Horns look great for costumes, but how practical are they in battle? Patrick Riviere/Getty Images There are dragons in my living room. Sometimes my 6-year-old daughter turns into one, builds a lair behind the couch and, if you get too close, breathes fire. I blame the "How to Train Your Dragon" films. I'm lucky, though; if she were less enthralled with dragons and more interested in the human characters, I might have to spend a Saturday crafting a horned Viking helmet. But surely I'd be wrong about the look of Viking headgear, just like the movies and nearly every Halloween costume that's ever relied on Scandinavian lore for inspiration. There's not any actual historical evidence that Viking helmets were horned. Few helmets have survived burial, and most of them yield little clues as to their design. To date, only a single Viking helmet from the 10th century has been discovered intact. The helmet looks strikingly like the Viking lids we've come to know and love, thanks to its … [Read more...] about Did Vikings really have horns on their helmets?
After a lifetime of public service, America’s 41st commander in chief has passed on to his eternal reward. President George H.W. Bush is currently sitting in Valhalla, nervously drinking a glass of water while Vikings battle around him. Farewell, sir! Although you may be a little out of your element, you’ve more than earned your spot amongst the brave Norse warriors joyously reveling in the afterlife with endless wine and warfare. Although the 94-year-old didn’t die a heroic death in battle, apparently being a U.S. veteran and presiding over the Gulf War was enough for the former president to gain admittance to Odin’s mead hall. There Mr. Bush rests enshrined in glory, sitting hunched over at a long oaken table and trying to ignore the boisterous Viking berserkers constantly dismembering each other with battle axes and spears, only to laugh as their wounds are magically healed so they might fight anew. Valkyrie shield-maidens offered to bring Mr. Bush a drinking … [Read more...] about A Hero’s Reward: George H.W. Bush Is Sitting In Valhalla Nervously Drinking A Glass Of Water While Dead Vikings Battle Around Him
Colonizers, merchants, and ruthless raiders, the Vikings swept out of Scandinavia to terrorize Europe in swift vessels like this Danish reproduction. Ted Spiegel/National Geographic/Getty Images It is late morning at a monastery on the coast of Ireland. The year is 817. From the shore comes a cry of alarm -- dragon boats have appeared on the horizon, approaching quickly with wind filling their sails. A monk runs into the monastery to warn the others. This place holds Christian holy relics, gold, tapestries, jewels and spices. It is also home to a small herd of cattle and other livestock, plus two dozen monks and several nuns. All of these things make the monastery a magnet for the men on the dragon boats -- the Vikings. Quickly the monks work to hide the holiest of artifacts, to mount some kind of defense, but the Vikings hit the shore with stunning speed. They wear terrifying masks and helmets of iron, bearing iron swords and wooden shields. The monks and nuns alike are … [Read more...] about How the Vikings Worked
A study examining ancient Scandinavian latrines revealed clues to the origins of modern-day lung disease. Carl deSouza/Getty Images A thorough inspection of an old Viking latrine in Denmark has confirmed what we all sort of suspected: the lives of early Scandinavians were not especially sanitary. These otherwise hardy people were crawling with intestinal parasites, mostly due to the food they ate, and because they kept their livestock close. Like, roommate close. The outhouse in question was active a thousand years ago, but a recent study by researchers at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM) shows the genes of some modern people are still haunted by the ghosts of those Viking parasites. They may even contribute to the reason lung diseases like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and emphysema are so prevalent worldwide, affecting around 300 million people — nearly 5 percent of the global population. Of course, these types of diseases are most common in … [Read more...] about Viking Toilet Worm Investigation Finds Genetic Clues to Emphysema’s Origins
Judy Blume, author of "Are You There God? It's Me Margaret," was photographed in conversation with WLRN's Alicia Zuckerman at Temple Judea on June 15, 2015 in Miami. Aaron Davidson/Getty Images For more than four decades, the Judy Blume novel "Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret" has helped girls understand such "taboo" topics as getting your period or buying your first bra. And for almost as long, Blume has turned down requests from producers to turn the beloved novel into a movie. But all that changed with the announcement in October 2018 that Blume had granted the film rights to producer James L. Brooks' Gracie Films and to Kelly Fremon Craig who wrote and directed the teen-oriented film "The Edge of Seventeen." "[We've] spent much time together talking about 'Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret' and [I'm] so looking forward to seeing their combined visions of 'Margaret' on the screen," Blume told us in an emailed statement. From Movie to Book So what makes this novel so … [Read more...] about Why So Many Women Remember ‘Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret’