Shocking Historical Photos

Post 8011

Shocking Historical Photos


Every once in a while, a photographer captures an image that is so shocking it can change the course of history. They say a picture says a thousand words.

We’ve compiled a huge list of some of the most iconic pictures in history. Many of them were taken decades ago. There are even a few from as far back as the American Civil War.

Son Dying of AIDS


Published in November of 1990, this LIFE magazine photo changed the way America viewed AIDS. A son, dying of AIDS, is comforted by his father and family.

Bison Skull Mountain


By the 1870’s, bisons had been hunted to near-extinction.  Here’s a picture of a mountain of bison skulls, to show just how many were killed in a short time.

Frozen Soviet Soldier


The Finnish were no fans of the invading Soviet troops from Russia. They decided to use this frozen Soviet soldier’s body as a scare tactic to demoralize the approaching Soviet troops.

Spontaneous Human Combustion Victim


This is a 1972 picture of a victim of spontaneous human combustion, where a person suddenly burst into flames for no apparent reason.

Collapsed Fire Escape


A babysitter and girl falling from a collapsed fire escape in 1975 during a fire. They were seconds away from being rescued by a fireman. The child survived by landing on the babysitter’s body.

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?


In 1937, if you lived in the city and wanted your kids to get some sun and fresh air during the day, this is what you got them! What could possibly go wrong?

Eerie Gravesite Photo


In the early 1900’s, this photo was taken at a gravesite. The eerie visitor was not discovered until years later!

Monstrous Grasshopper


This is a real photo from 1937 of a man in the American midwest after he had shot a grasshopper.

Staked Vampire Heart


Auguste Delagrange was supposedly a vampire who killed over 40 people. In 1912, he was killed and his killers even staked his heart, just in case.

A-Bomb Scars


A Hiroshima A-Bomb victim shows his scars, 6 years after America dropped the bomb on the Japanese city. America would drop a second bomb on Nagasaki just 3 days later.

Who Needs Gun Control?


The NRA would be proud of this bad boy. This is the “Punt Gun,” which could kill 50 ducks in one shot. It was so bad, they outlawed it IN THE 1860’s!

Terrible Human Being


Turkey is responsible for the 1915 Armenian Genocide. Here’s a photo of a Turkish official teasing starving children with a piece of bread.

The Hindenburg Disaster


While we all love airships from any steampunk themed movie or anime, real life airships proved to be quite dangerous. The Hindenburg disaster in 1937, which crashed in New Jersey, is the most notable example.

Tower Of Booze


Witness the tower of booze. Unfortunately, this picture was taken in 1924, near the beginning of Prohibition. What followed could only be described as a crime against (drunk) humanity. The entire stash was set ablaze to rid the world of this alcoholic scourge.

Photographer On The 69th Floor


This photographer’s name was Charles Ebbets. He took his famous “Lunch Atop A Skyscraper” photograph just after this picture was taken, in 1932. Behind him you can see New York City as seen from the 69th floor of the GE building.

Executing A Communist


This picture of German soldiers executing a communist in Munich in 1919 might have been staged. It is unknown whether it is German propaganda or communist propaganda, but judging by how “bravely” the communist is standing, it’s probably the latter.

Boy And Dead Brother


This heart-wrenching 1945 photograph shows a young boy standing at attention after having brought his dead brother to a cremation site.

Anthony Biddle


This famous colonel’s name was Anthony Biddle. He was a hand-to-hand combat expert and dared his soldiers to try an kill him after surrounding him. They were never able to and he managed to disarm them all… everytime!

Hitler & Frostbitten Soldier


This early 1940’s photo has Hitler comforting a frostbitten German soldier who tried to salute him.

Fell From Space


Vladimir Komarov, a Soviet cosmonaut, lost control of his space craft and fell to Earth, where he managed to successfully re-enter the atmosphere… only to have his space craft crash into the Earth in 1967. These are his remains.

Pyroclastic Flow


When Mt. Pinatubo in the Philippines erupted on June 17th, 1991, it spewed forth huge amounts of pyroclastic flow, which you see this truck attempting to escape. Pyroclastic flow can move in excess of 600 mph.

Passed-Out Guard


This British foot soldier was either too hot, or too overwhelmed with Queen Elizabeth II’s visit, and passed out in June of 1970.

Saigon Execution Of War Criminal


In 1968, this Viet Cong war criminal was executed by the Saigon Police Chief. The photo was used by American anti-war activists, but did not tell the whole story. The photographer said he felt terrible for ruining the Police Chief’s life since he had been correct to execute the murderer, who had killed many government officials, as well as their families.

Kids For Sale


This woman (and her husband) had trouble keeping a roof over their heads and were unemployed, so they sold their kids in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s. The children did not have good lives and some were abused in their new homes. The mother never regretted her decision when they eventually found her, and didn’t love them. She had 4 more kids later.

Harvey Milk Verdict Riot


In 1979 San Francisco, when the judge returned a verdict of involuntary manslaughter for Dan White, who had killed Harvey Milk, the gay community lost it. This is a picture of the protest/riot that followed immediately afterwards.

German Soldier Buries English Soldier


A German soldier in WWII buries an unknown English soldier that was killed in air combat in the Egyptian desert.

Check Out My New Ride


In 1924 Ohio, these young men were enjoying their brand new vehicle. It traveled a mind blowing 25 miles per hour.

It’s Lonely In Montana


Before the advent of Tinder and, Woodsmen in Montana put out an advertisement. [1901]

Soviet In Berlin With Hitler’s Head


A Soviet soldier carrying Hitler’s head, after capturing Berlin in 1945.

Queen Elizabeth II & Marilyn Monroe


In October of 1956, Marilyn Monroe meets Queen Elizabeth at a film premiere in London. Both women were 30 years old at the time.

Earth Pic


Michael Collins, the astronaut who took this photo, is the only human, alive or dead that isn’t in the frame of this picture, 1969

Girl With Doll During WWII London


Little Girl With Her Doll Sitting In The Ruins Of Her Bombed Home, London (1940)

Child With Bear During WWII


Little Girl With Her Doll Sitting In The Ruins Of Her Bombed Home, London (1940)

Cathedral of Amiens In WWII


The inside of the Cathedral of Amiens during World War II.

Dear Hitler, Signed Gandhi


Letter from Gandhi sent to Adolf Hitler in 1939.

The B**C* Of Buchenwald


Ilse Koch, the “bitch of Buchenwald”, in captivity. Her atrocities involved making human skin lampshades. 1941

Priest & Dying Soldier


The priest and the dying soldier, 1962

Final US Public Execution


The last ever public execution in the United States, 1936.

Civil War Rations For Prisoners


Union prisoners receive rations at Andersonville in 1864

Meteor Bruise


The only person ever struck by a meteor, Ann Hodges survived and was left with this massive bruise. Dr. Moody Jacobs shows off this unbelievable tale of survival. [1954]

First Niagara Falls Survivor


Annie Edison Taylor, the first person to survive going over Niagara Falls in a barrel, 1901

Japanese Assassination


Socialist Politician Asanuma as he was assassinated by 17-year old Yamaguchi in Tokyo, 1960.

Onions Are Too Much For Soldiers


Soldiers use gas masks to stop them from crying while peeling onions. [1941]

Civil War 50th Anniversary Reunion


On the 50th anniversary of the battle of Gettysburg, veterans of the Union and Confederacy reunite civilly, and shake hands. [1913]

Leaving Alcatraz


Last prisoners of Alcatraz leaving, 1963

Pre-WWII German Shooting Practice


Shooting practice for German soldiers in 1935.

King Tut’s Sarcophagus


The Greatest treasure find ever. Opening of King Tut’s sarcophagus (1924)

Human Ashes At Concentration Camp


Soviet soldiers stand dumfounded at a large pile of human ashes found at the Majdanek concentration camp in 1944

Shell Shock


The Face of Crazy. The severe effects of shell shock, what we now know as PTSD, on a WWI soldier. 1919

The Eagle’s Nest


Dick Winters and Easy Company (Band of Brothers) are pictured at Hitler’s residence, the Eagle’s Nest.

Here’s Where the US Is Most Vulnerable to a Catastrophic Solar Storm

Post 8010

 Here’s Where the US Is Most Vulnerable to a Catastrophic Solar Storm

Thursday 3:30pm

Every 100 years or so, our planet is bombarded by an intense solar storm. These extreme space-weather events are virtually impossible to predict, but new research shows which regions of the United States are at highest risk.

A new study published in Geophysical Research Letters is the first to provide a geoelectrical hazard map for the continental United States. Though incomplete, the map shows some of the areas within the US where geoelectrical fields produced by an incoming solar storm would damage the electrical power grid.

The new research, led by geologist Jeffrey Love, is an important contribution by the US Geological Survey to an interagency initiative called Space Weather Operations, Research, and Mitigation (SWORD), which was initiated by the White House’s National Science and Technology council last year.

Artist illustration of events on the sun changing the conditions in Near-Earth space. (Image: NASA)

Solar storms have happened before, and they’ll likely happen again. One of the most severe storms to hit our planet was the Carrington Event of 1859, which caused damage to the few electronic devices that existed at the time, namely telegraph systems. We’ve been hit by other geomagnetic storms since then, including events in 1921 and 1989. Given the scope of our current technological infrastructure, it’s been estimated that the next Carrington-scale event (which happens roughly once every 100 years) will cause upwards of $2.6 trillion in damage across the globe, and require four to ten years for complete recovery.

When a geomagnetic storm hits the planet, its effects aren’t equally distributed; factors above the atmosphere and within our planet’s crust act as force multipliers. To figure out which US regions are most vulnerable, Love’s team considered two variables: the rate of geomagnetic activity above a given area, and the extent of magnetic materials beneath the Earth’s surface. To that end, the researchers looked at real-time geomagnetic data collected by the International Real-time Magnetic Observatory Network (INTERMAGNET) consortium, and magnetotelluric survey data collected by the NSF’s EarthScope program (which measures subsurface electric conductivity).

Geoelectric hazard maps for the continental United States( Love et al., 2016)

Taken together, these two sets of data allowed the researchers to create their map. Each dot corresponds to a magnetotelluric survey site. Red and black dots represent areas with the greatest hazards, while yellow and green show the lowest hazards. Looking at the map, Minnesota and Wisconsin are at highest risk (and by inference, probably north western Ontario). The blank spaces on the map are where magnetotelluric surveys have not yet been conducted.

The authors of the new study say entire continent should be mapped, and that the northeast is likely at considerable risk. Here’s what they had to say in the study:

[A] high-priority area is the northeast United States, a region that includes several major metropolitan centers and corresponding electric-power grid infrastructure, all of which are situated on top of complicated geological and tectonic structures and at latitudes where geomagnetic activity can be locally intense. In some areas, such as in northern Minnesota (MN) where local geological and tectonic structure evidently results in geoelectric fields of great geographic complexity, detailed magnetotelluric surveys might be necessary. Additional geomagnetic monitoring and a magnetotelluric survey of southern Canada would lead to improved hazard mapping in the Northern United States, and it would enable risk assessment of integrated North American continental, electric-power grid networks.

No doubt—the stakes are high, so we better get a handle on the risk, and what we need to do to prepare for the next big solar storm to hit our planet.

[Geophysical Research Letters via EOS]

George is a contributing editor at Gizmodo and io9.

The Surprising Reason This ‘Saturn on Steroids’ Could Actually Exist

Post 8009

The Surprising Reason This ‘Saturn on Steroids’ Could Actually Exist

Illustration by artist Ron Miller of the gigantic ring system around J1407. (© Ron Miller. Used with permission.)

A few years ago, astronomers discovered a bizarre object in orbit around a distant star. Preliminary research suggested an exoplanet with an oversized ring system roughly 200 times larger than Saturn’s. Researchers have now proven that this dramatic celestial structure is indeed possible—but for it to work, the rings need to spin in the wrong direction.

This glorious exoplanet is either a large gas giant or a brown dwarf, and it’s in orbit around J1407, a young sun-like star located 420 light-years from Earth. Observations made in 2007 by RIKEN’s Steven Rieder and Leiden University’s Matthew Kenworthy revealed a strange series of eclipses, which the researchers interpreted as a large planet with a gigantic ring system, perhaps as much as 200 times larger than the one wrapped around Saturn.

The rings are so large that we’d be able to see them from Earth at dusk if the planet was located in Saturn’s orbit. (Image: M. Kenworthy/ Leiden University)

Skeptics said the researchers were jumping to conclusions, pointing to the object’s exaggerated orbit. Every once in a while, this planet ventures quite close to its host star, and the ensuing gravitational effects could disrupt the rings.

To see if such a system could actually exist, Rieder and Kenworthy decided to conduct a series of simulations. Their findings, which have been accepted for publication in Astronomy & Astrophysics, show that the system is stable and that it can persist for more than 10,000 orbits of 11 years. That means this structure could last for about 100,000 years, which isn’t long in cosmological terms. So if true, we happen to be very lucky in observing such a fleeting and rare object.

But there’s one important caveat: This gargantuan ring system can only exist if the rings rotate opposite to how the planet orbits the star. “It might sound far-fetched—massive rings that rotate in opposite direction—but we have now calculated that a ‘normal’ ring system cannot survive,” noted Rieder in a release.

Objects that turn in the wrong direction are in a retrograde orbit, and they’re quite rare. In our solar system, all of the planets and most of the other objects orbit in a prograde motion, meaning they’re travelling in the same direction as the rotation of the sun. Most satellites, and even the rings of Saturn, also move in a prograde motion. For an object to be in retrograde, something must have happened, like a planet that captured a moon that formed elsewhere. In the case of this extraordinary planetary system, Rieder and Kenworthy say a catastrophic event—such as a massive collision—could have caused the rings or the planet to turn the other way around.

The researchers say it’s possible that the strange eclipses are being caused by a free floating object, but add that the “chance of that is minimal.” Looking ahead, the researchers are planning to investigate how the ring structure could have formed, and how it might change over time.

[Astronomy & Astrophysics; preprint available at arXiv]

George is a contributing editor at Gizmodo and io9.

Two Undiscovered Dark Moons Appear to Be Hiding Near Uranus

Post 8008

 Two Undiscovered Dark Moons Appear to Be Hiding Near Uranus

Yesterday 4:20pm
Voyager 2 captured this stunning parting shot of Uranus as it headed off towards its next destination, Neptune. (Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

After re-examining data acquired by the Voyager 2 spacecraft, astronomers have detected wavy patterns in two of Uranus’s dark system of rings—patterns that may be indicative of two undiscovered moons.

Like the other gas giants in our solar system, Uranus features a ring system, though it’s not nearly as spectacular as the one around Saturn. And like the other gas giants, Uranus hosts a batch of natural satellites—27 to be exact. New research suggests this number might have to be revised; data collected by Voyager 2 during its historic 1986 flyby hints at two undiscovered moons lurking around a pair of Uranus’ rings.

The suspected new moons reside in Alpha and Beta—the 5th and 6th rings. (Image: Public domain)

Uranus is almost 20 times farther from the sun than the Earth, making direct observations difficult. Voyager 2 found 10 moons when it visited the planet in 1986, tripling the number of moons known to orbit the gas giant. But it appears the probe’s satellite-hunting days aren’t over just yet. Planetary scientists Rob Chancia and Matthew Hedman from the University of Idaho recently revisited Voyager 2’s old data, and they noticed something peculiar in two of Uranus’ 13 rings, Alpha and Beta.

The two rings exhibit a series of wavy patterns consistent with the presence of two tiny moons. “These patterns may be wakes from small moonlets orbiting exterior to these rings,” write the researchers in their study.

Importantly, these observations are consistent with how Uranus’ other moons, such as Cordelia and Ophelia, are exerting gravitational pressure on the dust, rocks, and ice within the rings, herding the particles along a narrow formation.

If these moons exist, they’re quite dark and very tiny, measuring a mere two to nine miles (four to 14 km) across. That would make them smaller than any other known moon to orbit the planet, which explains why Voyager 2 wasn’t able to detect them directly.

Armed with this possibility, the researchers are planning to inspect Uranus with the Hubble Space Telescope. Failing that, we could always send a new space probe. It’s been three decades since our last visit to Uranus, after all.

[arXiv via New Scientist]