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Beware the Phantom of Heilbronn

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History

Mount Rushmore is an iconic national landmark. The nearly 1,300-acre sculpture carved into the Black Hills of South Dakota depicts the heads of some of America’s greatest leaders (Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt and Lincoln). The only thing is… the statue we know and love today still isn’t complete.

In 1924, historian Doane Robinson asked sculptor Gutzon Borglum to create a sculpture that would inspire patriotism and drive tourism to South Dakota. Borglum designed a sculpture that would depict four of America’s most revered presidents and planned to carve it into the side of a cliff face known as the “Six Grandfathers”. The original design not only included the heads of the four presidents but also the torso and arms of each president as well. In addition, Jefferson was meant to hold a pen and Lincoln would be grabbing the lapels of his coat (basically popping his collar).

Unfortunately, the sculptor Borglum died after working on the sculpture for 14 years. When his son tried to take over, the project ran out of funding and eventually had to stop. The funding dried up so quickly that the construction team didn’t even have enough time to remove all the rubble they had made while sculpting the heads. Over 450,000 tons of rubble is still sitting at the bottom of the mountain.

The end of the project was probably for the best. Adding the body and arms would make it seem like the four presidents were waiting for a bus or something.

10 facts that prove Mount Rushmore was a terrible idea

Mount Rushmore original design

Food & Beverage

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and, one of the most popular. Whether you eat breakfast to start your day or at dinner as a special treat, one staple that is always included is the incredible, edible, egg. No matter how you make them, scrambled, poached or over easy, the egg is a versatile and delicious meal, but are all eggs created equal? Yes and no. Although eggs are basically all the same, some eggs are white, and some are brown? Why is that?

White and brown eggs are nutritionally identical as they have the same amount of cholesterol and protein. In addition, they are roughly the same size and they taste the exact same. The two differences between white and brown eggs are the chicken and the price.

White eggs come from white chickens that have white ear lobes (apparently the lobes are important) and brown eggs come from red chickens with red ear lobes. Although their eggs are the same, the red chickens are larger and require more food to produce eggs. The increased cost of feeding red chickens is what makes brown eggs more expensive.

The higher price tag does not mean that the eggs are higher quality, it just means the chicken needed an extra midnight snack to produce the egg. Next trip to the grocery store, you can save some money and buy the white eggs with the knowledge that they are identical to the more expensive brown eggs.

11 ways to cook an egg

Does drinking raw eggs help build muscle?

Crime & Punishment

From 1993 to 2009 a vicious serial killer tormented Europe from Austria to Germany to France. The horrific serial killer baffled police by committing murders spread out across Europe and by never using the same method of taking out the victims. The killer never left footprints, fingerprints, or cryptic messages. The only piece of evidence that authorities had was a matching DNA sample recovered at each of the murder scenes.

Mitochondrial DNA tests run by police in Austria found that the killer was a woman of eastern European or possibly Russian decent. The DNA was not in any crime databases, so they were unable to find a match. Because the mystery woman’s DNA had been found at murder scenes all over Europe and police had no clues to her identity, the media dubbed her “The Phantom of Heilbronn” (named for a town where the murders began) or “The woman with no face”.

For years the Phantom of Heilbronn remained at large with her DNA showing up at unsolved murder cases throughout Europe. Police finally got a break in the case when they found the Phantom’s DNA on the body of a French Man who had died in a fire. The presences of the mystery woman’s DNA on the body of a man made the police suspicious of the accuracy of the DNA tests. Police contacted the crime lab who confirmed that the DNA did in fact belong to a woman. Next, they contacted the manufacturer of the cotton swabs used to collect the DNA samples and what they found shocked them.

After an investigation, the company manufacturing the cotton swabs confirmed that an elderly female worker in the cotton swab factory was putting the cotton swabs in her mouth to smooth out the fuzz and to make sure the cotton stuck on tight. The saliva from this elderly woman had contaminated thousands of cotton swabs used to gather evidence which is why an unknown female’s DNA was being found at crime scenes all over Europe.

The dreaded Phantom of Heilbronn that had been linked to 15 crimes across Europe turned out not to be a ruthless serial killer but instead she was a sweet old lady who wanted to make sure the cotton on the swab was smooth.

This Week in History

On this week in 1787, the U.S. Constitution was signed by 38 of the 41 delegates chosen to represent their states at the Constitutional Convention. The signing of the constitution was merely an agreement on the final version of the document. According to article XII of the constitution, the document would not go into effect until it was ratified by at least 9 out of the 13 original colonies. It would take another year and a half for 9 states to ratify the document and officially form the United States of America.

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