Africa

The Best Stuff We've Read This Week

Articles on the Type A personality, terrible translation, time as a myth, pit bull debate and much more stuff.

The Best Stuff We've Read This Week

Interesting articles on the pandemics on the way, skepticism toward Skeptics, classic car crashes and more neat stuff.

Who Gets to Name Continents?

America is named after Amerigo Vespucci, right? Maybe not. And who named Australia? Find out the unusually uncertain origins of the continents and other interesting stuff in this episode.

The Best Stuff We've Read This Week

On any given week, Josh and Chuck read a lot of interesting articles. Check out this post with links to the best articles they've read this week.

Spanish Doctor Captured and Hair Shaved for use in Talisman

There's probably nothing more unsettling than a Congolese rebel leader with a bent toward magic coming at you with a straight razor. I don't know this personally (though I strongly suspect I'm right) but a guy named Dr. Mario Zarza Manresa has firsthand knowledge of just this scenario. Zarza Manresa was traveling on vacation down the Congo River when his boat was pirated by rebels from the Enyele ethnic group. The doctor was taken hostage, and he is still held by his captors. He is, however, alive and well -- the Telegraph reports that a fisherman saw him -- although he is now hairless.

Hillary Clinton's recently visited the Democratic Republic of Congo (aka, the DRC, Congo, Zaire), a nation that has seen an internal war result in the death of five million inhabitants (more than six percent of the DRC's current population) since 1996. Clinton's visit was intended to spotlight the increasingly growing problem of rape as a tool of cultural control and torture among the Congolese. NPR reported that from a refugee camp, Secretary Clinton pledged $17 million in aid to combat rape in the DRC. That amount should help tremendously, but it also seems wincingly paltry in the era of TARP and $2 billion in Cash for Clunkers vouchers. I can't think of too many things more insidious than rape as a weapon or tool of war. It's arguably much worse than murder: the dead move on; the raped are disowned by their families and ostracized by their communities. Somewhere around 200,000 women and girls have been raped in the villages and cities of the Congo by factions on both sides of the conflict over the past 12 years. That figure got me to wondering exactly which war-torn nation had the dubious title of the rape capital of the world. Perhaps it was the DRC, perhaps Sudan. I found after a moment's research that I actually live in a nation ranked by NationMaster per capita near the top.

Lakes are usually tranquil bodies of water, but in rare instances, they can be deadly. Tune in to this podcast from HowStuffWorks.com to hear Josh and Chuck discuss lakes that have exploded -- and the factors that create a killer lake.

Albinos in Africa -- Murder for Magic, A Human Rights Nightmare

Our friends over at Xenophilia posted an article from BBC about a recent spate of murders of albinos in Burundi and Tanzania. Between the two countries, at least 50 African albinos have been murdered in the last couple of months. The concentration of albino populations in some African nations is nearly 20 times that of the United States, and despite the political and social successes of some...