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What 19th-Century Germans Thought Life Would Be Like in 2000

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Wikimedia Commons

Right around the same time that French postcards were predicting lots of aerial and aquatic activities in the year 2000 as part of the 1900 Paris World's Fair, a German chocolate company decided to get in on the future-telling business with a crafty marketing campaign. For a short time, Theodore Hildebrand and Son chocolate company slipped colorful cards depicting theoretical life in the year 2000 into boxes of their sweets. Altogether, 12 such cards were produced, predicting how a range of activities would get upgraded for the 21st Century.

1. Police with X-Ray

It's unclear from the picture how an x-ray camera of sorts would factor into crime-fighting. With both the legal and moral high ground, couldn't the police apprehend the criminals face-to-face? Weigh in below if you can make sense of it.

2. Flying Machines

What's a vision of the future without some personal flying machines? This card features several different options that all look heinously unsafe. Is that little girl even wearing a seat belt?!

3. Movable Houses

Alright, this one is just all wrong. They're still using horse-drawn buggies and steam engines, having focused all the attention and effort of their technological advancements on building portable rowhouses.

4. Airships

More air travel. And fashion stuck in the 1800s.

5. Undersea Ships

Perhaps even more tantalizing than the leisure submarine patrolling the ocean floor are the sea bike, sea surrey, and sea wheeled-recliner above.

6. North Pole Trip

It's true that air travel has made vacationing in remote locations possible and even popular. But I haven't noticed a lot of hot air balloon jaunts to the North Pole showing up on hip destination lists.

7. Water Walk

The genius here isn't the water-wheel unicycle or the shoe-canoes—it's the artistic, elegant, and tech-free individual hot air balloons that keep water-waders upright. Even the horse has one!

8. Ship Railway

So many questions. How is this better than a normal ship? Is it limited to shallow waters? WHY IS IT ON FIRE?!

9. Roofed City

This one seems like a great idea until you remember things like, you know, drought.

10. Theater

Things happening in one place will be able to be captured and viewed in an entirely different location in real time? Yup.

11. Moving Sidewalks

Scattered throughout the airport, these human conveyor belts are a delightful respite that make you feel like you have super-speed compared to the people on still ground. But in crowded cities? Now that just sounds dangerous.

12. Good Weather Machine

Yes. Get on this, scientists.

All images via Wikimedia Commons.

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This Just In
Pablo Neruda's Death Wasn't Caused by Cancer, Experts Conclude
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MARTIN BERNETTI/AFP/Getty Images

Pablo Neruda—whose real name was Ricardo Eliecer Neftalí Reyes Basoalto—died on September 23, 1973, less than two years after he was awarded the 1971 Nobel Prize in Literature. The official cause of death was recorded as cancer cachexia, or wasting syndrome, from prostate cancer. But while Neruda did have cancer, new tests on his remains indicate that the left-leaning Chilean politician and poet didn’t actually succumb to the disease, according to BBC News.

It’s still unclear what, exactly, caused Neruda’s demise. But in a recent press conference, a team of 16 international experts announced that they were "100 percent convinced" that the author's death certificate "does not reflect the reality of the death,” as quoted by the BBC.

Neruda died in 1973 at the age of 69, less than two weeks after a military coup led by General Augusto Pinochet ousted the Marxist government of President Salvador Allende. Neruda, a Communist, was a former diplomat and senator, and a friend of the deposed politician.

In 2011, Manuel Araya, Neruda’s chauffeur, claimed that the poet had told him that Pinochet’s men had injected poison into his stomach as he was hospitalized during his final days, Nature reports. The Communist Party of Chile filed a criminal lawsuit, and Neruda’s remains were exhumed in 2013 and later reburied in 2016, according to the BBC.

Many of Neruda’s relatives and friends were reportedly skeptical of Araya’s account, as was the Pablo Neruda Foundation, according to The New York Times. But after samples of Neruda’s remains were analyzed by forensic genetics laboratories in four nations, Chile’s government acknowledged that it was “highly probable” that his official cause of death was incorrect.

And now, the team of scientists has unanimously ruled out cachexia as having caused Neruda’s death. “There was no indication of cachexia,” said Dr. Niels Morling, a forensic medical expert from the University of Copenhagen, as quoted by The Guardian. Neruda “was an obese man at the time of death. All other circumstances in his last phase of life pointed to some kind of infection.”

The investigating team says that their analysis yielded what might be lab-cultivated bacteria, although it could have also originated from the burial site or been produced during the body's decomposition process. Test results will be available within a year, they say.

[h/t BBC News]

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Art
Winston Churchill’s Final Painting Is Going to Auction for the First Time
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Fox Photos, Stringer, Getty Images

While serving as an influential statesman and writing Nobel Prize-winning histories, Winston Churchill also found time to paint. Now, The Telegraph reports that the final painting the former British prime minister ever committed to canvas is heading to the auction block.

The piece, titled The Goldfish Pool at Chartwell, depicts the pond at Churchill’s home in Kent, England, which has been characterized as his “most special place in the world.” A few years after the painting was finished, he passed away in 1965 and it fell into the possession of his former bodyguard, Sergeant Edmund Murray. Murray worked for Churchill for the 15 years leading up to the prime minister's death and often assisted with his painting by setting up his easel and brushes. After decades in the Murray family, Churchill’s final painting will be offered to the public for the first time at Sotheby’s Modern & Post-War British Art sale next month.

Winston Churchill's final painting.
Sotheby's

Churchill took up painting in the 1920s and produced an estimated 544 artworks in his lifetime. He never sold any of his art, but The Goldfish Pool at Chartwell shows that the hobby was an essential part of his life right up until his last years.

When the never-before-exhibited piece goes up for sale on November 21, it’s expected to attract bids up to $105,500. It won’t mark the first time an original Winston Churchill painting has made waves at auction: In a 2014, a 1932 depiction of his same beloved goldfish pond sold for over $2.3 million.

[h/t The Telegraph]

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