What We Loved This Week. Mar. 6 – 12

Pluto might become a planet again, life in Earth’s northernmost settlement, the rarely seen side of Kurt Cobain, vintage samurai photos, and Dr. Seuss’ nudity-filled picture book.

Seal Carcass

A polar bear feeding on seal carcass in Svalbard, Norway. Image Source: The Atlantic

Life In The Northernmost Settlement On The Planet

Svalbard

A total solar eclipse, seen in Longyearbyen on Svalbard. Image Source: The Atlantic

Want to get away from it all — even warmth? Head nowhere other than Svalbard. The frigid waters of the Arctic Ocean surround the cluster of Norwegian islands, which sit approximately 650 miles away from the North Pole. High latitude lines mean fewer people: with a population of approximately 2,200 people, it’s the northernmost year-round settlement on the planet. See if you could handle life there with these photos from The Atlantic.

Spitsbergen Norway

The setting sun shines on the peak of the “Tre Kroner” at the Kongsfjorden glacier in Ny-Alesund on Spitsbergen, Norway. Image Source: The Atlantic

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Then And Now: The World’s Very First Computer Vs. Today’s Supercomputers

First Computer

The Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer (ENIAC), the modern age’s first computer. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

It’s virtually impossible to imagine what the world would look like today without the computer. Though you might not think it, everything from the food we eat to the football helmets we wear to the rockets we send into space needed a computer’s help in some way. Needless to say, history’s very first computer, the Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer (ENIAC), is on a very short list of the most important inventions humans have ever made.

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Photo Of The Day: Why This Woman Conquered Niagara Falls In A Pickle Barrel

Annie Edson Taylor

Annie Edson Taylor, the first woman to go over Niagara Falls in a wooden barrel, pictured here with her preferred mode of transportation. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

In 1901, it wasn’t Evel Knievel, Johnny Knoxville, or any other man who was challenging modern conventions with unthinkable stunts. It was a 63-year-old schoolteacher named Annie Edson Taylor.

On October 24, 1901, Taylor became the first woman to travel (and survive) a trip down Niagara Falls in a wooden barrel. Although she claimed to be in her 40s, it was in fact her 63rd birthday.

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Photo Of The Day: When Plastic Surgery Was Worse Than The Injury

Walter Yeo

Walter Yeo, a sailor injured in battle, was the first modern plastic surgery patient. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Our medical science is a pretty good measure of how much we’ve evolved. Whereas historical cures for mental illness once involved drilling holes into human skulls, we can now do things like re-engineer the polio vaccine that we ourselves created to also attack certain types of brain cancer.

Even on the cosmetic side, doctors have gotten so good at plastic surgery that they can literally make real-life Barbie and Ken dolls. But back in 1916, that was all just science fiction.

So when a 25-year-old English sailor named Walter Yeo lost his upper and lower eyelids while manning the guns on the HMS Warspite during WWI, there wasn’t much hope for a solution. Luckily, just a year later, Sir Harold Gillies (the “father of plastic surgery”) had a pioneering — and, by today’s standards, utterly gruesome — idea.

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