Vikings unwittingly made their swords stronger by trying to imbue them with spirits

They didn't know it, but the rituals of Iron Age Scandinavians turned their iron into steel.

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  • Iron Age Scandinavians only had access to poor quality iron, which put them at a tactical disadvantage against their neighbors.
  • To strengthen their swords, smiths used the bones of their dead ancestors and animals, hoping to transfer the spirit into their blades.
  • They couldn't have known that in so doing, they actually were forging a rudimentary form of steel.
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China refutes U.S. claim that it's pushing space 'arms race'

"Here I want to remind all of you of a fact that the U.S. publicly defines outer space as a new battlefield," a Chinese foreign minister said.

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  • A Chinese foreign minister refuted U.S. claims that China and Russia are developing space weaponry.
  • China and Russia have recently ramped up cooperation on space programs.
  • Meanwhile, the U.S. has been skeptical of both nations, arguing that they're likely developing an array of space weapons.
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Earth at 2°C hotter will be horrific. Now here’s what 4°C will look like.

This is what the world will be like if we do not act on climate change.

  • The best-case scenario of climate change is that world gets just 2°C hotter, which scientists call the "threshold of catastrophe".
  • Why is that the good news? Because if humans don't change course now, the planet is on a trajectory to reach 4°C at the end of this century, which would bring $600 trillion in global climate damages, double the warfare, and a refugee crisis 100x worse than the Syrian exodus.
  • David Wallace-Wells explains what would happen at an 8°C and even 13°C increase. These predictions are horrifying, but should not scare us into complacency. "It should make us focus on them more intently," he says.
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The missing 'puzzle' page of Einstein’s unified theory of everything found

Over 100 new pages of Einstein's writings, including long-lost calculations, have been made public.

Albert Einsteins manuscript pages on display in the Givat Ram Hebrew University of Jerusalem. March 6, 2019. (Photo: MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images)
  • The Hebrew University makes public 110 new pages of Einstein's writings.
  • Among the writings is a famously-missing page of calculations on the unified theory.
  • Other papers by Einstein talk of politics and personal observations.
Discovering the Theory of Everything would be the crowning achievement of modern ...
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The contentious history of the Anarchist Cookbook

Numerous critics have called for the ban of the infamous instruction manual for violent civil disobedience.

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  • The Anarchist Cookbook provides instructions for making bombs, drugs, and operating firearms; naturally, this makes it rather controversial.
  • Concerned citizens, anarchists themselves, and many others have called for the ban of the book, but most liberal democracies have refused to do so.
  • Whether you think dangerous literature should be banned or whether banning books is an inherently anti-democratic position, knowing and understanding why the Anarchist Cookbook draws so much criticism can be valuable.
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