UK thinks about building its own GPS network
As the United Kingdom hurtles towards the uncertainty of its exit from the European Union, the high cost is becoming clear—even in space.
uk  space  eu  geography  technology 
august 2018
Newly discovered ‘limb pit’ reveals Civil War surgeons’ bitter choices
Side by side, in a shallow pit, two soldiers were hastily buried — and along with them, not flowers or mementos, but 11 arms and legs.
history  civil_war  virginia  medicine 
june 2018
U.S. soldiers are revealing sensitive and dangerous information by logging their runs
n interactive map posted on the Internet that shows the whereabouts of people who use fitness devices such as Fitbit also reveals highly sensitive information about the locations and activities of soldiers at U.S. military bases, in what appears to be a major security oversight.
united_states  military  technology  internet  running 
january 2018
As Kazakhstan moves toward a new alphabet, apostrophes are becoming a problem
The decision to move the Kazakh language from using Cyrillic to Latin characters has raised a tricky issue: how to write down a tongue that has no alphabet of its own but has always used scripts imported from outside.
language  kazakhstan  ussr 
january 2018
The airline industry running out of four-digit flight numbers
If you need a break from worrying about nuclear war and how tax reform is going to affect your business, ponder flight numbers.
business  airplanes  airports 
january 2018
California flat-earther plans to launch run for governor by launching himself with homemade rocket
61-year-old DIY enthusiast and stuntman “Mad” Mike Hughes is planning his first manned launch of a homemade, $20,000 steam-powered rocket with “RESEARCH FLAT EARTH” written on the side on Saturday, the Associated Press reported.
california  science  physics  geography  stupid  politics 
november 2017
China wants to build a nuclear-powered space shuttle by 2040
The China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) is the main contractor for China's space program. This week, the GB Times reports that the company released an ambitious roadmap for China's space aspirations that could carry the country through 2040 and beyond.
space  China 
november 2017
Utah parents worried high school team name sounds like 'penises'
Farmington’s newest high school is set to open its door fall 2018 but some parents and students already have concerns.
utah  education  stupid 
november 2017
Lenin impersonator ekes out a living on edge of Red Square
Visitors are forbidden to photograph Vladimir Lenin’s mummified body in the mausoleum on Red Square — but nearby, Sergei Soloviev is happy to offer an alternative.
russia  history  ussr 
november 2017
Spain moves to take control over Catalonia following independence declaration
In a major escalation of Spain’s territorial conflict, the Spanish Senate on Friday authorized the government to take direct control of the fractious region of Catalonia, just after Catalan lawmakers declared the region’s independence.
eu  spain  catalonia 
october 2017
Amazon suggesting buyers fill their carts with bomb-making items
Amazon said on Wednesday that it was reviewing its website after a British television report said the online retail giant’s algorithms were automatically suggesting bomb-making ingredients that were “Frequently bought together.”
business  internet  technology 
september 2017
Thousands of Audis share the same VIN
Prosecutors have turned up documents suggesting that thousands of Audis exported to China, Korea or Japan may have the same vehicle identification number.
germany  business  automobile  crime  china  south_korea  japan 
august 2017
Russia’s villages, and their way of life, are ‘melting away’
Russians are dying faster than they are being born and nearly a quarter of the country's villages have become ghost towns over the past century.
russia  ussr  history 
july 2017
Much of Mexican Museum’s pre-Hispanic collection insignificant or fake
An evaluation of nearly 2,000 artifacts of the Mexican Museum’s pre-Hispanic collection has found that only 85 are “allegedly” of museum quality.
san_francisco  art  history  fail 
july 2017
The myth of the kindly General Lee
The strangest part about the continued personality cult of Robert E. Lee is how few of the qualities his admirers profess to see in him he actually possessed.
history  civil_war  military 
june 2017
McDonald’s in Italy embraces a slice of Roman road beneath it
Rather than fret about lost time and money, McDonald’s decided to sponsor an archeological dig, and has promised to preserve the road, built between the second and first centuries B.C.
italy  history  rome  engineering  archaeology  mcdonalds 
february 2017
Seven months later, expanded Panama Canal still faces challenges
A little over seven months after authorities launched a much-ballyhooed, $5.25 billion canal expansion to accommodate many of the world's largest cargo vessels, they have yet to fully work out a significant kink: With little margin for error, ships are still scraping the walls and prematurely wearing out defenses designed to protect both the vessels and the locks themselves.
business  panama  panama_canal  boats  engineering 
february 2017
A queen's gambit leaves chess world baffled
In protest of what she believes is sexism in the world of chess, Chinese Grandmaster Hou Yifan threw her a game in just five moves.
gibraltar  china  chess  equality 
february 2017
Federal law prevents U.S. cable companies from dropping Kremlin-backed RT channel
The Kremlin-financed RT television channel, thrust into the spotlight by a recent U.S. intelligence report, has over the years secured carriage on U.S. cable and satellite services in a way that largely protects it from being dropped.
television  cable  russia  media  Law  congress 
january 2017
Zhou Youguang, primary architect of Pinyin, dies at 111
Since his system was introduced nearly six decades ago, few innovations have done more to boost literacy rates in China and bridge the divide between the country and the West.
language  deaths  China 
january 2017
Japan's emperor wants to quit, but they'll have to change the law first
Japan is considering legal changes to allow Emperor Akihito to abdicate at the end of 2018, say local media reports citing government sources.
january 2017
Grandma accidentally prays to Elrond from Lord of the Rings
The woman thought she was praying to Saint Anthony but it turns out the figure was Elrond, Lord of Rivendell.
funny  brazil  religion  lord_of_the_rings 
january 2017
As the EU’s roster swells, so does its linguistic burden
When what is now the European Union first took root in the 1950s, it included just six nations, and in three of them many people spoke French. Today it has 24 official languages and spends nearly $1B a year on translation services.
eu  language 
january 2017
UN shuts down one of North Korea's most lucrative export markets: giant monuments
Want to buy a massive monument? Scratch North Korea off your list of places to shop.
united_nations  north_korea  business  weird 
november 2016
Iceland sues U.K. store chain to get its name back
The Nordic island nation known for its exploding geysers and views of the Northern Lights is suing U.K. grocer Iceland Foods Ltd., seeking to blunt efforts by the discount chain to keep real Icelandic companies from using the country’s name.
business  eu  uk  iceland  law 
november 2016
Toblerone "shrinkflation" change upsets fans
The Swiss chocolate created in 1908 by Theodor Tobler has decided to space out its distinctive triangular chocolate chunks in two Toblerone bars sold in the UK – upsetting fans in the process.
uk  business  food  toblerone 
november 2016
Raoul Wallenberg officially declared dead 71 years after his disappearance
Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, who helped thousands of Hungarian Jews to escape Nazi mass murder in WWII, has been formally pronounced dead by Sweden's Tax Agency.
history  world_war_2  ussr  sweden 
november 2016
Two more moons may have been found hiding around Uranus
The two new moons - if they exist - would both be less than nine miles in diameter.
space  solar_system  uranus 
october 2016
Fishing hoping to land Olympic status
The international governing body for fishing has applied for angling to be part of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
fishing  2020_olympics  japan 
october 2016
The rise and fall of the 1-900 number
While expensive and technologically limited, for a few boom years, 900 numbers that charged by the minute filled a gap for people who required daily updates on nearly anything.
history  1990s  telephone  technology 
october 2016
Was East Germany ever a sovereign country?
There's no doubt that the GDR was propped up and dominated by the Soviets, but it was recognized at varying levels on the international stage. Did it ever meet the qualifications to become a de jure sovereign state?
history  cold_war  ussr  east_germany  germany 
september 2016
America's discrimination against Muslims now extends beyond death
From Minnesota to Texas, proposals for new Muslim cemeteries have been met with swells of opposition, similar to disputes over new mosques or schools, raising the specter of exclusion even for the dead.
united_states  religion  georgia 
august 2016
Titan may have giant fjords, too
Findings by the NASA spacecraft Cassini suggest that Saturn’s moon Titan contains deep, liquid-flooded canyons that may resemble fjords and alpine lakes on Earth.
science  titan  solar_system  geography 
august 2016
Walmart’s out-of-control crime problem is driving police crazy
More than 200 violent crimes, including attempted kidnappings and multiple stabbings, shootings, and murders, have occurred at the nation’s 4,500 Walmarts this year, or about one a day.
united_states  business  crime  walmart 
august 2016
Australian athletes robbed during fire evacuation at athletes’ village
The Rio Olympics keep on getting worse for the Australian delegation - and they haven't even begun yet.
brazil  2016_olympics  crime  australia 
july 2016
Monkeys and small children have Thai officials on high alert ahead of referendum
Approximately 100 monkeys raided a polling place in northern Thailand, destroying piles of voter lists.
thailand  animals  government  funny 
july 2016
Last known VCR maker stops production
40 years after the first VHS video cassette recorder rolled off the production line, the last known company making the devices is ceasing production.
technology  japan 
july 2016
Germany just got a wee bit bigger
Thanks to the flow of the Kirnitzsch River, Germany just gained about an 1/8th of an acre at the expense of the Czech Republic.
geography  germany  czech_republic 
july 2016
Russia creates new jet designed just for its athletes
Pro athletes enhoy plenty of perks, and their lives are about to get even better. Instead of jetting around the world on planes built for normals, they can climb aboard a jet designed just for their needs.
russia  airplanes  technology 
july 2016
Rio weed dealers going for the gold this summer
Weed dealers in Brazil are capitalizing on the upcoming Olympics by branding their product with the official logo.
crime  2016_olympics  brazil  marijuana  drugs 
july 2016
West Texas town finds ‘tiny house’ crowd a bit too earthy for their taste
Luring eco-conscious builders of 120-square-foot homes seemed like a great idea until plans for yurts and straw dwellings popped up.
june 2016
Hi-tech brooms creating controversy in the world of curling
Welcome to the first ever controversy over high-tech brooms in sport.
curling  technology 
june 2016
Taken from life: The unsettling art of death photography
Photographs of loved-ones taken after they died may seem morbid to modern sensibilities. But in Victorian England, they became a way of commemorating the dead and blunting the sharpness of grief.
uk  history  deaths  photography 
june 2016
Louisville used to be Disco Ball City
To most people, Louisville’s manufacturing heritage extends to bourbon, baseball bats and, maybe, bluegrass music. But during the late 1970s, the local Omega National Products factory about cornered the market in disco balls, churning out 90% of the dance ornaments made in the U.S.
history  music  business  tennessee 
june 2016
Patrons of vegan cafe pelted with meat in Tbilisi
Georgia, a proud nation in the Caucasus that went to war with Russia in 2008, is no stranger to conflict. But a weekend assault by sausage-wielding attackers at a vegan cafe in central Tbilisi is fanning concerns that a simmering culture war could be intensifying.
weird  food  georgia 
june 2016
British expats discover the grass isn't necessarily greener in Australia
Thousands of Britons head for a new life in Australia every year, but it is often not the one-way trip they anticipated.
uk  australia 
may 2016
KFC rolling out chicken-flavored nail polish in Hong Kong
April Fools' Day was a month ago, but KFC is only just now announcing that it has made two edible nail polishes that bring the classic tagline, "Finger Lickin' Good," grossly to life.
food  hong_kong  china  business  weird  kfc 
may 2016
An 'angel' that fell from the skies turns out to be a sex doll
Villagers in Indonesia were disappointed to learn that an "angel" that fell from the skies is actually a sex toy, a turn of events that many humans of a different mindset would not be disappointed by at all.
indonesia  funny 
may 2016
Thieves nab Royals ‘player’ from billboard
Someone apparently thought it was a good idea Wednesday night to climb onto the Hy-Vee billboard at Interstate 435 and Truman Road and steal the three-dimensional, 14-foot-tall, 150-pound center fielder leaping against an image of the outfield wall at Kauffman Stadium.
baseball  royals  crime  missouri 
april 2016
Weasel shuts down the world's most powerful particle collider
A small mammal has sabotaged the world's most powerful scientific instrument.
science  animals  physics  switzerland  funny 
april 2016
Firm with rainbow logo won’t design rainbow logo for gay-friendly church
A Fargo firm says it declined to do business with a gay-friendly church because the church asked the company to design a logo that included a rainbow, a universal symbol of the gay community.
north_dakota  stupid  business  LGBTQ 
april 2016
2 men take US gov’t ocean science buoy, now want to “sell” it back for $13,000
Turns out, the government doesn’t take too kindly to the theft of one of its scientific buoys.
united_states  science  california  Law  pacific_ocean  stupid 
april 2016
Ticket sales lagging for Rio Olympics
Brazil is battling a recession, political chaos, high crime and the spreading Zika virus. All these factors seem to be conspiring to drive potential ticket buyers away in advance of the Summer Olympic Games set to open Aug. 5 in Rio de Janeiro.
2016_olympics  brazil 
april 2016
Internet mapping turned a remote farm into a digital hell
An hour’s drive from Wichita, Kansas, in a little town called Potwin, there is a 360-acre piece of land with a very big problem.
internet  technology  kansas  stupid  geography 
april 2016
New Punch-Out!! tell comes to light 29 years later
Will mankind ever uncover all of the secrets of Mike Tyson's Punch Out!! for the NES? Probably not.
funny  nintendo  video_games 
april 2016
Biologists have learned something horrifying about prairie dogs
Prairie dogs: fuzzy little socialites that live in elaborate burrows and chow down on grass all day, right? Seem like nice neighbors? Hate to shatter the illusion, but I’ve got some knowledge to share. Prairie dogs are cold-blooded killers.
animals  prairie_dogs  squirrels  science 
march 2016
Fourth Yomiuri Giants pitcher admits to gambling on baseball
Yomiuri Giants reliever Kyosuke Takagi confessed on Wednesday to betting on baseball and admitted that he lied during the team’s latest investigation.
japan  baseball  npb  yomiuri_giants  crime 
march 2016
Lawmakers get sick after drinking raw milk to celebrate the legalization of raw milk
Just a few weeks ago, West Virginians passed a law overriding the cruel, barbaric raw milk prohibition that’s plagued the state for years. To mark the occasion, these same dairy-loving lawmakers downed what else but a tall glass of milk—raw and dirty just like god intended. In totally unrelated news, a bunch of West Virginia lawmakers are now suffering from a severe stomach illness.
west_virginia  food  stupid 
march 2016
Ikea is growing new eco-friendly mushroom packaging
To stop all those $20 side tables getting banged up, Ikea has to use a lot of polystyrene packaging every year. Unfortunately, polystyrene isn’t biodegradable, and people are bad at recycling, leaving Ikea looking for a better material to stick between sheets of ply.
ikea  business  environment 
march 2016
Rick Perry's big privatized toll road experiment is a bust
A private company that operates part of the Texas toll road with the highest speed limit in the country filed for bankruptcy Wednesday, fewer than three years after the section of the road it oversees first opened.
texas  business  fail  politics  rick_perry  roads 
march 2016
Even in Death Valley, life finds a way
In a land of extremes, where a barren valley floor sinks below sea level, rain rarely falls and summer temperatures reach a toasty 134 degrees, a riot of color has exploded.  
california  death_valley  nature 
february 2016
Ship that sank more than 60 years ago still causing marine chaos
The S.S. Jacob Luckenbach sank more then 60 years ago after colliding with another ship 17 miles southwest of the Golden Gate Bridge, but the 469-foot freighter is still posing an environmental hazard from its ocean grave, leaking hundreds of thousands of gallons of bunker oil that has left birds coated in the gunk.
san_francisco  boats  environment 
february 2016
Gravitational waves found in 1.3 billion year old black hole collision
Last September, physicists started recording data from the new Advanced LIGO detectors, a pair of ultra-precise observatories waiting for the slightest perturbation that could suggest the existence of gravitational waves, the ripples in spacetime predicted by Einstein almost exactly 100 years ago. Then, after just 16 days, they found it.
science  physics  space 
february 2016
BART admits 77 percent of its train cameras are fake or don’t work
Fewer than a quarter of what appear to be surveillance cameras inside BART train cars are real and functional, transit agency officials said Tuesday.
san_francisco  oakland  BART  safety  crime 
february 2016
Red Lobster enjoys sales surge after mention as post-sex activity in Beyonce song
The seafood chain known for its cheddar biscuits says sales surged 33 percent on Sunday from a year ago. The increase came after the release of "Formation," in which Beyonce says she took a man to Red Lobster after sex. Red Lobster says it's sure the mention is responsible for at least part of its sales jump.
business  food  music  super_bowl_50 
february 2016
SF Airbnb hosts get greedy, fail to cash in on Super Bowl market
ABOUT A MILLION people were expected to show up in San Francisco for Super Bowl 50. And the city only has about 35,000 or so hotel rooms. So some entrepreneurially minded residents did the math and thought they could make a killing over Super Bowl weekend by renting out rooms or homes on Airbnb.
business  san_francisco  nfl  super_bowl_50 
february 2016
Palo Alto student asked to leave school because of his DNA
To find a society where a student is forced to leave school because of his genes, you might think you’d need to watch “Gattaca” or pick up a dystopian novel.

As it turns out, you wouldn’t need to immerse  yourself in fiction. This exact scenario occurred at a middle school in Palo Alto, California.
california  palo_alto  health  medicine  education  genetics  discrimination 
february 2016
How China's One-Child Policy led to a generation with 30 million bachelors
Last October, China ended its 35-year-old policy of restricting most urban families to one child. Commonly referred to as the "one-child" policy, the restrictions were actually a collection of rules that governed how many children married couples could have.
China  history  society 
february 2016
After a million miles, BART cars are hella old
According to the American Public Transportation Association, BART is home to the oldest big-city commuter rail fleet in the nation.
BART  train  san_francisco  oakland 
january 2016
British explorer trying to cross Antarctic alone dies with just 30 miles left to go
The British explorer Henry Worsley, who was trying to be the first person to cross the Antarctic alone and without support, died on Sunday, just 30 miles short of completing his 1,000-mile trek.
uk  antarctica  deaths 
january 2016
Prehistoric massacre hints at war among hunter-gatherers
The scene was a lagoon on the shore of Lake Turkana in Kenya. The time about 10,000 years ago. One group of hunter-gatherers attacked and slaughtered another, leaving the dead with crushed skulls, embedded arrow or spear points, and other devastating wounds
history  anthropology 
january 2016
North Korea claims to have invented hangover-free alcohol
North Korea has created a hangover-free liquor that is between 30 and 40 per cent alcohol but leaves you clear-headed in the morning, state media says.
food  north_korea  funny 
january 2016
Elusive Planet X re-enters the debate
American astronomers say they have strong evidence that there is a ninth planet in our Solar System orbiting far beyond even the dwarf world Pluto.
space  solar_system  planet_x 
january 2016
Venezuela’s Supreme Court orders its legislature to stop passing laws
Venezuela’s political crisis intensified on Monday after the Supreme Court effectively barred the country’s opposition-led congress from passing any new laws.
venezuela  politics  Law 
january 2016
Corrupt mayor who stole millions from small town exposed via social media
Last summer the mayor of a forgotten corner of Brazil went on the run, accused of skimming millions from public funds. Lidiane Leite bragged about how much money she had on Instagram and directed staff back at the office via social media. Known as the WhatsApp mayor, she became an emblem of Brazilian corruption.
brazil  crime  internet 
january 2016
"Alternative funerals" on the rise
"People are increasingly wanting different formats when it comes to funerals," says Mike Owen, chief executive of the NAFD.
uk  society 
january 2016
Scottish man deported for making a horse penis joke
A Scottish mine worker who compared Kyrgyzstan's national dish to a horse's genitalia on Facebook is to be deported from the country.
kyrgyzstan  food  uk  facebook 
january 2016
Putin gets his own Little Black and White Book to distribute to Russian officials
The Kremlin is bestowing a special gift this holiday season on a select group of Russian officials.
russia  vladimir_putin  books 
december 2015
Unclaimed planes at Malaysia airport could be auctioned off
Three unmarked Boeing 747 passenger jets that have been sitting at the international airport in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for more than year could soon be auctioned off.
malaysia  airplanes  airports  weird 
december 2015
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