The horror and mystery behind 'the Black Paintings'

Towards the end of his life, Francisco Goya began painting terrifying scenes directly onto the walls of his house.

Wikimedia Commons
  • The Black Paintings stand out in art history for their dark composition and themes.
  • The biggest mystery, though, is that Goya painted them directly onto the walls of his home and never told anybody about them.
  • With such little information, all we can do is speculate about the 14 horrifying Black Paintings.
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Why the Dalai Lama's reincarnation is up for debate

The Dalai Lama is important, so important that he might decide not to come back after his next death.

  • Tibetan monks from all over the world are scheduled to visit India to discuss the issues related to the next reincarnation of the Dalai Lama.
  • Some, including the Dalai Lama himself, have questioned if the institution should be continued.
  • The final decision will have far reaching effects, since China is unlikely to let the monks have the last word on the matter.
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Project 100,000: The Vietnam War's cruel and deadly experiment

Military recruits are supposed to be assessed to see whether they're fit for service. What happens when they're not?

Flickr user Tommy Truong79
  • During the Vietnam War, Robert McNamara began a program called Project 100,000.
  • The program brought over 300,000 men to Vietnam who failed to meet minimum criteria for military service, both physically and mentally.
  • Project 100,000 recruits were killed in disproportionate numbers and fared worse after their military service than their civilian peers, making the program one of the biggest—and possibly cruelest—mistakes of the Vietnam War.
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Archaeologists unearth dozens of mummified cats in Egypt

Dozens of mummified cats were dug up this week. This isn't as shocking as you might think.

KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images
  • Archaeologists in Egypt have found dozens of mummified cats in the tomb of a royal offical.
  • The cats will join the ranks of hundreds of thousands of previously discovered ancient kitties.
  • While the cats are nothing special, the tomb also held well preserved beetles.
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Why Japan's Buddhists run a deadly 1,000-day marathon

Only 46 monks have completed the seven-year marathon since 1885.

Photo by Yuya Shino/Getty Images
  • The kaihōgyō — a seven-year, 1,000-day marathon — is among the world's most difficult physical challenges.
  • It is rarely completed, and those who fail are historically expected to kill themselves.
  • Why do Japan's Buddhist monks take on this nearly impossible challenge?
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