10 Amazing Facts About Bamboo

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10 Amazing Facts About Bamboo




We have all heard of bamboo, but did you know that this humble plant is actually stronger than steel, or that it was used in one of Thomas Edison’s early light bulbs? Bamboo is just big, hollow grass from the tropics with an extensive root system, but don’t let that simple definition fool you. Bamboo is an incredibly versatile plant with unique properties and more uses than one could possibly imagine.


10Bamboo Holds A Guinness World Record


Photo credit: Wikimedia

A certain type of bamboo actually holds the world record as the fastest growing plant ever. This bamboo was able to grow as fast as 35 inches in a single day! This translates into nearly 1.5 inches per hour. You could literally sit there and see the bamboo growing before your eyes. If that is put into speed, it comes out at 0.00002 miles per hour.

Bamboo is also able to grow very tall, with the tallest ever recorded in the United States of America at 65-98 feet and 130 feet in Europe. Due to how fast bamboo grows, it is considered one of the most renewable plants on earth.[1] As soon as the bamboo is harvested, it just starts growing again, making it an ideal material for all sorts of uses.

9Bamboo Helped Thomas Edison Invent The Light Bulb


Photo credit: Wikimedia

Many of us have heard of Thomas Edison, but most of us do not know about his intimate acquaintance with bamboo. Believe it or not, bamboo actually played a role in one of the first light bulbs that Thomas Alva Edison ever made.

Edison and his colleagues discovered that a carbonized bamboo filament in a light bulb could last over 1,200 hours.[2] Up until that time, the other types of filaments did not last as long. Edison originally applied for a patent with light bulbs using a carbon filament made from cotton, linen thread, wood splints, or paper. However, they found that the carbon bamboo filament was the best material, which led to the start of large-scale manufactured light bulbs in the year 1880. The bamboo filament also helped Edison avoid some lawsuits involving the use of carbonized thread as the filament.


8Bamboo Is Stronger Than Steel


Photo credit: Wikimedia

When you think of some of the strongest materials on the planet, does bamboo come to mind? If not, it should because bamboo actually has a tensile strength greater than steel.

Tensile strength reflects how hard it is to pull a material apart. Not only is bamboo stronger than steel, but it withstands being smashed better than your average concrete.[3] So, bamboo is one of the strongest materials on earth. Due to these properties, bamboo is now being used to make bicycle frames, because of its light weight and incredible strength. This also makes bamboo an ideal candidate to replace wood for many of its traditional uses in buildings. The ability of bamboo to bend but not break is what gives it this incredible property.

7Bamboo Is Naturally Antibacterial


Photo credit: Wikimedia

The natural antibacterial properties of bamboo fibers make bamboo a great material for use in clothing. Bamboo and cotton were tested for how much bacteria they killed over a 24-hour period, and the bamboo killed nearly all of the bacteria, while the cotton did not kill any.

The benefits of this translate to less stinky and cleaner clothes, sheets, diapers, towels, and much more. This means less frequent washing is necessary, another win for the environment. These antibacterial properties are also very attractive for wound dressings, inhibiting the growth of harmful bacteria in the bandages.[4]

6Bamboo Is Edible (By People And Pandas)


Photo credit: Wikimedia

Now that you are armed with the knowledge that bamboo is super strong and antibacterial, you may think it would make a terrible food, but you would be mistaken.

Bamboo shoots are a common food throughout Asia, and although not high in many nutrients, the shoots have very little fat and calories.[5] Bamboo shoots are also a good source of healthy fiber. The shoots are cut from the plant when it is still in its infancy, and only about 6 inches tall. They add a nice bulk to the food, to make it more filling. Not only do humans eat bamboo, but it is the main food of the much beloved panda. Pandas literally eat nothing but bamboo, and yet they still grow up to over 200 pounds.



5Bamboo Is A Major Oxygen Producer


Photo credit: Wikimedia

Bamboo not only grows faster than any other plant, but it produces more than 35 percent more oxygen than hardwood trees. It has been found that bamboo can absorb up to 12 tons of carbon dioxide per 2.5 acres in a single year.

Bamboo can help stabilize the planet’s atmosphere, absorb excess carbon dioxide, and help fight global climate change. Bamboo also helps to prevent soil erosion and flooding, due to its extensive, strong root system. This makes bamboo one of the most planet-friendly substances in existence.[6]

4Bamboo Is A Renewable Resource


Photo credit: Wikimedia

Bamboo makes an excellent substitute for traditional wood from trees. It grows much faster and can be harvested anywhere from one to five years after planting.

Trees traditionally used for wood, such as oak, can take decades to be ready for harvest, and deforestation is a major contributor to climate change. Bamboo can drastically cut our need to deforest and help save the environment. Bamboo also has so many varied uses, that the fact it grows so quickly and abundantly makes it an ideal material for manufacturing goods.[7]

3From Bamboo Bicycles To Toothbrushes


Bamboo is one of the most versatile plants on the entire planet. As we have mentioned, bamboo is great as a building material, can be used to makebikes, was once used in light bulbs, and much more. Bamboo is becoming more prevalent in clothing, sheets and homes because of its natural antibacterial and deodorizing qualities.

It has also been used as a musical instrument, kitchenware, food, health and beauty products, art, cars, computer hardware, fishing equipment, weapons, diapers and more.[8] The uses of bamboo are near limitless, due to its many unique and useful properties. Bamboo sheets are also incredibly soft and light, making them an excellent option for bedding materials.

2Bamboo Deodorizer


Photo credit: shoe-tease.com

Bamboo is a natural deodorizer, making it a perfect material for textiles. These properties have also started to make bamboo diapers a thing. There are many products on the market today that use bamboo charcoal as the main ingredient to help deodorize noxious smells. A simple Amazon.com search for “bamboo deodorizer” yields many results of bamboo charcoal deodorizers covered in cloth.

This is a great, green alternative to using chemicals, candles, and cleaners to deodorize your home, car or office. The bamboo charcoal actually absorbs and retains the bad odors, as well as moisture, as opposed to traditional deodorizers, which just try to mask the offending odors. These all natural deodorizers also last a lot longer than their conventional counterparts.[9]

1Bamboo Makes Alcohol Better


Photo credit: scmp.com

In China, some liqueur manufacturers are using bamboo trunks to age theirspirits, in place of the traditional oak barrels. The alcohol is injected into the bamboo trunk and then left to mix with the natural juices of the bamboo, including the flavone, from the trunk, and the bamboo sap. The bamboo sap is considered to be a traditional medicine, and has been used to improve lung health and as a general detoxifier.

Bamboo also absorbs some of the alcohol content, which some may view either as a benefit or a defect. Thus, bamboo can help flavor and enhance the health properties of alcoholic beverages.[10]

I am a millennial living in Santa Fe, NM with my wife and our two puppies. I love to write about health, fitness, sustainable living, and travel. I have my own website with my wife, called Millennial Methods, where we cover these topics and more, as well as offer products to live a happy, healthy, and sustainable lifestyle. Connect with us on Facebook and at Millennialmethods.com.

10 Gruesome Tales From The Dead House, AKA The Morgue

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10 Gruesome Tales From The Dead House, AKA The Morgue



Long before it was commonly called a morgue, it was called the dead house. The dead were kept inside until family claimed them or arrangements could be made for their burial. Sometimes, bodies were dissected in the dead house, and sometimes, those who were near death were placed inside to await the end.

The dead house held locals in morbid fascination. It was the center of entertainment for thrill seekers, and it was a place of gossip. Newspapers from the mid-1800s to the early 1900s often published stories about the inner workings and troubles within the gruesome walls.


10Poor Conditions Of The Houses


For the “unfortunates” who died in Albany, Western Australia, in 1889, there was no dignity in their deaths. Their bodies were placed in a little shed on theprison grounds where water would rain down on their bodies from the leaky roof.

Upon entering the dead house, their bodies were placed on an old, wooden table. A small blanket was placed on them to cover their intimate bits until it was time to place them in an unnamed hole in the ground.

Sadly enough, the condition of the dead house at Albany was nothing compared to that in Beechworth, Victoria. In 1877, it was reported that the hospital’s dead house was dangerously unsafe.[1] Doctors claimed that it had accumulated “putrid matter of the very worst description.” Dr. Dobbyn said that it was “merely a place for bottling up the germs of disease.”

A committee decided that it was time to erect a new dead house in the vicinity. However, several doctors were worried about ripping up the old flooring and removing the dirt beneath the building because it could have released a deadly plague into the populace.

The building was so disgusting that doctors also believed that the hospital might be committing murder by sending men in to demolish the old dead house. Instead, it was recommended that the ground beneath the building not be disturbed.

9Rat Infestation


In 1911, there was a discussion on what to do about the dead house in Bantry, Ireland. As it turned out, the dead were being housed in a workhousechapel before families could claim them and prepare them for burial.

The main problem with the dead house was that it was more like a rat house. The rat infestation in the chapel was so terrible that large stones had to be placed over the coffins to prevent the rats from getting at the corpses and eating them.

The debate over what to do about the problem was rather heated, with at least one person seeing no issue with rats eating the dead.[2]


8Woke Up With Two Dead Bodies


Photo credit: slobodna-bosna.ba

Imagine what it would be like to wake up next to dead people. It happened in San Francisco, California, in 1870 when a German being treated in a hospital appeared to be dead. His body was immediately taken to the hospital’s dead house and “deposited in a case where two other bodies had already been placed, and between them. The cover was put on, and the keeper of the dead house retired for the night.”

At around midnight, the German woke up and started to scream and howl. Hospital staff woke up the keeper and told him to check on the situation, but the man was too afraid to move. He was resolved to let the ghosts fight it out among themselves, but he soon caved in to pressure to check the room.

Upon opening the door, the keeper saw the German standing in the death gown placed on corpses and fainted. The German ran out of the door and through the corridors of the hospital. He was in such a mad panic[3] that staff had to wrestle him until he fell to the floor.

A physician was called in and restored the German to his senses.

7A Place To Finish Dying


The dead house in Chinatown, Los Angeles, California, took on the extra role of housing the nearly deceased. According to an 1888 report, “A Chinese ‘dead house’ is usually a tumbledown and isolated hovel into which Celestials, overtaken by incurable diseases, are thrown and allowed to die.”

In one case, the dying person was a man suffering from leprosy. A policeman had entered the dead house and discovered the emaciated man, who was groaning in pain and appeared to be rotting from the inside out.[4]

The concerned officer returned to police headquarters and reported the incident. Since it was leprosy, a feared disease, it was decided to leave the man where he was until a decision could be made on the case.

No further word was published on the incident, but it can be assumed that the man probably passed away inside the dead house.

6No Running Water


Of all the necessities one might think should be in a dead house, running water would be at the top of the list. However, in a letter to the editor written in 1886, a concerned citizen brought up the then-current problems with the Fremantle, Western Australia, dead house.

According to the letter, the dead house, where autopsies were often performed, had no running water whatsoever. The room was without a bench, and the door to the dead house did not latch shut.[5] People could come and go as they saw fit, leaving bodies desecrated or even walking into an important autopsy.

There was no consideration given to the deceased even though the colonial surgeon had been pushing for some resolution to the problem with the higher-ups. It was clearly a money issue, but the public was growing increasingly upset over the conditions of the dead.


5Salisbury Prison


Photo credit: learnnc.org

John G. Weaver belonged to the 2nd Ohio Cavalry during the US Civil War. After he was taken prisoner by the South, he admitted that he was treated extremely well until the day the train came and took him to Salisbury Prison in North Carolina.

Inside the prison, Weaver encountered many starving prisoners. Rations were tight, and some days, the men went without any food. To top it all off, the prison was damp and muddy during the rainy months and many men died from starvation and disease.

Each morning, the death guards[6] collected the dying and those near death from the prison and deposited the bodies into the dead house. But this was just the start of the day. In Weaver’s personal account, he said, “All day long could be seen their wasted and half-naked forms carried by the dead-guard, or perhaps by some of their surviving comrades, to the dead house, where they were piled upon each other like cordwood.”

After the bodies were dropped off at the dead house, a “dead wagon” would haul the bodies out to mass trench graves. Even though the wagons would go back and forth from the dead house to the graves, the dead house was never free of dead bodies.

4Twice To The Dead House


Robert Hughes was taken by police cab to Newcastle Hospital in Australia in 1901. When the cab arrived at the hospital gates, Hughes was given a quick examination inside the cab and pronounced dead on arrival. As was the custom, the cab drove the body to the back of the hospital and Hughes was taken into the dead house.

He was placed on a cold slab that no doubt caused a shock to his system. Suddenly, he started to wriggle and breathe heavily on the table. The police were startled, and a doctor was called into the dead house.

After another quick exam to confirm that the man was actually alive, Hughes was taken into the hospital and placed in a proper bed. There, he died a second time[7] five minutes later. Sadly, he stayed dead this time and was taken to the dead house one more time.

The doctors did not know the exact cause of death. But they believed that Hughes had died of old age or poisoning.

3The Moving Skull


Pranks in the dead house used to be a common occurrence. There are numerous accounts of medical students posing as dead people and faking ghost haunts, but one doctor had a totally different night fright.

As he told a New Orleans newspaper in 1884, he once had a patient with an aneurysm. As the case puzzled the doctor, he decided that he was going to perform an autopsy upon the patient’s death. The doctor did not have to wait long for the patient to die, and the body was sent to the dead house to await inspection.

The doctor went to the dead house an hour before midnight. There, he cut open and examined his former patient. As the doctor did his work by one lit gas burner, he heard a shuffling noise from the corner of the room. It caught him off guard because he believed that he was the only living person in the room.

He inspected the area from where the noise came. But he only saw five skulls resting on the floor that were being prepared by the medical students for their cabinets.

He went back to work on his autopsy. No sooner did he start than he caught sight of some movement from that area. He stopped his work again and watched as a skull moved slowly toward him.

He eyed the floor, expecting to find string pulling the skull, but his inspection yielded no tricks. The doctor, claiming to feel rather peculiar at that moment, sat on a stool and smoked his pipe. He could not take his eyes off the skull.

The skull moved again, coming straight at him.[8] It screeched along the floor until the doctor could not take the suspense any longer. He jumped up from his stool and picked up the skull. Inside was a rat that had managed to get itself stuck inside the brain cavity. The rat was freed, and the doctor went back to work.

2The Grief Was Too Great


The dead house of Paris was situated on a bank of the Seine and was used by the city to house those who came to a violent end. Whether the victims died on land or in the water, their bodies were placed in the dead house until either a family member claimed them or they were buried in a poor man’s grave.

Two men operated the dead house in 1839, and both lived with their families on the upper floor of the building. The men, with the help of their wives, kept impeccable records of the dead: names (if known), causes of death, and the dates the bodies were brought into the building.

The men witnessed many tragedies at La Morgue, but perhaps one of the saddest was the case of little Leonore. She was a small child, and one winter day, her perfect little body was laid on a marble slab inside the dead house. Her nurse had carried her in.

With tears streaming down her cheeks, the nurse explained that she and the child had been on a stagecoach. The nurse had fallen asleep, and the child had slipped away and suffocated among the luggage of the other passengers.

The nurse laid the little girl down and began kissing her cheeks and her little hands. The nurse begged the dead house watcher to bring the child back to life. When she realized it could not be done, she asked to see the little girl’s bright blue eyes one last time.

The nurse left but was not gone for long. The nurse’s body[9] was soon wheeled to the dead house, dripping water upon the ground. Her body was laid beside that of the little girl to await someone to claim them.

1Makeshift Dead House


Makeshift dead houses are very common whenever a major accident happens and the authorities are left with multiple fatalities. One such terrible accident happened in Victoria, Australia, in 1908 when two trains collided. Several first- and second-class cars were smashed into pieces, leaving bodies “chopped up and mangled by the broken wood and ironwork.”

The trains burst into flame, burning the injured and making rescue in the heavy smoke almost impossible. Bodies littered the scene, and those who were able to walk tripped over the dead and wounded. Forty-three people had been brutally killed, and 232 were injured.

News of the accident traveled fast. Soon, the station was flooded with the friends and relatives of those who had been on the trains. Thrill seekers also turned up with the hopes of catching sight of the gruesome affair.

Medical workers and railroad employees rushed to remove those who were still alive from the area. Next, the dead bodies were taken out. According to one account:

Bodies of women and men, with their features battered out of recognition and limbs mangled, lay about the platform. One, a corpse with the head completely torn off, lay close by the mangled body of a mother with her dead baby clasped in her arms. The body of a man was hanging up between two of the carriages in a position where . . . the workers could do nothing to extricate it.

As the bodies were collected, a makeshift dead house had to be made out of two waiting rooms. All the furniture was taken out of the room, and the bodies were laid side by side. Blood continued to pour out of the fresh wounds[10] and covered the floors. Meager lamps lit up the rooms, exposing the torn clothes and pale faces of the victims as the living shuffled in, six at a time, to reclaim their loved ones.

Elizabeth, a former Pennsylvania native, recently moved to the beautiful state of Massachusetts where she is currently involved in researching early American history. She writes and travels in her spare time.

10 Strange Archaeological Finds Straight Out Of A Horror Story

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10 Strange Archaeological Finds Straight Out Of A Horror Story



Scattered under the ground beneath our feet are the remains of history. There are little pieces of the lives of people who lived before us that give us little glimpses into who they were—the things they held dear, the homes they lived in, and the bones of their decaying bodies.

But life thousands of years ago wasn’t always gentle and easy. Sometimes, when these remains are uncovered, the stories they reveal are brutal and violent—and sometimes, they’re pulled straight out of a horror story.


10A Pit Of Amputated Arms


Photo credit: phys.org

A team working in France found a horrible glimpse into our past: sevensevered arms that had been brutally hacked off and thrown into the bottom of a pit 6,000 years ago.

The people whose limbs were buried there, the archaeologists believe, were farmers—although one was torn off the body of a child. After their arms were thrown into the pit, dozens of full bodies were piled on top of them. Their arms were still intact, but their skulls had caved in.

It’s not clear exactly what happened to these people. The only thing we know for sure is that a horrible massacre happened here. Only losing an arm, the researchers believed, may have been a mark of social status—a more merciful penalty for living with a tribe that was to be wiped out.

The rest is unclear. We don’t know who killed them or why their arms were removed.[1] This pit, though, along with others like it, supports the idea that life in 4000 BC was often brutal and violent.

9The Frankenstein Bog Mummies


Photo credit: National Geographic

About 15 years ago, a team of archaeologists found the buried bodies of a man and a woman in Scotland. They had died 3,000 years ago, but they weren’t buried right away. Instead, their bodies were thrown into the Scottish bog where they were preserved and mummified for 300 to 600 years before they were finally put underground.

There was something wrong about these bodies, though. The woman’s jaw was a little too large for her skull, and the man’s limbs seemed out of place. After 10 years, researchers ran DNA tests on the bodies and discovered something disturbing and macabre: These were not the bodies of two people. They were the bodies of six separate people fused together[2] like a morbid jigsaw puzzle or like Frankenstein’s monster.

The female body had been put together with parts from people who had died around the same time. But the parts that made up the male body were from people who had died hundreds of years apart.

Whoever made these jigsaw corpses didn’t simply push bones together. The researchers believed that the bodies were still preserved when they were attached—with mummified flesh still on the bones.


8The Staked Man


Photo credit: Smithsonian Magazine

Archaeologists working in Bulgaria found a body straight out of a horror story. A steel stake had been driven through the man’s chest. His murderers, it appears, were terrified that he would not stay buried. They pinned his body to his tomb.

He died in the 13th century, and it was brutal. His left leg was removed and thrown carelessly into his tomb. It is likely that he was still alive when it was lost.

The stake, though, fits some of the ideas that were floating around the Romani people at that time. Vampires were thought to be real back then. A deformed appendage was a sign that someone had been resurrected by Satan[3] and could only be stopped by driving an iron stake through their heart.

It’s believed that this man was the victim of a horrible superstition. His countrymen had convinced themselves that he was evil, and they’d put him through hell to keep him from coming back.

7The Man-Eating Animals Of Teotihuacan


Photo credit: plos.org

Inside Teotihuacan, the ancient Mesoamerican city, archaeologists found what appeared to be a den where animals were kept. Vicious predators, including jaguars, pumas, and lynxes, were kept there while they waited for the priests to sacrifice them to the gods.

The bones of the animals they had been fed were still there, thousands of years after they’d died. Scattered among the animal bones, though, archaeologists found another type of remains: the bones of humans.[4]

Testing on the remains of the animals themselves showed that they had traces of maize in their diet. In Teotihuacan society, maize was more likely to come their way by eating people than by actually eating vegetables. There is also artwork on the walls that shows these animals eating human hearts.

The priests in Teotihuacan, it seems, dragged people into these dens. Whether as a punishment or ritual, people were thrown inside with jaguars and pumas and became the animals’ meals.

6The Hanging Coffins


Photo credit: ecns.cn

In Hubei, China, there is a man-made cave known as the Cave of the Fairies. Once, it was believed that magical beings lived in the cave. But when people actually looked inside, they found something altogether different. Hanging up to 50 meters (165 ft) over their heads were 131 old, decaying coffins.

Some of the coffins were hanging from wooden stakes, while others had been wedged into openings in the rocks. The coffins were huge.[5] Each one was carved out of a single tree trunk and weighed more than 100 kilograms (220 lb). Some, though, had been torn apart and ripped up.

These coffins were all 1,200 years old, put up by ancient Bo people. They had been hung up, it is believed, as part of a religious ritual meant to bless the dead and keep wild animals from eating their bodies.

The damage happened only 50 years ago. In the 1960s, it is believed, someone found the coffins and, instead of reporting the discovery, tore the wood out for firewood—desecrating an ancient grave to get a few moments of heat.


5The Floating Skeletons


Photo credit: Parker & Coward

In July 1884, children at a mission school in Zanzibar were playing at the beach when they saw black, volcanic stones washing up on the shore. Excited and curious, they rushed over to gather the volcanic pumice. Mixed among the stones, they found human bones picked clean of flesh.

When their teacher reported it, she found out that it wasn’t the first time it had happened. Skeletons had been washing up[6] all along the shore of southeastern Africa. These were the remains of people in Sumatra and Java, where the Krakatoa volcano had erupted one year earlier. It had wiped out 36,000 people and eradicated an entire island.

For a year, the bodies of these people floated across the ocean on rafts of volcanic pumice. Then the skeletons washed onto the shore of Africa, drifting up on the beach where children were looking for rocks in the sand.

4The Cannibalized Remains Of Herxheim


Photo credit: museum-herxheim.de

A construction team working in Herxheim, Germany, unearthed something absolutely horrifying. Underneath the ground where they had intended to build was a massive pit full of dead bodies—more than 1,000 in all.

The bodies had been resting there for more than 7,000 years. Whatever happened to them, though, was a fate worse than death. They hadn’t just been killed. Their skulls had been scraped clean.[7] Their ribs had been peeled from their vertebrae like a butcher preparing a pig. Some of the bones had been snapped and the marrow inside sucked out.

These people, it seems, were scalped, skinned, butchered, and cannibalized. This, though, was no act of desperation by starving people. There were more than 1,000 victims, and the way they’d been skinned was too ritualized. This was not a crime of passion or a temporary lapse of sanity. It was a planned ritual that a whole community had come together to perform.

3The Shackled Skeletons Of Athens


Photo credit: reuters.com

Archaeologists were investigating a necropolis in Athens, where respected people were gently laid to rest, when they found something out of place. Buried together were 80 skeletons, all with their wrists shackled above their heads before they were killed.

These were the bodies of young men who had been violently killed, apparently together. They had likely been shackled[8] in a row while an executioner had gone down the line taking them out. For all the horror in their deaths, though, they had been buried with respect.

We can only guess what happened to these men. But the archaeologists who found them think that they were nobles executed for staging a coup. Either way, the men certainly must have infuriated someone in power to have met their end in chains.

2The Neolithic Genocide In Austria


Photo credit: combatarchaeology.org

At a grave in Asparn-Schletz, Austria, a team of archaeologists found the remains of 67 people that told a horrible story. They had died in 5200 BC, running for their lives in what appears to have been the systematic genocide of an entire tribe.

The people were killed running, most beaten in the back of the head, though some were shot down with arrows. Some had their legs smashed and broken to keep them from getting away before their heads were crushed in.Even the children were killed. The bodies of 27 infants lay among the men.

Almost every body, though, was male. Only two women had been laid in the ground. The rest of the women, it’s believed, most likely had to watch as their husbands and children were killed. Then they were dragged off[9] and forced to serve the men who had murdered their families.

1The Pits Of Severed Hands


Photo credit: Live Science

In a Hyksos palace in Avaris, Egypt, an archaeologist found four places where pits had been dug and filled with severed hands. There were 16 in all, chopped off of their victims before being brought to a palace and buried underground. Every hand was from a different person.

The biggest pit was right in front of the throne room, dug in a place where the hands would be closest to the king. They had been buried there 3,600 years ago when the palace was ruled by King Khayan. It seems he liked to keep a collection of his enemies’ severed hands.[10]

The discovery wasn’t entirely a surprise. Archaeologists had already found pictures across the area that showed soldiers trading the severed hands of their enemies for a package of gold. This, it seems, was how bounties were collected by the Hyksos. The king would reward these killers with gold—and he would keep the hands in his own home.

MARK OLIVERMark Oliver is a regular contributor to Listverse. His writing also appears on a number of other sites, including The Onion’s StarWipe and Cracked.com. His website is regularly updated with everything he writes.

Read More: Personal Site

Top 10 Wonderfully Anomalous Celestial Bodies

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Top 10 Wonderfully Anomalous Celestial Bodies



The universe is so impossibly huge that you’re bound to find duplicates, and many stars, planets, or other bodies may, at least on the surface, appear identical. But there are also innumerable outliers that are excitingly unlike their kin.


10A Hot Jupiter With Three Suns


Photo credit: M. Kornmesser/ESO

Astronomers have documented many “hot Jupiters,” or gas giants that are super-close to their stars, but KELT-4Ab is special. It’s a planet with three suns. It resides in what is known as a hierarchical triple stellar system.

KELT-4Ab is about 1.7 times the size of Jupiter, and its main star, KELT-A, would appear 40 times larger than our Sun does in the sky.[1] KELT-A has snagged two smaller stars, KELT-B and KELT-C, which are so far off that they require 4,000 years to complete their orbit.

Even at this distance, 328 times farther away than the Earth is from the Sun, the two stars shine with the glory of a full Moon, though through a telescope, they would appear as dots.

9The Little Asteroid That Could

Most of the things in the solar system travel clockwise around the Sun, retaining the prograde motion of the big disk of dust and gas that birthed them.

But little asteroid 2015 BZ509, which shares an orbit with Jupiter, moves in the opposite direction. It is the only known asteroid that does so while sharing a planet’s orbit.

It should have been kicked out of the solar system long ago, since its retrograde path means that it encounters Jupiter and therefore a massive gravitational tug twice per orbit. But the tiny BZ, just 3 kilometers (1.9 mi) in diameter, serendipitously occupies a trajectory that swings outside of Jupiter’s orbit one time and inside it the next, balancing the net gravitational influence and keeping it in a stable lane for millions of years.[2]


8A Little Moon With Huge Features


Photo credit: NASA-JHUAPL-SWRI

Pluto’s mate Charon has all sorts of things going on for such a small body. At 1,200 kilomters (750 mi) in diameter, or half the size of Pluto, astronomers expected to see a cratered but otherwise dull world.

But the New Horizons craft revealed the red-smudged moon’s intricate canyon systems, mountains, and evidence of landslides. But some regions are unexpectedly smooth, suggesting that the little body is alive withcryovolcanoes, or ice-spewing volcanoes whose frosty eruptions smooth over the landscape.

Charon is also scarred by a 1,600-kilometer-long (1,000 mi) network of fractures[3] that stretches across its face and possibly over a good portion of its far side, including a canyon up to five times the depth of the Grand Canyon in parts and four times as long.

7A Dead Galaxy That’s Too Old


Photo credit: Texas A&M

Stars vary predictably in color, with younger, hotter, bigger stars shining a brilliant blue. Older, dying stars become redder, and when stellar birth sputters out, their host galaxies glow red.

Astronomers have found numerous dead galaxies, but the recently observed ZF-COSMOS-20115 is the oldest yet and is in fact so ancient that it monkey-wrenches galactic evolutionary models. Unexpectedly, it stopped producing stars when the universe was only 1.65 billion years old, even though galaxies during this period should have been bubbling hotpots of star birth.

Odder yet, ZF has three times as many stars as the Milky Way, but galaxies from the dawn of time shouldn’t be so massive. Stranger still, astronomers believe that it spawned all its stars during a single starburst event[4] lasting just 100 million years.

6A White Dwarf Pulsar

AR Scorpii

White dwarfs are the burned-out remains of Sun-like stars and virtually dead—except for the recently observed AR Scorpii, a white dwarf emitting hot, radioactive beams like a much more powerful pulsar.

AR Scorpii is in a binary system with a red dwarf about a third as massive as the Sun. It hangs a mere 1.4 million kilometers away, and the two bodies complete their speedy orbit in only 3.6 hours.

Compared to its buddy red dwarf, AR Scorpii is a mass monster, the size of Earth but containing 200,000 times as much matter. As AR Scorpii whirls a magnetic field 100 million times more potent than Earth’s, its fearsome pulsar-like beams sweep over its partner, accelerating electrons in the red dwarf’s outer reaches to nearly light speed and producing a dazzling light show every two minutes.[5]


5Earth-Like Planet With An Atmosphere Of Steam

GJ 1132b

Photo credit: MPIA

The Venus-like GJ 1132b, about 39 light-years away, is the most distant Earth-like planet with a confirmed atmosphere.[6]

The 1.6-Earth-mass GJ 1132b closely orbits a red dwarf a fifth the size of the Sun and much fainter. It swings every 1.6 days, and as astronomers tracked the planet’s orbit, they found a bulge while looking in infrared, suggesting a thick, water- and methane-rich atmosphere blocking out other wavelengths.

More importantly, it’s a huge boost in the hunt for ET. At 370 degrees Celsius (698 °F) GJ 1132b itself is too hot for life as we know it, but the ability to single out bodies with potentially habitable atmospheres will allow the super-telescopes of the near future to focus their gaze on the bodies most likely to bear alien fruit.

4A Rectangular Galaxy

LEDA 074886

Photo credit: Universe Today

Gravity sculpts galaxies into many shapes and sizes, but astronomers havenever seen one like LEDA 074886, the “emerald-cut” galaxy.

It’s surprisingly shoebox-like, and within its quadrangular fuzziness, it hides a gargantuan disk of stars. Astronomers clocked the stellar disk rotating at 33 kilometers per second (21 mps) but can’t ascertain its exact shape because it faces Earth edge-on.

LEDA is 70 million light-years from Earth and shares its cosmic living room with 250 other galaxies, giving a clue to its rectangular shape. It may be the result of a merger between two auxiliary galaxies that once belonged to NGC 1407,[7] the local group’s brightest member and possibly LEDA’s accidental papa.

3A Collapsing Atmosphere

Io Atmosphere Collapse

Photo credit: SwRI/Andrew Blanchard

Atmospheres don’t usually collapse, but Io’s does. Innermost of the Galilean “Big Four,” Io is smashed by Jupiter’s intense radiation belts but somehow maintains a sulfur dioxide–rich atmosphere, albeit a thin one.

Io is one giant volcano, so its eruptions and vents supply plentiful sulfur dioxide, which falls to the ground as frost whenever Io slides into Jupiter’s shadow.[8] This happens often, as Io completes a Jovian orbit every 1.7 Earth days and spends two hours of each of these in darkness, with the temperature dropping to –168 degrees Fahrenheit (–270 °F).

When it peeks back into the sunlight, Io warms up considerably, to an almost balmy –148 degrees Celsius (–235 °F), and the sulfur dioxide ice transforms directly into a gas.

2Stars Born From Destruction

Black Hole Birthing Stars

Photo credit: ESO

Black holes destroy but also create, and for the first time, scientists have observed stars being born from the great outflow of a supermassive black hole 600 million light-years away. We think of stars emerging from the relatively peaceful gas clouds of stellar nurseries, but now, researchers have confirmed that stars can also be created by the more intense environments surrounding gorging black holes.

The black hole in question resides within a messy cosmic construction zone of two merging galaxies, together known as IRAS F23128-5919. Black holes can expel gas at tremendous rates and sterilize galaxies of their star-making stuff, but in the aforementioned case, the tumultuous outflows have become a fertile stellar breeding ground, cranking out extra-hot and extra-bright stars 30 times the mass of the Sun.[9]

1A Uniquely Ancient Galaxy

The universe spent its first few hundred million years as an opaque hydrogen cloud, which obscured certain wavelengths of light and blocked our view of the baby-verse.

Then, the first stars and galaxies popped up and ionized the gas to transparency. Recently, astronomers observed one of the ancient galaxies they believe might have been responsible, the faintest, tiniest ancient galaxy ever found: the 13.1-billion-year-old[10] MACS1423-z7p64.

It existed only 700 million years after the Big Bang, and it’s way tinier and fainter than the other (only four or so) galaxies spied from this time period and was only visible by a chance alignment of a cluster of 155 galaxies, which produced an immense gravitational lens that amplified the light from MACS1423-z7p64.