Are they laughing or crying I can’t tell?
Bulgarian archaeologists are showing off two centuries-old skeletons that they say were pinned down through their chests with iron rods to keep them from turning into vampires — a trend that was all the rage in medieval Europe.
The “vampire” skeletons were excavated recently near the Black Sea town of Sozopol, according to reports from The Associated Press and AFP. Bozhidar Dimitrov, head of Bulgaria’s National History Museum, was quoted as saying that corpses were regularly treated this way in some parts of the country until the beginning of the 20th century.
About 100 similar burials have been found in Bulgaria over the years.
Bulgarian archaeologist Petar Balabanov has found a number of nailed-down skeletons near the eastern town of Debelt, at gravesites dating as far back as the 1st century. According to custom, the bodies had to be pinned down just in case they tried to rise from the grave.
Of the many explanations for this Vampire myth, the one I found most interesting is the plague. During which thousands of people were dying with no explanation, and that sounds an awful lot like all the vampire movies!
Even the symptom of the plague, the buboes, could look like some nasty bite…
The California Office of Traffic Safety celebrated their fifth year of consecutive declines in traffic related fatalities.
In 2010, the number of fatalities in the Golden State dropped to 2,715. That is nearly a 12 percent drop from 3,081 traffic deaths in 2009. And since the peak in 2005, with 4,333 deaths, California’s numbers have declined by more than 37 percent.
The number of traffic fatalities in California have not been this low since 1944, when only one-tenth the number of vehicles were on the road, driving only one-sixteenth the number of miles California drivers traveled in 2010.
via The Official Blog of the U.S. Secretary of Transportation
A very, very big deal considering that driving is one of the top killers in the U.S.:
- Heart disease: 599,413
- Cancer: 567,628
- Automobiles: 359,000
- Chronic Respiratory: 137,353
- Stroke: 128,842
Statistics from 2009 reports by the CDC and U.S. Census.
Another report claims that the drop could be due to new cellphone bans, “deaths blamed on drivers using hand-held cellphones were down 47 percent.” via Huffington Post
How did a 153-year-old magazine — one that first published the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” and gave voice to the abolitionist and transcendentalist movements — reinvent itself for the 21st century?
By pretending it was a Silicon Valley start-up that needed to kill itself to survive.
The Atlantic is on track to turn a tidy profit of $1.8 million this year. That would be the first time in at least a decade that it had not lost money.
Getting there took a cultural transfusion, a dose of counterintuition and a lot of digital advertising revenue.
“We imagined ourselves as a venture-capital-backed start-up in Silicon Valley whose mission was to attack and disrupt The Atlantic,” said Justin B. Smith, president of the Atlantic Media Company.
What that meant more than anything else was forcing one of the nation’s oldest magazines to stop thinking of itself as a printed product.
via NY Times
The article is from December, 2010, but still worth reading if the topic interests you (death of newspapers, magazines).
It’s worth noting that The Atlantic is continuing its heroic transformation:
For the 12th consecutive quarter, The Atlantic is reporting gains in print and online revenue. In third quarter 2011, overall advertising revenue is up 19 percent. – Folio
The Atlantic‘s online ad revenue exceeded its print ad revenue for the first time…even more interestingly, October’s 51% digital advertising share doesn’t come from a decline in print revenue. According to Lauf, The Atlantic sold more ads in the October issue of the magazine than it had since 1999. – The Next Web
Learn how the rest of the industry is faring – Newspapers are losing $25 billion in revenue in 2011 – The digital divide – newspapers are completely lost.