Thu January 3, 2013
The Two-Way

DNA Links Bloody Handkerchief To French King's Execution

Originally published on Thu January 3, 2013 4:28 pm

Scientists have established the authenticity of a cloth dipped in the blood of France's King Louis XVI. A memorial depicts the executed king and Queen Marie-Antoinette at Saint-Denis, near Paris.
Joel Saget AFP/Getty Images

In France, a team of scientists says that a piece of cloth that was reputedly dipped in the blood of Louis XVI is genuine. Louis XVI was executed 220 years ago this month, during the French Revolution.

The handkerchief had been stored for years in an ornately decorated gourd, as Tia Ghose writes at Live Science.

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Sun December 30, 2012

The Mysterious Disappearance Of The Russian Crown Jewels

Originally published on Wed January 2, 2013 12:49 am

This necklace appears in the 1922 album at the USGS library, but not in the 1925 book on the Russian crown jewels.

The story of the missing Russian crown jewels begins, as so many great adventures do, in a library.

In this case, it was the U.S. Geological Survey Library in Reston, Va.

Richard Huffine, the director, was looking through the library's rare-book collection when he came upon an oversized volume.

"And there's no markings on the outside, there's no spine label or anything like that," he says. "This one caught our eye, and we pulled it aside to take a further look at it."

Researcher Jenna Nolt was one of those who took a look.

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Sat December 29, 2012

Virtually Anyone Can See The Dead Sea Scrolls Now

Originally published on Sat December 29, 2012 3:38 pm

A fragment of the 2,000-year-old Dead Sea Scrolls is laid out at a laboratory in Jerusalem. More than 60 years after their discovery, 5,000 images of the ancient scrolls are now online.
Uriel Sinai Getty Images

This week, an ancient and largely inaccessible treasure was opened to everyone. Now, anyone with access to a computer can look at the oldest Bible known to humankind.

Thousands of high-resolution images of the Dead Sea Scrolls were posted online this week in a partnership between Google and the Israel Antiquities Authority. The online archive, dating back to the first century B.C., includes portions of the Ten Commandments and the Book of Genesis.

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Fri December 28, 2012
Planet Money

A Hitler-Themed Piggy Bank, And Other Ways The U.S. Sold War Bonds

Thomas Lamb's "Adolph the Pig." The message scribbled on top reads "Save for Victory and Make Him Squeal."
Courtesy of the Museum of World War II, Boston. On display at the WWII & NYC exhibit, New-York Historical Society.

Wars are expensive, and governments have always borrowed money to fight them. But it wasn't until the 20th century — the age of advertising — that governments started using war as a marketing tool to encourage citizens to buy government bonds.

To raise money for World War I, the U.S. government issued "Liberty Bonds," and launched an ad campaign full of dramatic, frightening posters.

For World War II, the government ditched the "liberty" euphemism and got straight to the point. It issued "war bonds," which were accompanied by a massive promotional campaign.

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Tue December 25, 2012
Middle East

Dig Finds Evidence Of Pre-Jesus Bethlehem

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 5:13 am

The Israel Antiquities Authority says archeologists have found the oldest artifact that bears the inscription of Bethlehem, a 2,700-year-old clay seal with the name of Jesus' traditional birthplace.

Thousands of Christian pilgrims streamed into Bethlehem Monday night to celebrate the birth of Jesus. It's the major event of the year in that West Bank town. But Israeli archaeologists now say there is strong evidence that Christ was born in a different Bethlehem, a small village in the Galilee.

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