fresh and freshly prepared food at set times of the day is definitely one of the most convincing reasons why they stay lean. Daily exercise, in the form of three recess periods (two 15-minute and one 60-minute recess every day) and walking or biking to and from school, is another. More
8 Ways Facebook Is a Cult Just Like Scientology
We all know Scientology is a cult. But Facebook, everyone’s favorite social network, has plenty of cultish qualities too. After all, the amount of control and personal information we relinquish to Facebook goes way beyond any confidential tidbits John Travolta reveals during the church’s regular “ auditing” interviews.
Think of the cult similarities between Facebook and Scientology: Both have a strong, authoritative leader (Zuckerberg/L. Ron Hubbard) who came to power via questionable means (See The Social Network/The Master for reference). And both Facebook and Scientology have Tom Cruise as a member—coincidence, or something more?
Georgia gun range to feature firearms photo shoot with Santa
You better watch out...
A Georgia gun range is getting fired up for Christmas while offering photos with a gun-toting Santa Claus.
Gun lovers of all ages will be able to sit with a heat-packing St. Nick or hold their own firearm supplied by the Sandy Springs Gun Club and Range as part of a charity event Saturday.
"Any time we have an opportunity to do something fun with our patrons and give back to the community ... any time we can combine the two, we get really excited," the range's co-owner Robyn Marzullo told the Daily News.
The variety of firearms supplied by the range, located just north of Atlanta, are all inspected, unloaded and deactivated for safety precautions. Personal firearms brought from home won't be allowed in the picture, stressed Marzullo, who operates the range with her sister.
Among the options for weapons are an AK-47, AR-15 or FN-SCAR-17. More
How Your Education Failed You
Attending school in the United States is compulsory from the time we’re about 6 until we turn 18, which is a lengthy amount of time to be a slave in a system in which you have no control. The vast majority of children are taught the same subjects, and with the same techniques. Everyone is funneled towards the same end goal.
You are conditioned for over a decade to have behaviors within a certain range, and you learn preselected information using ubiquitous techniques. This is all done to make you a productive wage slave in our capitalist economy. Unfortunately, if you do not deviate from this path and change your mindset at some point, then you will end up as a wage slave. And this is exactly what they want.
You were psychologically and physically conditioned with this system, but this conditioning can be overcome. View the system objectively for what it is. More
7 U.S. National Parks You Didn't Know You Needed To See
You know Yellowstone and Yosemite... but how much do you know about the America's 56 other National Parks?
These lesser-known National Parks are less popular than their famed counterparts, but they're just as beautiful. Whether you want to explore ocean, mountains, caverns or forest, these parks offer an adventure for everyone.
Lake Clark National Park sits 100 miles southwest of Anchorage and is a nature-enthusiast's heaven. Visitors can explore the park's three mountain ranges, two active volcanos, and many lakes and streams on foot, raft or kayak. In the winter, stargazers can catch a breathtaking view of the Northern Lights.
Undersea explorers should flock to Biscayne National Park, where 95 percent of the park's 172,000 acres are covered by water. Visitors can snorkel, scuba dive, go canoeing or kayaking, camp on Boca Chita Key, and view some seriously cool wildlife, like manatees and crocodiles. One of the park's coolest features is the Maritime Heritage Trail, a ranger-guided snorkel tour that visits sunken shipwrecks. More
How to Invent a Person Online
On April 8, 2013, I received an envelope in the mail from a nonexistent return address in Toledo, Ohio. Inside was a blank thank-you note and an Ohio state driver’s license. The ID belonged to a 28-year-old man called Aaron Brown—6 feet tall and 160 pounds with a round face, scruffy brown hair, a thin beard, and green eyes. His most defining feature, however, was that he didn’t exist.
I know that because I created him.
As an artist, I’ve long been interested in identity and the ways it is represented. My first serious body of work, Springfield, used the concept of a Midwestern nowhere to explore representations of middle-American sprawl. A few years later, I became interested in the hundreds of different entities that track and analyze our behavior online—piecing together where we’re from, who we’re friends with, how much money we make, what we like and dislike. Social networks and data brokers use algorithms and probabilities to reconstruct our identities, and then try to influence the way we think and feel and make decisions. More
The modern history of swearing: Where all the dirtiest words come from
The 18th and 19th centuries’ embrace of linguistic delicacy and extreme avoidance of taboo bestowed great power on those words that broached taboo topics directly, freely revealing what middle-class society was trying so desperately to conceal. Under these conditions of repression, obscene words finally came fully into their own. They began to be used in nonliteral ways, and so became not just words that shocked and offended but words with which people could swear.
The definitive expletive of the 18th century was bloody, which is still in frequent use in Britain today, and is so common Down Under that it is known as “the great Australian adjective.” Bloody was not quite an obscenity and not quite an oath, but it was definitely a bad word that shocked and offended the ears of polite society. It is often supposed to be a corruption of the old oaths by our lady or God’s blood (minced form: ’sblood), but this is another urban legend that turns out to be false. Either it derives instead from the adjective bloody as in “covered in blood” or, as the OED proposes, it referred to the habits of aristocratic rabble-rousers at the end of the 17th century, who styled themselves “bloods.” “Bloody drunk,” then, would mean “as drunk as a blood.” More
Why do so many nations want a piece of Antarctica?
I pick a path between rock pools and settle my bottom on a boulder. A spectacular, silent view unfolds across a mountain-fringed bay.
Then there is a flash in the shallows by my feet - an arrow of white and black.
What on earth fish is that? My slow brain ponders, as before my eyes a gentoo penguin slips out of the water, steadies itself on a rock, eyes me cheekily, squawks and patters off into the snow.
Antarctica is the hardest place I know to write about. Whenever you try to pin down the experience of being there, words dissolve under your fingers.
There are no points of reference. In the most literal sense, Antarctica is inhuman.
Other deserts, from Arabia to Arizona, are peopled: humans live in or around them, find sustenance in them, shape them with their imagination and their ingenuity. No people shape Antarctica. More
Hershey Sues Edible Marijuana Company
DENVER — The Hershey Co. has sued a Colorado marijuana edibles maker, claiming it makes four pot-infused candies that too closely resemble iconic products of the chocolate maker.
The trademark infringement lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Denver this week against TinctureBelle LLC and TinctureBelle Marijuanka LLC.
It alleges TinctureBelle's Ganja Joy, Hasheath, Hashees and Dabby Patty mimic Hershey's Almond Joy, Heath, Reese's peanut butter cups and York peppermint patty candies, respectively. TinctureBelle did not immediately return messages seeking comment.
The Denver Business Journal first reported about the lawsuit filed Tuesday. The company's website says its products, which include lotions and balms, are "diabetic safe and delicious" and helpful with a variety of issues, including pain, headaches and insomnia. More
Meet The Real Amazon Drones
At least five days a week, Myron Ballard races around Washington, D.C., with a cargo van full of Amazon Prime packages. A career delivery driver with 20 years behind the wheel, Ballard typically gets paid $1.50 for each address he visits. If he delivers 150 Amazon boxes -- a fairly routine number -- he can pull in $225. Not bad for a day's work.
That is, until he starts tallying up all his out-of-pocket costs. Ballard works for an Amazon contractor called LaserShip. He's technically an "independent contractor," not an employee, meaning all of the costs stemming from the deliveries fall on him rather than on LaserShip or Amazon.
Ballard had to purchase the cargo van he drives for work. He doesn't get reimbursed for the wear and tear he puts on it; for the gasoline he pours into it on a near-daily basis; for the auto insurance he needs to carry; or for the parking tickets he inevitably racks up downtown. He doesn't even get reimbursed for the LaserShip uniform he's obliged to purchase and wear.
At the end of the day, much of that $225 has vanished.
"It's like they want us to be employees, but they don't want to pay for it," said Ballard, 45.
Anyone who shops regularly online, particularly with Amazon, has to marvel at how quickly and cheaply packages arrive on the doorstep these days. Many of the millions of Amazon Prime members -- including this reporter -- may have noticed, however, that not all packages are ferried by workers wearing the familiar UPS, FedEx or U.S. Postal Service uniforms. Instead, they’re sometimes handled by smaller companies like LaserShip, with drivers working on contract and out of their own vehicles. More
No War, No Money, No Problems. The Island At The End Of The Earth, Where Life Is Good
It is one of the most isolated island communities in the world. The tiny Pacific island of Palmerston is visited by a supply ship twice a year – at most – and the long and hazardous journey deters all but the most intrepid visitors. What’s more, most of its 62 inhabitants are descended from one man – an Englishman who settled there 150 years ago.
Nine days of constant movement. Nine days in a boat, unable to stand. Nine days with the fear of being hit by a tropical storm, thousands of miles from rescue. The Pacific Ocean is big. Far bigger than one would imagine. This is the journey to the island at the end of the earth..
Part of the Cook Islands, Palmerston is one of a handful of islands connected by a coral reef which surrounds the calm waters of a central lagoon. But within this entire area the reef sits too high in the water for sea planes to land – and outside it the ocean is simply too rough. It is also too far from anywhere for a normal helicopter to fly to. The sea is the only access. More