Underground cities are quite the phenomenon and they are a spectacle to watch. While many of them have become abandoned and obsolete hence being lost in history, thanks to renovations, some of them have become subterranean worlds drawing tourists from all over the world. Others have even become functional urban spaces where people live. These cities have thrived through the ages and still retain their awe and mystery, being shrouded in rumors and urban legends. Take a look at these underground cities from all over the world which you had no idea existed.

Setenil de las Bodegas, Spain
This marvelous Spanish town isn’t actually underground, well at least not entirely, this is because the area is made up of several mountains and the residents built their houses right into the sides of the mountain. The town is carved directly into the stone walls with large rocks hanging above the houses making it ideal as a fort and it is believed it was used by the Roman Empire as such. It is also ideal to keep the houses cool during summer and warm during winter. The town is very much alive to date and it houses more than 3000 people.

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For a community founded on principles of simple living, a rejection of modern technology, and a reclusive existence isolated from the outside world, Amish life remains a pretty hot topic in mainstream society. From reality television to horror movies, the people of this cloistered community have become subjects of endless fascination within modern society, and Amish spectatorship is all but an American pastime. You may know the basics of Amish culture, but there are many surprising twists to this quiet lifestyle.

1. Happy Families Are All Alike… And So Are Inbred Ones

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One byproduct of such a close-knit community: inbreeding. Descended from just 200 original founders, the Amish community today could use a little fresh blood. Due to this lack of variation in the gene pool, the Amish have much higher rates of genetic disorders and infant mortality. Yep, the Amish all are one big, happy family. Literally.

What a Difference an “E” Makes
Did you think Vanna White and Pat Sajak had the market cornered on buying vowels? Apparently taking off the last “e” in a particular word began the trajectory of an incredible story. This story will take you through Africa, a beloved zoo, the salty snack aisle and lastly the world wide web. The game show “Wheel of Fortune” is not the only way you can walk into a place with no money and walk away with tens of thousands of dollars. Let’s spin the wheel on this one. Listen to this story folks. You can’t make this stuff up.

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It’s All In The Details
In the Swahili language the word Harambee means “people working together” or “all pull together”. The African country of Kenya uses Harambee as its official motto and includes the word on their coat of arms.
Well apparently if you drop the last “e “on the word and use it to name a 400-pound Western lowland gorilla, astounding things will happen. This is tied in and translates into the language of Cheeto, Harambe means tens of thousands of dollars for one very fortunate eBay deal maker.

Wait, wait, should we slow the story down? Okay, let’s take it from the beginnning. Harambe was a gorilla who became famous back in May, 2016 when he had to be killed to save a 3-year old boy who wanted to get a closer look and went into Harambe’s habitat at the Cincinatti Zoo. The story drew massive media attention and prompted people to pay special attention to the treatment of animals in captivity and how they are kept in their captivity. It wasn’t Harambe’s fault that the boy disobeyed his parents and went into the gorllla cavern.

Harambe had to die to save the little boy’s life since all were afraid of what the gorilla would do to the young child. He began to drag the child and did not heed the zoo workers directions.

Harambe lives again to save another human. This time he saved an eBay seller from having an empty pocket.

Watch What You Eat!
Good thing this enterprising person wasn’t starving when he ripped open that fateful Cheetos Crunchy Flamin’ Hot bag. He uncovered the valuable Cheeto and recognized that it resembled Harambe, the gorilla. He cut and pasted a photo of Harambe next to a pic of his special Cheeto and started a bidding war on eBay ultimately making out like a bandit. What started out with a low ball bid of a little over $11, which would be a great return on an entire bag of Cheetos which retail for about $2.50. Long story short – oops too late. The last leg of this story swung right through the wide world web.

The Harambe Cheeto sold for $99,900!

Most people are too hungry to go on a treasure hunt in their Cheetos. A plate of vegetables would get a slower gaze, but Cheetos?

Now we all have seen some funky looking Cheetos in our lives but who would have thunk to take it to this level!
Talk about a return on your investment!

The Greatest Show Above The Earth!
On Friday night, February 10, 2017 the Earth was treated to yet another phenomenal lunar event. The great thing about this lunar event is that it was not just one event. The best view was on the East Coast of the United States. However, no matter where you live if you keep reading you will find that we have a surprise for you! Multiple things occurred in our galaxy all within a 24-hour period! Just in case you are not too fluent with the scientific stuff, we will break down exactly what happened. There was:

• a full moon
• a lunar eclipse
• a pale green comet

What makes this so fantastic is that we got to see all of these things in one night. A lunar eclipse happens when the Earth is placed between the sun and the moon. This optimal positioning doesn’t occur all too often so that is why when it does happen it is so very special.

The full moon happens every 29.5 days so it is not so rare but the fullness makes it such a magnificent backdrop for the other two events.

The pale green comet (Comet 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusa’kova’) jettisoned past the Earth later on in the evening. This lunar event was much harder to see and could not be watched without the use of binoculars and a telescope. Even with the use of the equipment you’d have to see the show in a darkened room.

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We Told You We Have Something For You
If you want to take a gander at all of the majesty of the skies, it has been recorded at slooh.com. This way even if the skies proved too cloudy and gray to get a good look you can see it all in this professionally recorded webcast.

A Brief History of Lunar Eclipses
Nothing like learning about the galaxy to help you put things in perspective. This type of lunar eclipse has been around since 971 and will last until the year 2233! There are 6,585.3 days in between eclipses of this type which occur according to the Saros cycle. The eclipse that happened on Friday was called Saros 114. Alright we know you are going to get out your computers and your calculators. So figure this one out. The last eclipse in this series was on January 31, 1999! The one before that occurred on….have you figured it out already? January 20, 1981.

The reason that we often hear about a lunar eclipse happening is that there are more than one type of lunar eclipse. The eclipse that occurred on Friday was a Penumbral Lunar Eclipse

The other types of eclipses are a Total Lunar Eclipse and a Partial Lunar Eclipse. If this article has whet your appetite, great! There is an entire galaxy of information out there to explore and to research.

If you have been around for all three Penumbral Lunar eclipses that have been discussed in this article consider yourself very fortunate. That makes you a Tri-Penumbral Lunar Eclipsian! A-ha We’ve coined a new phrase!

The Atrocity is Mind Boggling
When television is at its best, we seek entertainment and come across a life lesson. Because it is entertaining, we become intrigued. It is so strange how we as human beings come into the knowledge of something. It is the great talent of certain documentary film directors that depict the subject in such a way that the viewer discovers the horror on their own without being told that the subject matter is horrific. That is the way many came upon one of the most horrible men who have ever lived. Adolph Hitler. Youngsters who happened across a television documentary learned of the holocaust long before the junior high school history lesson.

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From Meager Beginnings
Adolph Hitler, an ex-convict, hated Jewish people and others who did not fall into his idea of the ideal race, he called it the Aryan race. His ignorant hatred of the other was fueled by his own fear and insecurity as are all cretins of his ilk. Unfortunately, Hitler was able to wage a six-year reign of terror on the Jews of Europe and almost single handedly caused World War II, (along with Italian fascism, and Japanese militarism).

Once Hitler gained power in Germany in 1933 he capitalized on the fear of others and began to publicly persecute the Jewish people by stripping them of their businesses and employment. At the beginning of the terror there were 525,000 Jewish people who lived in Germany. Many left ahead of the culmination of the threat. However in 1939 100 Jews were killed by German police and 1000’s of others were arrested. At that juncture the threat became publicly known as the all out war that it actually was and the holocaust which is a combination of German words which mean “all burned” began.
There were more than 6 million Jewish people who were slaughtered during the holocaust. Though there was anti-Semitism prior to Adolph’s Hitler’s reign, it became deadly with this leadership. It was a lesson on what happens when evil personified is given power. As the Nazi regime increased in size, other countries were taken over by German rule, namely Poland, Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and France.

Adolph Hitler was a man filled with self hatred. By his own standards he fell short of the Aryan race that he loved so much being that he was not blond nor did he have blue eyes. There is a character that Dave Chappelle portrayed in his critically acclaimed show, “The Dave Chappelle Show”, called Clayton Bigsby a black white supremacist. Clayton believes he is white because he is blind and cannot see his black skin. Adolph Hitler was so consumed with self hatred it blinded him to the fact that he had brown hair and brown eyes and could not ever be his own personal best which is what he deemed as Aryan.
We have to be aware of what standards we are willing to forego in our quest to follow or be part of a group. These lessons ring true in 2017 as well for so many reasons. Knowing history is the only way not to repeat it. It boggles the mind.

Mohandas K. Gandhi, born in 1869 in Porbandar, India, was the primary figure behind the independence of India from British rule which occurred in 1947. Raised in a Hindu merchant caste, Gandhi studied law in England and later got a job with an Indian firm in South Africa.

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Unfortunately, as an Indian he was subject to serious racism. He once refused to leave a first-class train compartment, not unlike the action of Rosa Parks, who refused to go to the back of the bus during the civil rights era. He later organized protests against racist policies in South Africa.

Gandhi returned to India in 1915. Oppression by the British rulers in India created yet another situation that moved Gandhi to political protest. Under the inspiration of Hinduism as well as Russian author Leo Tolstoy, he had developed a philosophy of non-violent action, refusing to bear weapons but instead relying on peaceful protests and boycotts, very much like Martin Luther King in America in the 1950s and 1960s.

To boycott foreign goods, and to model humility and a good work ethic to his followers, he began dressing as a peasant and spinning cotton with a portable spinning wheel wherever he went. He led many followers in a march of over 200 miles to the coast to make salt illegally. Many times he and his followers were imprisoned; thousands were killed whom he had trained to be completely nonviolent. In 1930 the Indian National Congress under Gandhi’s leadership declared India independent from the British. This was not recognized by the British for many years.

Gandhi, a devout Hindu, was able to appeal to both Hindus and Muslims alike. When violent clashes between these groups erupted, he went on a hunger strike in protest, and the violence was stopped. But the divisions were serious and led to the partitioning of India and Pakistan which was never part of Gandhi’s vision of a unified India.

Some Hindu political groups were not happy with Gandhi. They felt his hunger strikes had unfair results for Hindus. Several members of one group plotted an assassination of Gandhi. On January 30, 1948, Gandhi was on his way to a prayer meeting surrounded by family and friends in New Delhi. Nathuram Godse, one of the Hindu nationalists, walked up to Gandhi in the crowd, bowed to him and then shot him in the stomach 3 times. Gandhi died shortly thereafter. Godse was arrested, tried, convicted and hanged in 1949 for the murder of “Mahatma” (“venerable”) Gandhi.

There are many amazing parallels between Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. Both were victims of racism, both became leaders in a movement to raise the dignity of their people, both were deeply committed to non-violent resistance, and both were assassinated by opposing extremists. King, in fact, had read many of Gandhi’s writings and had found inspiration from them. Although we grieve their loss, they have left us a legacy of the power of nonviolence that speaks to us from beyond the grave.

The name Uncle Sam is as American as apple pie, but there isn’t really a consensus that Uncle Sam actually existed. Some have said he did and others have said he didn’t. A look back in time lends some clues to the actual origins of the name Uncle Sam and whether is he was a real man or a man of fiction.

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Sam Wilson
Sam Wilson was a real man who worked for a meat packing contractor named Elbert Anderson. Anderson enlisted Wilson’s meat packing company to supply meat to the U.S. Army during the war of 1812. The packaging for the meat was required to be stamped with the initials of the contractor hired to supply the meat and its destination. Those initials were “E.A. – US”.

Wilson was also named as the main meat inspector for the Northern army where he made sure the meat was fresh and packed correctly. He became known at the meat packing plant as Uncle Sam by its employees. Some of the plant workers enlisted in the army and, when they received the meat in the field, they told others that the meat came from “Uncle Sam”. This story has been repeated for many years and is usually considered as proof that there was a real Uncle Sam. The problem with this story is that an Uncle Sam was first mentioned 37 years before during the Revolutionary War.

Yankee Doodle Dandy
Yankee Doodle Dandy is a well-known song sung by school children and made the actor James Cagney in the film “Yankee Doodle Dandy”. In the original version of the song in 1775, there was a line that refers to an “Old Uncle Sam come here to change….” The song was meant to brighten the spirits of revolutionary soldiers fighting the British. No one knows if the Uncle Sam in the songs depicts an actual person.

Brother Jonathan
Brother Jonathan was a fictional character developed to represent the people of the New England states either soon after or during the Revolutionary War. Much later, Brother Jonathan and Uncle Sam were used interchangeably in propaganda materials. Eventually, Brother Jonathan fell out of favor and the Uncle Sam caricature was used to represent all Americans. The curious thing about Brother Jonathan was that he was dressed in the hat and clothing that became the attire associated with Uncle Sam as time passed.

James Montgomery Flagg
The image used for recruitment posters of Uncle Sam for the U.S. Army that appeared during at the beginning of World War One was the first time the “modern” version was Uncle Sam was shown. Oddly enough, the model for the caricature and the poster appears to be Lord Kitchener. Kitchener was the British Secretary of War during World War One, and that poster showed Kitchener pointing a finger at the men reading the poster and urging them to join the British Army. Flagg took the pose and inserted a picture of Uncle Sam dressed in the clothing and hat worn by Brother Jonathan. Flagg also added the famous goatee (Brother Jonathan and Sam Wilson were both clean-shaven individuals.

Was Uncle Sam Real?
The question is not definitively answered because of the presence of Sam Wilson and the mention of Uncle Sam in the lyrics of “Yankee Doodle Dandy”. Wilson was real, but his appearance does not duplicate that of the caricature we know as “Uncle Sam”, and the caricature we know of as Uncle Sam, is not real.

Band of Brothers is an impressive HBO mini series from 1991 based on a book by Stephen Ambrose.The series, a collaboration between Steven Speilberg and Tom Hanks, tells the story of Easy company, 506th Regiment of the 101st Airborne, United States Army. This 10 part series shares the trials and tribulations of the soldiers in Easy company and is a fascinating account of friendship and soldiers who are ordinary men doing extraordinary things in difficult situations. The writers also used interviews of survivors and shares their extraordinary bravery in unimaginable war times. This award winning series covers a period between World War II’s European theater from D-Day to VJ Day. Band of Brothers gets its content through left behind journals, letters and interviews with survivors. The scripts were thoughtfully developed and critiqued by real life soldiers to assure the authenticity of the time. The story is interlaced with actual interviews of survivors sharing their stories with viewers. The actors were also prepped by participating in boot camp and learning how to jump from airplanes so they would experience a true soldier experience.

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Major Dick Winters, Captain Lewis Nixon, 2nd Lieutenant C. Carwood Lipton, Captain Herbert M. Sobel are featured in the series and are remarkable as soldiers, lifelong friends and individuals faced with terrorizing situations. The New York Times was quoted as saying the storylines balanced heroism with the terrifying violence of battle and reflected what is both civilized and savage about war. The personalities of each character is shared in the series. For example, Nixon had a drinking problem and was featured in an episode where he visits a extensive wine cellar. Sobel, played by Friends star, David wimmer tries to commit suicide because he couldn’t cope but survived a gunshot wound to the head.
The producers were so concerned with keeping to the authenticity of the real soldiers, the cast was selected for their resemblance to the original men. These men appeared in all 10 Band of Brothers episodes as well as thousands of supporting roles. These roles were filled by unknown actors that have now become Hollywood stars and well admired celebrities, showing the effectiveness of HBO. Tom Hardy, Jimmy Fallon and James McAvoy are just a few celebrities that have become household names.

The mini series although aired in 2001 remains very popular.  The content was extraordinary and so was the $120 million budget and the three years to film the series which was filed on a 12 acre set that changed all the time to reflect eleven different European locations. There were hundreds of explosions during each filming too. Some days required more than 14,000 rounds of ammunition which reflected an arsenal of authentic WWII weapons and some rubber prop guns.

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Lastly, a creative art team created many of the sets inside an actual airplane hanger with real and fake trees, and other props made from latex, fiberglass and foam. Since many of the scenes were set in the winter, it took designers more than four weeks to cover the set with fake snow artists crafted from paper and plastics…just as amazing as the storyline.

Saccorhytus coronaries

When thinking of human evolution, an image of apes and monkeys most often springs to one’s mind. These primates, however, are not our only transformative link. According to paleontologists, humans have connections to other, less binary (and perhaps, in some opinions, slightly less attractive) ancestors: Saccorhytus coronaries.

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Appearance
Most commonly, scientists who have observed the images of S. coronaries described it as a “small, bag-like marine creature.” Though nearly microscopic (scientists have described the fossils of these creatures to resemble small black dots, not unlike poppy seeds), when put under an electron microscope and using a CT scan, the Saccorhytus coronaries microfossils proved to be vastly detailed in their individual makeup. The body of the organism was, like humans, the same on both sides (bilateral symmetry) and has thin, rather fragile thin skin that has a bit of elasticity to it. The maximum length of the Saccorhytus coronaries is 1,300 μm, width 800 μm and height 900 μm. The mouth the animal was rather large compared to the rest of its body and tiny conical structures circumforaneous it. Scientists conclude that this system allowed water to escape after it had been swallowed, similarly to modern-day gills. Interestingly however, those studying the creature were unable to detect any waste material outlet, namely an anus. This means that excrement was likely eliminated through the mouth.

Origins
The “wrinkled sack,” the translation for Saccorhytus coronaries (“Saccus” means “sac” in Latin, and “rhytis” means “wrinkle” in Greek) whose fossil was found in central China, was a product of the Cambrian period (Fortunian stage), a time when there was of mass surge in the diversity of organisms. There were numerous living things that originated during this time, and the food chain was beginning to emerge as well. The world, as we know it now, was materializing.

Deuterostomes is an animal group that includes numerous vertebrates, such as reptiles, birds, fish, amphibians, and mammals, in addition to invertebrates such as starfish. The sea organism S. coronaries, as well as humans, belong to this grouping. Because the 540-million-year-old creature is a part of the deuterostomes group, it is the thought that it is the most early descendent of human beings. Though as tiny as a piece of grain to the naked eye, the extremely detailed fossils of the Saccorhytus coronaries allow for extraordinary breakthroughs in the study of human origin.

Collecting the Microfossils
Through sifting through three tons of limestone in order to find the fossils from the Kuanchuanpu Formation, Hexi, Xixiang County, Shaanxi Province, central China was no simple task, the results were worth the struggle, as many questions were answered by analyzing the tiny critters. As per study co-researcher Jian Han, a paleontologist at Northwest University in China, it is most likely that the S. coronaries is very primitive, more so than a very early echinoderm. Further research was published in the journal Nature on January 30, 2017.

Photographs reveal more than simply a moment in time; they evoke a feeling in all who see them, feelings of happiness, love, sadness, pity, the list goes on and on. When we see photos from history, we are transported to that time. Here is a collection of rare historical pictures to do their job and spellbind us.

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#1 His Final Hours

This image is of Lewis Payne, co-conspirator to the assassination of President Lincoln, just before to his execution in 1865. In history class we are often told of John Wilkes Booth, however the men wanted to kill President Lincoln, Vice President Andrew Johnson (which didn’t happen), General Ulysses S, Grant (which also didn’t happen), and William H. Seward (which was attempted by Payne, but was thankfully unsuccessful) to cripple the Government.