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Project Pigeon and Acoustic Kitty

Project Pigeon and Acoustic Kitty

Of all the lives risked in WWII, were those of thousands of dogs, used for everything from guard duty to pulling sleds.  And they almost had a particularly awful purpose on the ironically named Cat Island, if one Swiss expat had gotten his way.  William A Prestre...

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I Think That I Shall Never See

I Think That I Shall Never See

In 1999, Nicola Strickland went on a holiday to the Caribbean island of Tobago, and strolled the beaches looking for shells and corals in the white sand, when she came upon a tree dropping green fruit that looked much like small crabapples.  Strickland had a munch of...

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Unsolved Poisonings

Unsolved Poisonings

Between April 1928 and March 1929 three people from the same wealthy London family died in mysterious circumstances.  The first to die was Edmund Duff, who complained of nausea and leg cramps after eating his dinner.  Ten months later, his sister-in-law, Vera Sidney,...

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Name, Rank, and VIN Number

Name, Rank, and VIN Number

The phrase “e-car” these days is shorthand for electric car, but in 1955, it was the working name for a car that was going to shake up the mid-range luxury car market -- fancier than most Fords, cheaper than a Mercury.  It had a unique vertical grill, teletouch drive...

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The Game of Life (and Death)

The Game of Life (and Death)

Sports today are tame by history’s standards. Ancient societies didn’t seem to think twice about spending blood and lives in the pursuit of great athletic entertainment. People have been hacked, poked, drowned, punched, cut, smashed, and skied to death, all in some of...

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Endlings 2 – Animals

Endlings 2 – Animals

The tiny mouse-sized pygmy tarsier is a nocturnal primate native to Indonesia.  They’re not monkeys, but prosimians, like lemurs.  They have big eyes like a Furby, but are only 4 inches long, and most of that was tail.   Precious little was known about them, as they...

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Throw the First Stone(wall) Revisited

Throw the First Stone(wall) Revisited

​Pride goeth before the fall.  Except in Atlanta, where they hold it in October.  On the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, and just in time for Pride Month, NYC officials announce that a monument [will be erected] to honor pioneering LGBTQ activists Sylvia...

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Endlings, part 1 – People

Endlings, part 1 – People

Numbering around 15,000 people in the 18th century, the population of the Juma people of Brazil was ravaged by rubber tappers, loggers and miners who wanted their ancestral land.  Only 100 remained by the 40’s and a massacre in 1964 left only six, including Aruka...

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Hate to Burst Your Bubble

Hate to Burst Your Bubble

How much is a nickel worth?  5 cents, as a rule.  But what is nickel the metal worth?  Now that can vary.  In the late 1960s, nickel was in high demand due to the Vietnam War, but there was a shortage of supply due to strikes at the major Canadian supplier Inco.  An...

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A Farewell to Armrests

A Farewell to Armrests

Theft and vandalism are not uncommon in our world, though theft of public property is a bit more rare.  That was the charge two men in France found themselves facing in 2018.  They had removed several of a particular item from a public park.  The targets were benches,...

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Not a Colonel of Truth

Not a Colonel of Truth

In the 1960’s, many young men joined the fight for equality in the civil rights movement.  Boycotts, marches, and protests were organized by groups like Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in Georgia, organizing...

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The Dose Makes the Poison

The Dose Makes the Poison

A few years back, there was a study saying that the caramel coloring used in colas and other products had been linked to cancer in lab rodents.  I knock back a couple or three diet sodas a day, but I know that I am not, in fact, a rodent.  To get the same amount of...

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