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Sunken Cities of the World

The myth of Atlantis may have arisen from the many real-life cases of cities that sunk into the water. There are quite a few reasons for this happening- earthquakes, tsunamis, changing ocean levels, and even deliberate acts such as dam building and dyke busting. Archaeological evidence shows us underwater places around the world where people once thrived, such as Atlit Yam in Israel, which sank around 6300 BC.

This Neolithic village lies 26 to 39 feet (8 to 12 m) beneath the Mediterranean Sea, hidden for over 8,000 years until marine archaeologist Ehud Galili discovered it while surveying the sand for shipwrecks in 1984, New Scientist reported. It is now considered one of the oldest submerged settlements ever discovered. Careful excavations have revealed rectangular houses with hearths and the remains of a dry-stone well. One of the most interesting finds was a megalith structure — similar to Stonehenge — built around a spring, made of seven huge stones weighing around 1,300 pounds (600 kilograms) each; burial sites and human remains have also been unearthed. One study suggests that a tsunami is likely to blame for the abandonment of the settlement, Live Science previously reported.

Read about eight sunken cities and what caused their demise at LiveScience. -via Strange Company

(Image credit: Hanay)

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You Will Soon Be Able to Wear Stiletto Crocs

Benjamin Franklin once said that wine is "a constant proof that God loves us, and loves to see us happy." We can surely say the same about crocs, all the more so now that they are elevated on stiletto heels.

Or, perhaps, we should instead thank the Parisian fashion house Balenciaga, which has brought these shoes into existence. Complex reports that these wonders, as well as knee-high crocs, will be available in Balenciaga's 2022 Spring line of fashions. Personally, though, I'm holding out for thigh-high crocs.

-via The Mary Sue | Photo: Balenciaga

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22 of America's Best Preserved Ghost Towns

Now that you've been vaccinated, you might be looking forward to traveling. If you want to start small and avoid crowds, how about a day trip to your nearest ghost town? These are towns that once thrived, but where abandoned for any of a dozen reasons. However, if the towns were built well enough to last a while, preservationists eventually discovered and protected them. Now they are windows into the past, full of life and history if you are willing to go there and learn about them. Atlas Obscura has links to 22 of these ghost towns and what you need to know before visiting them. -via Nag on the Lake

(Image credit: Drown Soda)

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This N64 Game Is Worth A Lot Of Money

If you have a copy of the 1997 game Goldeneye 007 for the N64, rejoice now because you could sell that game for almost $15,000!  If you’re interested in selling it, of course. A copy of the game was sold in 2020 for a whopping $14,999, as Fatherly details: 

According to the data collected, a copy of Goldeneye 007 for N64, first released in 1997, sold in 2020 for $14,999. “If you somehow resisted unpackaging the cartridge it took you half a year to save for in 1993, now could be the time to act,” the site reports. “The biggest sale on Mavin was for Goldeneye 007 for Nintendo 64. It sold in the fall of 2020 for a dollar under $15k.”
Goldeneye 007 was the only toy in the top 10 priciest ’90s toys that wasn’t a Beanie Baby and by far the video game that is worth the most. The second priciest N64 game was the 1999 N64 version of Super Smash Bros, which sold for $ 9,976, and Yoshi’s Story, released in 1998, sold for $5,500.
Overall, the Beanie Babies line is where most of the money can be found in old toys we used to play with. Some people spend money on the old-school Furbies and American Girl dolls, too.

Image credit: Alexander Jawfox

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Detectives Just Used DNA To Solve A 1956 Double Homicide

In 1956, the bodies of 18-year-old Lloyd Duane Bogle and his girlfriend, 16-year-old Patricia Kalitzke, were found in the mountains near Great Falls, Montana. They had both been shot in the back of the head, and Kalitzke had been raped. Investigators did their best, but no perpetrator was found, and the case remained open for more than 60 years. Forensic science has come a long way since 1956, and such a murder today would rely heavily on DNA evidence. Kalitzke's vaginal swab stayed in the evidence file, but virtually no one had a DNA profile at the time, and all these years later anyone evolved in the case was liable to be dead. Could they solve this crime using DNA?  

With the help of partnering labs, forensic genealogists are able to use preserved samples to create a DNA profile of the culprit and then use that profile to search public databases for any potential matches. In most cases, those profiles can end up linking to distant relatives of the culprit — say, a second or third cousin. By searching public records (such as death certificates and newspaper clippings), forensic genealogists are then able to construct a family tree that can point them right to the suspect, even if that suspect has never provided their DNA to any public database.

In this case, "Our genealogists, what they're going to do is independently build a family tree from this cousin's profile," Andrew Singer, an executive with Bode Technology, told NPR. He called it "a reverse family tree. ... We're essentially going backwards. We're starting with a distant relative and trying to work back toward our unknown sample."

Read where that search went and how the case became the oldest ever solved by DNA at NPR. -via Damn Interesting

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These Are Nun's Farts

No, seriously, that's the name of this Québécois pastry. In the original French, the name of one is "pet de soeur", which is "fart of the sister." Atlas Obscura suggests origins for this aromatic delights filled with butter and brown sugar:

Regarding its name, explanations abound. Some say it stems from the sound the dough makes as it’s being fried in oil. Others tell tales of one nun’s fart causing such hysterical laughter that another sister accidentally dropped some dough in oil.

Photo: Twin1995

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It’s The Entire Iliad Staged In A Video Game!

It wasn’t even staged on a game that provides a feature that could let its players film short clips or movies like Animal Crossing: New Horizons, no! Remember the roguelike game with the sexy, well drawn characters from Supergiant Games? Sure, Hades is obviously set in Greek mythology, so there’s no surprise that fans wanted to pay homage to its source material

Six months in the works, the Iliad Project is a community reading of Homer’s timeless epic, initially streaming live on Twitch later this month. Leading the charge is Wriste13, a Hades speedrunner who’s played the game since well before its official 1.0 release last September. (If you’ve kept tabs on the game’s speedrunning community, you’ll recognize him as the champ of the Hermes Cup.) More than two dozen members of the community—from other speedrunners to actual Hades voice actors to some folks who just love the game—will participate. The Iliad Project even tapped Greg Kasavin, Supergiant’s creative director, to draft and read an introduction.
“The main goal is that the Hades community produces something like this...and that we get a nice wide swath of readers in terms of variety,” Wriste told me over a Discord voice call last week. “We have familiar names, like Jawless Paul, who is a YouTuber, and we have Courtney Vineys, who did the voices [in Hades] for Dusa and Aphrodite. But we also have a lot of smaller streamers and some people who aren’t even streamers, or who barely have a social media presence. They just love the game.”

Image credit: Supergiant / Kotaku

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Rare NASA Apollo Mission Camera Lens For Sale

Hey, space nerds- here’s your chance! A Zeiss Planar 50mm f/0.7, hailed as one of the rarest photo lenses in the world, will be up for auction in Vienna, Australia. The lens was designed for NASA, who needed a device that could capture photos of the moon during its Apollo missions. Out of the ten lenses to be ever made, NASA had six of them: 

"This is one of these ten lenses that Zeiss made at that time," said Andreas Schweiger, of Leitz Photographica Auction, which is running the auction. "Most probably, this is one of the lenses delivered to NASA."
Schweiger spoke to Insider last week via Zoom from his office in Vienna, where his team's readying for a live auction at the city's Hotel Bristol, scheduled for June 12.
For the last few weeks, boxes containing historic and rare camera equipment have been arriving at the auction company's doorstep. Most came from private collectors. 
"They get their camera as a gift from their grandparents, for example, or they find maybe a camera in the attic," Schweiger said. "When they don't know what to do, they look up on the internet and hopefully they find us."

Image credit: Leitz Photographica Auction

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$1,700 Electric Jeep From Alibaba

That is way too cheap for a vehicle. It turns out that Alibaba has an electric vehicle catalog, with low-cost vehicles that are relatively usable. But is it worth the purchase? Electrek shares the experience of one of its readers regarding their purchase of a $1,700 electric mini-Jeep: 

This isn’t some electric Powerwheels toy – it can fit a couple of adults shoulder to shoulder. It’s more closely comparable to a golf cart in size and power, yet reaches a decent speed of 25 mph (40 km/h).
It’s also much cheaper than golf carts, which cost around $7,000 in the US.
Amazingly, this mini-Jeep is quite affordably priced at a mere $1,280.
But based on my conversations earlier this year with the Chinese factory, the final price shipped to a US port seemed to put it closer to $1,700.
That’s actually pretty close to what Electrek reader Kyle Day found when he set out to order his own electric Jeep.
He originally told me several months ago that he planned to buy one and have it sent to the US. I offered him my customs broker’s contact info (I have a problem and it’s called “buying too much weird stuff from overseas”) and I asked him to keep me updated about how the process went.

Check the full interview with Kyle Day here to learn more! 

Image credit: Alibaba via Electrek 

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I Cooked A Chicken By Slapping It

But Don’t we need heat when we cook meat? Louis Weisz  proves that you can slap a chicken hard enough to cook it! Watch the long process involved in making this particular project successful. It’s fun to watch, definitely --but it’s not something I’d do everyday. 

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The Pizza-Making Contraption

Joseph Herscher of Joseph's Machines (previously) designed a complicated but clever chain-reaction machine to make a pizza with pepperoni and olives. It makes a pizza in less than two minutes (the crust is pre-made), but the credits include a device to feed Joseph a slice of pizza. That part is not all that precise, and proves a bit messy. -via Geeks Are Sexy

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Crow Takes An Ant Bath

What kind of bath now? When photographer Tony Austin spotted a crow that was acting weird, Austin decided to take a photo of it. It turns out that the crow was taking an ant bath, as the photographer noticed the crow had ants crawling all over its body. Petapixel has the details: 

Anting is a maintenance tactic birds use in which they intentionally invite ants or other insects onto their feathers and skin. Oftentimes the bird will lie down in a location covered with the insects and do certain poses while the bugs are swarming its body. This is called passive anting, and this is what Austin observed and photographed.
While there are documented observations of anting behavior, scientists still aren’t exactly sure why birds engage in it. Theories include the birds getting rid of parasites, grooming their feathers, preparing the insects for consumption, taking pleasure in the sensations, and stimulating feather growth for molting.

Image credit: Tony Austin 

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Japan’s New Way To Bury The Dead

With the rising need for land to house the living, many countries are destroying cemeteries to get more space. In return, they are trying to change the way funerary rites are done, and how cemeteries operate, from promoting cremation over physical burial in Hong Kong, to creating columbariums and demolishing family tombs in Singapore. Japan is now promoting tree burial as a thoughtful new way to bury the dead:  

As a scholar who studies Buddhist funerary rituals and narratives about the afterlife, what interests me are the innovative responses in some Buddhist-majority nations and the tensions that result as environmental needs clash with religious beliefs.
The idea of tree burials has proven so popular in Japan that other temples and public cemeteries have mimicked the model, some providing burial spaces under individual trees and others spaces in a columbarium that surrounds a single tree.
Scholar Sébastian Penmellen Boret writes in his 2016 book that these tree burials reflect larger transformations in Japanese society. After World War II, Buddhism’s influence on Japanese society declined as hundreds of new religious movements flourished. Additionally, an increasing trend toward urbanization undermined the ties that had traditionally existed between families and the local temples, which housed and cared for their ancestral gravesites.
Tree burials also cost significantly less than traditional funerary practices, which is an important consideration for many Japanese people struggling to support multiple generations. The birth rate in Japan is one of the lowest in the world, so children often struggle without siblings to support ailing and deceased parents and grandparents.

Image credit: Cebas/iStock

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The Strange Tale of the Identical Twin’s Mirrored Mansion

In the early 1850s, two brothers left their home in Massachusetts and decided to build a farm on the frontier near Eureka, Wisconsin. They were twins, unusually close twins, who pooled their resources to buy land, and they built a magnificent home together.

Just outside a small, rural Wisconsin farm town, lay the ruins of a grand mansion. In stark contrast to the flat, surrounding fields and scattered barns, was the peculiar sight of a once opulent home that wouldn’t have looked out of place on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue during the Gilded Age. For years, mystery surrounded the empty ruin, with local legends spoken of secret stairways and underground tunnels; some suggesting the decaying manse had been used during Prohibition as a hideout for Al Capone. But the real mystery of the crumbling mansion was even more remarkable. For the house was built in two halves, each side a perfect mirror of the other, inside and out. Enter through the front door and you’d discover two kitchens, four parlour rooms, two dining rooms, and nearly a dozen bedrooms, each half designed and decorated as an exact copy of the other.

Built in 1852, virtually in the middle of nowhere, this mansion was an oddity in its own right – and that was before you even saw who lived there. The unusual Victorian mirrored home was built by identical twin brothers, Argalus and Augustus Foote, who were so inseparable in life, they even married women with matching initials in a double wedding, Augustus to Ann, and Argalus to Adelia. The Foote twins set about building a dream home where each family would live parallel lives in their own half of the mansion. But tragedy would soon descend upon the house, leaving it to fall into ruin. This is the story of the mysterious Foote mansion.

The Foote brothers only lived in the mansion a few years, then moved on to Oshkosh. But the mansion stayed, and outlived the brothers by more than 100 years, without residents for most of that time. Read the story of the legendary Foote mansion at Messy Nessy Chic.

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The World's Oldest Serial Killer

Ana di Pištonja was born in Vladimirovac, Yugoslavia (now Serbia) in 1838, or sometime thereabouts. Later in life, she became known as Baba Anujka. After a disastrous relationship when she was young, Anujka taught herself chemistry, particularly how to make poison.  

Anujka made a laboratory in one wing of her house after her husband died, and she earned a reputation as a healer and herbalist in the late 19th century. She was popular with wives of farmers who sought her help for health problems, and she earned a respectable income which enabled her to live comfortably. She produced medicines and mixtures which would make soldiers ill enough to escape military service, and she also sold poisonous mixtures which she branded “magic water” or “love potions”. She sold the so-called “magic water” mostly to women with abusive husbands; they would give the concoction to their husbands, who would usually die after about eight days.

Anujka’s “love potion” contained arsenic in small quantities and certain plant toxins that were difficult to detect. When told about a marriage problem, Anujka would ask her client, “How heavy is that problem?”, which meant, “What is the body mass of the victim?” She was then able to calculate the dose needed. Anujka’s victims were usually men, typically young and healthy. Her clients claimed at her trial that they did not know that her “magic water” contained poison, but that they believed that she had some kind of supernatural powers to kill people using magic. Anujka’s potions killed between 50 and 150 people.

The reason she is known as "the world's oldest serial killer" is because she was 90 years old when she was finally arrested! Read the tale of Baba Anujka at Vintage Everyday. -via Strange Company

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