World’s Strangest

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Operation Christmas Drop

(YouTube link) The people of Micronesia live on small, isolated islands, with little traffic and few modern amenities. The U.S. Air Force has delivered Christmas through Operation Christmas Drop for 60 years now. It’s an assignment every Airman wants. This large-scale humanitarian mission had relatively humble beginnings. According to the 36th Wing historian, the exact origin of [...]

5 Spy Tunnels From Around the World

Spies have more tools at their disposal than bribery, blackmail, and black bag jobs. They’ve also got pickaxes. When going undercover isn’t enough, they go underground to ply their trade. Here are five spy operations that involved digging tunnels to get the job done. 1. Operation SILVER Post-World War II Vienna was divided into four zones, each [...]

How One Pilot’s Sweet Tooth Helped Defeat Communism

by Greg Volk In 1948, the Soviet beast was hungry. Three years into the postwar occupation of Germany, the USSR had tired of sharing Berlin, so it blockaded ground and water access to the two million residents in the American, French, and British zones. The Soviet hope was to starve them into submission. In response, from [...]

Firemen rescue cow stuck in a tree

Fire-fighters spent over four hours engaged in a particularly unusual rescue operation. The cow, a calf called ‘Sparkle’, had managed to get itself in…

Doctors ‘print’ a new jaw for transplant

In an operation that’s the first of its kind, doctors have created a new jaw using a 3D printer. The patient, an 83 year old Dutch woman, required the…

How Military Operations Get Their Code Names

© Hannibal Hanschke/dpa/Corbis Last month the world watched rebel forces pour into Tripoli under the banner of Operation Mermaid Dawn. While watching the news, I was struck by a curiosity many of you might have shared: just where exactly do these names come from? It’s a relatively new practice, actually—less than a hundred years old. The Germans [...]

Playing Operation with the da Vinci Surgical Robot

Ever played the game Operation? Sure you have – but have you ever played it with a surgical robot? John Hopkins graduate student Carol Reiley has access to the da Vinci surgical robot, and put it to good use: Hit play or go to Link [YouTube] – via Shots

The Number of the Day: 40%

During its 62 years of operation, the immigration station at Ellis Island welcomed in excess of 12 million immigrants to the United States. As a result, an estimated 40% of U.S. citizens have at least one ancestor who passed through its gates. Related Fact: Located just a short boat trip from Ellis Island stands the Statue [...]

The Tonsillectomy: A Massive Pain in the Neck

by David Zax Tonsils, those oval-shaped masses of tissue in the back of your throat, have been the targets of surgeons from the earliest days of medicine. Around 1000 BC, doctors in India practiced partial tonsillectomies. In the days of Jesus, a Roman physician named Aulus Cornelius Celsus recorded performing tonsillectomies by holding on to the [...]

World’s First Organ Donor Dies -56 Years Later

Ronald Lee Herrick was 79 years old when he died Monday in a Maine hospital from complications of heart surgery. He did not die from kidney failure, even though he only had one, and his identical twin brother suffered from renal failure in 1954. That was the year Herrick donated a healthy kidney to his [...]