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The Parting Gifts Convicts Gave Loved Ones Before Being Shipped to Australia

A convict love token from the collection at the National Museum of Australia. (Photos: Katie Shanahan/National Museum of Australia)In 1818, a teenage boy in London gave a memento to his parents. The...

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Alberta's War on Rats

1950's poster commissioned by the Government of Alberta to drive public support for a War on Rats. (Photo: Provincial Archives of Alberta)The Canadian province of Alberta makes a claim that is so...

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FOUND: A Man Who Staged His Own Disappearance 5 Years Ago

Kenneth Rodman (Photo: Queensland Police)Usually, when a person goes missing, they are found within 48 hours. To stay missing, it helps to want to stay missing. In 2010, Kenneth Rodman was touring...

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The Greatest Show of the Summer is the Sun

The aurora, from space (Image: NASA)Last week was filled heavy with news; it seemed like America was about to explode with grief and joy. So you'd be forgiven for not noticing that the sun couldn't...

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The Natural Fractals of Google Earth

Spain. (Photo: Paul Bourke/Google Earth fractals)What is this picture? Would you believe us if we told you that it's a European country?While it resembles the crystalline edges of an AI dreamscape, the...

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Lavinia Warren: Half of the 19th Century's Tiniest, Richest Power Couple

Lavinia Warren. (Photo: Matthew Brady via Wikimedia Commons)When Lavinia Warren, a glamorous little person who was almost incomprehensibly famous in the 1860s, married fellow circus performer Tom...

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FOUND: The Holy Grail

  A vision of the holy grail (Image: Maître des cleres femme/Wikimedia)Last summer, the Nanteos Cup disappeared. This broken wooden cup is said to have first come to Britain with Joseph of Arimathea,...

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On Tour with the War on Drugs: Dummies are Everywhere

 I try to blend in. (All photos by Jon Natchez and used by written permission from Vent Haven Museum, Inc.)For the next few weeks, The War on Drugs' Jon Natchez is going to be sharing his adventures on...

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The Story Behind the First Adoption Museum in the U.S.

Over 1,500 children were transferred to the Presidio, a former army base in San Francisco, before being placed with families during Operation babylift. This image depicts a baby being tended to at...

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Mapping the Census Like It's 1870

(All images used with permission of Flowingdata)Data nerds, reporters and concerned citizens all love the firehose of data that is the U.S. Census, begun in 1790. But while current Census sites have...

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FOUND: A Secret Tunnel Between Russia And China

A less secret tunnel in a different fort on the Sino-Russian border (Photo: Lzy881114/Wikimedia)Early in the 1930s, when Japan had invaded Manchuria and the Second Sino-Japanese War was on the verge of...

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The Amazing Pop Iconography of Vintage Firework Art

Even the Seven Dwarfs can be explosive (Image: Epic Fireworks/Flickr)Firecrackers are designed to be set off. But before they're lit up, they need to find a buyer. In order to distinguish one bundle of...

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Watch 'Singles' on VHS with 1,000 Strangers in the Seattle Courtyard Where It...

Make like Janet and Cliff and head to Coryell Court. (Photo: Screenshot from Singles.)Fans of the '90s Seattle slacker-grunge scene are in for a treat this Sunday, when Singles, a cinema hallmark of...

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Sweden's Secret Quest Castles are Coming to America

Don't fall. (All images property of Boda Borg. Used with Permission)Escape-the-Room-style reality games, where attendees are locked in a room and given a certain amount of time to figure out how to...

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Leave Your Screens Behind (Mostly) at Rare Book School

Nineteenth-century bindings from the RBS teaching collection displayed for a session of “Introduction to the History of Bookbinding." (All photos: Rare Book School)When summer rolls around, thoughts...

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How to Make Your Dead Eagle A Legal Eagle

Spoiler warning on, bud. (Photo: Saffron Blaze on Wikipedia)In advance of Independence Day festivities, here is a strange-but-true American fact: It is a crime to be in possession of eagles and eagle...

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Places You Can No Longer Go: Mars 2112

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Dish Blight: The Ruins of Satellite TV Are All Around

Satellite dishes in New York City. (Photo: Alexis Lê-Quôc/Flickr)Right now, two major satellite television providers in the U.S., DirecTV and Dish, are both embroiled in merger talks with...

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FOUND: A Chinese Coin From the 1700s Buried in Seattle

An example of an 18th century Qing dynasty coin (Photo: Jean-Michel Moullec/Flickr)In Seattle, archaeologists working under a bridge have found 2,600 or so artifacts from Seattle history—everything...

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Manhattan Was Almost Home to a 200-Foot-Tall Owl Mausoleum

Newspaper publisher James Gordon Bennett Jr. was obsessed with owls. Sculptor Greg Lefevre created a bronze owl sculpture for him in Herald Square. (Photo: Laura/flickr)In 1906, one of New York’s...

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