Articles

History is replete with people who’ve accomplished great things and were duly recognized. From Nobel laureates to soldiers decorated for valor, many exceptional persons have been honored for their actions. But what happens after that recognition? Being honored once doesn’t mean the rest of your life will live up to your one great accomplishment. Even
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As far as we know, every animal must rest at some point. We didn’t used to think so. Some animals, like the dolphin or bullfrog, simply have sleep habits that look an awful lot like not sleeping to the human eye. But even those that don’t sleep at all still rest. Most insects enter into
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These days, the word “stranger” is mostly one-dimensional. It conjures up the image of a blurry-faced human who might do something criminal if shown too much trust. However, some do earn our trust for no apparent reason. People even tell their secrets to strangers. This field is also rich for experiments. Sociologists have buzzed strangers
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Several famous photographs of Adolf Hitler are forgeries. While Hitler did fake some of his photos for propaganda purposes, authors, social media users, and the media have also made their own fakes for different reasons. Some were even faked while Hitler was still alive, and he had a hard time proving they were forgeries. Some
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Everyone loves going to a concert. There is a certain thrill to seeing your favorite artist live and up close in front of your very eyes. Even in the biggest of stadiums, you can feel completely at home surrounded by people who share a love and appreciation for something. But what happens when gigs go
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Fashion has changed quite a bit from our hunter-gatherer days, when the most fashionable thing someone could wear was anything at all. What we wear now has less to do with adapting to the environment and more with self-expression and what everyone else is wearing. Modern fashion has been a long time in the making,
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The European Middle Ages lasted a thousand years, running roughly from AD 500 to AD 1500. A lot of history took place during this time, but textbooks often fail to reconnect the living with the past as much as artifacts do. Some items prove that certain things never change—people cheated at games, carried deadly weapons,
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The 19th and 20th centuries were a period of unprecedented change in human history. In 1807, the Napoleonic Wars were raging; in 2007, smartphones were becoming a thing. No other era in human history comes close to matching this rate of change. And in no other place was this change faster than in Europe. As
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It’s an oft-repeated notion: Everything on Earth has already been explored and how awesome it would have been if we had been born in the Age of Exploration. In a consistently shrinking world due to technology and advanced research tools, that does seem to be true. After all, why would we be thinking about going
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There are countless reports of compassionate mailmen who have gone above and beyond the call of duty, helping residents in their time of need. Be it a kind gesture, a listening ear, or saving someone’s life while on the job, such stories echo the essence of what it means to be a good person. The
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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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The shifting sands of the Sahara have swallowed animals, people, and entire cities over eons. It is the largest hot desert in the world, and those who become lost in its endless sandy plains are likely to never be seen again. In the ancient world, whole armies were known to march off across it, never
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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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