" There is one kind of prison where the man is behind bars, and everything that he desires is outside; and there is another kind where the things are behind the bars, and the man is outside. "
Upton Sinclair

Back in the day


Sverdlovsk Anthrax Leak

Known as the "biological Chernobyl," the accidental release of anthrax at a Russian military facility in Sverdlovsk—now Yekaterinburg—roughly 900 mi (1,450 km) east of Moscow, sickened and killed around 100 people. The exact number of victims remains unknown because, as part of the Soviet government's cover-up of the incident, which it blamed on tainted meat, all of the victims' medical records were destroyed. What fortuitous weather condition likely prevented a much greater loss of life?



Fan Death

There is a common belief in South Korea that falling asleep in a closed room with an electric fan running can lead to death. Cases of suspected fan death are sometimes reported by the media, and new fans are equipped with automatic timers as a precaution. Though fan death is technically possible, as the use of a fan can hasten dehydration and thus lead to heat exhaustion, the more popular ideas about how fans might kill people have all been debunked by science. What are some of those theories?

Born on a day like today


Giacomo Casanova

Although his name is now synonymous with philandering playboys, Casanova was initially a man of the church. Expelled from an Italian seminary for scandalous conduct, he was later denounced as a magician and imprisoned. He escaped and traveled widely before becoming a spy for Venetian inquisitors. His huge autobiography, first published in 12 volumes, paints a vivid picture of 18th-century Europe and established his reputation as a seducer. He spent his last years in what rather tame occupation?

Last updated on Tuesday, 2nd April 2013

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