1. Weird

    Pre-Raphaelite Painters Used Ground up Humans and Cats to Make “Mummy Brown”

    If you're a fan of paintings from the 1800s through the 1960s, you've probably admired a highly-prized shade of paint called "Mummy Brown." Why the macabre name, you ask? Oh, no reason, just the ancient cat and human corpses used in its composition. Guys, now I'm worried...what's in my Bitches Brew nail polish? What?

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  2. Science

    Egyptian Cats Domesticated 2,000 Years Earlier Than We Thought, According To These Kitten Bones

    Dead kittens are usually the punchline to a very tired and overly-done kind of joke on the Internet, but to scientists who've been surveying a cemetery in Hierakonpolis, Egypt, they're a very important archeological discovery that may help us pin down when exactly the human species first began to domesticate cats.

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  3. Weird

    Child Finds Mummy In Attic, Accompanying Canopic Jars Only Maybe Cursed

    The childhood miracle we all wished for: finding something ancient and amazing (and maybe cursed) in the attic. One of the biggest nightmares of every parent: your child stumbling onto a dead body. Rarely do those two things intersect -- but they sure did for Alexander Kettler, the boy who found a sarcophagus in his grandmother's attic.

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  4. Tech

    As Chaos Continues in Egypt, Wikipedia Can’t Decide If Latest Uprising’s a Revolution or a Coup

    What's in a name? Kind of a lot, sometimes. Case in point: as supporters of the Egyptian military and those loyal to ousted former president Mohamed Morsi continue to clash in the streets, a smaller, safer clash has broken out in the pages of Wikipedia, where editors are debating whether to call this latest uprising -- which saw Morsi driven from office as the military seized control of the nation -- a coup or a revolution. That definition isn't just important semantically -- outside the hallowed halls of Wikipedia, which term is used could have real implications for U.S. foreign policy toward Egypt.

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  5. Tech

    As Trouble Brews in Egypt, Facebook Plays an Interesting Role

    Social media has played an important role in the political situation in Egypt since the first protests began happening in Tahrir square back in 2011. As more protests erupt today, Essam El Haddad, the assistant to President Mohammed Morsi took to his Facebook page to call the opposition to Morsi a "military coup."

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  6. Weird

    Mystery of the Spinning Statue Turns Manchester Museum Into a Hardy Boys Story

    In what looks like a job for the crew of the Mystery Machine, an ancient Egyptian statue in the collection of the Manchester Museum seems to have taken on a life of its own, rotating 180 degrees in its closed glass case, apparently untouched by any outside force. A time lapse video of the statue moving -- seemingly of its own accord -- has gone viral, causing some to go full O'Reilly and claim that supernatural forces are behind the motion. Others, including noted physicist Brian Cox, remain convinced that the statue's spin can be explained without resorting to sentences containing the phrase "mummy's ghost." For our part, we want someone to find Old Man Withers, stat.

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  7. Weird

    No Freedom Isn’t Free: Ancient Egyptians Paid Their Way Into Slavery

    With the sorry state the job market is currently in, having years of knowledgeable experience and a cordial workplace attitude aren't enough to improve one's station in the office. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and sometimes you just have to buck up and rely on the power of the almighty dollar to skyrocket up that corporate ladder. It's a common misconception that the oftentimes unsavory practice of paying one's way to the top is a modern conception reserved only for the truly manipulative, but a recent discovery has shown that ancient Egyptians had done the same a little over 2,000 years ago. While this development isn't all that surprising, the fact that some Egyptians paid their way into slavery is certainly baffling enough to raise an eyebrow.

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  8. Science

    2,700 Year Old Egyptian Mummy’s Fake Toe Is World’s First Prosthetic Device, Works Surprisingly Well

    Researchers at the University of Manchester have proven that a pair of false toes found in Egyptian archaeological sites weren't just for looks. Modern tests on replicas of the ancient replacement digits show that they really do help people walk, confirming their status as the world's first prosthetic devices and pushing back the timeline on mankind's development of convenient spare body parts -- because hey, sometimes you're gonna lose a toe -- as much as half a century.

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  9. Science

    Software Uses Supercomputer to Predict Revolutions

    A new piece of software, with the aid of a supercomputer for processing, seems to have the ability to predict revolutions with stunning accuracy by analyzing news stories pertaining to the region in question. The software, developed by Kalev Leetaru of University of Illinois’ Institute for Computing in the Humanities, Arts and Social Science, was able to retroactively predict the recent unrest in Egypt. By collecting and analyzing news stories from the U.S. Open Source Center, Britain's BBC Monitoring, Times articles archived all the way back to 1945 and a variety of other sources, the software was able to detect a souring in tone matched only by the bombing of Iraqi troops in Kuwait in 1991 and the invasion of Iraq in 2003. While this spike didn't necessarily predict a revolution, such a strong drop in sentiment devoid from any extreme outside influences certainly suggests it.

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  10. Space

    17 Lost Pyramids Found In Satellite Survey of Egypt

    University of Alabama at Birmingham Egyptologist Dr. Sarah Parcak and her team analyzed images taken from satellites orbiting 700 km above the earth, using infrared imaging to highlight different materials under the surface, and discovered 17 lost pyramids, over 1,000 tombs and over 3,000 ancient settlements. BBC News reports that initial excavations have already confirmed some of the findings.

    How is infrared imaging able to differentiate between the mud bricks ancient Egyptians used to build structures and soil and earth? The mud bricks are more dense than the surrounding soil, and as a commenter on Hacker News points out, the higher density of the bricks means they absorb more light, as well as absorb different regions of light in the spectrum, and is thus detectable due to the light that is reflected back.

    Among the initial excavations, the city streets of the ancient city of Tanis were revealed near the modern-day city of San El Hagar. A 3,000-year-old house has since been excavated, and the outline of the structure almost perfectly matches what the satellite imagery had shown, thus validating the method of exploration and quite probably the rest of Parcak's team's findings. The discovered sites are just the tip of the sandberg, as Parcak theorizes many more sites are buried even deeper, covered by the silt of the River Nile. The satellite method, if put into common use, would allow teams to find better starting points when faced with a large site, and in theory, would make the exploration and excavation processes move more quickly than they have in the past.

    (BBC News via Hacker News)

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  11. Tech

    Could OpenMesh Prevent Government-Imposed Internet Blackouts?

    In the past two months, the world has on multiple occasions seen governments preventing their populaces from accessing the Internet during times of existential political crisis. It's not hard to characterize the Egyptian and Libyan use of an Internet blackout as a direct attack against the groups that sought and still to topple their political leaders, as the protestors in those countries relied on web-based platforms to organize their protests and inform the world of their plight. But Shervin Pishevar hopes to end any further restriction of Internet traffic with his OpenMesh project. On its website, OpenMesh says that the will "find the best of breed Open Source Technologies and to build partnerships with existing technologies that would allow us to create a private citizen owned communications infrastructure." In short, OpenMesh aims to give individuals the tools to remain connected with each other and the world at large without relying on the existing communications infrastructure, that, as demonstrated in the recent unrest in the middle-east, are quite vulnerable. OpenMesh would create an independent, ad-hoc, user-based network that would be far more robust and out of the hands of anyone -- government or otherwise -- that would seek to restrict communications.

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  12. Tech

    Egyptian Names His Firstborn Daughter “Facebook”

    Critics like Malcolm Gladwell have expressed their doubts as to the importance of social media in Egypt's more or less peaceful revolution, but the Egyptian man who recently named his daughter in honor of Facebook probably thinks otherwise. Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram (warning: PDF) reports: (h/t TechCrunch for the translation)

    A New Day Man Names His Newborn Girl Facebook A young man in his twenties wanted to express his gratitude about the victories the youth of 25th of January have achieved and chose to express it in the form of naming his firstborn girl “Facebook” Jamal Ibrahim (his name.) The girl’s family, friends, and neighbors in the Ibrahimya region gathered around the new born to express their continuing support for the revolution that started on Facebook. “Facebook” received many gifts from the youth who were overjoyed by her arrival and the new name. A name [Facebook] that shocked the entire world.
    On the one hand, this illustrates pretty compactly the importance that Facebook and social media had to at least one subset of the Egyptian protesters. On the other: She's going to be stuck with that name for the rest of her life, man. As one NYMag commenter puts it, "the first kid named 'Wikileaks' will be a psychic wreck before entering school. parents shouldnt deliver bad jokes about their children on a platter." See also: Mark Zuckerberg appears on Tunisian protest banner. (TechCrunch via NYMag)

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  13. Tech

    Internet Switched Off, Restored In Libya

    As the wave of anti-government sentiment continues to spread across the Middle East, protests in Libya took a strange turn last night when the L.A. Times reported that the Internet was down across the country. Dozens have been killed in Libya since the protests began, and the loss of communications stoked fears of a deadly crackdown. But within just six hours, Internet communication was restored. It is unclear whether this suspension of online access was simply a test of the country's ability to do so, or if Libyan leaders bowed to international pressure to restore communications. However, social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook are still suspended. This mysterious suspension and restoration of communication comes quick on the heels of similar actions during the recent uprising in Egypt, which toppled the reigning government. The events in Libya may indicate a move against suspending total Internet access during a time of unrest, as such actions did little to hamper Egyptian protests. In fact, the Egyptian government's communications crackdown drew further international attention and condemnation. Though the intent behind the shut down can only be guessed at, it underlines the Internet's growing role in the political life of countries. Moreover, the difficulty nations face when they try to impose control over internet communications. This is a brave new world, and hopefully we've seen the last of Internet killswitches. (Image and story Via The Next Web)

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  14. Tech

    Livestream of Mubarak’s Address to Egypt

    Will he resign today or won't he? We've heard conflicting reports today, but Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is addressing the nation, and Al Jazeera is broadcasting live from Tahrir Square. #reasonsmubarakislate is a trending topic on Twitter, but Al Jazeera reports that Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak will be addressing the nation "imminently." YouTube is livestreaming the coverage. Update: Looks like Mubarak isn't going anywhere. At that, he will be delegating some of his powers to his vice president, but the crowd is not too happy.

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  15. Tech

    Egypt Protests Now Conducted by Internet Memes

    Spotted in Egypt: A protester calls for Mubarak's resignation by invoking Y U NO Guy. Reddit: "What happens when kids can't post f7u12 cartoons on the internet: they take to the streets." (via TDW)

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