The Best Stories of 2023

Dec 26, 2023 0 comments

As we bid farewell to 2023 and embark on the journey into a new year, it's the perfect time to look back on a year filled with incredible insights and stories. In this roundup, we've gathered the best articles that offered valuable knowledge and entertainment and was loved the most by our readers. Join us as we revisit the highlights of the past year and get ready for what's to come in.

Charles Boycott: The Man Who Became a Verb

The act of boycotting an organization or a person dates back to centuries, but the word “boycott” itself is relatively new. It entered English usage only in 1880 after a highly publicized campaign to ostracize a certain English land agent gained wide coverage in the British press. His name was Charles Cunningham Boycott.

Serge Voronoff: The Doctor Who Transplanted Monkey Testicles Into Men to Rejuvenate Them

Serge Voronoff was a Russia-born French surgeon who gained notoriety in the early 1900s with his controversial gland transplantation experiments that, he claimed, shaved off significant number of years from a person’s age. Voronoff took testicles of monkeys and transplanted them into elderly and senile patients as a seemingly ground-breaking solution to aging. Voronoff’s treatment became hugely popular and many millionaires signed up for the procedure. Although many contemporary doctors and scientists wrote him off, recent discoveries have shown that the gonads have an enormous influence on human behavior, and that discovery has formed the basis of many modern therapies, including anti-aging strategy of replacing hormones, which decline with age, to restore physical vitality associated with youth.

Clarence Madison Dally: The First Victim of Radiation

Radiation would claim the lives of hundreds of radiologists and scientists the world over in the decades following Wilhelm Roentgen’s remarkable discovery. The possible damaging effects of Roentgen Rays on living tissue was speculated as early as March 1896 by the Italian physicist Angelo Battelli. Concerns were also raised by many other engineers, but the discovery of X-rays threw open so many doors of possibilities that many scientists and workers were willing to sweep aside these concerns in their quest for a novel application of this fascinating breakthrough. One of the first person to discover this the hard way was Clarence Madison Dally.

 Two early workers taking X-rays of their hands with utter disregard for their own safety

The 1957 Plymouth Belvedere That Was Buried For 50 Years

The opening of a time capsule is supposed to be an exciting and nostalgic event that gives future generations a chance to peek into the past. But not all openings live up to the hype.

In 1957, the city of Tulsa, in Oklahoma, USA, was gearing up for the state’s 50th anniversary with a week-long festival named “Tulsarama”. To make things more interesting, the committee decided to bury a time capsule filled with various paraphernalia to educate future citizens how life was like in the 1950s. However, this time capsule wasn’t going to be an ordinary cache of contemporary items. It was to include an entire car.

The 1967 Experiment That Proved Anyone Can Design a Nuclear Weapon

On 16 October 1964, China detonated a 22-kiloton nuclear weapon device at the Lop Nur test site, becoming the fifth nuclear power state in the world and the first Asian nation to possess nuclear capability. The United States had been monitoring the Lop Nur site for some time and they were aware that a test was imminent. What worried them was the unknown. How many more nations are working on nuclear weapons without their knowledge? Which country would be next to develop nuclear weapons capability? How easy or difficult it would be to accomplish that?

In order to better gauge the threat of nuclear proliferation, the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory in Livermore, California, wanted to ascertain what it would take for a determined group of extremely brilliant individuals with no access to classified research to build a bomb. They called it the “Nth Country Experiment.”

Jack Ketch’s Botched Executions

Jack Ketch was a 17th century executioner who gained notoriety in the manner in which he disposed off the condemned. The beheadings of Lord William Russel in 1683 was particularly gruesome. Ketch was so inept that he took four blows from the axe to separate the head from the body. Each blow landed somewhere else rather than the neck, causing the victim to suffer horrifically. After the first blow landed on the shoulder his victim reportedly looked up and said “You dog, did I give you 10 guineas to use me so inhumanely?.” Read more about Ketch’s other botched beheadings.

5 Historical Figures Who Were Assassinated in The Lavatory

When a person is on the toilet, moving bowels, they are in a particularly vulnerable position. They are exposing parts of their body that are usually covered up, which leaves them susceptible to harm. Especially in ancient times, when sitting down while performing this bodily function could have left individuals defenseless and caught off guard, making them an easy target for attacks. No wonder, many assassins chose to strike when their victims were in this particular state of defenselessness. Let us look at some famous assassinations from the past executed in the toilet.

6 Spectacular Survivors of Free Fall

It is said that a fall from a height of only six feet can be deadly with broken bones, head injuries, spinal cord injuries and even death. But there have been instances where people have fallen from astounding heights and survived. Read about them in this collection.

The World’s Oldest Optical Illusion

In the October 1892 issue of Fliegende Bl├Ątter, a German humor magazine, there appeared an image depicting an optical illusion. The image was a sketch of a rabbit’s head, or was it a duck’s head? Both images seemed to switch back and forth from being a duck then being a rabbit. Half a century later, the image appeared again in Ludwig Wittgenstein’s 1953 book Philosophical Investigations, where the famed philosopher used the example to illustrate how certain figures could be interpreted in more than one ways. Over the next seventy years, the duck-rabbit illusion would appear countless number of times in books, magazines and websites.

Sarah Baartman: The Black Woman Who Was Exploited For Her Big Booty

The story of Sarah Baartman is a story of abuse and objectification that has become a powerful symbol of colonial exploitation and racism, and of the ridicule and commodification of black people. Sarah, also known as the "Hottentot Venus," was a Khoi woman from South Africa who was taken from her homeland and exhibited as a "freak show" attraction in Europe in the early 19th century owing to her unusually large buttocks.

Skeleton Lovers

Embracing, the act of holding someone or something close, goes far beyond a physical gesture; it is a powerful expression of love that transcends language, culture and time. Whether it's a warm hug between friends, a tight squeeze from a parent to a child, or an intimate embrace between romantic partners, the act of embracing communicates a deep and profound connection.

When archeologists dig up graves, sometimes they find manifestations of love through this form of expression—skeletal bodies of couples buried together, still locked in embrace. Who were they and how did they end up six feet under?

Modern scientific methods have allowed us to unravel some of these mysteries, giving us an opportunity to glimpse into the final moments of these prehistoric couples, bound together even in death.

The 72 Seasons of Japan

We are all familiar with the four seasons of the year—spring, summer, autumn, and winter—based on the changes in weather, ecology, and the number of daylight hours. However, these four seasons are too broad in scope to accurately depict the nuances of our weather and of our natural surrounding. To mark the passing of time and understand the variations throughout the year, many ancient East Asian cultures created calendars based on the sun and the phases of the moon. The Hindu calendar has 6 seasons, the Chinese calendar consist of 24 seasons, and the Japanese calendar is divided even more finely into 72 seasons. 

The Perfect Crime: The Murchison Murders

In a remote cattle station in Western Australia, three person mysteriously disappears. When the remains of one of the missing person is recovered, police conclude that at least one murder has been committed. Circumstantial evidence, however, suggests that all three have been murdered and possibly by the same person. But what happened to the bodies? The clues lied in the pages of a then unpublished detective novel by one Australia's most underrated writers, Arthur Upfield.

Who Was The Earliest Born Person To Be Photographed?

If you've had the chance to explore your old family photo albums, you may have stumbled upon pictures of your ancestors who were born during the early 1900s. With a bit of luck, you might have even unearthed some photographs from the early 19th century. Indeed, some of the earliest photographs most people have in their possession are of ancestors born in the 1800s, which leads us to the question: who was the earliest born person to be photographed? There are many contenders.

The Building That Gave Its Residents Leukemia

Building number 7 on Gvardeytsiv Kantemirovtsiv street (now known as Mariyi Pryimachenko Street) in Kramatorsk, Ukraine, was the most recent addition to the block. Equipped with an elevator and running hot water, this apartment complex exuded a level of luxury not commonly seen in Soviet-era residential buildings.

The first family moved in in 1980. They couldn’t have asked for more. It was arguably among the finest apartments in the city. However, their enjoyment was short-lived.

 

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