60 U.S. Penis Transplants Set To Happen Soon

Penis Transplant

Image Source: Pixabay

Sixty wounded veterans are in line for the first round of an experimental penis transplant procedure at Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore. The operations haven’t yet been scheduled, but they are already stirring up both medical and ethical debates.

The number of people dying in war has been decreasing since World War II. Part of that is due to a drop in the number of international wars, as well as advances in medicine that allow people to survive injuries that would have been fatal in the past.

While people are surviving more grave injuries, however, they are still losing parts of their body that have been damaged in those once-fatal injuries — including the penis.

Continue Reading

What We Loved This Week, Mar. 13 – 19

The witch doctors of Sierra Leone, tiny structures built by insects, Texas’ female gun owners, European border photography, history’s most famous betrayals.

Witch Doctors Sierra Leone Teeth

Image Source: VICE

Spending A Week With The Witch Doctors Of Sierra Leone

Witch Doctors Sierra Leone

Image Source: VICE

When an American thinks of a physician, images of stethoscopes and syringes often come to mind. In Sierra Leone, at least among self-proclaimed witch doctors, things are a bit different. These unconventional medics often use black magic and herbal medicines to cure the sick, and claim that they can curse or even kill their enemies.

Intrigued by their practices, a VICE reporter went down to Sierra Leone to visit these doctors, all of whom are members of the National Council of Traditional Healers, and learn more about their craft. Check out her photographic documentation of the trip at VICE.

Witch Doctors Sierra Leone Pointing

Image Source: VICE

Continue Reading

Photo Of The Day: The Tragic Story Of The Airship That Changed Transportation History

Uss Akron

The USS Akron flying above the Manhattan skyline in the early 1930s. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Long before there were jumbo jets and cruise ships ferrying people to every imaginable destination, there were airships. Huge, helium-filled, blimp-like aircraft were the cutting edge of transit technology nearly a century ago. Surely as Depression-era New Yorkers looked up and saw the USS Akron airship flying above Manhattan’s iconic skyline, they saw the future.

But in the case of the USS Akron (and the rest of the airship industry), the future held disaster.

Continue Reading

Executions, Informants, And Flamboyance: The American Mafia In The 1980s

The 1980s mafia operated in stark contrast to the values presented in The Godfather movies. Gone were the bonds of loyalty and the aversion to attention; instead, narcotics — and the money and glamour that came with it — ruled the day.

At the same time, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act gave law enforcement increased powers and resources to combat organized crime. This meant stiffer criminal penalties and more incentive for mafiosos to break omerta, the sacred mafia code of silence. Likewise, with the high stakes of drug trafficking and the rise of a glitzier generation of gangsters, betrayal and deadly internecine fighting became the norm.

The 1980s mafia was in many ways the last gasp of an antiquated criminal empire. Though there was plenty of money to be made, the mafia faced unprecedented pressures from both outside and within, signaling that its glory days were far behind it:

Prev Next 1 of 28
John Gotti And Sammy The Bull

Nobody embodies the 1980s mafia quite like John Gotti, a member of the Gambino crime family. While his cohorts actively avoided attention, Gotti became known as "The Dapper Don" for his taste in expensive clothes and personality with the media.

Image Source: Five Families of New York City

John Gotti Jr Charles Carneglia Mafia

Walking alongside John Gotti's son (left) is Charles Carneglia. He became John Gotti's most trusted hit man after helping dissolve a neighbor of Gotti's in a vat of acid, allegedly putting the victim's finger into another mobster's soup.

Image Source: Daily Mail

Bergin Hunt And Fish Club

John Gotti and other members of the Gambino family, photographed by FBI surveillance outside of the Bergin Hunt and Fish Club in Ozone Park, Queens.

Image Source: Daily News

Paul Castellano

The one man that stood in Gotti's way was Paul Castellano, the head of the Gambino family. An old school don, he strictly forbade his family from selling narcotics.

Image Source: HISTORY

Paul Castellano Murder Scene

The release of government surveillance tapes in December 1985 revealed associates of Gotti discussing the drug trade, which Gotti determined would give Castellano enough motivation to murder him.

On the night of December 16, 1985, a hit team waited for Castellano and his bodyguard outside of Sparks Steak House in Midtown Manhattan.

Image Source: Mental Floss

Paul Castellano Body

With Gotti observing from across the street, the hitmen shot Castellano as he exited his car in front of the restaurant. Two weeks later, Gotti was made the new boss of the Gambino family.

Image Source: Pinterest

John Gotti

Gotti was brought to trial on three separate occasions in the late 1980s but was acquitted each time, thanks in part to intimidating both witnesses and jury members. This earned him the nickname of "The Teflon Don," because no charges seemed to stick against him.

Image Source: Daily Mail

John Gotti Corthouse 1992

Even in his final days before incarceration, Gotti was a celebrity. Here, supporters await Gotti as he comes out of a federal courthouse in Brooklyn.

Image Source: Daily Mail

Sammy The Bull

The ultimate undoing of John Gotti would come at the hands of Salvatore "Sammy the Bull" Gravano. After hearing surveillance tapes of John Gotti disparaging Gravano as well as pinning several murders on him, Gravano became a state witness against Gotti.

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

John Gotti 1990

After evading prosecution for most of the 1980s, Gotti was found guilty in 1992 on racketeering and murder charges after Sammy Gravano testified against him.

Sentenced to life in prison, Gotti spent the remainder of his life in effective solitary confinement and died of cancer in June 2002.

Image Source: HISTORY

Carmine Galante Murder Scene

Those that didn't go to prison often ended up dead. After becoming head of the Bonanno family, Carmine Galante commanded the largest drug-trafficking operation among the Five Families.

However, his cornering of the narcotics market drew the ire of other New York crime families, resulting in his assassination at Joe and Mary's Italian-American Restaurant in Bushwick, Brooklyn.

Image Source: Everything2Stroke

Nicholas Guido

With such frequent violence, bystanders also suffered the mafia's wrath. In a case of mistaken identity, Nicholas Guido (above) was killed on Christmas 1986 when he was confused for the would-be conspirator of a mafioso's murder.

Image Source: Daily News

Edward Garofalo

As violence escalated and more mafia members became informants, paranoia set in. In what is regarded as John Gotti's last hit, Edward Garofalo (above) was gunned down in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn because he was suspected of cooperating with government officials.

Image Source: Daily News

Ice Man

Of all the mafia's hit men, no one was as infamous as Richard Kuklinski. Nicknamed "The Iceman" because he froze victims to conceal their time of death, Kuklinski worked as a contract killer for the New York and New Jersey families in the 1970s and 1980s.

After being found guilty of two murders in March 1988, Kuklinski would later admit his involvement in over 200 for-hire killings.

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Vincent Gigante

Known as the 'Oddfather' by the press, Vincent Gigante was the head of the Genovese family in the 1980s. Gigante had feigned insanity since the 1960s in an elaborate ruse to avoid government prosecution. His most public act of fakery involved wandering Greenwich Village in his bathrobe.

Image Source: HISTORY

Danny Greene

Mafia violence and activities weren't just confined to New York, however. In 1976, over 36 bombs went off in Cleveland, Ohio during an escalating war between Irish and Italian crime organizations.

In the above photo, the founder of the Celtic Club -- an Irish gang -- was assassinated using a car bomb after he left a dentist's appointment.

Image Source: Cleveland.com

Angelo Gentle Don

Other mafia strongholds in North America included Philadelphia and Chicago. In 1980, the head of the Philadelphia family, Angelo "The Gentle Don" Bruno (above), was murdered outside of his home in South Philadelphia.

Things did not end well for his conspirators, including consigliere Antonio Caponigro (aka Tony Bananas), who was soon murdered by the New York families for not seeking their permission for the assassination.

Image Source: Mental Floss

Family Of Angelo Bruno

The family Of Angelo Bruno, moments after his body was interred.

Image Source: Wikiwand

Philadelphia Mob

Members of the Philadelphia mob, photographed by FBI surveillance as they congregate outside of a social club.

Image Source: Wikiwand

Nicky Scarfo

Following the death of Angelo Bruno, Nicky Scarfo (center) became boss of the Philadelphia family in 1981. Known for his ruthless behavior, Scarfo also helped the families of New York dominate business in Atlantic City.

Image Source: Pinterest

Michael Matthews Atlantic City

Mafiosos weren't the only ones to get caught in federal investigations. Michael Matthews, the then Mayor of Atlantic City, was tried and convicted for working with the Philadelphia mob in extorting businesses and city officials.

Image Source: philly.com

Leland Beloff 1987

Philadelphia councilman Leland Beloff was also tried and found guilty in 1987 for working with the Philadelphia mob to extort bribes from developers.

Image Source: Courier-Post

1980s Mafia Harry Hunchback

Standing only 5'1" and weighing just 136 pounds, Harry "The Hunchback" Riccobene was nonetheless a respected elder of the mafia in Philadelphia. A mobster since the Prohibition era, Riccobene was finally brought to justice when he was convicted of a murder during the internal Philadelphia mafia conflict of the early 1980s.

Image Source: Courier-Post

Lucchese Racketeering Trial 1988

Not all prosecutions ended so well, however. In neighboring New Jersey, after an almost two-year long federal trial culminated in acquittals for 20 members of the New Jersey Lucchese family in 1988, defendants and attorneys celebrate the innocent verdict in a Newark bar.

Image Source: Los Angeles Times

1980s Mafia

Given broad powers under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), the federal government started to infiltrate the ranks of the Mafia in the late 1970s. The most famous infiltration was by FBI agent Joseph Pistone (left), known as Donnie Brasco while operating undercover in the Bonanno crime family.

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Donnie Brasco

As a direct result of Pistone's undercover work, there were over 200 indictments and 100 convictions of mafia members. The Bonnano associates who unwittingly accepted Pistone into the organization also suffered a heavy price: each were executed within a month of the revelation that Donnie Brasco was an FBI agent.

To this day, a $500,000 contract remains open from the mafia for the murder of Joseph Pistone.

Image Source: Neon Magazine

Rudy G

Leading the charge by law enforcement in New York was Rudolph Giuliani. Speaking as a United States Attorney in Manhattan in 1987, Giuliani described the efforts against organized crime to The New York Times:

"We keep making gains and they keep getting moved backward. If we take back the labor unions, the legitimate businesses, eventually they become just another street gang. Spiritually, psychologically, they've always been just a street gang."

Image Source: HISTORY

Like this gallery? Share it!

Continue Reading

Close Pop-in
Like All That Is Interesting

Get The Most Fascinating Content On The Web In Your Facebook & Twitter Feeds