World’s Strangest

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World War I Centennial: Schlieffen Is Dead, but His Plan Lives On

The First World War was an unprecedented catastrophe that killed millions and set the continent of Europe on the path to further calamity two decades later. But it didn’t come out of nowhere. With the centennial of the outbreak of hostilities coming up in 2014, Erik Sass will be looking back at the lead-up to [...]

Carbide Shooting: A Dutch New Year’s Eve Tradition

(Video Link) In the Netherlands, New Year’s Eve means partying hard. And partying hard means carbidschieten–detonating calcium carbide in a milk churn: Basically, a small chunk of calcium carbide and a little bit of water is placed in a metal milk churn. The carbide decomposes into acetylene and a flame is held up to a small hole in [...]

Learning to Skate

This photo is from the Netherlands, dated 1933. The little cutie looks a bit apprehensive, but you know his whole family enjoys ice skating, so he’s got to get into the groove sooner or later. Luckily, he has something to fall back on! Link

Heated Bicycle Lanes

Driving a car in snow and ice is dangerous enough. But when you get down to just two wheels and you run the risk of skidding and hitting a car, you’re facing serious danger. That’s why the Netherlands is considering heating bike lanes with underground pipes: In this report from the Netherlands De Telegraaf news site, the Dutch Cyclists Union [...]

The Most Popular Pages in Medieval Manuscripts

How can you know which pages in a medieval manuscript were the most popular? Kathryn Rudy of the University of St. Andrews reasoned that the finger smudges left by readers would be a good indicator: Using a device that measures the optical density of a reflective surface, Kathryn Rudy of the University of St. Andrews in [...]

Meet the Fokkens

In the Netherlands, where prostitution is legal, there are about 25,000 prostitutes but two in particular really stood out. Meet the Fokkens, 70-year-old identical twins Louise and Martine who have the remarkable distinction of [...]

Face Genes Control Human Facial Shape

What did the suspect look like? With the discovery of five genes involved in facial form, perhaps one day the police won’t need eyewitnesses or surveillance cameras – all they’d need is a little bit of DNA: Lead author Manfred Kayser from [...]

12 Wonderful Water Castles

Europe is full of beautiful castles that have been there for possibly hundreds of years, but never get the press that others receive -like those that Disney uses for reference. The World Geography looks at some gorgeous castles that are surrounded by water. What was once a defense tactic is now a pleasant feature that [...]

World’s Most Complex Borders

Image: Jan S. Krogh National borders are often a touchy subject involving a combustible mix of politics, patriotism and geography. Some borders are complex because of they’re based on natural rivers that change course [...]

Virtual Nanoscopy: The Ridiculously Zoomable Cell

Color us impressed! A team of researchers from Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands created a method to ultrastructurally map regions of cells at nanometer resolution, which they called "virtual nanoscopy": Our approach employs standard transmission electron microscopy, rapid [...]