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Exactly 300 years ago, in 1721, Benjamin Franklin and his fellow American colonists faced a deadly smallpox outbreak.

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Busting the Easter Island myth: there was no civilization collapse

For decades, researchers have proposed that climate change and human-caused environmental destruction led to demographic collapse on Easter Island. That's probably false, according to new research.

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  • Easter Island, whose native name is Rapa Nui, is a remote island in the Pacific Ocean about 2,300 miles west of Chile.
  • Researchers have proposed that deforestation and climatic changes led to societal collapse on the island, prior to European contact.
  • The results of a new study suggest that, despite these factors, the Rapa Nui people managed to adapt and sustain a stable society.
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Nazis created an anti-Semitic Bible and Aryan Jesus

A Nazi institute produced a Bible without the Old Testament that portrayed Jesus as an Aryan hero fighting Jewish people.

Credit: Pastor Marten Marquardt Kurt Plischke
  • Nazis created a special institute to erase Jewish presence in Christianity.
  • The institute produced a Bible that omitted the Old Testament and completely rewrote the New Testament.
  • Jesus was portrayed as an Aryan hero of human origin who fought Jewish people.
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3,000-year-old shark attack victim found

The skeleton of the world's oldest known shark attack victim exhibits telltale wounds.

Laboratory of Physical Anthropology, KyotoUniversity/JAW, courtesy of Kyoto University.
  • A team of researchers has determined that a man died of wounds from a shark attack 3000 years ago.
  • The 790 wounds on his remains, including a missing leg and hand, are consistent with this hypothesis.
  • Given how rare shark attacks are, this find is truly remarkable.
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How the “Bomber Mafia” planned to win World War II with just a few dozen bombs

Can a war be won from the air? A group of renegade pilots in the 1930s thought so.

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  • Malcom Gladwell's new book The Bomber Mafia traces the stories of major personalities during WWII as bombing tactics developed.
  • Of particular interest to him were the men who dreamed of precision bombing as a way to make war quick, efficient, and far less deadly.
  • He concludes that the Bomber Mafia was ahead of its time.
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