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South America May Not Be Where You Think It Is

How much do we really know about our geography? How accurate do you think your mental map of the world is? Would you be surprised to know that countries and continents in the world are not exactly the way you think they are?

For instance, we all know that South America is south of North America, of course. But you may be surprised by the fact that virtually the entire South American continent is east of Florida. "There are lots of possible reasons for geographical misconceptions like this one", says cartographer John Nelson.

Check out other geographical misconceptions you may have on this article by Betsy Mason at the National Geographic.

(Image from: David Rumsey Map Collection)


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Life and Times of Whales Told Through Their Earwax

Would it be an incredible feat to tell a person's life story just by looking at their earwax? Well, that's not possible for humans however, it is different for certain species of whales.

The ear is the window to a whale's soul. So much can be known about these whales just by looking at their earwax and in a new study, researchers used this to track whales' stress levels and how their bodies responded to all the changes happening in their marine ecosystem.

Over the course of a whale’s life, the waxy material is deposited in its ear canal, leaving a roughly foot-long structure that can be recovered after the animal’s death. Much like a tree’s rings, the layers in the wax can tell a story about the whale’s life. With a layer being deposited every six months, it’s possible to work out how old the whale is and get some clues about the experiences it faced throughout its history.

Read more about it at Ars Technica

(Image: Nature Communications)


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Diary of a Tomb Raider

Alfred Percival Maudslay was a British diplomat, archeologist, and explorer who studied Maya ruins in the late 19th century. In other words, he was a real-life Indiana Jones. For 13 years, he traveled through Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, El Salvador, and Mexico identifying and trying his best to preserve the remains of the ancient Maya civilization.

He pioneered the archaeological practice of working alongside plasterers, technicians and artists to make casts and impressions of the carvings and statues before their inevitable disturbance that would see them end up on display in museums around the world– or worse, destroyed to make gravel fill for roads. In 2015, an ancient Mayan pyramid in Belize that stood for 2300 years, constructed with hand-made limestone bricks, and once the centre of a settlement of 40,000 people, was torn down and turned into gravel used to repair roads. The company responsible was only fined $24,000.

Best of all, Maudslay photographed his work on glass plates. Because of this, ancient carvings that were eventually destroyed could be deciphered many years later. And he took pictures of not only the artifacts and the sites, but also the people who worked on them. See some of those images at Messy Nessy Chic.


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The Bloody History of the Barber Pole



Many businesses have symbols that act as advertising for people who don't read, going back to the time when most people couldn't read. The barber pole is one of those symbols that has an interesting history of its own. To explain the evolution of the barber pole, Simon Whistler of Today I Found Out goes through the entire history of the changing occupation of the barber. After a minute-long ad in the middle, we get bonus facts about the meaning of "Rx" as in prescriptions, and how Jack's haircut in Titanic caused a sensation in Afghanistan.


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The Lethal Lunch That Shook Scotland

In 1922, several guests at the Loch Maree Hotel in Scotland woke up ill on the same day. Their symptoms began with nausea, dizziness, and double vision, then over several days proceeded to paralysis, inability to breathe, and death. Six guests and two employees were affected.

With the arrival of police, newspaper reporters, four more doctors and several coffins, a shell-shocked Mr. Robertson watched most of his 30-odd healthy guests speedily check out. The stately Loch Maree Hotel, formerly renowned for a brief visit by Queen Victoria in 1877, now faced infamy.

“The spirit of tragedy broods in the glens and haunts the hills,” reported one paper as word spread. Within a day, headlines of the incident were sowing panic across Britain. As the Scotsman delicately put it, “Scotland so rarely experiences so painful a sensation.” Shuddering over the running tally of deaths, near-recoveries, and relapses, readers everywhere agonized over one central question: What or who was responsible?

As you can guess from the title, it was the lunch all eight victims ate, specifically the potted meat. Read how they determined the cause of death and the aftermath of the incident at Atlas Obscura.

(Image credit: Gairloch Heritage Museum)


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Man Tries To Take Off Hoodie On Treadmill & Fails

This not so bright man tried to take off his hoodie while running on a treadmill, and he failed hard. Via Boing Boing


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Sleep Apnea CPAP Machine Hacker Saves Lives

One Australian developer & hacker named Mark Watkins has made a difference in thousands of people's lives by hacking sleep apnea CPAP machines. His free, open-source, not FDA-approved software is the product of thousands of hours of hacking and development, and has helped thousands of sleep apnea patients take back control of their treatment from underinvested and overburdened physicians.

Modern CPAP machines create tons of data while being used - tracking things like average use per night, air pressure, leak rates, and other statistics tracking a patients quality of sleep. But according to SleepyHead users many Doctors only take a passing glance at this data before sending patients home. This software, puts the power back into patients hands, and even lets them modify their own treatment.

Read more on [Motherboard] (https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/xwjd4w/im-possibly-alive-because-it-exists-why-sleep-apnea-patients-rely-on-a-cpap-machine-hacker)


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Coca Cola Milk Experiment


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