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Why the U.S. Government Treats Catfish Unlike Any Other Fish

In early December, the House Freedom Caucus—a group of conservative Republicans aiming to push their party rightward—released a detailed agenda for the first 100 days of the new administration. The...

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Peek Inside Buffalo's Abandoned Art Deco Train Terminal

The main Amtrak stop in Buffalo, New York is known informally as ‘America’s Saddest Train Station’. A modest, one-story brick building, smaller than the average house, it currently sits with a blue...

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Found: An Ancient Groundcherry That Proves Nightshades Are Older Than We Think

Among the world’s plants, the nightshade family is one of most prolific and most useful. Among its 2,500 species are some of the humanity’s favorite foods (potatoes, peppers, eggplants, tomatoes) and...

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Watch a Melodramatic Communist Ballet from 1964

During the Chinese Cultural Revolution of the 1960s and '70s, traditional performances like the Peking opera were denounced as bourgeois and classist. In their place, Mao's wife, Jiang Qing, introduced...

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Charming Portraits of Hong Kong’s Shop Cats

In late 2015, photographer Marcel Heijnen was walking around his new neighborhood of Sai Ying Pun in Hong Kong. Although a long-time resident of the city, he was new to this particular area, and he...

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Blood Pancakes Are The Most Metal of All Flapjacks

A balanced breakfast is an important meal in just about every society in the world, but not many of them require a blood sacrifice. If that is the sort of thing you’re looking for, though, feast your...

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Found: A 90-Year-Old Live Grenade Sitting in a Museum Closet

A museum in Tel Aviv discovered that it had been hiding a 90-year-old grenade that was still active.The Haganah museum tells the story of the Jewish underground army that became the Israel Defense...

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For 15 Years, New Orleans Was Divided Into Three Separate Cities

In 1803, when the United States bought New Orleans, along with the rest of the land in the Louisiana Purchase, the city had only about 8,000 people living in it. Planned on a tight grid, the city...

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How a Blind Doctor's 'Moon Code' Helped Thousands Read Again

At first glance, the unfamiliar alphabet above, pressed into the page beneath our own, seems a bit opaque. With its streamlined swoops, angles and dashes, it appears to belong elsewhere—like writing...

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Two Danish Polar Bears Are Getting Divorced

The ice in the Copenhagen Zoo's Arctic Ring is cold, but the gossip is hot: as the Local reports, one of Denmark's sexiest polar bear couples is breaking up. Ivan and Noel, two of the exhibit's main...

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Take a Virtual Tour of the Firefly Forest, a Kansas Park Turned Gnome Village

In the spring of 2013, local news stations in Overland Park, Kansas began reporting sightings of peculiarly magical structures along the wooded Tomahawk Creek Trail. Miniature houses with doors,...

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How Cab Drivers Changed the London Landscape

On a cold, snowy night in January 1875, Captain G. C. Armstrong couldn’t get a cab.  Cabs at the time were single-horse, two-wheeled hackney carriages, with a small interior that barely protected the...

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The Quiet Failure of Sony’s Giant Cassette Tape

A version of this post originally appeared on Tedium, a twice-weekly newsletter that hunts for the end of the long tail.Roughly a year and a half ago, I made a pitch that we were due for a...

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The Elaborate Wig-Snatching Schemes of the 18th Century

In 18th-century England, it was best to be wary of any hands that reached too close to your hair. They could belong to a wig snatcher.The 1776 engraving above depicts one of the carefully plotted hair...

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The 'Balloon Maps' That Aided Exploration, War, And Tourism

 In 1785, a man named Thomas Baldwin lived out an 18th-century dream: he floated over Chester, England in a hot air balloon. When he came back down, he puzzled over how to share this rare...

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Found: A Snake on a Plane

In Muscat, Oman, an Emirates flight was preparing to head to Dubai, when staff found a snake hiding in the plane's baggage hold.According to the BBC, the airline has not said what type of snake was...

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Poor Nancy Young, the Suspected Teen Vampire of Rhode Island

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Watch Two NASA Astronauts Replace Batteries In Space

Even the International Space Station needs its batteries changed every once in a while. This past Friday, NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Peggy Whitson took on the task, beginning the swapping-out...

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A Massive Tunnel Tree in California Has Fallen

One-hundred-and-thirty-seven-years ago, someone carved a tunnel in the base of a massive sequoia tree in Calaveras County, California. For all the years since then you could walk through it, or just...

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The Long, Unusual History of the Pickled Cucumber

A version of this post originally appeared on Tedium, a twice-weekly newsletter that hunts for the end of the long tail.Of the many things that we lost in 2016, one of the saddest losses might have...

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