• Kuchisake-Onna, the Slit-Mouthed Woman

    July 1, 2013
    Photo of Kuchisake-Onna, the Slit-Mouthed Woman

    “Watashi kirei?” she asks. Am I pretty?

    Your answer will determine your fate. Say “No,” and she will cut off your head. Say nothing, and she will cut you in half. Say “Yes,” and she will give you scar, a cut from the corners of your mouth up to your ears, something called the Glasgow grin. The same scar, in fact, that she hides behind a surgical mask.

    Her name is Kuchisake-Onna, the Slit-Mouthed Woman.

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  • China’s Time Travel Tunnel

    June 23, 2013
    Photo of China’s Time Travel Tunnel

    China has a time travel tunnel. Did you know that?

    Some locals of GuiZhou Province, China claim that a 400-meter-long tunnel can distort time. Those who drive through the tunnel, located in Zunyi City’s Honghuagang District, find the time on their cell phones — and only their cell phones — inexplicably reversed by exactly one hour.

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  • The Strange Case of Elisa Lam

    June 22, 2013
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    They call it the place where serial killers stay.

    The Cecil Hotel. An unassuming budget destination at the heart of Downtown Los Angeles, opened in 1927. But within these walls are echos of a terrible past, the home of murder, suicide, and the one-time residence of serial killers Jack Unterweger and Richard Ramirez, otherwise known as The Night Stalker. There’s something about this place that attracts a certain kind of darkness.

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  • John Titor: The Secret Song

    June 18, 2013
    Photo of John Titor: The Secret Song

    I’ve always found the relationship between John Titor and Pamela intriguing. It’s like any good adventure story, you know? Like The Doctor and his companions, John Titor had a single confidant with whom he shared information that, to this day, remains unknown to the public.

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  • The Harrowing Tale of Alaska’s Mysterious Orange Goo

    June 17, 2013
    Photo of The Harrowing Tale of Alaska’s Mysterious Orange Goo

    On August 3, 2011, a mysterious orange goo washed ashore in the quiet village of Kivalina, Alaska. It was a bright, moldy-looking substance, which first covered the rocks at the harbor. But the next day, after a rain storm, residents curiously found the goo inside rain buckets and even on at least one rooftop.

    One resident in particular, who placed her hand into one of the goo-filled buckets, claimed she couldn’t smell anything odd, though the substance did appear to be solid.

    A day or so later, most of the orange goo had washed away, while some remnants had turned into something resembling a clumpy, dry powder.

    So where had it come from? What was this mysterious orange goo?

    Samples were sent to labs, experts were called to the scene. Initial investigations revealed that the substance was not man-made, perhaps an algae (I hate algae) or some other organic material.

    But no. Perhaps there was more to this story. Could the orange goo found in Alaska have been…extraterrestrial? Let’s find out!

    Orange Goo From Space?

    Orange algae on tree bark
    Monterey Cypress Algae (Image: Flickr/Jerry Kirkhart via CC by 2.0)

    When Comet Elenin began to disintegrate into small chunks of ice and dust around August 2011, some were quick to point out its correlation with Alaska’s mysterious goo problem.

    Comet Elenin, astronomically known as C/2010 X1, was discovered by Russian astronomer Leonid Elenin on December 10, 2010, and was cruising through our solar system in late 2011.

    The comet wasn’t just blamed for the orange goo, though. Some people thought Elenin would cause all sorts of looming disasters, like earthquakes and weird gravitational distorations. It was even dubbed the “Doomsday Comet” by certain media outlets. Or maybe it was the “Harbinger Of Doom.”

    To quote one random Youtube comment I read a few minutes ago, “If this type of event keeps on happening, especially around the globe, we’re dead.”

    NASA had a slightly different point of view regarding Elenin. In the wake of Elenin’s anticlimactic break up, NASA’s Don Yeomans said, “I cannot begin to guess why this little comet became such a big Internet sensation. The scientific reality is this modest-sized icy dirtball’s influence upon our planet is so incredibly minuscule that my subcompact automobile exerts a greater gravitational influence on Earth than the comet ever would.”

    Well, okay then. Someone pass Elenin a box of tissues, huh?

    Back to Earth!

    Rust fungus on a flower
    Rust Fungus?! (Monterey Cypress Algae (Image: Flickr/gailhampshire via CC by 2.0)

    So, if the orange goo wasn’t from Comet Elenin, where did it come from? What was it? And why would anyone stick their hands in a bucket full of the stuff?

    Well, not even a week later, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (that’s NOAA of “Mermaids Aren’t Real and We Can’t Nuke Tropical Cyclones” fame) revealed their findings: the goo was actually tiny little eggs filled with fatty oil.

    Problem was, they didn’t know what species the eggs belonged to, where the eggs had come from, or whether or not they were toxic. That last bit troubled the people of Kivalina quite a bit, as you can imagine, because hey: rain buckets. They drink that stuff.

    Problem mostly solved, though, right? Wrong. Fast forward a few weeks, and suddenly NOAA began to sing a different tune: the orange goo wasn’t eggs, it was fungus. More specifically, rust fungus, which infects only plants and causes them to take on a rusty, orange appearance. But they weren’t 100% sure. They didn’t know which type of rust fungus, and if the orange goo was the result of rust fungus spores, the amount found in Kivalina was unprecedented.

    In February 2012, however, NOAA finally announced that they were able to identify the fungus as Chrysomyxa ledicola.

    “Six months later the substance was identified by forest health professionals at the USDA Forest Service and the Canadian Forest Service to be spores of the rust fungus Chrysomyxa ledicola. This fungus is a plant pathogen that infects the foliage of spruce (Picea spp.) and Labrador tea (Ledum spp.).”

    Whew. That puts an end to that, I guess.

    Anyway, my main point with all of this goo business is, well, this: if NOAA were wrong about the eggs, maybe they were wrong about the mermaids. I’m just saying.

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  • P.T. Barnum: A Hoax for a Better Tomorrow

    June 5, 2013
    Photo of P.T. Barnum: A Hoax for a Better Tomorrow

    You know, people have the wrong idea about P.T. Barnum.

    Many think he’s the one who coined the phrase, “There’s a sucker born every minute.” That’s not true. In fact, in relation to Barnum, that phrase was actually used by David Hannum — get this — as a jab against Barnum and his customers.

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  • 4 Weird “Clues” That Parallel Universes Exist

    May 24, 2013
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    The scientific possibility of parallel universes first arrived with Hugh Everett III’s Relative State Formulation in 1957. Not long after, Bryce Seligman DeWitt renamed Everett’s theory and introduced it to the masses, bringing us the popular term Many-worlds Interpretation.

    But there are others, each attempting to solve the quantum measurement problem and, in this case, Everett’s formulation. These include the Many-minds interpretation and, my personal favorite, Many-histories.

    Interpretations of interpretations, yeah. It’s very messy.

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