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bridgewater state hospital

from titicut follies (1967) posted in movies by prof_improbable

In the mid-60's, filmmakers Frederick Wiseman and John Marshall spent 29 days at the horrific Bridgewater State Hospital in Bridgewater, MA.

The resulting documentary is the cinéma vérité classic, Titicut Follies.

The film shocked audiences with its unfiltered depictions of the brutal treatment of patient-inmates. It also launched Wiseman's career: making exposé documentaries about social institutions in a style of direct cinema that could be best described as "a fly on the wall" filmmaking.

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nike missile site ms-70

from cold war, nuclear weapons posted in history by prof_improbable

During the Cold War from 1959 until 1972, the Twin Cities were protected by four missile battery sites. This is one of those four locations. The actual Nike-Hercules missile (or a reproduction of one) can be seen in a park in nearby St. Bonifacius.

The missiles were stored on underground rails and were brought to the surface by elevators. They were meant to bring down long-range enemy bombers.

All of the Nike sites were decommissioned on Feb. 4th, 1978.

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word origin: sardonic

from word origin posted in history by prof_improbable

Webster's dictionary defines the word sardonic as "disdainfully or skeptically humorous : derisively mocking."

The word originates from the ancient peoples of the island of Sardinia off the Italian coast (from Wikipedia):

In 2009, scientists at the University of Eastern Piedmont in Italy claimed to have identified hemlock water dropwort (Oenanthe crocata) as the plant responsible for producing the sardonic grin.

This plant is the candidate for the "sardonic herb," which was a neurotoxic plant used for the ritual killing of elderly people in pre-Roman Sardinia. When these people were unable to support themselves, they were intoxicated with this herb and then dropped from a high rock or beaten to death.


That is so totally metal.

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cedarwood rd

from u2 posted in music by prof_improbable

10 Cedarwood Rd is the address of Bono's childhood home in Dublin. It's also the subject of the U2 song, "Cedarwood Rd."

The song was featured on Episode 42 of the Song Exploder podcast. No word on whether it will show up uninvited on the next Apple device launch.

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bataclan theatre

from terrorism posted in history by prof_improbable

Built in 1864 and opened in 1865, the Bataclan is a café-concert theatre built in the Chinoiserie (European version of Chinese) style. With historical appearances by notable figures as diverse as Buffalo Bill Cody and Edith Piaf, the Bataclan has been hosting rock acts since the 1970s.

The theatre was the scene of a coordinated terrorist attacks on Nov. 13, 2015, killing 89 people and injuring over 200. The members of the band that evening, Eagles of Death Metal, were interviewed after the attack for Vice.

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