Archives for February, 2011

Why Did Ancient Egypt Decline?

The recent political upheaval in Egypt exposed the sad condition of what was once one of the world’s great Empires. Pervasive corruption, mismanagement and a lack of investment has crippled the Egyptian economy. Unemployment is so high that the International Monetary Fund’s managing director, Dominque Straus-Kahn warned in early February that Egypt’s joblessness was a ticking “time bomb.” In…

More than 2,000 years after her death, Cleopatra, the last Ptolemaic queen of Egypt, remains one of the most famous and fabled women in history. Almost forgotten, however, is Ptolemy XV Caesar, AKA Caesarion, her son fathered by Julius Caesar, who was groomed for greatness that was never to be. Caesarion, whose name means “little Caesar,”…

If the surviving artistic depictions of her are accurate, Queen Nefertiti–whose name means “a beautiful woman has come”– was the Angelina Jolie of the ancient world, one of the most glamorous females who ever graced the planet. Even today, people are so beguiled by her beauty that the famous bust of Nefertiti, which was discovered by…

Thanks to classic Hollywood horror films such as The Mummy’s Curse, most of us probably are familiar with the notion that disturbing the tomb of an ancient Egyptian pharaoh will unleash some potentially very bad vibes. Preposterous as that might seem to we modern, science-oriented folks, we have a hard time dismissing by a string of incidents…

Who was Tutankhamun, really?

Since the discovery of his tomb in the 1920s,  the 14th Century BC Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun–AKA King Tut–often has been depicted as a sickly, physically frail child, more of a figurehead than a monarch. The “Boy King,” as comedian Steve Martin labeled him in a late 1970s satirical song, even poked good-natured fun at his premature demise…

Prison Nursery

With the number of women behind bars increasing at double the rate of men, the fastest-growing segment of the prison population is also undergoing a surge in the amount of babies born behind bars each year. This video gives you a glimpse inside the Ohio Reformatory for Women’s prison nursery program. There are only nine…

Most countries don’t view the occult as a potential government revenue source, but then again, Romania isn’t most countries.  The land that gave us Vlad the Impaler and his fictional descendent, Count Dracula, has always seemed to border Hungary and Serbia on one side and the Astral Plane on the other. If you follow Romanian…

The "Nightmare of the Amazon"

Mapinguari is a mouthful of a name, especially for a creature that may or may not exist. But its meaning–usually translated as “the roaring animal” or “the fetid beast”–scertainly befits a giantic, lumbering red-toed sloth-like creature in the rainforests of Brazil and Bolivia. Descriptions of the mapinguari vary, but a 1994 New Scientist article may provide one…

Some people spend their Valentine’s Day… Listening to love songs, While others spend it with their best friend, Or their spouse. And in some cases, that spouse is made of plastic… However you spend yours, we hope you have a Happy Valentine’s Day!

The Amazing Shereshevsky

If you feel sheepish about your inability to remember your wife’s birthday or where you left your car keys, don’t fret. We’re all more or less memory-challenged compared to an early 20th-Century Russian named Solomon Veniaminovich Shereshevsky, who could store more data in his head than we’ll ever forget. Pioneering Russian neurologist and memory researcher…