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The 9 Lives of the Spanish Prisoner, the Treasure-Dangling Scam That Won't Die

“A man in this country receives a letter from a foreign city,” reads a New York Times trend story from 1898, about a “common” scam being carried out by mail. Titled “AN OLD SWINDLE REVIVED”, the story...

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The Extinction-Level Asteroid That Could Kill Us All in 2175

An artist's concept of a spacecraft landing on 101955 Bennu, with Earth in the distance. (Photo: Public domain)There's no reason to be alarmed, but scientists say a 1,500-foot-wide asteroid might slam...

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Ayn Rand’s One-Sided Love Affair With the FBI

(Photo: StefanoRR/Public domain)A version of this story originally appeared on Muckrock.com.As a staunch anti-communist, novelist Ayn Rand was no stranger to J Edgar Hoover’s FBI. Files recently...

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Hold These Tiny Crime Scenes in the Palm of Your Hand

One of Goldman's dieoramas of a desert crime scene. (Photo: Courtesy Hashimoto Contemporary)Abigail Goldman makes miniscule murder scenes. She assembles them from model train sets, minus the actual...

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Places You Can No Longer Go: The Ottumwa Coal Palace

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Found: Secret, Illicit Tunnels in an Oregon Park

The tunnel (not pictured) was built by "people who would rather avoid contact with law enforcement." (Photo: Daniel Mayer/CC BY-SA 3.0)Along the Simpson Park Trail, in Albany, Oregon, there’s a series...

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There Was a 'Shocking and Unprecedented' Paint Spill on Indiana's Toll Road

UPDATE: Spilled paint closes the eastbound Indiana Toll Road for ... - WNDU https://t.co/ipDf2AhRNy— Greater Bristol (@GreaterBristol) August 4, 2016A recent semi crash left one Indiana roadway covered...

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Marie Curie Got Her Start At a Secret University For Women

Before she won two Nobel Prizes, Marie Curie attended the Flying University. (Photo: Tekniska museet/CC BY 2.0)If you think getting a college education is tough today, try earning a degree in...

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The Strange Affliction of 'Library Anxiety' and What Librarians Do to Help

Don't be afraid. (Photo: timetrax23/CC BY-SA 2.0)In a few short weeks, bright-eyed college freshmen will be ambling onto campuses and into their first lectures. Which means a whole lot of newly minted...

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Rescue Underway After Elephant Is Stuck in a Swamp for a Month

The rescue op for an elephant from India stranded in Bangladesh https://t.co/XAbVghzY1Gpic.twitter.com/CHqDWjdQ8d— NDTV (@ndtv) August 4, 2016Last month, at the beginning of flooding season, an...

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Watch The Opening Ceremony of the 1936 Nazi Olympic Games

The Olympic flame will burn brightly in Rio de Janeiro tomorrow night to mark the start of the 2016 Games. Eighty years ago, the flame glowed in Berlin, during far darker times in Olympic history. One...

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Twirl Paper Umbrellas at the Vintage Tiki Bars That Taught Americans to Relax

Dancers and musicians at the Mai-Kai, circa 1950s. (Photo: 1950sUnlimited/CC BY 2.0.)As Hollywood boomed in the early 1930s, moviegoers wanted to see more of the world, and the film industry had the...

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Some Farmers in Canada Set the World Record for Simultaneous Threshing

World record for simultaneous threshing set as part of Harvesting Hope: https://t.co/CvohyvIm80pic.twitter.com/0tO5bxChNn— Farms.com AgriVille (@AgriVille) August 4, 2016Threshing, which is separating...

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Will We Ever Know Who Staged This Mysterious Moon Ballet?

[Photo: Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images]The picture above of two ballet dancers soaring across a simulated lunar crater comes from the set of Destination Moon, a 1950 space adventure film. But...

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A Survey of the Most Ridiculous Anti-Drowning Devices of the 1800s

Mermaids at Brighton swim behind their bathing machines in this engraving by William Heath, c. 1829. (Photo: Public Domain)Over the course of the 19th century, as seaside holidays became more popular...

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Philly Really Doesn't Want You to Make a Pool Out of a Dumpster

Philly likes a good party. Some people drinking beer at a block party there recently had an idea about how to improve the vibe: What if they filled a dumpster—which is usually filled with filthy...

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Inside the Abandoned Ruins of a Ukrainian 'Palace of Culture'

A statue of workers inside the Palace of Culture Ilyich. (All Photos: Lucas Vogt)This monumental symbol of proletarian culture has fallen into disrepair in Ukraine's third largest city, Dnipropetrovsk,...

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Real-World Diagon Alley, the Original Tiki Bar, and Other Enticing New Atlas...

Soyuz 11 memorial in its original form. (Photo: vikkom0203 / CC BY-SA 3.0)Every day our community of travelers and writers unearths fascinating places from the hidden corners of the world and adds them...

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Found: Fugitive Red Panda That Spent 242 Days on the Lam

Red pandas just wanna be free. (Photo: flowermaze/CC0)Back in December, Hangzhou Zoo lost three red pandas. On a snowy day, the weight of the snow broke a tree branch, providing a route out of their...

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Connecting Black Neighborhoods to the Black Lives Matter Movement

Rally in New York in support of Baltimore. (Photo: The All-Nite Images/CC BY-SA 2.0)When Lawrence Brown, an assistant professor at Morgan State University, watched the reaction to the shooting of...

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