Genius guy transforms plastic bottles into super strength plastic rope

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Genius guy transforms plastic bottles into super strength plastic rope

6/19/14 11:56pm

Look, I have no idea what I’m going to do with super strength plastic rope either but oh my genius, this recycler’s idea of turning plastic bottles into plastic rope is just brilliant. The video is perfect, he shows you the plastic rope, shows you what to do with it and then shows you how to make your own. I’m now convinced I need this in my life because of this guy.

Not only can you create spools of the stuff from just one bottle, the plastic rope can be melted down for a permanent hold.

This is totally the kind of guy I want on my side for the Zombie apocalypse.

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Your Crappy American Diet Might Leave Your Gut Bacteria Stunted

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Your Crappy American Diet Might Leave Your Gut Bacteria Stunted

Thursday 2:08pm

Image: Rocky Mountain Laboratories/Wikimedia Commons

Adopting a healthy lifestyle might not seem that hard on the outset. You ate a lot of cheeseburgers and drank a lot of soda, and now you’re going to stop doing that. But a new study in mice suggests that it takes a while for the gut’s bacterial zoo, or microbiome, to adapt to dietary changes. If the results hold in humans, it could mean developing a healthy gut is more than a quick diet fix.

The study, which is published today in the journal Cell Host and Microbe, involved plenty of poop. The researchers first analyzed feces from a group of people who stuck to a calorie-restricted diet that optimized their nutrient intake, and another group of people who ate a so-called American diet without dietary restrictions. Then, the team raised an array of mice whose gut microbiomes included the human fecal bacteria associated with the two diets, fed these mouse models the two different diets, and measured their weight and gut bacterial makeup periodically. In another experiment, the researchers housed calorie-restricted mice and American diet mice together, and again observed how each group’s microbiome responded to either diet.

The scientists found that poop from the American diet eaters had fewer species of bacteria than poop from calorie-restricted dieters. And even after being moved to a better diet, the mice raised with an American diet-microbiome exhibited lower bacterial diversity. However, the American diet-raised mouse microbiomes responded more strongly to their new healthy diets once they moved into communities with the calorie-restricted mice.

According to Andy Benson, a professor of biotechnology at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln who was not involved with the study, the research is important for showing that different diets have an impact on the configuration of the microbiome. However, he noted a few caveats, like the fact that mice aren’t people. “The more difficult part is how we extrapolate these results to human populations,” he said. He also noted that plenty of other factors determine the microbiome other than just diet.

Benson worried that folks would get too excited about the fact that housing mice together helped American diet eaters with stunted gut microbiome diversity become more diverse. (In general, more diversity is a good thing for any ecosystem, including the gut, and we probably evolved eating a diet closer to the diversity-promoting calorie-restricted one.)

The study “definitely generates some thought, and it’s an interesting discussion among scientists. It mortifies me to think of politicians thinking about this,” he said. Plus, he wasn’t sure how this effect would manifest itself in human populations. The paper’s authors use the word “coprophagic,” meaning shit-eating, while discussing how gut bacteria might be passed between mice raised on different diets, and while they did not respond to a request for comment, I doubt people looking to live more healthy will eat the poop of dieting people.

Alessio Fasano, a pediatric gastroenterologist from Massachusetts General Hospital, speculated about what the results might mean for humans. “There’s a well-established [microbial] community dictated by prior dietary practice,” he said. “Even if you make changes in the diet, the microbiome will be hard to modify.”

Fasano emphasized that scientists aren’t so sure if a microbiome lacking diversity is the cause or consequence of gastrointestinal problems. “But when you take a cross section of people who are sick, say with Crohn’s disease, we know the differences in their microbiome are an integral part.”

[Cell Host and Microbe]

Science writer at Gizmodo | I like physics and eating

Hi-Def Video of Earth From Space Is So Beautiful You’ll Want to Punch Yourself in the Face

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Hi-Def Video of Earth From Space Is So Beautiful You’ll Want to Punch Yourself in the Face

Thursday 2:36pm

Earlier this year, NASA astronaut Jeff Williams captured ultra high definition video of our pale blue dot from the vantage point of the International Space Station. It’s easily the most uplifting thing you’re going to see all day.

In this newly released video, Williams talks about what it’s like to gaze upon the Earth when in space, and why it’s important to share this unique perspective with others.

It’s been said many times that a person’s perspective on life, the universe, and everything changes after seeing our planet floating in space. Watching this video, it’s easy to understand why.

Because NASA is awesome, it has made these video files available for download, which you can access here.

George is a contributing editor at Gizmodo and io9.

10 Instances Of Medicinal Cannibalism And Vampirism

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10 Instances Of Medicinal Cannibalism And Vampirism


We have all read the stories about serial killers who have eaten parts of their victims. As children, many of us also became fascinated by the notion of cannibals living deep in foreign jungles, thanks to the exploitation films of Hollywood.

The truth about cannibalism and its practice is far more common than you might think. In fact, people have been eating people for centuries without the popular stigma associated with such a huge taboo.

Medical cannibalism and even medical vampirism have been practiced for centuries by those who, you would think, should know better. Royal, religious, and common folk have all practiced medical cannibalism without shame, believing that it was for the greater good.

10Mummy Dust


Photo credit:

In the Middle Ages, mummy dust was a popular drug throughout Europe. Mummies or mummy dust was imported from Egypt. The dead bodies werecrushed into a powder. When eaten, the powder was believed to cure a great number of health issues, such as rashes, constipation, and paralysis.

Groups of people within the Middle East mixed the mummy dust with butter and took it as medicine well into the 1800s. The use of mummies became so prolific that the Egyptian government finally passed laws about selling off mummified relatives to merchants.


9Gladiator Blood


Photo credit:

Gladiators in ancient Rome lived brutal, short lives. They fought in the arenas to the jeers and cheers of the crowd, who wanted little more than to see the gladiators’ gruesome deaths.

However, some people who attended the gladiator events were there tocapture the blood of the slain gladiators. These spectators believed that if they drank the blood of strong, slain men, they would absorb the gladiators’ vitality and gain some of their strength, similar to the way vampires are said to be renewed after drinking human blood.

8Moss From A Dead Man’s Skull


Photo credit:

Besides consuming crushed human skulls, the people of medieval times also ate the lichen that grew on the skulls of the dead. According to their lore, you needed to gather the skull lichen, called usnea, from the skulls of dead soldiers. The lichen was scraped off the skulls, dried, and powdered. Then it was made into tinctures and taken as a magical cure for wounds.

Much of the medicine from medieval times relied on sympathetic magic. For example, powdered heart was consumed to fix heart problems. Blood symbolized life and renewal, so it was consumed in the hopes of renewing the body.

In this case, the lichen was taken from soldiers. Although the soldiers may have died from the wounds they received in battle, the lichen from their skulls was believed to magically cure serious wounds.


7Cured Meat


Photo credit: Wewoewi

According to a recipe written in the 17th century by Johann Schroder, a German pharmacologist, you need the body of a “reddish man” who died a violent death to cure whatever is ailing you. The body has to lie in the moonlight for one full day and one full night before you cut the meat off the bones.

The man meat was covered in myrrh and aloe and then soaked in wine for a few days. After the man was thoroughly marinaded, the meat strips would be hung up to cure.

6The King’s Drops


You might think that taking part in cannibalism was something that only the poor and uneducated did, but kings also partook of the practice. You may have heard of an elixir called “the king’s drops.” It was something that Charles II of England took to keep him well.

The recipe cost the king a whopping 6,000 pounds, and it included a process to distill human skulls into a tincture. The skulls used for the tincture came from gravediggers who dug up the bones in Ireland. The skulls were crushed and made into an alcoholic mixture that Charles II frequently drank.

5Cure For The Elderly


People have always looked for ways to renew their youth. The desire to be young again has led to some crazy remedies throughout history. In the 15th century, Marsilio Ficino, an Italian priest, recommended drinking blood to overcome the effects of old age.

He stated that the elderly could regain their youth by drinking the fresh blood of a young person who died healthy. The young person should have been relatively happy during life and should have lived excessively. The blood had to be harvested from the recent dead and not from a corpse that has been lying about getting ripe.

This form of medical vampirism has been revisited repeatedly over the centuries, sometimes as a cure for old age and other times as a cure for consumption.


4Skull And Molasses


It is understandable that a parent would do almost anything to cure a child of whatever ails her. It is only human nature to want one’s offspring to survive, and for some parents, cannibalism was on the table as a last resort.

Take, for instance, the case where a father was told that if he mixed thecrushed human skull of a young woman with molasses and fed it to his epileptic daughter, she would be cured.

The man did as he was told and fed his daughter the gruesome mixture. Ultimately, he reported that it had no effect upon his daughter’s epilepsy. This happened in 1847.

3Standing At The Scaffold


Photo credit:

At first glance, it might seem that the people standing closest to the scaffold during a beheading were eager for the gore. However, that was not usually the case in Denmark.

Epileptics often stood at the scaffold with cups in hand, waiting to capture the blood spurting from the condemned. They believed that the blood from a life cut short would cure them of their epilepsy.

2Harvesting The Remainder Of Their Lives


Photo credit:

By drinking blood from the young, people in the past believed that they would gain all the years that the young person was deprived of. That is why the blood of the old was worthless in magical medicinal cures. There were not enough years left in the blood of the elderly to make a difference to the person drinking the blood.

Of course, drinking the blood of the young did not make a lick of difference when you were on your deathbed.

Take, for instance, Pope Innocent VIII. As he was dying in 1492, the doctors took three young boys and bled them to death to save the Pope’s life. The Pope drank their blood as medicine and still he died.

1Pulverized Human Heart


The human heart has around 722 calories—more calories than a 285-gram (10 oz) steak from a cow. For that reason, there are anthropologists who believe that people turned to cannibalism for their bodies’ caloric needs.

Calories and the need to eat did not figure into medical cannibalism. The need to consume certain body parts was based on superstitions. The heart, for example, represented strength in symbology. Therefore, if a patient ate a human heart, he would gain strength from it.

One particular preacher, Briton John Keogh, wrote a recipe for pulverized human heart in the 1700s. The purpose of the medicine was to get rid of dizziness and, therefore, improve the body’s strength. Patients were told to take the heart medicine in the mornings on an empty stomach.

Elizabeth spends most of her time surrounded by dusty, smelly, old books in a room she refers to as her personal nirvana. She’s been writing about strange “stuff” since 1997 and enjoys traveling to historical places.

10 Frozen Timepieces That Marked Death And Disaster

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10 Frozen Timepieces That Marked Death And Disaster


In Victorian times, people would stop a house’s clocks at the time of an occupant’s death. Although this tradition continues somewhat today, there are some death clocks that weren’t stopped on purpose. Instead, they were broken by terrible circumstance, frozen forever to mark the last moments of disaster. These clocks are chilling mementos of past tragedies.

10The Pirate’s Pocket Watch

On June 7, 1692, the town of Port Royal, Jamaica, was destroyed by a major earthquake. Shortly before noon, residents heard a thunderous cracking noise before feeling the earth shake violently and watching half their city slip into the sea. Three centuries later, historians began to explore the underwater ruins.

The most famous artifact recovered from the ruins was a pocket watchmanufactured in the Netherlands around 1686. The hands on the watch were stopped at 11:43 AM, the exact time of the earthquake and the watch’s entrance into the sea. Although other records noting the time of the quake do exist, the discovery of the pocket watch was the first time that a stopped clock was used by archaeologists to date a disaster down to the minute.


9Casey Jones’s Pocket Watch


Railroad enthusiasts know the story of John Luther “Casey” Jones, a train engineer who heroically died saving his passengers during a collision near Vaughn, Mississippi. While approaching the station at Vaughn, Jones and his signalman noticed something on the track ahead. They realized too late that it was the tail end of another train that was too long to fit its siding. The signalman leaped from the cab (on Jones’s orders), leaving Casey to his fate. A few seconds later, Jones’s train collided head-on with the other cars.

When Jones’s badly mangled body was pulled from the wreckage later that day, it was found that his pocket watch had stopped at 3:52 AM, the exact time of the impact. Although Jones died as a result of the crash, his actions ensured that he was the only fatality. No one else involved with either train suffered more than minor injuries.

8The Titanic’s Mantel Clock


Photo via Pinterest

The story of the Titanic—the so-called “unsinkable” luxury ocean liner—is well-known. On the night of April 14, 1912, the ship struck an iceberg and ultimately sank into the North Atlantic during the early morning hours of April 15, taking approximately 1,500 people with it. Although there were many pocket watches and clocks retrieved from both victims and the ship itself, the most interesting one remains with the wreck.

This clock was located on the fireplace of the Straus suite, used by Macy’s founder Isidor Straus and his wife. Upon the dilapidated mantel, surrounded by sand and debris, sits a golden clock looking almost as new as it did the day it was made. Old pictures of the suite in its heyday show that the sinking did not affect the clock’s position at all. Its face, however, has seen some damage and is hard to read. The documentary Tony Robinson’s Titanic Adventure hypothesizes that the hands stopped either at 2:04 AM, when the last lifeboat was released, or 2:20 AM, the very minute the ship plunged beneath the waves.


7John Taylor’s Pocket Watch


Joseph Smith, founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, was killed on June 27, 1844, by a group of angry Illinois townspeople. After a long legal debacle that began with the destruction of an anti-Mormon newspaper’s printing press, Smith and a few other men waited in the Carthage, Illinois, jail for a trail. There, they saw a mob of around 200 men marching toward the building.

Although Smith was killed in the attack, his friend, John Taylor, miraculously survived. In the melee, Taylor tried to escape by jumping from the jail window but was pushed backward by the force of a gunshot from below. The shooter had been aiming for Taylor’s heart but instead hit his watch, which he kept in his left vest pocket. The hands of the watch were stopped at 5:16 PM, approximately the time that Joseph Smith breathed his last. Taylor later took his miracle watch to Salt Lake City, where he eventually became president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The watch remains in the church’s archives to this day.

6The Chernobyl Clock


Photo credit: Gerd Ludwig/INSTITUTE

In early morning hours of April 26, 1986, the Chernobyl nuclear power plant experienced a meltdown after a safety test went catastrophically wrong. In the ensuing hours, the power plant and nearby areas were blasted with radioactive energy, heat, and fire. In 2005, intrepid photographer Gerd Ludwig ventured into the radioactive ruins of the power plant for a 15-minute photography trip. Although all the photographs of ghostly control rooms and empty hallways are stunning, there was only one scene that Ludwig truly risked his life to capture.

Deep in the heart of the reactor, where the radiation is strongest, Ludwig ventured into a room hidden behind a steel door. In the few seconds allowed to him, he saw an old clock hanging on a wall, its hands stopped at 1:23:58 AM, the exact time at which the reactor exploded. The image of the clock spoke so much to Ludwig that he begged to be allowed a few brief seconds to photograph, in his words, “the time when on 26 April, 1986, in the building that housed Energy Block #4, time stood forever still.”

5The Train Workers’ Clock


Photo credit: Robert J. Fisch

The entire world knows the story of September 11, 2001, in which the United States suffered the worst terrorist attack in its history. Although the US has largely rebounded from the tragedy, 9/11 hasn’t been forgotten. Each plane crash site was made into a memorial, with the largest and most elaborate filling the footprint of the Twin Towers in New York City.

In 2005, the Ground Zero Museum Workshop opened in New York to honor the dead and remind the living of that terrible day. One of the featured items in the museum is a clock found in the wreckage, its hands pointing to 10:02:14 AM, when the south tower collapsed. The clock was discovered in a break room used by local train workers alongside the remnants of their weight lifting bench.


4The Photographer’s Pocket Watch


Photo via BBC News

On August 6, 1945, the future of warfare was changed forever. Whether truly merited or not, US military leaders decided to destroy the city of Hiroshima, Japan, with the ace they’d secretly been building: the atomic bomb. Roughly 100,000 people were killed in the attack, and everything within a 1.6-kilometer (1 mi) radius was completely turned to rubble.

In the aftermath of the bombing, 19-year-old Shinji Mikamo returned to Hiroshima to dig through the ruins of his family home. There, he found his grandfather’s golden pocket watch, which had originally been given as payment for serving as an imperial photographer. Even though the watch’s hands had been blown off, the heat of the blast had seared the time of the bombing onto the metal below, leaving the clock to always read 8:15 AM. Shinji donated the watch to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum in 1955 and then to a museum in the United Nations Headquarters in New York. Unfortunately, the watch disappeared in 1989 and has not been seen since.

3The Murrah Building Clock


Photo credit: Ben Piven/Al Jazeera via Research History

Masterminded by two criminals who were disgruntled with the government, the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, was the deadliest terrorist attack in the US before 9/11. On the morning of April 19, 1995, a moving truck loaded with explosives detonated outside the building, killing 168 people (19 of whom were children under the age of six) and injuring more than 650 others. Three months later, the remains of the Murrah building were demolished so that a memorial and museum could be built on the grounds.

The idea of stopped time is heavily integrated into both the memorial and the museum. Two large structures known as the Gates of Time flank the entrances of the outdoor memorial, each inscribed with a time stamp of significance. The eastern gate reads “9:01,” which represents “the last moments of peace” before the blast. Its parallel, the western gate, reads “9:03,” called “the first moments of recovery.” Enshrined in the museum, however, is a memento that marks the exact time of the blast: a clock poised at 9:02 AM.

2Oppau Church Clocks


Oppau (now incorporated into the city of Ludwigshafen) was a small town located in Southwestern Germany. Oppau’s BASF chemical plant was responsible for the production of ammonium nitrate fertilizer, which it stored in a large silo alongside another chemical. Unfortunately, these two chemicals had a habit of getting stuck together, a situation that was remedied with the use of dynamite charges. While this operation was dangerous, it was also commonplace.

However, Oppau’s luck ran out on September 21, 1921, when the fertilizer exploded. The huge blast left both the factory and town destroyed. What did survive were several clocks belonging to nearby churches. Every single one was found to have stopped at 7:33 AM, the exact time of the explosion.

1The Tsunami Clock


Photo credit: Donnie MacGowan

While the Hawaiian islands are seen as a paradise by many, they still face the wrath of nature on occasion. The city of Hilo, located on the Big Island, has itself faced two major tsunamis in the last century, the second of which was on May 23, 1960. One of the area’s famous landmarks, a green clock located in the low-lying suburb of Waiakea Town, survived the first tsunami but was heavily damaged by the second. Its hands are stopped at 1:04 AM, the time at which the first massive waves hit the island.

The clock has been kept in this condition as a memorial to those who lost their lives and homes and still stands today. Waiakea Town no longer exists, its former lands having been replaced with public parks and green spaces.

The author is a Ph.D. student in agriculture who lives to read and learn.

10 Of The Most Beautiful Maps Ever Created

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10 Of The Most Beautiful Maps Ever Created


During much of history, maps were designed as much for beauty and display as for accuracy. When maps were hand-drawn, they were difficult and expensive to produce, and ones designed for personal libraries were appropriately lavish to reflect their status as luxury items. Even in modern times, some map makers design their works to make a point. Others designed them for beauty, and sometimes a map designed for entirely practical purposes is also beautiful.

10Planisphaerium Arateum Sive Compages Orbium Mundanorum Ex Hypothesi Aratea In Plano Expressa


Photo credit: Andreas Cellarius

The planisphere of Aratus, or the composition of the heavenly orbits following the hypothesis of Aratus expressed in a planar view, was designed by Andreas Cellarius and published in 1660 as part of his Harmonia Macrocosmica (harmony of the macrocosm). It shows a model of the universe according to the Greek astronomer and poet Aratus. It shows theEarth at the center of the universe, with the Sun, Moon, and other planets orbiting around it, and the signs of the zodiac orbiting around those.

The orbits are particularly graceful, and all the details are clear and precise. Every map in the Harmonia is stunningly beautiful, but this one combines some of the virtues of each.


9The Cedid Atlas Tercumesi


Selim III, then Sultan of the Ottoman empire, engaged in many reforms and modernizations during his reign, and this 1803 atlas was the first known complete printed atlas in the Muslim world to use European-style cartography. Only 50 copies were printed, and many of these were burned in a warehouse fire during a Janissary uprising of those opposed to Selim’s reforms, so it is also one of the rarest printed atlases.

The lettering is remarkably well done, even by the high standards of the day. Each page was mounted on cloth, rather than paper, to make it more durable.

8This Fantasy Map Of Sarkamand


Photo credit: Robert Altbauer

This map of a mighty capital in the desert, seat of the Padisha, was created in Photoshop and Illustrator by Robert Altbauer. The lettering style suggests Arabic, and the name references the extraordinarily beautiful city Samarkand,located in today’s Uzbekistan.

The design of overlapping circles almost looks like photographs of cellular structures. Altbauer has designed maps for games, television, and fantasy novels.


7An Ancient Mappe Of Fairyland


Photo credit: Library of Congress

This map, created in 1918, depicts an island that shows the locations of dozens of myths, fairy tales, and folklore. The sources are mostly British, but there are also inspirations from Greek and German myths. You can see Oberon’s kingdom from Midsummer Night’s Dream, King Arthur’s tomb, a mountain where rocs build their nests, Red Riding hood’s cottage, Tom Thumb, Monsalvat (the land where the Holy Grail is guarded by the Grail Knights), and Ulysses’s ship.

Sleigh was inspired by many of the artists of the Arts and Crafts movement, especially William Morris, and this shows in not just the subject matter but the delicacy of the colors. 1918 marked the end of World War I, so it’s quite possible that for Sleigh and those who admired the map, this fantasy land in which even the more dangerous creatures, such as dragons, looked peaceful was a welcome escape.

6Duke’s Plan Of New York


Photo credit: British Library

1664 was the year the English captured New York from the Dutch. This map shows several of the original spellings from that time, including Hudson’s River, Longe Isleland, and Mannados. The map was presented to James, the Duke of York, with the expectation that he would name the city after himself.

The design, copied from an earlier Dutch map, blends ornate elements, such as the decorative border and legend, with plenty of empty space depicting land and much of the water. The British ships, added to reinforce that the city became British territory, are drawn so delicately that they emphasize the empty space.



Photo credit: Wikimedia

This map, created in Korea around 1800, is known as a Cheonhado. The term means “complete map of all under Heaven” and shows the mystical Mount Meru in the center. In Buddhist, Jain, and Hindu beliefs, Mount Meru is not just the physical but the spiritual center of the universe.

Other countries, with little regard for their relative sizes or geographical location, orbit China and Mount Meru.


4Yongying County In China


Photo credit: Arthur William

This map was created in China sometime between 1734 and 1779 and shows the river systems of Yongying County in China. Unlike most Western maps, the south is at the top and the north at the bottom.

It was painted on silk, and the labels were pasted on. The gentle curves and muted colors give the map a rather tranquil appearance.

3Leo Belgicus


Photo credit: Famiano Strada

In 1583, Michael Aitzinger drew a map that depicted the Netherlands, Luxembourg, and Belgium in the shape of a lion, inspired by the lions that were so common in the region’s heraldry. He called it the Leo Belgicus, and it started a trend for mapmakers. The most famous version is by Claes Janszoon Visscher, from 1611.

2Geological Investigation Of The Alluvial Valley Of The Lower Mississippi River


Photo credit: Harold Fisk

In 1944, Harold Norman Fisk, a geology professor, published this as part of a report for the Army Corps of Engineers. These maps of the changes of the Mississippi River over time look a bit like the undulations of muscle tissue, a bit like ribbon candy, and a bit like abstract art.

The research behind these maps is just as impressive as the maps themselves. Fisk and his team used approximately 16,000 soil samples from various locations around the river and compared them to aerial photographs to establish the old flow patterns.

1Book Of Navigation


Photo credit: UW Green Bay

The Ottoman admiral Piri Reis designed many gorgeous maps, including the collection in his Book of Navigation, published in 1521. The maps show the delicate precision of Ottoman illuminated manuscripts, and the coloring of the land masses (which were far less important to Reis) has an almost playful note.

His first world map, published in 1513, includes both North and South America. Some people believe the section that shows the southern part of South America and the coast of Antarctica are so accurate that it proves humans explored Antarctica long before the historical record indicates. However, the map has enough mistakes (including an annotation that saysthe region is warm) to make it clear that the points that are accurate are far more likely due to good informed guesses based on Reis’s topography skills.

+A Humorous Diplomatic Atlas Of Europe And Asia

In March, 1904, at the beginning of the Russian-Japanese war, student Kisabur Ohara, published this atlas that showed Russia as an octopus trying to strangle all of Asia and much of Europe. Finland, Poland, Crimea, and the Balkans are already dead and represented by skulls, while Turkey, Persia, and Tibet are caught firmly. Each living country is depicted as a person in the country’s typical costume. One of the octopus’s arms is reaching toward Korea and Port Arthur, ready to throttle those, as well.

Previous maps had shown Russia as an octopus reaching greedily across Asia, but this is the first known one to show Europe at risk as well. Even without the text, the map does a remarkable job of portraying Russia as a bestial menace and other countries at risk.

Ann is a researcher, writer, and currently a job hunter. Learn more or see more of her writing.

10 Terrifying Predictions For 2017

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10 Terrifying Predictions For 2017


2016 was a bad year. Beloved celebrities died, terrorists massacred dozens, Aleppo was devastated, Yemen went to Hell, North Korea detonated two nukes, and the US was divided by the nastiest election in living memory.

Well, we’ve got some bad news: 2017 could be even worse. Here’s how:

10Italy’s Banking System Collapses

In a list of “boring-sounding things you should be worried about,” an Italian banking crisis would be number one. For years, Italy’s lenders have been chucking money at people like 2008 never happened. Now, experts thinks those banks could finally fall.

Italy is the world’s eighth largest economy. It’s also a Eurozone country, so it could bring the whole EU crashing down. The Greek debt crisis nearly collapsed the Euro, and Greece barely edges into the top 50 global economies. Italy going down would be like sticking a block of Semtex under the Euro and pressing the button marked “Kaboom.”

As a single entity, the EU has an economy larger than China. If it goes, the effects on the world would be enormous. US consumers would be hurting faster than you can say “global depression.”


9The US And China Engage In A Trade War

US president-elect Trump has made no bones about his plans regarding China. He wants to slap tariffs on Chinese goods and square off against Beijing over trade. While Beijing may back down, things could go the other way. The US and China could wind up embroiled in a painful trade war.

This would be . . . interesting, to say the least. China and the US trade nearly $600 billion worth of goods. While China imports more from the US than vise-versa, the goods the US imports are harder to source elsewhere. So China would face bigger immediate problems, but US consumers would find themselves paying an enormous “tax” on consumer electronics, a worrying proposition in the digital age.

Then there’s the fact that China imports, assembles, and then reexports goods all over Asia. A damaging trade war would spill over onto Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan and mess things up for millions.

8The Taliban Take Over Afghanistan (Again)


Photo credit: AFP via BBC News

Remember the Taliban? Like an unwanted Marvel sequel, the fanatical Islamist group has returned with an even bigger budget. Only instead of targeting the summer schedules, they’re on the verge of overrunning all of Afghanistan.

Nearly 150 of Afghanistan’s 400 districts are already totally or partially under Taliban control. There’s fighting in 50 more. These are the highest numbers since 2001 and are being fueled by soaring Afghan military and police defections. In a manner eerily reminiscent of ISIS’s 2014 rampage across Iraq and Syria, the Taliban are recruiting their own disaffected “enemies” en masse, gaining piles of new equipment in the process.

Currently, the US has 10,000 troops stationed in Afghanistan, but they’re making very little difference. Unless the tide turns, it’s almost certain that 2017 will be the year the Taliban retake Afghanistan, as though that whole War on Terror thing never even happened.


7Marine Le Pen Is Elected President Of France


Photo credit: Reuters/Pascal Rossignol via Salon

Marine Le Pen’s Front National party is currently leading in polls for France’s 2017 elections. That’s not good. Front National is a party so far right that they make General Franco look like a social justice warrior.

The party’s founder, Jean-Marie Le Pen, has repeatedly denied the Holocaust. His earliest members were French collaborators from World War II. He used to publish Nazi songs. As for the charge that his party is “fascist,” in 2012, his daughter, Marine, sued a socialist politician who described Front National that way. A French court ruled that “fascist” was a literal description of their politics.

If Le Pen becomes leader of France, it would be like Brexit on steroids. Not only would a major European country be ruled by a neo-Nazi, but Le Pen has promised to yank France out of the European Union. The result—a total collapse of the EU and economic shock waves that will rock the world.

6North Korea Goes Full Nuclear

North Korea is the gag nation. While Iranian nukes worry us, North Korea acts as a punchline in Seth Rogen movies. In truth, we may be underestimating the DPRK. 2017 could see their nuclear capability go from “scary background noise” to “terrifying threat.”

In 2016, Pyongyang carried out two nuclear tests, bringing its grand total to five. No other nation in history has made it to five tests without perfecting a device it can attach to a missile. Kim has made ramping up rocket research a priority. Crazy as it sounds, North Korea might be closer to a working, ready-to-deploy nuclear missile than we realize.

Conservative estimates put mid-2018 as the point that North Korea reaches full nuclear capability, but there’s a chance it could be earlier. Kim already has 20 nukes, a fleet of missiles, and a fragile ego. For the pudgy tyrant, entering the nuclear club early would be worth any number of his people starving.

5ISIS Unleashes Carnage In Europe

In the 13 months since November 2015, ISIS and IS-inspired terrorists have killed over 260 innocent people in Europe and more if you include attacks in Turkey. (Turkey sits in both Europe and Asia.) Horrific as this is, it could merely be a taster of what is to come.

With ISIS’s Iraq and Syria strongholds collapsing, Western jihadists are being sent back home by the thousands, all with only one goal: to cause maximum casualties to civilians.

According to Europol, these returning fighters have been briefed to try to launch attacks in European countries, with France, Germany, and Britain the top targets. Scarily, it’s thought that these attacks may well involve weapons of mass destruction like sarin and anthrax. Although many will be foiled, it would just take one successful attack to cause untold casualties.


4A Crippling Cyber Attack

On December 23, 2015, a group of hackers infiltrated and disabled three major power stations in Western Ukraine, leaving 230,000 homes without power in the middle of a freezing winter. It was the first major cyber attack on a power grid in history. Scarily, far from being soft targets, those Ukrainian power stations had better cyber protection than most US ones.

Foreign policy experts have been warning about a crippling cyber attack on vital US infrastructure for years, but after the Ukrainian attack, those warnings have become deadly serious. In Ukraine, power was restored after six hours by using manual backups—which US substations lack. If a similar attack hit the US, the power could stay out for months on end.

Such attacks are increasing in number. In mid-2015, France’s TV5 was almost destroyed by Russian hackers. In winter 2016, Ukraine’s power grid was hit again. It may only be a matter of time before the US is targeted.

3Genocide In Africa And Asia


Right now, Iraq, Yemen, and Syria are vast killing zones. Parts of Nigeria, Pakistan, and Afghanistan are engulfed in violence, and people are still dying in Ukraine, Mexico, and Somalia. To this dispiriting list, 2017 may add two more countries: Myanmar (aka Burma) and the Central African Republic (CAR).

The CAR is an ethnically divided, failing state with armed gangs roaming its countryside and has been at boiling point for the last two years. Observers are worried it will spill over into ethnic violence, if not outright genocide, any day.

Myanmar, on the other hand, was meant to be a success story. After the country transitioned to democracy after 60 years of dictatorship, it was supposed to become a beacon of the free world. Instead, security forces began destroying villages belonging to the Rohingya minority and ethnically cleansing their populations. Frighteningly, all the indicators for a potential genocide to unfold in 2017 are already in place.

2A Major War


Photo credit: Zurab Kurtsikidze/EPA via The Guardian

Is 2016 the new 1913? There are signs out there that major powers could be sucked into horrifying collisions if things don’t immediately change course. Depending on those involved, this war could be anywhere on the scale from “locally devastating” to “World War III.”

China is one potential worry. In recent weeks, China and the US have been squaring off over both the South China Sea and Taiwan. While China would be insane to directly engage the US in a war, there’s nothing to stop them from attacking minor US allies. This could then suck in the US and NATO, much as the assassination of one middle-aged dude in 1913 wound up sending the entire world to war.

Then there’s Russia. One former NATO deputy commander has already predicted that Moscow will annex the Baltic states in 2017, leaving the US and EU treaty-bound to protect them. Or maybe the recent assassination of a Russian diplomat in Turkey will bring Ankara and Moscow toe-to-toe, a conflict that, once again, the US would be treaty-bound to get involved in.

1A US Insurgency

It sounds ridiculous. The idea that a group in the United States would arm itself and begin a violent insurgency sounds like something from a dystopian sci-fi story. But it’s scarily plausible.

US politics are more polarized than ever. Pew Research shows that Americans no longer trust their countrymen from the other side of the political spectrum. Extreme left and right groups are stirring their followers into a violent frenzy on social media, everyone thinks the system is rigged against their group, and both sides are arming themselves. Throw in a super-divisive election and a president many are convinced is illegitimate, and you’ve got the stage set for another civil war.

We’re not saying this will definitely happen in 2017 or even at all. Most likely, none of this will come to pass, and we’ll look extremely foolish. But the US right now is a divided, angry, and worried place. And unless someone works to break this cycle, it could lead down a very dark path indeed.

10 Mysterious Jade Relics

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10 Mysterious Jade Relics


For over 100,000 years, people have been obsessed with jade. Its color, luster, and durability make it ideal for tools, talismans, jewelry, and royal artifacts. Ancient Europeans and Asians believed that jade had healing abilities—even offering the possibility of eternal life.

While green is its most common hue, jade can be any color. In 1863, scientists discovered that jade refers to two silicate metamorphic stones: nephrite, ideal for sculpting, and jadeite, which can be stronger than steel. The Maya and the Chinese prized jade over any other material—even gold.

10Record-Breaking Red Jade Imperial Seal


Photo credit:

In December 2016, an 18th-century Chinese imperial seal sold at auction for 21 million euros. Dated from the Qianlong period between 1736 and 1795, this symbol of imperial authority is carved from red and beige nephrite.

After a bidding war, an unnamed Chinese collector snatched it up. The seal sold for 20 times its estimated value, shattering the previous record of 12.4 million euros paid for a jade stamp in 2011.

The seal once belonged to Emperor Qianlong. Pieces from the period are considered a high point of Chinese art. The jade, described as “almost blood red,” is extremely rare.

Nine dragons on the stamp represent masculine energy and power. An inscription reads: “Treasure of the imperial brush of Qianlong.” Known as a talented poet and calligrapher, the emperor used the seal to sign his works. During his reign, the empire doubled in size and the population rose to 400 million.


9Scottish Jade Axes


Photo credit: Ancient Origins

In 2016, the National Museum of Scotland opened an exhibit featuring ancient jade axes. Dated to 4000 BC, the blades were over 100 years old when they arrived in Scotland. Experts have traced their origin to the Italian Alps.

The manufacturing centers were located near the high mountains, and the jade was sourced from an elevation over 1,980 meters (6,500 ft). Archaeologists have located one of these jade quarries in Monte Viso, Italy, which dates back to 5200 BC.

Over 1,600 jade axeheads have been recovered across Europe. Their ritual and spiritual significance remains unknown. Neolithic inhabitants of Northern Italy viewed the Alps as the home of the gods. It is likely they believed that rocks quarried from these sacred sites had the power to heal and protect.

The axes may have been designed for rituals or sacrifice. The color may have had special significance, as copies were often made using locally available green stones.

8Jade Burial Suits


Photo credit:

In 1968, archaeologists discovered jade burial suits in the tomb of Prince Liu Sheng and his bride, Princess Duo Wan. Each head-to-toe outfit is composed of over 2,000 pieces of jade.

The prince’s suit was sewn with gold thread. The princess’ suit used silver. These suits were rumored to exist since the fourth century AD. However, none had been confirmed until the tomb was excavated. So far, only 15 have been discovered.

Experts believe that a master jadesmith took a decade to produce one suit. In AD 223, Emperor Wen of Wei banned the production of jade suits. He feared that they were irresistible to looters.

Ancient Chinese believed that jade had extraordinary powers to both prevent decay and protect against malignant spirits. The prince and princess may have attained their goal of immortality. Jade is porous and may still contain their genetic material, which seeped in over two millennia.


7Mayan Shark-Toothed Sun God


Photo credit:

In the jungles of northern Guatemala, archaeologists uncovered a mysterious jade mask at the Rio Azul Mayan site. The mask represents Kinich Ahau, the Sun god. He is depicted with one large shark tooth, which sheds light on Mayan spirituality, bogeymen, and hunting practice. Shark teeth are common finds at Mayan sites. They were used for everyday functions like weaponry, jewelry, and bloodletting tools.

Coastal Maya were known to hunt sharks. They likely spread knowledge of the “sea monsters” and their teeth far inland. The tales were probably exaggerated as they were passed from trader to trader on their journeys from the coast.

Like the Sun god’s mask, sharks in Mayan art are often portrayed with one large tooth. Archaeologists have uncovered Megalodon teeth at Mayan sites. It is possible that these remnants of gigantic prehistoric predators may have fueled the Mayan reverence for sharks.

6Enigmatic Emirau Island Jade


Photo credit: Live Science

Archaeologists discovered an enigmatic jade tool on Emirau Island off Papua New Guinea. Dated back 3,300 years, it was likely carved by the Lapita people. According to researchers, this ancient population spread from the western Pacific and are the ancestors of modern-day Polynesians.

Jade tools are not uncommon in the region. However, this recent discovery is composed of a rare material, which archaeologists believe traveled with the Lapita from their homeland.

The tool is jadeite, the hardest variety of jade. No examples of this tough rock have come from New Guinea. The only known contemporary sources, Japan and Korea, produce stone with a different composition. The closest chemical match came from jade in Baja California.

Transoceanic travel is unlikely. An unpublished German manuscript from 1903 chronicling jade in Indonesia—less than 1,000 kilometers (600 mi) from the Emirau discovery—has led some to believe in an Indonesian origin. More tests are needed.

5Jade Funeral Discs


Photo credit:

Since 5000 BC, large jade discs have been placed on the bodies of deceased Chinese elites. Their function remains a mystery. Also known as bi discs, these nephrite carvings first appeared during the late Neolithic.

The stones were frequently placed on the deceased’s chest or stomach. Many contain symbols related to the sky. Nearly all high-status tombs of the Hongshan culture (3800 BC to 2700 BC) and Liangzhu culture (3000 BC to 2000 BC) contain these discs.

Given the lack of metal tools during the period, the stones were painstaking carved through brazing and polishing. The effort invested in their creation and their location in burials suggests deep spiritual significance.

Some suggest that they are connected with specific gods. Others believe that they represent a wheel or the Sun, which symbolizes the cyclical nature of existence. The jade discs predate writing, and their function may never be completely understood.


4Underwater Offering


Photo credit: Live Science

In 2012, archaeologists recovered a mysterious jade object from Arroyo Pesquero in Mexico. Dated between 900 BC and 400 BC, the artifact may have been a sacrificial offering. It is carved from mottled brown and white jadeite, which is harder than steel.

The 8.7-centimeter (3.4 in) by 2.5-centimeter (1 in) object was recovered 3 meters (10 ft) below the surface of a deep stream. The image is abstract, although most experts believe it is a corncob.

The find dates back to the Olmec occupation of Veracruz. Their ancient city of La Venta, which housed up to 10,000 people and contained a 34-meter (112 ft) pyramid, was located a mere 16 kilometers (10 mi) from Arroyo Pesquero.

Over the last 50 years, thousands of artifacts have been recovered from Arroyo Pesquero, leading experts to believe that it must have been a site for ritual offerings. The location is where freshwater and saltwater meet and likely had deep spiritual significance.

3Heirloom Seal Of The Realm


The Heirloom Seal of the Realm is one of the most mysterious Chinese artifacts. According to legend, the jade was carved in 221 BC for Qin Shi Huang. In 221 BC, he united the six Warring States under the Qin dynasty.

He ordered an imperial seal to be carved from the most fantastic piece of jade ever discovered. The seal passed from ruler to ruler as a symbol of imperial authority until it vanished around AD 900.

The artifact was carved from the He Shi Bi jade, for which a man allegedly lost his legs. Some believe that it was actually stolen from the Zhao state. The seal was an embodiment of the mandate of Heaven, and possession was enough to consider a regime “historically legitimate.”

Why the seal disappeared remains a mystery. Some theorize that later emperors were obsessed with hoarding seals to reduce the significance of the Heirloom Seal.

2Lord Pakal’s Funeral Mask


In 1952, while excavating the funerary crypt of the Temple of the Inscriptions at Palenque, archaeologists unearthed the mosaic burial mask of Lord Pakal the Great. Dated to the Mayan Late Classic period around AD 683, the mask is composed of a mosaic of 300 tiles of jadeite, albite, kosmochlor, and veined quartz.

The eyes are made of conch shell and obsidian. A wooden backing originally held the pieces together, and the mask was attached to the deceased king’s face with a layer of stucco.

On Christmas Eve 1984, Pakal’s mask was stolen along with other treasures from Mexico City’s Museo Nacional de Anthropologia. A pair of vet school dropouts conducted the heist by entering the museum via air ducts.

In 1989, a drug trafficker turned stool pigeon and brought down the art thieves. They had tried to exchange the artifacts for cocaine. Pakal’s mask and the other artifacts were returned in good condition.

1Liangzhu’s Mysterious Cong


Photo credit: Editor at Large

The Neolithic Liangzhu culture contained master jade craftsmen who lived along the Yangtze River Delta in modern-day Zhejiang province. Over the years, 50 sites attributed to the Liangzhu have been excavated.

Tombs of their elites invariably contain elegantly crafted cong. These are square tubes of jade containing a circular hole. There are single-section varieties and longer ones. Often, the square corners are covered with face-like designs, believed to be protective spirits.

Speculation about the cong’s function can be traced to the Qing dynasty. Their ubiquity in elite burials offers tantalizing suggestions. They were likelysymbols of power.

Jade continued to be buried with the dead until well into the Han dynasty (206 BC to AD 220). Some suggest that the objects provided a road map for the dead on their journey into the next life. Others propose that there was a belief that jade may have prevented the decomposition of flesh.

Abraham Rinquist is the executive director of the Winooski, Vermont, branch of the Helen Hartness Flanders Folklore Society. He is the coauthor of Codex Exotica andSong-Catcher: The Adventures of Blackwater Jukebox.

10 Historical Cases Of Forced Tattooing

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10 Historical Cases Of Forced Tattooing


People have been getting tattoos for all of recorded history. We usually think of tattoos as an expression of culture and identity, but they’re not always used this way. History is full of forced tattooing, often to punish people or to mark them as property. Below are some of the more unsavory stories of people being inked without their consent.

10Ancient Greece


Photo credit: Huesca

Slaves who misbehaved in ancient Greece were often tattooed with the name of their crime. This was used instead of branding because a more wordy crime like “theft and aggravated assault” would take long time to brand and could put the victim’s life at risk. As slaves were only valuable to their owners alive, tattooing provided a happy (if still upsetting) medium. Similar tattoos were given to free citizens found guilty of crimes.

When the island of Samos was at war with Athens, each side tattooed its prisoners of war to mark them as conquered. Athenians marked Samian prisoners with owls, a symbol of the city’s patron goddess Athena. Samians retaliated by marking their Athenian prisoners with a samaina, a kind of Samian ship. The forehead was an especially dehumanizing place to tattoo a captive because of the increased pain and the fact that it was hard to cover up. (Sweatbands weren’t too common back in the day.)


9Byzantine Empire


Photo via Wikimedia

In AD 793, the Armeniac province revolted against the Byzantine Empire. The rebels were defeated by Emperor Constantine VI, who killed their leaders and punished the survivors with fines and confiscations. To add ink to injury, he had at least 1,000 of them tattooed with the phrase “Armeniakon traitor.”

A few decades later, another emperor punished two monks charged with idolatry by tattooing them with 12 lines of iambic verse. The subject of this painful poem? The story of their crime and its punishment. Just like the Greeks, both emperors had these punishing marks inked into their subjects’ foreheads for maximum awkwardness at family gatherings.


An important rule of Confucianism is avoiding damage to the body, as it is a gift received from one’s parents. Permanently marking the skin is shameful not just to an individual but to their whole family. This made tattooing a serious punishment in historical China.

Penal codes from the Song and Yuan dynasties list the crimes that couldresult in tattooing. If someone committed a crime punishable by banishment, they were given a square shape behind the ear. If flogging was in order, the shape was round. When a criminal had already been flogged three times, the tattoo was put on the face.

The Chinese were no strangers to the old “spell out the crime” gimmick, either. Cheating couples caught more than once were facially tattooed with the phrase “committed licentious acts two times” before being exiled. That might seem like a lot to fit on a face until you remember that each word was just one character. Either way, it wasn’t fun.




Like the Chinese, the Japanese have historically placed value on keeping the body unmarked for the sake of family and honor. In early modern Japan, tattooing was reserved for the most serious crimes, as being tattooed meant you were permanently ostracized from your family and community. Designs included bars, crosses, circles, and in one region, the pictograph for “dog.” Criminals were commonly marked on (you guessed it) the forehead.

However, in the case of Japan, the tattooed misfits had the last laugh. The end of the 17th century saw the rise of decorative tattooing in Japan, and many criminals covered their penal tattoos with colorful designs. Tattooing is still often associated with criminals in Japan thanks to the Yakuza, who wear full-body ink as a mark of pride and honor.

6Australian Convicts


Photo via Wikimedia

During the 19th century, the British government tattooed and branded inmates to enforce the idea that the state was “all-knowing” and had total control over them. Many inmates sent to the Australian penal colony showed up already marked as criminals. However, some of them flipped this around by accessorizing their tattoos. One man named Aaron Page turned the “D” on his chest (marking him as a deserter) into a Union Jack. This was clever because it concealed a symbol of treason with one of patriotism.

British authorities in Australia soon grew wise to this practice and ordered that convicts never be tattooed at night, as that gave them free time to pick at the fresh scab and change the tattoo.

5Olive Oatman


Photo via Wikimedia

In 1856, a white woman was found living with a group of Mohave near Fort Yuma, California. Her name was Olive Oatman, and most of her family had been killed by the Yavapai tribe while heading west to find a new home. She was taken captive and sold to the Mohave, with whom she lived for four years. During this time, she was given several blue lines on her chin. When she returned to white society, Oatman publicly lectured about her captivity across the country. During her lectures, she claimed that her tattoos were “slave marks” given by the Mohave to their captives.

Long after Oatman’s death, historians concluded that her tattoos were actually the same style given to all Mohave women. They were a mark of belonging, not captivity. Whether or not Oatman’s tattoos were consensual, it’s easy to see why she would claim they weren’t. US society in the 1800s would much rather believe that a white woman was held captive by a native tribe than that she became one of them.


4John Rutherford


John Rutherford was a performer who toured Britain in the 1800s, showing off a large collection of tattoos on his face and body. While people would admire the tattoos, he would regale them with his story of being shipwrecked in New Zealand and taken captive by the indigenous Maori people. He told of how they ate his shipmates and forcibly tattooed him with chisels and sharks’ teeth.

Most historians agree that this story is even more full of baloney than Olive Oatman’s. Rutherford was likely a deserter who jumped ship, and most of his tattoos were Tahitian, not Maori. If he had actually gotten all of those tattoos at once, he probably would have died of blood loss.

This story makes the list not because it’s true but because stories like Rutherford’s were very common. Performers made whole careers of telling how they had been taken hostage and tattooed by savage tribes. Forced-tattoo stories were a staple of freak shows well into the 20th century, and anyone who’s still reading this list can understand why they were so popular.

3Soviet Prisoners


Photo credit: pvz.It

Tattooing was so popular among Russian criminals during the Soviet era that there is a book called the Russian Criminal Tattoo Encyclopedia. Prisoners in Siberian gulags would tattoo each other to show their defiance of authority and membership in elite thieves’ societies. They also forcibly tattooed those who had wronged them.

Common forced tattoos included the phrases “enemy of the people” and “I am a b—h.” A forced tattoo meant that a prisoner had been expelled from a thieves’ society and was nepriskasaemye, or “untouchable.” Anyone who did business with him would become infected from his dishonor. Given the unsanitary conditions in the gulags, they might get infected from his tattoo as well.



Photo credit: US Air Force

The most infamous story of involuntary tattooing comes from the Holocaust. At the Auschwitz concentration camp, prisoners selected for work were tattooed with serial numbers. These numbers could be used to identify them in case of death or escape. The first group to get tattooed were Soviet prisoners of war brought to the camp in 1941. A serial number was punched into the chest of each victim with a metal stamp, and ink was rubbed into the wound. These tattoos faded quickly, so Nazi officials switched to more conventional needles and began tattooing on the arm.

By 1943, most prisoners at Auschwitz were being tattooed with serial numbers. Jewish prisoners’ tattoos often included a triangle, and those given to Roma contained a “Z” for “Ziguener,” the German word for “gypsy.” The total number of serial numbers assigned to prisoners is estimated at 400,000. Many believe that tattooing is forbidden by Jewish law or that you can’t be buried in a Jewish cemetery if you have a tattoo. This is debated by scholars, and it is thought that some of Jewish opposition to tattooing comes from the trauma of the concentration camps.

1Punjab Police


Photo credit: TS Bedi via the Hindustan Times

As much as we’d like to believe involuntary tattooing is a thing of the past, it has happened more recently than you’d think. In 1993, four women were detained by the Punjab Police in Amritsar, India. They were accused of involvement with a bootlegging operation that had attacked police during a raid. During the week they were in custody, policemen tattooed each woman on the forehead with the words jeb katri, meaning “pickpocket.”

Unlike most of the stories in this list, this one actually ends with justice for the tattooed. In 1994, the Punjab government arranged plastic surgery to remove the tattoos and paid each woman 50,000 rupees. In 2016, a special Indian court found the officers guilty and sentenced each of them to jail time, terming their crime “inhuman.” Maybe we have made progress after all.

Anthropology student by day, list nerd by night. Interested in history, language, nature, and other vague topics.

Best Science Photos of the Year

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Best Science Photos of the Year