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Library Hand, the Fastidiously Neat Penmanship Style Made for Card Catalogs

In September 1885, a bunch of librarians spent four days holed up in scenic Lake George, just over 200 miles north of New York City. In the presence of such library-world luminaries as Melvil Dewey—the...

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Found: A Drug Catapult at the U.S.-Mexico Border

Drugs are important to different kinds of people. For the police, they can be an opportunity to make an arrest. For dealers, they are an opportunity to get paid. For users, they are an opportunity to...

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A French Roadside Diner Accidentally Got a Michelin Star

Since last week's release of the new Michelin Guide France, people have been flocking to the Bouche à Oreille, on Route de la Chapelle in the small town of Bourges. Michelin gave the restaurant—a...

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Found: A Possible Eighth Continent

One of the baseline geological facts of the world is that there are, in our current age, seven continents—North America, South America, Africa, Asia, Europe, Australia, and Antarctica. But a new paper...

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Hang in There, Garbage Truck Raccoon

Update: An employee of American Disposal Services wrote Atlas Obscura to say that the raccoon reached safety. "As soon as we knew he was hitchin' a ride, the driver pulled over and made sure he was...

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A Military Chopper Touched Down to Stop and Ask For Directions in Kazakhstan

Ever wonder how pilots manage to stay on course without road signs or anything? Well, sometimes they don’t. And just like regular, land-locked drivers, sometimes they have to stop and ask for...

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I Heart New York

My hunt for hearts began, as I'm sure at least a few other meals have, with a still of Daenerys Targaryen tearing into a raw stallion's heart. I had been thinking about hearts, and I kept coming back...

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A Creek in Florida Turned Red Overnight

Blood-red water is a bad sign, reminiscent of horror films and shark attacks. When the citizens of Fort Myers, Florida saw that the creek near the high school was running crimson, they feared the...

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What We Can Learn From Pluto's Icy Heart

On February 18, 1930—87 years ago this week—Clyde Tombaugh, a telescope operator at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona, was flipping through photo plates when he spotted what he had been seeking...

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What It's Like To Hold Your Own Heart

Heart transplant patient John Bell knows the exact whereabouts of the heart he was born with. It’s floating in a three-gallon jug of formaldehyde next to hundreds of other human hearts at a large...

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Found: 50,000-Year-Old Microbes Hiding in the Cave of the Crystals

In Naica, Mexico, there’s a fantastic cave filled with giant crystals. First discovered by miners looking for silver and other valuable minerals, the cave is hot, anywhere for 104 to 140ºF, and it is...

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Sold, for $243,000: Hitler's Personal Red Telephone

On Sunday, an antique red rotary telephone sold at auction for $243,000, according to the BBC. The reason for that lofty price tag? It was used by Adolf Hitler.Auctioned off by the Maryland-based...

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Exploring Cuba, Guided by Graham Greene

“In Havana, where every vice was permissible, and every trade possible, lay the true background for my comedy.” — Graham Greene, Ways of Escape, 1980.Ending up being detained in a rough, remote Cuban...

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The Mall of America Is Looking for a Writer-in-Residence

The Mall of America, which Wikipedia describes as “a shopping mall located in Bloomington, Minnesota” and which is also the largest mall in the United States, is looking for a writer-in-residence....

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The Hidden World of Texans Who Constantly Use the Wrong Emoji Flag

Emoji, like the one you just used to send a dumb text message to your friend, are, on their face, pretty simple: a small graphical icon representing happiness or rage or befuddlement or booze or an...

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5 Spectacular Transportation Failures

In these modern times, it's easy to travel from point A to B without paying much mind to the infrastructure supporting the journey. How often do you drive over a bridge and think, thank goodness that...

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George Washington's Own 1793 Map of Mount Vernon

We know him as a war hero and the first president of the United States, but George Washington was also a practiced chartmaker and cartographer. He became an official land surveyor in Virginia at the...

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The Dangers of Doing Parkour Above a Chimney

Last Thursday, a man named Dustin Hinkle, who is 26-years-old, was practicing some parkour with his friends in Denver when he jumped onto a chimney cover, which immediately gave way. Hinkle then fell...

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Competitive Eating Was Even More Disgusting in the 17th Century

In recent years, the “sport” of competitive eating has gained greater and greater popularity, even producing its own small band of celebrity competitors. But centuries before the antics of a Kobayashi,...

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Found: Love Letters a WWII Soldier Wrote to His Boyfriend

“My darling boy,” Gordon would begin his letters. “My own darling boy.”He and Gilbert had met on a houseboat in 1938. The war had started the next year. Gilbert had not wanted to go; he had tried to...

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