Author Archive | JacobSloan

For Sale: Poveglia, The Haunted Italian Island With A Chilling History

PovegliaI would not accept a free vacation at the luxury hotel the Italy hopes will be built on this spot. Via the Telegraph:

Dubbed one of the most haunted places in the world, Poveglia, which was sealed off after it was hit by the plague, is to be auctioned off to raise money for Italy.

The 17-acre island became a quarantine station for ships arriving at Venice in the 18th century. After a plague was discovered on two ships, the island was sealed off and used to host people with infectious diseases, leading to legends of terminally ill Venetians waiting to die before their ghosts returned to haunt the island.

A hospital for the elderly which opened in 1922 and operated until 1968 is rumoured to have hosted experiments on the mentally ill, including crude lobotomies, carried out by a director who was driven mad by ghosts before throwing himself from the hospital’s tower.

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Lab Is Missing 2,000 Vials Of The Deadly SARS Virus

SARSWhat did you misplace today? Via ABC News:

A French lab has lost more than 2,000 vials containing fragments of the deadly SARS virus, which killed nearly 800 people in a 2003 epidemic across four continents.

The Pasteur Institute in Paris, France announced this week that it realized it was missing the vials and contacted the country’s National Security Agency of Medicines and Health Products to conduct an investigation on April 8, according to a news release.

Although the fragments are not dangerous, they do raise concerns by revealing the lab’s vulnerability, said Dr. William Schaffner, chair of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn.

The virus is believed to have originated in Chinese horseshoe bats in 2002 before spreading to cats and then spreading to humans. The outbreak in Hong Kong brought it to global attention, and it spread to two dozen countries, according to the CDC.

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Essential Vitamin B3 May Have Arrived From Space On Meteorites

meteorDid life spring from space residue? Via ScienceDaily:

Ancient Earth might have had an extraterrestrial supply of vitamin B3 delivered by carbon-rich meteorites, according to a new analysis by NASA-funded researchers. The result supports a theory that the origin of life may have been assisted by a supply of key molecules created in space and brought to Earth by comet and meteor impacts.

This is not the first time vitamin B3 has been found in meteorites. In 2001 a team led by Sandra Pizzarello of Arizona State University, in Tempe discovered it along with related molecules called pyridine carboxylic acids in the Tagish Lake meteorite.

The team plans to conduct additional interstellar chemistry experiments under more realistic conditions to better understand how vitamin B3 can form on ice grains in space.

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The Mortsafe: How To Protect Yourself From Bodysnatchers

mortsafeVia Kuriositas, this was a must-have for personal security during the height of the Victorian corpse-snatching era:

Medical students in the United Kingdom of the nineteenth century faced a quandary. They had been accustomed to using the corpses of executed criminals to study anatomy. However, the annual demand for bodies to dissect by the growing medical profession surpassed ten times that number. A thriving and historically infamous bodysnatching trade arose. However, those mourning the loss of a loved one soon developed a weapon against this: the mortsafe.

First made around 1816, the mortsafe was ingenious: a complex of iron rods and plates descending in to the ground and rising above it.

If this seems like a great length to go to, there was good reason. Grave robbers were crafty and would go to even greater lengths to retrieve a corpse from its coffin. It wasn’t, as you might imagine, a straightforward case of sneaking in to the graveyard and digging the deceased up at the dead of night.

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British Teenager Captures Strange Black Ring In The Sky

Via Huffington Post UK, introducing the Horrifying Black Ring of Leamington Spa:
Dubbed the Black Ring of Leamington Spa, the strange phenomenon was captured by Georgina Heap, 16, on her iPhone on Friday evening near Warwick Castle. Fire services have said no fires were reported at the time and the Met Office have said it does not appear to be weather-related. Heap said it was "The weirdest thing I have ever seen. It was just floating there like a cloud and then it disappeared. It wasn't birds either. There were about ten of us who stopped what we were doing and watched." UFO expert, Nick Pope, described the video as "truly bizarre" and added, "One other possibility is that the shape is made up of millions of bees or other insects, but I've never heard of insects behaving in this way before, so if this is the explanation, it's a real-life X-File."
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Oklahoma School District To Adopt Hobby Lobby President’s “Bible Curriculum”

Steve GreenA future in which the fanatical billionaire heads of our nation’s largest retail chains dictate what is taught in schools. Religion News Service reports:

The Mustang, Okla., school board voted Monday to adopt the first year of the Museum of the Bible Curriculum, an ambitious four-year public school elective on the narrative, history and impact of the Bible developed by Hobby Lobby president Steve Green.

In September 2016, Jerry Pattengale, head of the Green Scholars Initiative, which is overseeing its development, hopes to place it in at least 100 high schools; by the following year, “thousands.”

If successful, Green, whose family’s wealth is estimated at upward of $3 billion, would galvanize the movement to teach the Bible academically in public schools, a movement born after the Supreme Court banned school-sanctioned devotion in the 1960s but whose steady progress in the last decades has been somewhat hampered.

The Green curriculum ”is like nothing we’ve seen before,” said Charles Haynes, senior scholar at the First Amendment Center and editor of a booklet sent out to all schools by the U.S.

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The Way People Think And Act Is Affected By Ceiling Height

ceilingIs your mental range of possibility being stifled by the ceiling above you? From a little while ago, via ScienceDaily:

Recent research by Joan Meyers-Levy, a professor of marketing at the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management, suggests that the way people think and act is affected by ceiling height.

“When a person is in a space with a 10-foot ceiling, they will tend to think more freely, more abstractly,” said Meyers-Levy. “They might process more abstract connections between objects in a room, whereas a person in a room with an 8-foot ceiling will be more likely to focus on specifics.”

The research demonstrates that a higher versus a lower ceiling can stimulate the concepts of freedom versus confinement, respectively. This causes people to engage in either more free-form, abstract thinking or more detail-specific thought. Depending on what the task at hand requires, the consequences of the ceiling could be positive or negative.

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Police Called Over “Homeless Jesus” Sculpture Installed In Wealthy North Carolina Town

Homeless JesusHere’s what would happen if Jesus were to return to Earth and land in the affluent Bible Belt suburbs. Via NPR:

The statue depicts Jesus as a vagrant sleeping on a park bench. St. Alban’s Episcopal Church installed the homeless Jesus statue on its property in the middle of an upscale neighborhood filled with well-kept townhomes.

The reaction was immediate. Some loved it; some didn’t. “One woman from the neighborhood actually called police the first time she drove by,” says David Boraks, editor of DavidsonNews.net. “She thought it was an actual homeless person.”

That’s right. Somebody called the cops on Jesus. Some neighbors feel that it’s an insulting depiction of the son of God.

“It gives authenticity to our church,” Rev. David Buck says. “This is a relatively affluent church, to be honest, and we need to be reminded ourselves that our faith expresses itself in active concern for the marginalized of society.”

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The Less Americans Know About Geography, The More They Favor Overseas Military Invasions

american eagleToday’s looming evidence that we are living in the Idiocracy, via the Washington Post:

Our results are clear, but also somewhat disconcerting: The less people know about where Ukraine is located on a map, the more they want the U.S. to intervene there militarily. Even controlling for a series of demographic characteristics and participants’ general foreign policy attitudes, we found that the less accurate our participants were, the more they wanted the U.S. to use force [and] the greater the threat they saw Russia as posing.

On March 28-31, 2014, we asked a national sample of 2,066 Americans what action they wanted the U.S. to take in Ukraine, but with a twist: we also asked our survey respondents to locate Ukraine on a map as part of a larger, ongoing project to study foreign policy knowledge. We wanted to see where Americans think Ukraine is and to learn if this knowledge (or lack thereof) is related to their foreign policy views.

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Woman In China Hospitalized After Ghost Radar App Causes Her To See Spirits Everywhere

spirits in the crowdThe dangers of using smartphone apps to tap into the spirit realm, via The Star Online from Malaysia:

A 23-year-old woman is in hospital after she allegedly saw spirits while trying out a so-called ghost-hunting application on her smartphone, Kwong Wah Yit Poh reported.

The woman, known only as Wu, from Hubei, China, claimed to have seen spirits around her when she first tried the app.

When she went to the cemetery with her parents during the Qing Ming festival, she tried the application again. This time it allegedly showed three spirits by her side, leading her to have sleepless nights for three days. She had to seek medical treatment in a local hospital.

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