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Wills from Famous Brits Now Available for Public Scrutiny, Thanks to U.K. Database

The wills of Princess Diana, Winston Churchill, and Charles Dickens are accessible to the public on a new government website.

Painting of Charles Dickens. Image via Wikimeda Commons.


Death brings out the voyeur in us all. The public has an obsession with famous last words and famous last meals. Death, for whatever reason, seems to excuse the kind of nosiness that would be intolerable when directed at the living. This is why it made big headlines when the British government released a digital archive of 41 million wills, which date as far back as 1858, this past week. The database of wills is now available to the public—at least those who don’t mind paying a fee of £10. The wills of famous Brits like Princess Diana, Charles Dickens, Winston Churchill, and Alan Turing are all fair game for anyone who wants a look. According to The Independent, Dickens demanded in his last will that there be no monuments put up in his likeness. “I rest my claims to the remembrance of my country upon my published works,” he wrote.

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Seventy-five years ago, on January 27, 1945, the Soviet Army liberated the Auschwitz concentration camp operated by Nazi Germany in occupied Poland.

Auschwitz was the deadliest of Nazi Germany's 20 concentration camps. From 1940 to 1945 of the 1.3 million prisoners sent to Auschwitz, 1.1 million died. That figure includes 960,000 Jews, 74,000 non-Jewish Poles, 21,000 Roma, 15,000 Soviet prisoners of war, and up to 15,000 other Europeans.

The vast majority of the inmates were murdered in the gas chambers while others died of starvation, disease, exhaustion, and executions.

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The phrase "stay in your lane" is usually lobbed at celebrities who talk about politics on Twitter by people who disagree with them. People in the sports world will often get a "stick to sports" when they try to have an opinion that lies outside of the field of play.

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In a move that feels like the subject line of a spam email or the premise of a bad '80s movie, online shopping mogul Yusaku Maezawa is giving away money as a social experiment.

Maezawa will give ¥1 million yen ($9,130) to 1,000 followers who retweeted his January 1st post announcing the giveaway. The deadline to retweet was Tuesday, January 7.

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