That's Interesting

  • Betting on the Lives of Strangers: Life Settlements, Stoli & Securitization

    Life insurance serves the important purpose of providing a means for families and businesses to survive the premature death of a person whose support they require to maintain themselves. Over time, life insurance has become a much more sophisticated financial product incorporating savings plans, mutual fund investments, and securitizations. This article recounts the history of life insurance including the development of the insurable interest doctrine.

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  • Methuselah: Still the world’s oldest tree?

    In eastern California, a Great Basin bristlecone pine (Pinus longaeva) known as Methuselah has long been considered Earth’s oldest living thing. According to tree-ring data, Methuselah is 4,853 years old — meaning it was well established by the time ancient Egyptians built the pyramids at Giza. And while Methuselah’s precise location is kept under wraps to protect it from harm, there’s much we do know about this living relic.

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  • Goethe’s Theory of Colors: The 1810 Treatise That Inspired Kandinsky & Early Abstract Painting

    Goethe’s book on color, Zur Farbenlehre (Theory of Colors), written in 1810, disputed the Newtonian view of the subject and formulated a psychological and philosophical account of the way we actually experience color as a phenomenon.

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  • Download 9,200+ Free Films from the Prelinger Archives: Documentaries, Cartoons & More

    Depending on how you reckon it, the “American century” has already ended, is now drawing to its close, or has some life left in it yet. But whatever its boundaries, that ambiguous period has been culturally defined by one medium above all: film, or more broadly speaking, motion pictures.

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  • An Animated Introduction to the Rosetta Stone, and How It Unlocked Our Understanding of Egyptian Hieroglyphs

    This animated video, created by Egyptologist Franziska Naether, explains “how scholars decoded the ancient message of the Rosetta Stone,” a painstaking process that took decades to complete. By the 1850s, philologists had unlocked the meaning of Egyptian hieroglyphs and, with them, the secrets of ancient Egyptian civilization.

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  • Two Broods of More Than a Trillion Cicadas Will Emerge in the U.S. This Year

    More than a trillion cicadas will be coming to the U.S. in an event that has not happened since Thomas Jefferson was U.S. president in 1803.  Two adjacent broods of the red-eyed flying cicadas will emerge from the ground in April, and residents in the Midwest and Southeast should brace themselves for a season of high-pitched buzzing.  2024 will mark the first time in more than 200 years that Brood XIX, which arrives every 13 years, and Brood XIII, which arrives every 17 years, will emerge at the same time.  The next co-emergence of these broods won’t happen for another 221 years.

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  • What Plants Hear

    They sense the buzzing sounds of pollinators, the vibrations of the wind.

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  • One in five butterfly species sold online across borders

    Humankind’s appreciation for butterflies spans cultures and millennia, including the practice of assembling butterfly collections. This paper monitored the global e-commerce platform eBay.com for one year and obtained 50,555 time-stamped transactions of 3767 species (739 genera) of butterflies. This is nearly 20% of all butterfly species on Earth. A total of 552 sellers were based in 44 countries across five continents. At least 96% of the traded species required transportation of the specimen from its country of origin to its seller, usually from the Global South to the United States and Europe.

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  • The Hidden Butterfly Trade

    Butterflies are perhaps the most extensively traded animals on the planet.  But just how many are traveling, of which potentially endangered or threatened species, and from which points of origin, has been a mystery.  Unlike elephant ivory or pangolin hide, butterflies pass invisibly through X-ray scanners at international ports of entry.

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  • How the World’s Deadliest Crises Go Unseen

    In the Central African Republic, researchers found an astronomical death rate. Could a major emergency be invisible?

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