By Mihir Patkar Joby’s GorillaPod, the tripod that goes anywhere, is a nifty accessory to stabilize your camera. You could even make your own for cheap . Well, now you can attach magnets to it so it can stick to metallic surfaces, all for $5.Read more…

Source: Life Hacker

  

By Paul Anthony Jones
For every William the Conqueror there’s a Vlad the Impaler. And for every Richard the Lionheart there’s an Albert the Peculiar. Sixty of the most bizarre—and in some cases the most unflattering—epithets from history are listed here.

Source: Mental Floss

  

By Kristy Puchko
Though organized crime tends to be a boys’ club, there have been a slate of deadly women who have broken into its ranks.

Source: Mental Floss

  

By Jason English
Today the New York Times has a nice piece about our YouTube channel. Here are some other NYT first mentions worth mentioning.

Source: Mental Floss

  

By Mihir Patkar When you are looking for the best local eats in your travels, forget the guide books. Chef and travel show host Anthony Bourdain says you should go online and troll the city’s foodies for information.Read more…

Source: Life Hacker

  

By Hannah Keyser
since temperature is a feature of the molecular properties of a substance, the air itself isn’t made any cooler by movement—it just makes us feel cooler when it blows by.

Source: Mental Floss

  

By the mag
Although handy for describing a good night’s sleep, these analogies don’t always match reality.

Source: Mental Floss

  

By Simon Whistler In this episode, you’re going to learn whether there is any truth to earwigs laying eggs in people’s ears and other interesting facts about this creepy little insect. [TRANSCRIPT]
Don’t miss future episodes of this podcast, subscribe here: iTunes | RSS/XML
You can also find more episodes by going here: Daily Knowledge Podcast

The post Podcast Episode #220: Ears and Earwigs appeared first on Today I Found Out.

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By Melissa
Over 200 years ago, a torture chamber was discovered in the attic of a wealthy socialite. Through the years, the tale of her brutality has grown and shifted, and today, it is difficult to discern fact from fiction in the story of Delphine La Laurie and her house of horrors.
Born in 1775 to Barthelmy Louis Macarty and Marie Jeanne Lovable, the Macarty’s were prominent among New Orleans society, having emigrated to the Big Easy from Ireland in the 1730s.
The extent to which slavery impacted Delphine’s early life is difficult to tell. Some accounts say that her mother (and others her father) was murdered by a slave, while others hold that her uncle was killed by his slaves shortly before she was born. Still another version of the tale states that her family was affected by the slave revolt of 1811. In any event, none of these are confirmed by objective sources.
Although one authority says she was 14 when she first married, it is more likely she wed her first husband, Don Ramon de Lopez y Angullo, a Spanish officer of high rank, in 1800. Together they had one daughter before Don Ramon died, sometime around 1804.
Again there is disagreement (or perhaps bad math) over when she married her second husband, Jean Blanque, with one authority noting that she was 20, while others set the date at 1808. Regardless, Jean was a catch (banker, lawyer, merchant and legislator), and together they had four children before M. Blanque died in 1816.
In 1825, Louis LaLaurie moved to New Orleans from Paris, having studied medicine at the Sorbonne. Introducing himself to the community, he announced in the New Orleans Courier that: “A French Physician has just arrived in this city, who is acquainted with the means, lately discovered in France, of destroying hunches [humped backs].”
By this time Delphine was pretty wealthy, having inheritance from her parents as well as two dead husbands. Despite being significantly older than LaLaurie (she was about 50), the two struck up a relationship. At least one account states that he knocked her up, and that the two married 5 months after the child was born. (If you’re wondering how, given her age, this version holds that she was 38 at the time, 1826, but that math does not compute with her birth year).
Regardless, all sources agree Delphine and LaLaurie ultimately married, with Delphine bringing significantly more wealth to her third marriage. As such, she purchased the property where the torture occurred, 1140 Royal Street, and most accounts say she managed the construction of the three-story mansion on the premises.
In order to run the opulent home, and manage her busy social events, Delphine had a lot of slaves – by some accounts, between 1816 and 1834, at least 54.
Early Signs of Trouble 
Stories differ about when New Orleans society became wise to Delphine’s cruelty. All versions agree that no hints of mistreatment arose prior to her marriage to LaLaurie.
Some state that by 1828 there were rumors of “barbarous treatment,” and that her slaves were only given the barest of necessities. In at least one version, at some point she was criminally charged, but acquitted, of cruelty to her slaves.
Most historians agree that sometime before the horrific day, Delphine, brandishing a whip, chased a slave girl off the roof of her mansion, with the child falling to her death. Some assert that after this incident, Delphine was shunned by New Orleans society, but documented accounts of this didn’t happen until her torture chamber was discovered.
Not perhaps completely evil, however, on two different occasions (1819 & 1832), Delphine is known to have emancipated two slaves.
Torture Chamber Revealed
On April 10, 1834, a fire broke out in the kitchen of the mansion. Some authorities hold that the cook was actually chained to the stove where the fire started, and a few say that the neighbors were aware of this. The cook later supposedly claimed she started the fire, intending to commit suicide rather than submit to Delphine’s punishments that took place in the attic, a place no slave up to this point returned from.
Regardless, seeing the fire, neighbors entered the mansion.  Knowing that slaves were locked in the uppermost room, the neighbors implored the LaLaurie’s to let them remove them, but they were rebuffed with LaLaurie refusing to give them the key.
One of the neighbors, Judge Canonge, disregarded the LaLaurie’s and the group broke down the locked doors to the attic rooms, revealing the horror within. Emaciated slaves with obvious signs of beatings were covered with scars and chained up. At least seven of them were: “More or less horribly mutilated . . . suspended by the neck, with their limbs apparently stretched and torn from one extremity to the other.”   The Judge also stated he saw a “negress … wearing an iron collar” and an “old negro woman who had received a very deep wound on her head… too weak to be able to walk.”
From here, it’s difficult to separate fact from fiction. In some accounts, some of the slaves wore spikes that prevented  them from moving their heads. It was also reported the slaves had been flayed with a whip. In at least one account, the slaves were nude and some were held in cages while others were tethered to operating tables. Many had signs of having “undergone various elaborate forms of torture and mutilation.”
One authority relies on this last account to posit the possibility that the room was actually controlled by Dr. LaLaurie ,who was conducting experiments on the slaves in order to develop better medical procedures. Although this version is not well accepted, it is recorded that when the Judge questioned him about the condition of the slaves, Dr. LaLaurie replied: “Some people had better stay at home rather than come to others’ houses to dictate laws and meddle with other people’s business.”
Driven Out
Those slaves who had been tortured were put on display at a local jail, and the New Orleans Bee reported that within two days, 4,000 people went to witness the suffering for themselves. The condition of the slaves must have been as bad as advertised because a mob subsequently ransacked the Royal Street Mansion, driving out Dr. and Mme. LaLaurie. After they had fled, the Pittsfield Sun wrote a story noting that exhumations on the mansion’s grounds revealed many corpses, including that of child.
Little is known of the rest of her life, but Delphine is believed to have fled to Paris, where she lived the remainder of her days. Many accounts set the year of her death at 1842, but she may have lived as late as 1849.
If you liked this article, you might also enjoy:

The “House of Horrors” Hotel and One of America’s First Serial Killers
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The First Convicted Murderer in America
The First Person to Use the Temporary Insanity Defense was a Congressman Who Murdered the Son of the Composer of “The Star Spangled Banner”
The Tragic Family Life of Kelsey Grammer

Expand for Further References

Delphine LaLaurie (Murderpedia)
Delphine LaLaurie (Wikipedia)
The Dark Side of the Quarter
The Real Madame Lalaurie & Other Legends

The post The Twisted Tale of Delphine LaLaurie and Her House of Horrors appeared first on Today I Found Out.

Source: Today I Found Out

  

By Melissa
Would you fall on a grenade to save your friends? How about two grenades? Jack H. Lucas did and became the youngest man to be awarded the U.S. Medal of Honor, the United States’ highest combat award.
Born Jacklyn Harrell Lucas in Plymouth, NC on February 14, 1928, Jacklyn was a natural athlete who quickly rose to captain of the football team at his high school, the Edwards Military Institute.
By the age of 14, Jack looked much older. Relatively tall for his age (5′ 8″) and brawny at 180 pounds, Jack had no trouble convincing the Marine Corps recruiters that he was 17 when he enlisted in August of 1942. Notably, to enlist at age 17 (as opposed to 18), Jack needed a parent signature – so he forged his mother’s.
Jack did his basic training at Parris Island, South Carolina and qualified as both a rifle sharpshooter and a heavy machine gun crewman. In November 1943, he was assigned to the 6th Base Depot of the V Amphibious Corps at Camp Catlin in Oahu, Hawaii. There he achieved the rank of Private First Class in January of 1944. However, after reviewing a letter Jack had written to his girlfriend, military censors realized he was only 15 years old. He was then removed from his combat unit, but rather than sent home (something he argued heavily against), he was assigned to truck driving.
Of course, being “in the rear with the gear” was not Jack’s idea of military service. Angry, he got into so many fights that he was ultimately court-martialed and spent 5 months breaking rocks and consuming mostly bread and water.
Released from the stockade by January 1945 and still determined to see combat, Jack walked away from his post that month and stowed away on the USS Deuel, a transport ship heading toward fighting in the Pacific. Because he left his assignment, he was declared a deserter and reduced in rank to Private. Now closer to the action, after hiding for about a month, Jack finally turned himself in on February 8, 1945, once again volunteering to fight. On February 14, he turned 17. By February 20, he got his wish and was fighting on the island of Iowa Jima.
During the battle on February 20, 1945, Jack and his comrades were advancing toward a Japanese airstrip near Mount Suribachi. Taking cover in a trench under heavy fire, Jack realized they were only feet away from enemy soldiers in a neighboring trench. He managed to shoot two of the soldiers before two live grenades landed in his trench.
Thinking quickly, Jack threw himself on the first grenade, shoving it into volcanic ash and used his body and rifle to shield the others with him from the pending blast. When another grenade appeared directly after the first, he reached out and pulled it under himself as well. His body took the brunt of the blasts and the massive amount of shrapnel. His companions were all saved, but his injuries were so serious they thought he had died. Only after a second company moved through did anyone realize he was somehow still alive.
Jack endured nearly two dozen surgeries and extensive therapy and convalescence. Despite the surgeries, over 200 pieces of shrapnel remained in his body for the rest of his life.
Shortly after his act of heroism, on February 26, 1945, the deserter classification was removed and he was restored to the rank of Private First Class. Ultimately all 17 of his military convictions were also cleared. Nonetheless, he was unfit for duty and discharged form the Marines on September 18, 1945.
On October 5, 1945 President Harry S Truman awarded Jack, and 13 other recipients at that ceremony, the Medal of Honor. Notably, however, at 17 he was the youngest there and the youngest to ever receive the award. For his bravery and service, Jack also received the Presidential Unit Citation, American Campaign Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, the World War II Victory Medal and a Purple Heart.
So what happened after? Besides graduating high school and earning a business degree, at the age of 31, he enlisted as a First Lieutenant in the 82nd Airborne Division of the U.S. Army.  During his first training jump, according to his team leader, “Jack was the last one out of the plane and the first one on the ground.”  You see, neither of his parachutes opened.  Despite this and an approximately 3,500 foot fall, he miraculously survived with only minor injuries. Two weeks later, he was back jumping out of planes.
Once he returned to civilian life four years later, he opened a chain of beef selling businesses in Washington, D.C., married a few times (including one wife who tried to have him killed), and later, with the help of D.K. Drum, published an autobiography aptly titled, Indestructible.
Jack lived to the ripe old age of 80, dying on June 5, 2008 from leukemia.
If you liked this article, you might also enjoy:

The Man Who Continued Fighting WWII 29 Years After It Ended, Because He Didn’t Know
The Man Who Fought in WWII With a Sword and Bow
The “White Mouse” Who Became Australia’s Most Decorated WWII Servicewoman
Celebrities in War: “Scotty” (Star Trek) Was Shot Six Times on D-Day | Actor Jimmy Stewart In Real Life Was a Two Star General in the U.S. Military
 The Canadian Man Who Single-Handedly Liberated the City of Zwolle in the Netherlands from German Occupation

Bonus Facts:

A more recent individual who jumped on a grenade to save another soldier was Lance Corporal William Kyle Kennedy. On November 21, 2010 while in Afghanistan, a grenade was thrown into his sandbagged position.  Rather than run, Carpenter used his own body to shield the other soldier with him from the blast.  Like Jack Lucas, though severely injured, Kennedy lived and was awarded the Medal of Honor in June of 2014.
During World War II, U.S. armed forces used the Mk 2 hand grenade (Mk II), a fragmentation type of grenade. Resembling a type of fruit, it was given the nickname “iron pineapple.” The time from pulling the pin to explosion of a time-delay fragmentation grenade can vary from between 2 and 6 seconds.
Four-hundred and sixty-four service members were awarded the Medal of Honor in World War II, including 82 Marines. To date, 15 service members have been granted that honor from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan combined. In total, 3,468 Medals of Honor have been awarded, with the most (1,522) being given for service during the American Civil War. In addition, 193 have been to non-combat recipients.
The most recent recipient (awarded on July 21, 2014) was Sergeant Ryan M. Pitts of the U.S. Army, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry who, on July 13, 2008 in Kunar Province, Afghanistan, despite severe wounds, launched fragmentary grenades, laid suppressive fire, and risked his life to convey vital situation reports, which helped prevent the enemy from gaining a strategic foothold.

Expand for References

CMOHS.org
How Grenades Work
Jack Lucas Dies
Jacklyn H. Lucas (Wikipedia)
Lucas, Jack
Lucas, Jacklyn H., Private First Class, USMCR
Medal of Honor Statistics
Mk 2 grenade

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Source: Today I Found Out