Author Archives: Melissa

The Fetus-in-Fetu

As fascinating as it is horrifying, fetus-in-fetu is a developmental abnormality where, in utero, the larger of a set of twin fetuses absorbs the other into her body. The condition is usually diagnosed shortly after the surviving twin is born, although in a few horrific cases, the absorbed twin is not discovered until adulthood or death. Technically arising only in […]

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The Parasite that Becomes a Tongue

In warm Pacific waters from the Gulf of California to the Gulf of Guayaquil thrives a parasite that has a very twisted relationship with its host. The Tongue-Eating Louse A member of the family Cymothoidae, the tiny Cymothoa exigua, or tongue eating louse, enters its victim through the gills. Once inside, the female latches onto the base of the fish’s […]

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When the U.S. Sent Several Hundred Million Needles Into Space (Project West Ford)

In the midst of the Cold War, forward-thinking military planners realized just how much they had come to rely on international communications. Fearing interference from the Soviet Union, in 1958, the U.S. Air Force commissioned scientists at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Lincoln Laboratory to create a space-based international system for communications by sending up several hundred million needles into […]

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WWII Horror Files: Unit 731

At the dawn of World War II, although biological and chemical weapons had been used previously in warfare, little was known of precisely how they worked on the human body. Curious, certain Japanese researchers in its army unit 731 conducted a series of indescribably cruel experiments testing the limits of the human body when subjected to harsh conditions, poisonous substances […]

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The Voynich Manuscript

So mysterious, no one even knows exactly which century it was written in, the Voynich Manuscript has stumped medieval scholars, linguists, cryptologists and the curious for hundreds of years. The Manuscript Approximately 6″ x 9″ x 2″, this octavo contains 240 pages of indecipherable text and a host of illustrations drawn with iron gall ink on vellum. Many of the […]

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Was There Really a General Tso?

Jon asks: Was General Tso a real person or just a marketing gimmick? Most of us know the name “General Tso” from the delicious and ubiquitous chicken dish available from Chinese restaurants across the United States. Yet, before Americans were introduced to tangy, spicy, saucy Chinese fried chicken, there was a powerful general and respected leader that helped run China. […]

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The Mystery of Gobekli Tepe

About eleven thousand years ago, in a remote corner of the cradle of civilization, Stone Age people who lacked cities, agriculture and metal tools built an enormous complex of multi-ton stone pillars called Gobekli Tepe (Potbelly Hill) in a region in modern day Turkey. The high degree of artistic skill and organizational wherewithal discovered at the site has caused the […]

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The Interesting Origin of 12 Sandwiches

Lions of the culinary world, the inventors of our favorite sandwiches have left a lasting legacy of portability and deliciousness. To honor their contributions to our collective satiety, we’re taking a moment to reflect on some of the sandwich world’s greatest creations… prepare to get hungry. Club A marvel of sandwich construction, the Club Sandwich consists of three slices of […]

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How Each NFL Team Got its Name (NFC)

Nothing short of a room decorated in team gear epitomizes a National Football League fanatic better than an internal database of useless trivia spanning your team’s history. Read on for the origin of the nickname of your favorite NFC team. NFC East  Dallas Cowboys (431-287-2) Super Bowl: (5-3) Noteworthy: With the 1st and 9th all-time rushing leaders in Emmitt Smith […]

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Before He Was President, JFK Was a Bestselling Author and Won a Pulitzer Prize

Most remember John Fitzgerald Kennedy as our youthful and inspiring 35th President who, with his elegant wife, turned the White House into Camelot until his assassination in November 1963. But what few today recall is that long before his presidency, JFK was a well-respected author and even won the Pulitzer Prize for history in 1957 with Profiles in Courage. Born […]

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