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The Lost and Found Art of Assembling Whale Skeletons

Skeleton of a whale in Alaska, 1900. (Photo: Library of Congress)In the late 1970s, a 17-foot beaked whale washed up on the shore of a small community called Homer, Alaska. The town's natural history...

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New York City's Mail Chutes are Lovely, Ingenious and Almost Entirely Ignored

Glorious example at the exquisite Fred French building. (Photo: Luke Spencer) If you have ever worked in an old building, the chances are you will have at some point walked past a small mysterious...

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Fleeting Wonders: A 2,000-Year-Old Tree Swaps Sexes

A trunk of the Fortingall yew. (Photo: Mogens Engelund/WikiCommons)The yew tree at Fortingall church in Perthshire, Scotland, might be the oldest tree in Britain. Most experts agree that it's been...

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A New Wolf-Coyote Hybrid is Infiltrating Our Cities

Wild canine hybrids lurk in our midst. (Photo: WikiCommons/Public Domain)Have you heard any wolves howling recently? Most likely not, since there aren’t very many of them left. But if you did hear one,...

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Fleeting Wonders: Celebrity Guy Fawkes Effigies Getting Ready to Burn

The arrest of Guy Fawkes, painted by Henry Perronet Briggs. (Photo: Public domain/WikiCommons)Asserting that Guy Fawkes Night is Britain's Burning Man may seem controversial, but look at the evidence –...

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How Capicola Became Gabagool: The Italian New Jersey Accent, Explained

Mulberry Street, where New York's "Little Italy" is centered, c. 1909.  (Photo: Library of Congress)“Don’t eat gabagool, Grandma,” says Meadow Soprano on an early episode of The Sopranos, perhaps the...

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Chemirocha: How An American Country Singer Became A Kenyan Star

Hugh Tracey in the International Library of African Music at Msaho, Roodepoort 1960s. (Photo: Public Domain/WikiCommons) There’s a song drifting around the backwaters of the internet called...

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The Weird, Endless World of Non-Sports Trading Cards

At some point, even Desert Storm got it's own set of trading cards. (Image: UnknownNet Photography/Flickr)Maybe you remember collecting X-Men cards during your childhood, or maybe your parents had a...

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100 Wonders: The Vampire Panic

In the final installment from our spooky October 100 Wonders, we bring you the Highgate Cemetery, and the Great Vampire Panic of 1970.Highgate is one of the great Victorian cemeteries, crammed with...

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Playworkers, Ph.Ds, and the Growing Adventure Playground Movement

Create your own adventure. (Photo: Suzanna Law/Pop-Up Adventure Play)More and more people are considering a new degree: Ph.D in Playwork. Why? Because children’s play has lost its way. Across the...

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Cephalopod Science is Even Weirder and More Mysterious Than You Imagined

This cute little guy may be the future of medicinal technology. (Courtesy of Joshua Rosenthal/Used with Permission)A report was released earlier this month about a trio of baby giant squid that was...

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Fleeting Wonders: A UK Supermarket Is Hiring a Christmas Light Untangler

One of the worst parts of the holidays ... untangling the lights. (Photo: Joseph Nadler/flickr)Folks seem so flummoxed by their knotted piles of holiday lights that a Tesco supermarket is launching the...

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The Early Spy Manual That Turned Bad Middle Management Into An Espionage Tactic

The Simple Sabotage Field Manual, declassified in the 1970s. (Photo: Joe Loong/Flickr)When you think of Allied espionage, you might imagine disguised explosives, wiretaps, bat bombs, or other dramatic...

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The Government-Funded Tourist Guide Written by Poets and Pulitzer Winners

"A guide to the golden state": the Federal Writers Project California guide. (Photo: Library of Congress)In 1975 the TV show The Waltons, a fixture of the 1970s CBS Thursday night lineup, aired an...

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How U.S. Drinking Laws Created the Fake ID Market

Detail of a hologram on a German ID card. (Photo: Public Domain/WikiCommons)A version of this post originally appeared on the Tedium newsletter. True story—a couple weeks ago, a restaurant attempted to...

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The 25-Year Battle For a Folk Remedy from the Rainforest to Gain FDA Approval

A view of an Amazon tributary in Peru. (Photo: Paul Alexander/flickr)Steven King had to learn the hard way that wearing G.I.-style boots in the Amazon jungle was not a good idea.It was the late 1970s,...

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FOUND: Ancient Rats the Size of Modern Dogs

Imagine a rat about 10 times larger than this little guy. Much less cute. (Image: Jean-Jacques Boujot/Flickr)Archaeology can yield a lot of surprises, as researchers from the Australian National...

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Fleeting Wonders: The World's Fastest Lawnmower

Blurring its way to a world title. (Photo: Norwegian Speed Factory/Facebook)On Friday November 6, an unusual vehicle sped down the rain-slicked runway of Norway's Torp Sandefjord Airport. It wasn't a...

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The Quixotic Quest to Find the Fairytale Capital of the World

Joseph Noel Paton's 1849 painting of Oberon and Titania, fairies from Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream. (Photo: Public Domain/WikiCommons)Fairies are renowned for causing mischief, so it is little...

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How China Revamped National Singles' Day into The World's Biggest Consumer...

Your only responsibility to celebrate is to online shop. (Photo: Pixabay/Public Domain)A holiday named “Bare Sticks” may not sound very celebratory, but it might be the most important day in the year...

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