A Jarring Glimpse At The World’s Prison Populations

June 16, 2014

Prison Population Per 1000

While the United States comprises only 5% of the world’s population, it holds 25% of the world’s prisoners within its borders. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, the US prison population has risen an incredible 700%, rendering the country the world’s largest jailer. At present, one in every 99 adults in the US is locked up — the highest rate of imprisonment in US history. What’s primarily at root? The failed “War on Drugs” and mandatory minimum sentences.

The Totally Weird Origins Of English Idioms

June 16, 2014

If nothing else, social media has taught us that at some point all of us start to sound like our moms and dads. The Bible might give the mouths of babes all the credit, but some pretty strange things can come out of adult lips as well: those confusing old idioms that sometimes have children and teens scratching their heads regarding their meaning.

Here are some idioms that perhaps mama used to say, which might even date back to Shakespeare, but still get used today.

English Idioms: “Waking Up On The Wrong Side Of The Bed”

English Idioms Wrong Bed

Source: WordPress

In the face of a wailing boy or girl, moms might say that their child got up on the wrong side of the bed that morning. Such a phrase might lead the cranky and inquisitive child to wonder how there can be a right and a wrong side of a bed. The saying proves that we humans are quite a superstitious lot. It may date back all the way to ancient Rome when it was considered bad luck to get out of bed on the left side, as it might portend a bad day. It is also written that anything associated with the left (imagine this, liberals) was considered sinister. Innkeepers, therefore, made sure that the left side of a bed was pushed against the wall to ward off any evil.

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These Creepy Masks Prove Just How Odd Humanity Is

June 15, 2014
Creepy Masks Scolds Bridle

Source: Boing Boing

This little item is one of the more disturbing objects on the list. A ‘Scold’s bridle’ is a fearsome looking thing from the 1500s whose purpose was to cure your gabbing woman of her nasty—and apparently singularly female—tendency to fight or gossip. When secured to the woman’s head, this contraption rendered her incapable of speaking. Occasionally, these creepy masks would be studded with spikes near the mouth, which meant that if the overly chatty female dared try to speak, she would experience immediate pain.

The mask had its origins in Britain and spread like a disease to some other European countries, with the punishment normally handed down by a local magistrate. This particular example features a bell, which was meant to draw even more attention and embarrassment unto the wearer. It continued to be used until the early 1800s as a punishment for another marginalized sect of society: the poor.

Creepy Masks Splatter Mask

Source: Listverse

While “splatter mask” sounds like a horrifying name to an object meant for a rather cruel punishment, these devices were actually protective gear worn by British tank operators in World War I. Tanks in the early 1900s had not reached their full operating or safety potential; they often broke down and could be all but destroyed by enemies’ heavy artillery.

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6 Interesting Events You May Not Have Learned In History Class

June 13, 2014
Interesting Events Body On Ground

Source: Hyper Vocal

Jonestown Massacre, 1978

Perhaps one of the most disturbing events in modern history, the Jonestown Massacre was the site of the largest recorded mass suicide and the the point of origin for the phrase “drinking the kool-aid”. On November 18, 1978, over 900 people from the settlement of Jonestown, Guyana, willingly died from cyanide poisoning.

The settlement was established by Jim Jones, a communist who founded his own church – the People’s Temple – in 1950. Jonestown was meant to be a utopia for its citizens, but as so often is the case, fell far short of its idyllic goals. Jonestown was a cesspool for illness, hard labor, overcrowded housing and food shortages. In 1978, Congressman Leo Ryan visited Jonestown as part of an investigation, but he and several members of his party died in a shooting at an airstrip outside of Jonestown.

Interesting Events Jonestown Aerial

An aerial view of the massacre.

Jones grew paranoid after the assassination, and gathered the congregation to inform them that they were no longer safe from the US government. Jones told his congregation that the only way to escape from their clutches was to commit a “revolutionary act” of suicide. Over 900 people took part. Jonestown residents infused grape flavored Flavor-Aid with cyanide and Valium, administering it to children through syringes. According to reports, 918 people died, though a few did survive.

Interesting Events Jonestown Massacre Kool Aid

Source: NPR

How British People See Each US State

June 12, 2014
How British People See Each US State

Source: BuzzFeed

Staff at BuzzFeed’s UK offices were asked to describe each state in the grand US of A. Here’s what they said. We’re sure you have more to offer than light inbreeding and hillbillies, West Virginia.

The Most WTF Science Experiments Ever Conducted

June 9, 2014

History is filled with examples of cruel and unusual experiments performed on human beings and animals for the so-called sake of advancing science. Even at the time they were performed, such experiments should have been considered crazy. And today, at the very least they should elicit a “WTF?”. In some cases it seems that the psychology professionals administering the tests were the crazy ones—not the subjects involved. In the following experiments, the victims can be categorized into five groups: chimps, dogs, gays, unsuspecting participants and Jews.

The Chimps

WTF Science Experiments Monkeys Despair

Harry Harlow experimented on monkeys by depriving them of all stimulation for as long as a year in a device he called the ‘pit of despair.’ Source: Indian Institute of Technology

As disturbing as the experiments by Dr. Harry Harlow on rhesus monkeys were, they did generate some—albeit inadvertent—“good” results. Public outrage at Harlow’s work comprised one of the early steps toward the United States animal rights movement, which aims to wipe out the use of animals in the research, food, clothing and entertainment industries. His work is also said to be partially responsible for various ethical standards established for scientific study.

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