Original image

Ten "trials of the century"

Original image

From the floss archives: a look back at ten "trials of the century" and why they all deserve that dubious honor.

1. 1906: The State vs. Harry Thaw
Harry Thaw, the trust-funded son of a Pittsburgh industrialist, shoots Madison Square Garden architect Stanford White in the face "“ during a show at Madison Square Garden. Claiming White raped his wife, his lawyer wins an acquittal by arguing Thaw suffered from "dementia Americana," afflicting any American male whose wife's purity is violated.

2. 1924: Leopold and Loeb
Wealthy college boys Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb murder a teenager just for fun, their "perfect crime" foiled when Leopold leaves his glasses with the body. Lawyer Clarence Darrow gives a 12-hour speech in their defense, sparing them from hanging.

3. 1925: The Scopes Monkey Trial
Darrow, the era's reigning liberal heavyweight, leaps to the defense of Tennessee schoolteacher John Scopes in the then-and-now legendary "Monkey Trial." Darrow loses the case despite much grandiose speechifying by he and prosecutor William Jennings Bryan; Scopes is fined a measly $100 for teaching evolution despite a state law banning it (though he never pays); and 75-plus years later we're still arguing about monkeys. Good work, guys.

4. 1945: The Nuremburg Trials
An international tribunal decides the fate of two dozen high-ranking Nazis. Journalists expecting monstrous defendants are surprised by the ordinariness of baddies like Hermann Goering, remarking on "the banality of evil."

5. 1970: Fun for the whole Family
Charles Manson and his merry family of murderers are convicted in highly-publicized proceedings, further courting media attention by carving giant X's into their foreheads.

After the jump: they just keep comin'!

6. 1976: Patty Hearst
Newspaper heiress Patty Hearst is convicted of robbing a federal bank as part of the radical Symbionese Liberation Army, coverage of which sells a lot of newspapers. Coincidence? Or genius?

7. 1982: John Hinckley, Jr.
John Hinckley, Jr., not-quite assassin of president Ronald Reagan, successfully pleads insanity, causing several states to re-write laws regarding the insanity plea. Though he is now famous, Jodie Foster still cruelly refuses to date him.

8. 1992: Rodney King
A not-guilty verdict for LAPD officers charged with beating black motorist Rodney King sparks devastating riots in Los Angeles, killing 58 people.

9. 1995: OJ
Trial of the Century of the century? Let us break it down: the crime was sensational, but Harry Thaw's moreso / Cochran was compelling, but no Clarence Darrow / its racial implications were troubling, but not like Scottsboro. Word.

10. 1999: The Clinton Impeachment
"Slick" William J. Clinton is (at least) the eighth US President to engage in sexual misconduct while in office, the first to be forced to discuss it under oath, and his impeachment is the last of the 20th century's Trials of the Century.

Original image
Live Smarter
Need to Calm Yourself Down? Try This Military-Approved Breathing Technique
Original image

Whether you’re dealing with co-worker chaos or pressure to perform on a project, it’s difficult to excel at work when you're extremely stressed. Can’t escape the office? Take a cue from real-life soldiers and try a technique called tactical breathing—also known as combat breathing, four-count breathing, and diaphragmatic breathing—to lower your heart rate and regain control of your breath.

“It’s one you can use when things are blowing up around you”—both literally and figuratively—“and you need to be able to stay calm,” explains clinical psychologist Belisa Vranich, who demonstrates a version of tactical breathing in Tech Insider’s video below.

Vranich is the author of 2016’s Breathe: The Simple, Revolutionary 14-Day Program to Improve your Mental and Physical Health. Watch, learn, and—of course—inhale and exhale along with her until you feel zen enough to salvage the remainder of your workday.

[h/t Business Insider]

Original image
10 Creepy Candles to Get You in the Halloween Mood
Original image

Candles are always a handy household accessory, but they're especially useful around Halloween, when they can be used to light jack-o'-lanterns, summon spirits, or simply brighten a long, dark night. These spooky lights are more suited for tabletops than pumpkins, or soirees than seances, but they'll still make your upcoming costume shindig extra festive (and fragrant, to boot).


PyroPet’s cat-shaped Kisa candle looks like an ordinary wax feline. But as it melts, a hidden surprise reveals itself: a macabre metallic skeleton with charred bones and bared fangs.

The Kisa candle costs $34 and comes in three colors: pink, gray, and an ultra-spooky black. Not into cats? Additional PyroPet offerings include birds, bunnies, reindeer, owls, and dragons, all with the same silver framework.


Brain candle by Creepy Candles
Creepy Candles

This specimen-inspired candle by Etsy seller Creepy Candles would look equally at place in a mad scientist’s laboratory as it would at a Halloween soiree. A wax brain is suspended in green-tinted gel that resembles formaldehyde, but the candle itself thankfully smells like grapefruit. The Brain Candle costs $25 and is handmade to order.


Beeswax human spine candles, set of three, by Grave Digger Candles
Grave Digger Candles

Grow a spine this Halloween—or at least buy one. These notched beeswax pillar candles are inspired by the Victorian Era, a period in which physicians created detailed wax models of flayed corpses to teach medical students the literal ins and outs of anatomy. Etsy seller Grave Digger Candles sells them in sets of three for $76.


LED battery-operated Ouija board candle by Twisted Nightmares
Twisted Nightmares

This Ouija board-inspired, LED battery-operated candle probably won’t summon spirits, but it’s still spine-tinglingly spooky. Sold by Etsy user Twisted Nightmares, it costs $20 and requires three AAA batteries, which aren’t included with purchase.


Bleeding Heart Candle by Cozy Custom Candles
Cozy Custom Candles

Love guts, blood, and Gothic romance? Your heart might bleed for this candle, which turns into a gushing heart when lit. Sold by Etsy seller Cozy Custom Candles, the heart-shaped light source has a white outer shell made from a high-melt point paraffin wax, while its core is made of a red-colored wax blend with a low melting point. The candle hemorrhages vital fluids as it burns, making it the perfect accessory for a bloody good time.

The Bleeding Heart Candle costs $17 and comes in multiple autumnal scents, including caramel apple, pumpkin pie, and sweet cinnamon-pumpkin.


Pick Your Poison candle by Mr. Toad's House of Wax
Mr. Toad's House of Wax

The “Pick Your Poison” candles by Etsy seller Mr. Toad’s House of Wax appear to have been snatched from the shelf of a Victorian apothecarist. But while labeled “Poison Hemlock Oil” and “Tincture of Wolfsbane Poison,” they smell like fresh fallen leaves, pumpkin spice, and other autumnal scents when lit. Both candles cost $21, and are embellished with a sparkly jewel and black velvet ribbon.


Woods & Earth candle by Geeky Girl Scents
Geeky Girl Scents

There’s nothing quite like the aroma of trees and fresh graveyard dirt on a fall night. With hints of wood and earth, this candle by Etsy seller Geek Girl Scents will make your living room smell like a haunted cemetery. An eight-ounce jar costs $15, and a 16-ounce version is also available.


Witch Farts Scented Soy Wax Candle by The Candle Crate
The Candle Crate

If you’ve ever wondered what witch gas smells like (who hasn’t?), you can find out by purchasing The Candle Crate’s flaming ode to supernatural flatulence. The Etsy seller’s “Witch Farts” candle is more Glinda the Good Witch than Elphaba, with top notes of peach, apricot, and blackberries and middle notes of mandarin, cinnamon, and rose.

The soy wax candle costs $12, and is sold alongside other witchy, Harry Potter-inspired products like “Number 12 Grimmauld Place” and “The Leaky Cauldron.”


Ghost Repellent candle by Nola And Neighbors
Nola And Neighbors

Even if you ain’t afraid of no ghosts, you can still keep them at bay with this “Ghost Repellent” candle by Etsy sellers Nola And Neighbors. It smells like lavender and sage, and comes with an instruction label informing owners to light it “at dusk or dawn” for best results—although the ghost’s removal is “not guaranteed.” At $17, it’s still way cheaper than hiring the Ghostbusters.


Zombie Golden Girls prayer candle set by The Eternal Flame
The Eternal Flame

Golden Girls devotees who’d follow the Fab Four to the grave and beyond can light up their lanais with these zombie prayer candles by Etsy shop The Eternal Flame. They come in sets of four (one for each Girl, naturally) and cost $40. Color choices include white, orange, and purple.


More from mental floss studios