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Scientists Shatter An Old Myth About Glass

Glass’s weird behavior under a microscope has made it the subject of longstanding confusion

Photo by Flickr user Fabi42

As a young know-it-all, one “factoid” I always loved dropping on my friends and colleagues was the one about glass not being a real solid. Old church windows, the story went, had become thicker on the bottom over time, as the glass, though appearing solid, continued to very, very slowly flow with gravity. I first heard this idea in an art history class, when my teacher, an elderly German woman with a white shock of hair, led me astray, her authoritative, Einsteinian aura beyond question at the time. But she was wrong, and I dutifully repeated the myth over and over to my credulous chums. Sorry, guys. It turns out the variation in the thickness of old windows was due to a quirk of how large panes were made in medieval times, and glass is, in fact, a true solid, although it takes a little time to get all the way there.

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Unicorn Lookalikes Make a Comeback

The Arabian oryx, which inspired early unicorn myths, made a remarkable recovery from extinction.

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Lisa Frank fans, rejoice! The Arabian oryx, the species that may have inspired the original unicorn legends (and millions of psychedelic stickers), teetered on the edge of extinction less than 40 years ago. But just yesterday, the International Union for Conservation of Nature announced that the oryx's threat level would be lowered from "endangered" to "vulnerable" species.
According to the IUCN's latest Red List, an annual update on the health of at-risk species, the Arabian oryx is a true conservation success story. The oryx, which once thrived throughout the Arabian peninsula's most arid lands, was classified "Extinct in the Wild" by the IUCN in the 1970s, and in the 1980s efforts began to breed the oryx in captivity and reintroduce the creature throughout Oman, Saudi Arabia, and other countries in the region. A recent survey counts the species at 1,000 strong, a promising figure given its close call with extinction.

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That Martin Luther King Quote Is Fake; Use These Instead

The famous civil rights leader did have a great quote for today's news, but it's probably not the one you've seen.

An apparently fake Martin Luther King Jr. quotation is making the internet rounds today in the wake of Osama bin Laden's killing, probably because the passage seems tailor-made for such an event. The quotation—"I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy"—has been popping up in Twitter feeds around the world, and yet it's nowhere to be found in any of the extensive online records of King's famous historical speeches and writings.

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