Jasper Maskelyne, the magician who fooled the Nazis

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He was a little-known British illusionist, unlike his father and grandfather. That’s probably why Jasper enlisted in World War II, to exploit his skills as an illusionist with which he didn’t succeed in England. He would not use weapons against the Germans, but cunning and illusionism. His most famous interventions occurred while he was stationed … Read more Jasper Maskelyne, the magician who fooled the Nazis

Animal infanticide. Why some animals kill the offspring

Although we may find this behavior barbaric, we must try to avoid its humanization. It consists of the killing of the young offspring by a mature adult of the same species. It is a frequent behavior in the animal kingdom and it can be maternal or paternal, occur within or outside the family and take … Read more Animal infanticide. Why some animals kill the offspring

A blood sacrifice to invoke Slenderman

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Slenderman is a character born on the Internet, a “creepypasta” (a neologism derived from the computer command “copy-paste”). We could say that he is the personification of some of our most atavistic fears, such as the fear of being watched by someone or something we cannot see, one of the pillars of our survival instinct. … Read more A blood sacrifice to invoke Slenderman

Queimada Grande. The forbidden island

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The Brazilian island Queimada Grande is better known as the Island of Poisonous Snakes because it is plagued by dangerous snakes. It has a dimension of 43 ha and is located about 32 km from Sao Paulo. It is the exclusive habitat of one of the most poisonous snakes in the world: Bothrops insularis, classified … Read more Queimada Grande. The forbidden island

What did Einstein mean by “God does not play dice with the universe”?

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Albert Einstein, the genius par excellence, said many remarkable things throughout his busy life. But one of his best-known and most misunderstood quotes is the following one, which he left written in a letter to his colleague the mathematician Max Born: “Quantum mechanics is certainly imposing. But an inner voice tells me that it is … Read more What did Einstein mean by “God does not play dice with the universe”?

Is “La Gioconda” Leonardo’s mother?

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Pacifica Brandano, Isabella Gualanda, Constanza d’Avalos, Isabela de Aragón or Leonardo da Vinci himself have been some of the alternatives used to find out the true identity of the woman with the mysterious “sfumatta” smile between layers of paint. The “woman of the eternal mystery” we could call her, since the authentic model whose effigy … Read more Is “La Gioconda” Leonardo’s mother?

Why do dogs eat grass?

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The most widespread belief is that they do this to purge themselves, because of a malaise stomach, but the truth is that the evidence is not conclusive. In fact, not all dogs vomit after eating grass. However, there are many other hypotheses: It is a behaviour inherited from their ancestors the wolves: the vegetal matter … Read more Why do dogs eat grass?

5 curiosities you didn’t know about the Apollo 11 mission

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Although today we remember it as an honorable and impressive episode, the truth is that stress and anguish predominated in the Apollo 11 mission. The odds of returning from the Moon safely were really low. Maybe that’s why president Richard Nixon preferred to watch his back by having a memo written entitled In Event of … Read more 5 curiosities you didn’t know about the Apollo 11 mission

Some curiosities about the skin

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The skin is the largest organ of all vertebrates. Its main functions are: Protective (in terrestrial vertebrates it protects from drying out as well). Sensitive or sensory:  perception of pressure, temperature, vibration… Excretory: elimination of waste substances. In some vertebrates it also participates in thermoregulation and water balance through sweating and vasodilatation-vasoconstriction. For example, when it … Read more Some curiosities about the skin

The penis of female hyenas

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This occurs in the spotted hyena (Crocuta crocuta), whose females are more aggressive and dominant than males. They possess a false penis and scrotum (pseudo penis and pseudo scrotum). However, the truth is that they have an enlarged clitoris shaped like a penis actually, which is erectile and used to urinate. And the vaginal lips … Read more The penis of female hyenas

The Spanish bogeyman was real

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Some superstitions hurt… a lot. One of them was the origin of the children’s horror story that was used in Spain to control the behaviour of the children and which, most likely, has caused too many nightmares in several people. Under the succinct threat of “I’ll call the bogeyman!”, children had no choice but to … Read more The Spanish bogeyman was real

The world’s smallest deer: the pudú

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Pudu mephistophiles or Northern pudú It is the smallest deer (family Cervidae) in the world. It does not exceed 35 cm in height and 70 cm in length, and weighs between 3.3-6 kg. It lives in the high and cold steppes of the Colombian, Ecuadorian and Peruvian Andes. Its trunk is brown, the neck is … Read more The world’s smallest deer: the pudú

The fire that devastated the Prado Museum

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A tragic last minute news slipped into the inner pages of the newspaper El Liberal on the early morning of November 25, 1891: Last night’s catastrophe. Spain is in mourning. Fire at the Museum of Paintings, said the headline. The Prado Museum was burning violently. People crowded in front of that infernal spectacle. Wailing, crying, … Read more The fire that devastated the Prado Museum

The smallest african viverrid

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The Common Dwarf Mongoose  (Helogale parvula) is the smallest viverrid of the Afican continent. Viverrids are a family of carnivorous mammals that includes civets, ginets, mongooses and alike. Its small body barely reaches 30 cm in length, with a weight that usually does not reach 300 g. The tail can measure between 12-20 cm. Its … Read more The smallest african viverrid

Artaban, the mysterious fourth Wise Man

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The day when the peculiar star of Bethlehem indicated to the Three Wise Men the time of the Epiphany, a fourth Wise Man was also informed of this event, an Iranian Zoroastrian priest who was waiting for the prophetic sign to set out on his journey: Artaban. His goal was to meet the other Wise … Read more Artaban, the mysterious fourth Wise Man

Why does the year start on January 1st in our culture?

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It might seem a rhetorical question because of its obviousness. A year has 12 months, so it is logical to place the annual restart in the first month calends of the sequence. But this was not always the case. The beginning of the year for the Romans began on March 1st, the month that paid … Read more Why does the year start on January 1st in our culture?

The prodigies that originated the Christmas tradition of hanging socks in the chimney

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In many countries, families hang socks on or near chimneys for Santa Claus to fill them with gifts. Well, this tradition would have its origin in the generosity of the real Santa Claus. St. Nicholas of Myra or Bari was a bishop from Turkey. He was born in Patara in the 3rd century A.D. in … Read more The prodigies that originated the Christmas tradition of hanging socks in the chimney

The seedless watermelon IS NOT transgenic

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It’s probably one of the most common table talk conversations of the summer. When a watermelon is cut and the seeds are not perceived, a suspicion, a worry, a distrust, even a fear emanates from us. It seems unnatural, scientific witchcraft. The term “transgenic” will come out disdainfully and quickly from the person who has … Read more The seedless watermelon IS NOT transgenic

The giant fake “mosquito”

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More than one has been shocked after seen these alleged mosquitoes. They look like imposing and huge mosquitoes, but in fact they are Diptera of the Tipulidae family, also known as crain flies. True mosquitoes are also Diptera but they belong to the Culicidae family. They are thin, delicate-looking insects with long and thin legs, … Read more The giant fake “mosquito”

The mythical origin of the Dollar sign

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Since the last century, the Dollar has been the reference currency of the international economic system. Its sign is unmistakable and inseparable from the contemporary world. It personifies wealth, power, possession and even an entire country. A very simple character in appearance: an S crossed by two vertical bars (although its variant reduced to an … Read more The mythical origin of the Dollar sign