10 More Bizarre Psychological Disorders

We’ve all heard of the most famous psychological disorders: schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and so on. But there are many disorders that most people haven’t heard of—some of which are rather bizarre, to say the least. We’ve already seen a couple of lists on mental disorders, which you can read here and here; here are ten more:

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Landau-Kleffner Syndrome is an odd disorder; children who suffer from it—generally between the ages of five and seven—frequently lose the ability to properly express and understand language. Some people with this syndrome also suffer from seizures, and scientists are yet to understand why the disorder occurs.

It’s all made stranger by the fact that the children usually develop their language skills just fine, and then seem to lose them randomly. Certain speech therapies can be helpful in managing the condition, but it is fairly difficult to treat.

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Aboulomania isn’t a very well-known disorder; essentially, it involves the occasional onset of crippling indecision.

Aboulomania sufferers are normal in practically every other way, physically and mentally—they simply run into very serious problems whenever they’re faced with certain choices, to the extent that they struggle to regain normal function.

Some aboulomania sufferers face incredible difficulties in everyday life, finding it nearly impossible to do simple things; even wondering whether or not they should go out for a walk can paralyze them with indecision. Many sufferers report that their incapacity to do what they want comes in spite of that fact that they’re aware of being physically fine—and so they seem to be imprisoned by the inability to fulfill their own will.

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If you wanted bizarre, then you’re about to get it. It turns out that there are reported cases of people experiencing seizures upon hearing the voice of Mary Hart, a TV personality.

A doctor who studied one of these claims said that the woman concerned really did fall into a seizure at the sound of Hart’s voice; he reported that the woman would also grip her head, looking distracted and confused. It is important to note, however, that this strange syndrome seems only to affect those who already have seizures for other reasons.

Anxiety

Caffeine can induce serious anxiety, and a good portion of the world is high on caffeine at any given time—which means there is a good chance that many people are suffering from this right now.

While researchers have long acknowledged that caffeine increases the chances of anxiety, they have additionally found that people who already have a regular anxiety disorder are far more susceptible to the psychological effects of caffeine. So if you’re already prone to panic attacks, ingesting caffeine could well lead to an even greater risk.

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Boanthropy is a strange delusional disorder whereby a person believes himself to be a cow or an ox. Some people think that the disorder usually starts out as a dream and goes on to pervade the waking mind, eventually taking hold as a full-blown delusion. It’s also possible that the condition can be induced by hypnotism, provided that the subject is more than a little suggestible.

Nebuchadnezzar, King of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, is generally thought to have suffered from this condition—at least according to the Book of Daniel, which states that he “was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen.”

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You might want to put your food away for this one. Autophagia refers to the condition of eating yourself, or parts of yourself—often by simply biting and chewing impulsively. This disorder doesn’t have an official place of its own in the DSM-IV, but it would fit in with impulse control disorders in general.

One man apparently began by merely biting his own nails—but ended up with such a problem that he severely mutilated his fingers. As with most disorders, this one can range from very mild to life threatening.

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Alien hand syndrome sounds really cool, but it is hard to imagine it being anything but extremely frustrating for the person experiencing it. Basically, it occurs when an arm seems to have a mind of its own; it moves around, grabs hold of things, and responds to to the touch of another person—but it does this without the control of the person to whom it belongs.

As you’d expect, this nightmare syndrome can lead to great distress on the part of the sufferers, who often refer to their rogue arm as though it were a separate entity.

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This phenomenon is most widespread in Japan, or more specifically, among those who grew up according to the customs and social expectations of Japanese culture. Taijin Kyofusho is characterized by a crippling fear of social interactions, and a vivid awareness of everything that could possibly go wrong, such as having an offensive body odor or doing something that will offend someone in any other way. That the condition should arise in Japan is in many ways unsurprising, since Japanese culture is well known for placing importance on keeping up appearances and etiquette in social situations.

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Erotomania is a pretty strange disorder; essentially, it refers to people who are deluded into thinking that someone else is in love with them. But what makes this disorder especially bizarre is that the person who is supposedly in love with the sufferer is usually someone of much higher status than themselves—and often a celebrity.

This delusion can be difficult to break; even if the supposed lover directly denies any feelings of love, it is often not enough to convince the deluded individual. Unfortunately, there isn’t much known about this particular disorder, especially in regard to its treatment.

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Riley-Day Syndrome is also known as Familial Dysautonomia; and it’s a disorder that is genetically inherited. To actually show signs of having the condition, however, the relevant gene has to be passed on by both parents.

Basically, Riley-Day syndrome affects the autonomous nervous system. While there are many extremely unpleasant symptoms (such as frequent vomiting, and difficulty swallowing), it does also have some arguably cool features. Chief among these is the fact that many people with the condition are almost entirely insensitive to pain.

Of course, though a painless life sounds great in theory, it doesn’t work so well in practice. Pain is actually your friend; it sends signals to your brain to let you know when something needs fixing—so to go without it altogether isn’t necessarily going to be a pleasant experience.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2013/05/06/10-more-bizarre-psychological-disorders/

10 More People Who Survived Your Worst Nightmares

We all like to think we’d be the very face of implacable calm in the face of disaster. At the very least, if faced with certain death, we like to think we’d face it with dignity, or perhaps a kind of defiant resignation—but certainly not abject terror and sheer panic, because we are fully grown adults who– oh, fine. Nobody wants to die, but absolutely nobody wants to die under nightmarish, out-of-control, excruciatingly painful circumstances. But like those on our previous list, the following people did more than just stare down death with courage under just such circumstances—they stared it down until it backed right off, and then they walked away.

10 Joan Murray
Fell 14,500 Feet Onto Mound Of Fire Ants

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You may think we slipped that subheader in there just to see if you were paying attention, and that we’ve been watching too many Road Runner cartoons. Well, here are the facts. In September of 1999, 47-year-old Joan Murray experienced failure of her main chute during a skydive from over 4,400 meters (14,500 ft). By the time she got her reserve chute to deploy, she was less than 305 meters (1,000 ft) from the ground. She spun out of control, her reserve chute lost most of its air volume, and she smacked into the ground traveling at 129 kph (80 mph), landing directly on a large fire ant mound.

Joan broke most of the bones in her entire right side, and fillings shot from her teeth upon impact; yet she somehow was alive, though unconscious. The whole situation didn’t go over well with the fire ants. Joan was bitten over 200 times before paramedics were able to assist her. Incredibly, her doctors (one of whom scrawled “miracle” on her chart) think the ant bites may have aided in Joan’s survival by causing an extreme adrenaline response. Several years, and more than 20 reconstructive surgeries and countless physical therapy sessions later, Joan returned to work, life, and skydiving—taking her 37th dive in 2002.

9 Louis Nell
Attacked By Two Pit Bulls

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At first, it was just a dog owner’s worst nightmare: Louis Nell’s golden retriever, Chrissy, was being attacked in their home by two aggressive pit bulls that had come out of nowhere. Then Louis made an attempt to defend his dog, and it quickly turned into a situation that could have spelled the end for Louis himself.

The pit bulls, the dogs of one of Louis’s neighbors, had burst in through their screen door and set upon Chrissy before anyone knew what was happening. His wife, Linda, frantically dialed police as Louis fought with the animals “for a good five to 10 minutes,” sustaining a profusely bleeding bite on one hand after he toppled over while trying to pin one of the dogs beneath a chair.

Fortunately, police arrived quickly and shot one of the dogs dead on the scene (the other was later euthanized). Chrissy was killed in the attack. “They tore her throat completely open,” said Linda. But if not for Louis’s bravery and the quick response of police, it could have turned out much, much worse.

8 Geary And Suzan Whaley
Picked Up By A Tornado

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In late May 2013, a series of tornadoes rocked the central United States; Oklahoma, it could be argued, took the worst of it. On May 20, a twister that devastated the town of Moore killed 24 people. By May 31, nine more had died as multiple twisters tore across central Oklahoma. One of these tornadoes, an E4 tornado—the second-most powerful rating, was sighted near the town of Shawnee by husband and wife Geary and Suzan Whaley as they were heading home on the highway. They don’t remember much else about the rest of the day, but investigators think they tried to pull under an overpass (bad idea), where the twister met them, picking up their truck and sucking them both right out the windows.

Suzan had been shooting video of the twister on her cell phone when it struck, and it continued shooting through the entire incident. She says she can barely remember waking up on the ground, cell phone still in hand, her husband missing. She found him over 15.2 meters (50 ft) away, with about a dozen broken bones but somehow still alive. They now know that the structure of an underpass can amplify a tornado’s winds, but hopefully it’s knowledge they won’t need to use again. Amazingly, their dog Rocky was also with them at the time and went missing afterward . . . until he was found four days later, trapped under some debris and also alive.

7 Theresa Christian
Locked In A Freezer For 5 Days

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Yes, twisters are to be avoided at all costs . . . well, almost. For the claustrophobic among us, here’s an example of how some methods of protecting yourself from a tornado can potentially turn even scarier than the tornado itself. Investigators believe Theresa Christian, 59 at the time, was attempting to take shelter in a deep freezer when she accidentally locked herself inside. And she remained there for five days.

Unbelievably, her sons dropped by on day four and turned over the apartment, calling their mother’s name, to no avail. On Wednesday, they and an apartment maintenance crew returned. This time, Theresa’s son Stewart heard a very faint cry for help. They discovered her sitting upright, conscious, inside the deep freezer—which was itself inside a closet. The lid was cracked, but she was unable to move. She had severe frostbite on her legs and was hospitalized in serious condition. Oddly, no inclement weather was forecasted for the area at the time—it’s just the only explanation authorities could come up with, and Ms. Christian wasn’t talking.

6 Janis Ollson
Cut In Half For Cancer Treatment

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A diagnosis of cancer is never good, but Janis Ollson’s diagnosis was of the type that would make most people simply crumble. There was cancerous bone tissue in the middle of her pelvis, and doctors told her that her only option was essentially to be disassembled to get at the problem area, then put her back together again like a puzzle. She would lose her left leg, and her right would have to be . . . well . . . totally detached during the procedure. And they weren’t sure if they would be able to reattach it.

Basically, the surgery involved cutting Janis Ollson in two, and it was her only hope. Despite the procedure never having been attempted on a living patient, doctors at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota were willing to give it a shot. Since the treatment would leave “no bony continuity between her torso and her remaining leg” (in the words of Dr. Michael Yaszemski, who originated the treatment), bone from her amputated left leg was used to reattach the right, closer to her spine in the center of her body. Over two surgeries of 28 hours, with 240 staples used to piece Janis together, the groundbreaking procedure was done—and it was successful. Obviously, there was incredibly demanding rehabilitation, and lots of it, required. And Janis requires a bit of hardware to get around, but she isn’t complaining. Since her lifesaving treatment, it has been attempted on three other patients—two of whom died.

5 Rita Chretien
Stranded In Wilderness For 7 Weeks

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Rita Chretien and her husband, Albert, set out for Las Vegas from their home in British Columbia in their van in March 2011. She would later tell journalists that the couple had little experience on such a trip, and they were relying on their GPS to guide them accurately. On March 20, their van became bogged down in the snowy Nevada wilderness, unable to go any further. There it remained until May 6, when it was found by hunters on ATVs. The search had been on since March 30, when they had been expected home by their children. May 6 was the very day, Rita said, that she felt the last of her energy slipping away after surviving on a small amount of trail mix and hard candy for the past 49 days. When she heard the hunters’ engines, she had just laid down to prepare to die.

Albert had set out for help two days after the van became stuck, but he unfortunately did not get anywhere near it—he was over eight kilometers (five miles) from the nearest town when his frozen body was finally found in late September 2012. He had, however, made it roughly the same distance from the van, a valiant effort in unforgiving conditions. Sheriff’s Deputy David Prall said, “Once he [Albert] lost the ability to use that GPS, due to the snow drifts, he couldn’t tell where the road was. He did a lot of unnecessary climbing. He was heading literally for the summit of the mountain . . . where he made it to was far beyond what he was equipped for . . . this man had tremendous courage and inner strength to get where he was.”

4 Randal McCloy Jr.
Trapped By Sago Mine Explosion

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On January 2, 2006, an explosion at the Sago mine in West Virginia trapped 13 miners for two days. According to Randal McCloy Jr.—the only one of them to make it out alive—at least four of the miners’ emergency breathing devices failed. And that was only the nail in their coffin, as many oversights were eventually found to have contributed to the blast.

For one, McCloy also reported after his rescue that about three weeks prior to the incident, he and a coworker had come upon a pocket of methane—which, for the record, is explosive—while drilling in the roof of the mine. After reporting this, they found the next day that the leak they had reported had been plugged up with glue used for sealing bolts in the mine walls. And that was the last they heard of it.

McCloy came very close to the same fate as all of his coworkers—death by carbon monoxide poisoning. Even with all of the emergency breathing devices functioning, his survival would have been improbable. They provide an hour’s worth of oxygen, and help did not arrive until 41 hours after the explosion. Unbelievably, some news outlets reported erroneously during the incident that one miner had died and 12 had been rescued, prompting relief from a dozen families whose hearts were broken when the numbers were reversed just hours later.

3 Regan Martin
Abducted By A Serial Killer

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David Alan Gore was a rapist and serial killer who was active in the late ’70s and early ’80s in the United States. He was executed for his crimes in 2012, and his accomplice Fred Waterfield was sentenced to consecutive life sentences in prison. In all, Gore killed six women. He and Waterfield abducted their final two victims on July 26, 1983. They were 14-year-old Regan Martin and 17-year-old Lynn Elliott, and it’s a day Regan will never forget: She’s the only one of Gore’s victims to survive.

It began when Gore and Waterfield picked the girls up at the beach, planning to bring any who were willing to go back to Gore’s parents house (they were out of town) and rape them. After getting Martin and Elliott in the car, the glove box popped open, revealing a .22 pistol, which Gore used to threaten Martin. At first taking it for a joke, it quickly became apparent that it was not. They were taken to the house, where both were sexually assaulted.

In all likelihood, Elliott saved Martin’s life—and sacrificed her own—by attempting to escape. While Gore was assaulting Martin, Elliott slipped out of the house, naked and handcuffed, and was running down the driveway when Gore spotted her, having heard the door. He shot Elliott in the head in full view of a child witness, and it was her murder that he was convicted of and sentenced to die for in 1984. The witness called police, who were able to arrive in time to rescue Martin.

2 Anna Hjelle
Attacked By A Mountain Lion

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Mountain lions are notoriously territorial animals. The one that attacked 30-year-old ex-Marine Anna Hjelle in 2007 had killed before—in fact, it had killed another victim earlier that day—and it was going for seconds. Anna had been mountain biking in the wrong place, and if not for the quick thinking and immense bravery of her friend Debi Nicholls, she would likely not be here to tell her story.

Debby refused to let go of Anna’s legs as the giant cat was attempting to drag Anna by her face into the wilderness. Anna remained conscious throughout, and distinctly remembers thinking that she should really just die. “You think about the fact that your face is ripped off,” she said. And roughly half of it was. Two more bikers heard screaming and came to help, fending off the lion with rocks while Debby held on. The lion eventually acquiesced, and the men carried Anna up the trailhead while continuing to be stalked by the lion.

Police shot the big cat as it was hovering near the body of Mark Reynolds, whom it had killed and partially eaten earlier in the day. Anna was airlifted to an Orange County hospital, where she received some 2,000 stitches over five hours of surgery.

1 Eugene Han And Kirstin Davis
Shot In Colorado Movie Theater Massacre

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Finally, we have a couple who picked the worst possible time and place to go to a movie: They were present at the notorious theater massacre carried out by James Holmes in July 2012. A dozen people died in the Aurora, Colorado mass shooting. Eugene and Kirstin were among 70 who were injured but survived the massacre, but their story is unique for one awesome reason.

The couple were attending the midnight screening after Eugene’s 12-hour shift at work, and as such, he fell asleep during the previews. As he woke, Holmes entered through the exit door, a mere three meters (10 ft) or so away. Eugene saw the outline of his gun against the movie screen, and knew there was about to be big trouble. Then the tear gas canister came, and the shooting started.

Eugene, of course, pushed Kirstin under the chairs and wedged himself between her and the wildly firing gunman, which we assume any of our male readers would also do. He watched as bullets sprayed about, he says he saw “pieces of flesh fly,” and then he took one in the hip and another in the knee. Then he heard the gun click and figured this was their chance to make a run for it. They dragged themselves out the door as Holmes reloaded, locking eyes with Eugene briefly as he did. The bullet in Eugene’s hip was too dangerous to remove, and it took months of physical therapy for him to regain use of his leg, but the couple was able to turn one of the most harrowing experiences imaginable into a positive. Eugene proposed in April 2013, and they were married on July 20—a year to the day after the shooting.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2013/09/12/10-more-people-who-survived-your-worst-nightmares/

10 Studies That Reveal Depressing Facts About Humanity

Hopefully, many of our readers still think that humanity, at its core, is a good thing. We share that same belief; but every now and again, researchers come up with results that reveal rather unsettling facts about our species. For example:

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If you happened upon a lost wallet full of cash, would you return it? That’s the question researchers in Edinburgh wanted to answer—but they added a few extra conditions, to make it more interesting. As part of the experiment, they left a whole bunch of wallets lying around the city, complete with the address of the fictional owner who’d lost it. And along with this information, the researchers put a picture into the wallet to see what was most likely to ensure its safe return.

The pictures ranged from new-born babies to cute little puppies and adorable old couples. In the interest of science, they also left out some control wallets that contained no pictures, as well as a few wallets that contained evidence that the owner frequently gave money to charity.

The results were reported by the wider media with the information that having a baby picture in your wallet was the best way to encourage strangers to return it. But the results also found that wallets containing evidence of charity donations were returned less often than all of the others (with the single exception of the control wallets, which contained nothing).

The wallets which suggested that the owner was a keen supporter of charity were only returned in twenty percent of cases, while the wallets containing a picture of a dog were returned in fifty-three percent of cases. For comparison’s sake, the control wallets which contained nothing but money were returned fifteen percent of the time. So according to this data, you’re thirty-three percent more likely to have someone return your wallet if you advertise that you love dogs, rather than charity. And speaking of charity:

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Giving to charity is always a good thing, unless it’s a charity for eugenics or something—but for the most part, sticking your hand in your pocket and giving some of your hard-earned money to a needy cause is something you should be applauded for.

But when some researchers at the university of Kent decided to find out what actually motivated people to donate money to charity, their results were surprising. They found that people were naturally inclined to donate to charity purely based on their own views and tastes; one person donated to dog charities, for example, purely because they hated cats.

It was also discovered that people were likely to automatically justify not donating to an objectively important charity simply because it conflicted with their own personal views, regardless of how informed such views were. One interviewee refused to send any money overseas—for example to the Sri Lankan Tsunami victims— because such money went to “supporting Mugabe and people like that.”

Of course, giving to charity is generally a very good thing—but you have to admit that it’s a little disheartening to learn that one of the most selfless things a person can do, is so easily affected by a person’s own self-oriented interests and views.

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The chances are that on any given day, you’ll walk past the kind of person who would intentionally run over an animal on the side of the road. In an experiment conducted by Mark Rober, an engineer for NASA, a bunch of rubber snakes, tarantulas, and turtles were placed by the side of a highway, just to see what would happen. Apparently NASA wasn’t busy that day.

Rober found that out of one thousand passing cars documented, as many as sixty went out of their way to squash them. The drivers made a conscious decision to swerve beyond the roadside boundaries in an attempt to kill the rubber animals. Perhaps unsurprisingly, eighty-nine percent of such cases involved SUVs.

On the flip side, a good number of people did pull up in an attempt to help the animal—but that doesn’t change the fact that when presented with a innocent little snake just trying to go about its business, more than one in twenty people risked their own lives to destroy it.

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The bystander effect has already been mentioned on Listverse. And it now seems that this effect is so strong, we’ll even risk our own lives to conform to it.

In a joint experiment by members of the universities of Columbia and New York, subjects were placed into a room under the assumption that they had to fill in a questionnaire. After the subject had been in the room for a pre-determined amount of time, thick smoke was pumped through an air-vent. Astonishingly—and despite the very real threat of other people and themselves burning to death—the more people who were present in the room, the less likely anyone was to report it.

In some cases, people actually sat and completed their questionnaire while the smoke was making them cough and wipe their eyes in discomfort. When later asked about their reasons for staying silent, it appeared that many people had reasoned that it probably wasn’t a fire—and some had even assumed that the smoke was more likely to be “truth gas.”

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Volunteer work, like charity, is something that should be rewarded. But apparently it shouldn’t be rewarded with money.

Researchers tested people’s willingness to volunteer their time for a cause, if they were paid for doing so. Amazingly, when the person was given a monetary incentive to complete the work, the amount of time they volunteered plummeted.

Though this may suggest that people are more likely to do something nice when there’s no question of financial reward, it also means that the ability of organizations to increase volunteers is largely limited to whether or not people feel like volunteering. You only need to refer to the second item on this list to know why that’s a kind of a bad thing.

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Gender inequality is certainly a hot topic—and since you’re reading this online, you’re presumably already aware of how divisive the issue can be. In spite of the general enlightenment concerning sexism, it appears that gender discrimination is so ingrained in our heads that we’ll generally assume an unknown figure is a man—regardless of what the evidence tells us.

In an experiment published last year, it was found that when presented with computer simulated images of a human body, the majority of people assumed these images were of a man—even when the images shown depicted a female body or silhouette.

If you’re wondering why this is important, think of all the times you’ve seen God—who supposedly lies beyond our imaginations—portrayed as a male. And think of all the times you’ve assumed that a doctor is going to be a man. Our habit of automatic male identification goes partway to explaining why that may be the case; and it presents a problem for anyone who values gender equality.

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If you’ve ever heard of Milgram’s experiments, you’re probably already aware of the concept of submission to authority.

The really surprising thing is how little actual authority a person needs in order to persuade people to do evil things. In one of Milgram’s most famous experiments, for example, participants were asked to administer tiny doses of electricity to another human being from a remote location, as part of a study. As the voltage increased, the actor being “electrocuted”—who had originally given his consent—began to beg for the experiment to stop.

The ordinary people involved in the experiment expressed doubts about the safety of the person they were electrocuting; but all that was needed to make them continue was a man in a lab coat.

If you’re wondering if this weird obedience is exclusively reserved for men in lab coats, it’s not: hustlers in the UK informally tested this theory of social compliance, and figured out that masquerading as an authority figure can be as simple as putting on a fluorescent jacket.

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“Practice makes perfect” is one of the oldest sayings out there. But in 2013, someone tested whether or not this were actually the case. And as it turns out—it isn’t.

In an experiment aimed at finding out how quickly people were able to grasp the skills behind chess and music, it was found that thousands of hours of practice didn’t necessarily mean that a person would become an expert. In other words, practice alone isn’t enough to learn a skill fully; innate ability and natural talent play a far bigger role than many of us like to think.

Though the researchers stressed that practice does allow a person to become fairly adept at a given skill, the difference between “good and great” doesn’t come down to much you practice—instead, it’s determined by whether or not you as a person are predisposed to have a natural affinity for that skill. Think about what that means: a good many of the kids out there, practicing guitar in the hope of emulating their idol, will never achieve their goal.

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Feeling sad, or having otherwise low self-esteem, makes us more likely to do bad things—or at the very least, to justify them more easily.

One of the more famous experiments relating to this theory involved giving a bunch of students a small boost to their self-esteem in the form of a personality test, quickly followed by another experiment in which they’d be presented with an opportunity to cheat another student to earn money.

The results found that students who’d been given positive feedback on their personality tests were far less likely to cheat than those who’d been given bad feedback—for example by being told the test revealed that they were uninteresting. Just think of how often insults much worse than that are thrown around online.

So what was responsible for the correlation? Well, the research concluded that the phenomenon was due to something they dubbed “self-esteem dissonance.” Basically, a person with a high opinion of themselves found it much harder to justify an immoral action, as it clashed more strongly with the way they perceived themselves. It’s easier to justify lying to someone when you have the mindset that no one cares what you do.

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As part of an Italian study on pain relief, both black and white people were asked to watch a short clip of hands being pricked with needles, while scientists monitored the observers’ brain activity and heart rates. Importantly, some of the pricked hands were black, and others were white.

It was noted that both the black and white participants reacted more strongly when they saw a hand of their own race being pricked. To eliminate the possibility that the participants were merely imagining their own hands, the researchers also showed clips of a bright purple hand being pricked. Both the black and white participants had a stronger emotional reaction to the pricking of the purple hand, than to the pricking of the hand belonging to the other race.

Though the experiment was mostly conducted to gauge whether doctors would have more trouble identifying the pain of a patient of a different race, it inadvertently found that we subconsciously draw a distinction between races in our emotional responses.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2013/05/26/10-studies-that-reveal-depressing-facts-about-humanity/

Top 10 Misconceptions About Neanderthals

Once depicted as brutal, grunting, slouching sub-humans, Neanderthals are now known to have had brains as large as ours and their own distinct culture. They buried their dead, tended their sick and co-existed with our own ancestors in Europe for thousands of years before becoming extinct just as modern humans flourished and began to spread throughout the continent. This list looks at ten of the most persistent myths about Homo neanderthalensis.

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The myth: Neanderthals couldn’t speak; they grunted

It has been long believed that Neanderthals couldn’t speak like humans – having only a basic capacity for sound in their throats, but in 1983, scientists found a Neanderthal hyoid bone at a cave in Israel (the hyoid bone is part of the vocal mechanism) which was identical to that of modern humans. This means that their capacity for speech (at least physically) is the same as our own. There is no reason to believe that they did not have at least a basic system of vocal communication.

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The myth: Man is descended from Neanderthals

In fact, Neanderthals and modern men existed side by side as two separate groups. Recent DNA studies have found that the Neanderthals are a distinct evolutionary line – a line which was ultimately a dead end as they all died out around 30,000 years ago. The extinction of Neanderthals was most likely caused by slightly lower birth rates and higher mortality rates, combined with an increasingly unstable climate.

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The myth: Neanderthals were hairy

There is absolutely no reason to believe that Neanderthals were any hairier than modern man. Computer models have shown that excess hair on neanderthals would have caused over-production of sweat which would have frozen on the neanderthals potentially leading to death.

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The myth: Neanderthals exclusively used clubs as weapons

Actually the Neanderthals had many highly developed tools and weapons – such as spears for killing mammoths and stone tools. They are thought to have used tools of the Mousterian class, which were often produced using soft hammer percussion, with hammers made of materials like bones, antlers, and wood, rather than hard hammer percussion, using stone hammers. Many of these tools were very sharp. There is also good evidence that they used a lot of wood, objects which are unlikely to have been preserved until today.

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The myth: Neanderthals had bent knees and walked like chimps

This is one of those very unfortunate cases of a discovery leading to much confusion. A skeleton of a neanderthal was discovered at the start of the 20th century that had bent knees giving rise to the popular belief that all neanderthals did. In fact, it turns out the skeleton was of a Neanderthal that suffered from arthritis. Neanderthals walked upright in the same manner as modern humans; they were generally only 12–14 cm (5–6 in) shorter than modern humans, contrary to a common view of them as “very short” or “just over 5 feet”.

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The myth: Neanderthals were savage

There is actually much evidence to show that Neanderthals cared for the sick and old in their communities. There has been fossil evidence that shows potentially life-threatening injuries which were completely healed, indicating that the Neanderthal who suffered the injuries was nursed by to health by another member of his group. There is also evidence (via fossilized musical instruments) that Neanderthals enjoyed and played music. You can listen to a clip of a Neanderthal tuba here [Source] and a Neanderthal flute here [RAM format, Source, More Info]

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The myth: Neanderthals were ethnically equal

Because we use one term to describe all Neanderthals, we tend to think of them as a single group of people sharing identical traits and features, but it is most likely that there were different ethnicities in Neanderthals just as in humans. A recent study has determined that there were probably three racial groups within the Neanderthal family. From the study: “The conclusions of this study are consistent with existing paleoanthropological research and show that Neanderthals can be divided into at least three groups: one in western Europe, a second in the Southern area and a third in western Asia.” [from Genetic Evidence of Geographical Groups among Neanderthals]

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The myth: Neanderthals lived in caves

Okay – this is partially true – some Neanderthals did live in caves (hence “cavemen”), but many of them lived in huts: “Winter homes were Ice Age huts, built teepee style, from branches and mammoth bones, covered with animal skins. These huts were used for many years, so they built them carefully. Holes were dug, deeply into the ground. Poles were inserted into these holes, and then tied tightly together at the point of the teepee, at the top, with string made from animal guts. Warm furs were laid over this structure and sewn tightly in place. Large rocks were piled around the bottom, to help hold the hut together.” [Source]

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The myth: Neanderthals had faces like Apes

This misconception came about through poor reconstructions from largely arthritic skeletons. In 1983, Jay Matternes (a forensic artist who did much work in fleshing out skulls for homicide investigations) performed a reconstruction on a much better specimen than had been seen before. The result is in the photograph above. It clearly shows that the Neanderthals looked virtually the same as us. If you saw the man above in a suit walking down the street, you would not think anything of it. The same is true of the other reconstructed neanderthal pictures on this list.

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The myth: There are certain questions about the physical attributes of Neanderthals that we will never know

As of 2009, the complete Neanderthal genome has been mapped. The most important implication of this is that it now becomes technically possible to clone a Neanderthal – to raise them back from the dead so to speak. The current estimated cost of doing this is $30 million US and no one is putting up the cash. There are ethical questions that are always going to be raised regarding cloning and this is also a hindrance. But there is absolutely no reason not to believe that we will – one day – be able to give birth to and raise a Neanderthal (or at least the closest thing possible to one).

Read more: http://listverse.com/2009/06/16/top-10-misconceptions-about-neanderthals/

10 Modern Cases of Feral Children

A feral child is a human child who has lived away from human contact from a very young age, and has little or no experience of human care, loving or social behavior, and, crucially, of human language. Feral children are confined by humans (often parents), brought up by animals, or live in the wild in isolation. There have been over one hundred reported cases of feral children, and this is a selection of ten of them.

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In May 1972, a boy aged about four was discovered in the forest of Musafirkhana, about 20 miles from Sultanpur. The boy was playing with wolf cubs. He had very dark skin, long hooked fingernails, matted hair and calluses on his palms, elbows and knees. He shared several characteristics with Kamala and Amala: sharpened teeth, craving for blood, earth-eating, chicken-hunting, love of darkness and friendship with dogs and jackals. He was named Shamdeo and taken to the village of Narayanpur. Although weaned off raw meat, he never talked, but learnt some sign language. In 1978 he was admitted to Mother Theresa’s Home for the Destitute and Dying in Lucknow, where he was re-named Pascal and was visited by Bruce Chatwin in 1978. He died in February 1985.

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The wild girl of Champagne had probably learned to speak before her abandonment, for she is a rare example of a wild child learning to talk coherently. Her diet consisted of birds, frogs and fish, leaves, branches and roots. Given a rabbit, she immediately skinned and devoured it. “Her fingers and in particular her thumbs, were extraordinarily large,” according to a contemporary witness, the famous scientist Charles Marie de la Condamine. She is said to have used her thumbs to dig out roots and swing from tree to tree like a monkey. She was a very fast runner and had phenomenally sharp eyesight. When the Queen of Poland, the mother of the French queen, passed through Champagne in 1737 to take possession of the Duchy of Lorraine, she heard about the girl and took her hunting, where she outran and killed rabbits.

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One day in 1991, a Ugandan villager called Milly Sebba went further than usual in search of firewood and came upon a little boy with a pack of monkeys. She summoned help and the boy was cornered up a tree. He was brought back to Milly’s village. His knees were almost white from walking on them. His nails were very long and curled round and he wasn’t house-trained. A villager identified the boy as John Sesebunya, last seen in 1988 at the age of two or three when his father murdered his mother and disappeared. For the next three years or so, he lived wild. He vaguely remembers monkeys coming up to him, after a few days, and offering him roots and nuts, sweet potatoes and kasava. The five monkeys, two of them young, were wary at first, but befriended him within about two weeks and taught him, he says, to travel with them, to search for food and to climb trees. He is now about 21 years old, and in October 1999 went to Britain as part of the 20-strong Pearl of Africa Children’s Choir.

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Jean-Claude Auger, an anthropologist from the Basque country, was traveling alone across the Spanish Sahara (Rio de Oro) in 1960 when he met some Nemadi nomads, who told him about a wild child a day’s journey away. The next day, he followed the nomads’ directions. On the horizon he saw a naked child “galloping in gigantic bounds among a long cavalcade of white gazelles”. The boy walked on all fours, but occasionally assumed an upright gait, suggesting to Auger that he was abandoned or lost at about seven or eight months, having already learnt to stand. He habitually twitched his muscles, scalp, nose and ears, much like the rest of the herd, in response to the slightest noise. He would eat desert roots with his teeth, pucking his nostrils like the gazelles. He appeared to be herbivorous apart from the occasional agama lizard or worm when plant life was lacking. His teeth edges were level like those of a herbivorous animal. In 1966 an unsuccessful attempt was made to catch the boy in a net suspended from a helicopter; unlike most of the feral children of whom we have records, the gazelle boy was never removed from his wild companions.

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Oxana Malaya (?????? ?????) (born November 1983) was found as an 8-year-old feral child in Ukraine in 1991, having lived most of her life in the company of dogs. She picked up a number of dog-like habits and found it difficult to master language. Oxana’s alcoholic parents were unable to care for her. They lived in an impoverished area where there were wild dogs roaming the streets. She lived in a dog kennel behind her house where she was cared for by dogs and learned their behaviours and mannerisms. She growled, barked and crouched like a wild dog, sniffed at her food before she ate it, and was found to have acquired extremely acute senses of hearing, smell, and sight.

P-01 Aviary

The most recent case of Mowgli Syndrome was that of a seven-year-old boy who was rescued by Russian healthcare workers after being discovered living in a two-bedroom apartment with his mother and an abundance of feathered friends. It would appear the small apartment doubled as an aviary with cages filled with dozens of birds. In an interview, one of his rescuers, Social Worker Galina Volskaya, said that his mother treated him like another pet. While he was never physically harmed by his mother, she simply never spoke to him. It was the birds who communicated with the boy

“He just chirps and when realising that he is not understood, starts to wave hands in the way birds winnow wings.” Quote from Social Worker, Galina Volskaya.

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A leopard-child was reported by EC Stuart Baker in the Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society (July 1920). The boy was stolen from his parents by a leopardess in the North Cachar Hills near Assam in about 1912, and three years later recovered and identified. “At the time the child ran on all fours almost as fast as an adult man could run, whilst in dodging in and out of bushes and other obstacles he was much cleverer and quicker. His knees had hard callosities on them and his toes were retained upright almost at right angles to his instep. The palms of his hands and pads of his toes and thumbs were also covered with very tough horny skin. When first caught, he bit and fought with everyone and any wretched village fowl which came within his reach was seized, torn to pieces and eaten with extraordinary rapidity.”

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The most famous wolf-children are the two girls captured in October 1920 from a huge abandoned ant-hill squatted by wolves near Godamuri in the vicinity of Midnapore, west of Calcutta, by villagers under the direction of the Rev JAL Singh, an Anglican missionary. The mother wolf was shot. The girls were named Kamala and Amala, and were thought to be aged about eight and two. According to Singh, the girls had misshapen jaws, elongated canines, and eyes that shone in the dark with the peculiar blue glare of cats and dogs. Amala died the following year, but Kamala survived until 1929, by which time she had given up eating carrion, had learned to walk upright and spoke about 50 words.

Bear And Girl Pam Cox

In 1937 George Maranz described a visit to a Turkish lunatic asylum in Bursa, Turkey, where he met a girl who had allegedly lived with bears for many years. Hunters in a mountainous forest near Adana had shot a she-bear and then been attacked by a powerful little “wood spirit”. Finally overcome, this turned out to be a human child, though utterly bear-like in her voice, habits and physique. She refused all cooked food and slept on a mattress in a dark corner of her room. Investigations showed that a two-year-old child had disappeared from a nearby village 14 years earlier, and it was presumed that a bear had adopted her.

Peter

The first really famous feral child was Wild Peter, “a naked, brownish, black-haired creature” captured near Helpensen in Hanover in 1724, when he was about 12. He climbed trees with ease, lived off plants and seemed incapable of speech. He refused bread, preferring to strip the bark from green twigs and suck on the sap; but he eventually learnt to eat fruit and vegetables. He was presented at court in Hanover to George I, and taken to England, where he was studied by leading men of letters. He spent 68 years in society, but never learnt to say anything except “Peter” and “King George”, although his hearing and sense of smell were said to be “particularly acute”.

You can read more about feral children here.

This article is licensed under the GFDL because it contains quotations from the Wikipedia article: Oxana Malaya.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2008/03/07/10-modern-cases-of-feral-children/

Another 25 Words you Don’t Know

Following on from our first list of words you don’t know, we present another 25. Learn one a day and impress your friends!

Words 25 – 21

Dictionary

25. Girn – To bare your teeth in anger and sadness

24. Yerd – To beat with a stick.

23. Dendrofilous – Loving trees enough to live in them.

22. Wamfle – To walk around with flapping clothes.

21. Ribazuba – Ivory from a walrus.

Words 20 – 16

Dictionary2

20. Franch – To eat greedily.

19. Nazzard – A lowly or weak person.

18. Cachinnate – To laugh noisily.

17. Sesamoid – Having the size and shape of a sesame seed.

16. Yerk – To tie with a jerk.

Words 15 – 11

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15. Mullion – A vertical dividing piece between window lights or panels.

14. Labrose – Thick-lipped

13. Misodoctakleidist – Someone who dislikes practicing the piano.

12. Hesternal – Having to do with yesterday.

11. Crurophilous – Liking legs.

Words 10 – 6

Dictionary Thumb[1]

10. Glabella – The space on your forehead between your eyebrows.

9. Fample – To feed a child.

8. Coprolalomaniac – Someone who compulsively uses foul language.

7. Onychotillomaniac – Someone who constantly picks his or her nails.

6. Glossolalia – Gibberish; babble

Words 5 – 1

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5. Gash-gabbit – Having a protruding chin.

4. Sneckdraw – A sneaky or mean person.

3. Hircine – Something that smells like a goat.

2. Wallydrag – A completely useless person.

1. Onygophagist – A person who bites his or her nails.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2007/11/25/another-25-words-you-dont-know/

10 Strange Non-Sexual Ways People Have Orgasms

Look, I don’t want to make you uncomfortable, but the way some people have sex is different from the way you have sex. I don’t want to go into too much detail, but . . . well, actually I’m going to go into a lot more detail, and it might get a little awkward and uncomfortable, but you’ll make it through. Or maybe you won’t—some of these people have orgasms in really, really strange ways.

10 Brushing Your Teeth

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Epilepsy probably isn’t the most fun disorder to suffer from, but the symptoms are probably a little bit more manageable when they come with mind-blowing orgasms. A few years back, one woman reported that she would occasionally experience orgasms while brushing her teeth that were so powerful they left her in a “state of temporary impaired consciousness.”

I’m not going to make any jokes though, because this actually sucked for the poor woman. Years earlier she had undergone a botched surgery that had left her incapable of achieving orgasm at all—at least until the toothbrushing thing manifested. After that, doctors probed her enough to learn that she wasn’t capable of achieving orgasm any way that wasn’t toothbrushing. She eventually switched to mouthwash.

9Haircuts

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I really hope there’s a barber reading this. Hello, barber! Sorry for making it so hard to concentrate while you’re at work tomorrow.

It’s called “Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response,” and yes, it’s a real thing. ASMR is a phenomenon in which you experience an orgasm-like experience that happens entirely in your head, and it can be triggered by all kinds of weird things: Some people get them from haircuts, others from watching YouTube videos of people acting out various fantasies like pretending to check for lice or applying makeup.

And then people watch them and have orgasms in their brain. This is a thing that happens. Maybe even right now, in the cubicle behind you. No, don’t look. This isn’t the kind of thing you want to know for sure.

8 Yawning

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While under the influence of a certain medication, some patients suffer from a strange side effect where they achieve a mind-blowing (probably) orgasm every time they yawn. Of course, yawns are also contagious. And sometimes, people suffering similar symptoms start support groups for each other. There’s a huge potential for a ridiculous viral prank video, is what I’m saying.

7 Foot Stimulation

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No, this has nothing to do with Quentin Tarantino–style foot fetishes: At least one woman in the Netherlands can get off just by walking around barefoot. The change happened after she suffered nerve damage that left her spine unable to differentiate between her vagina and her foot, which is kind of like forgetting the difference between the shelf where you keep your running shoes and where you keep your vagina but hey—cut it some slack. It’s just a spine.

Oddy enough, this isn’t that odd: Doctors say that this kind of problem isn’t that uncommon, and the reason we don’t hear about it more is because the sufferers are too embarrassed.

6 Exercise

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If you’ve ever wondered why there are such a disproportionate number of women at the gym, then maybe you can stop now: Scientists recently discovered that roughly 40 percent of women have experienced orgasms induced purely by exercise—no direct stimulation or even fantasies involved. (I don’t know anything about gyms, because I’m a comedy writer and don’t take care of my body.)

The weirdest part is that no one involved in these studies could figure out why it was happening. The female body isn’t supposed to work like that, but apparently it does. Which just proves that we don’t understand the female body all that well. Thanks a lot, science.

5 Thinking Really Hard About It

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Not only is it possible to get yourself off just by concentrating, there’s an entire culture built around it. Barbara Carellas not only “thinks herself off,” but she teaches others to and encourages it as a safer alternative to sex.

Yes, it’s even a group activity: Remember that scene in Coneheads where Chris Farley and the Coneheads’ daughter have Conehead sex with their Conehead sex machine? It’s like that, only without the machine or Chris Farley—just a lot of concentration.

4 A Brain Chip

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Scientists have just come out and admitted what we’ve all suspected for years: They’re working on a brain chip that will give you a climax. Not just by stimulating the proper nerve endings, but by recording experiences and replaying them in your head or by downloading the experiences of others.

This may be the absolute creepiest thing I have ever heard in my life, but hey, if scientists had moral compasses, we’d never make any progress.

3Giving Birth

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Giving birth is either the least sexual or the most sexual activity on Earth, depending on how good you are at connecting cause and effect. Either way, no getting around the reality here: As many as 0.3 percent of births at some point involve the woman having an orgasm while she expels the person whose life is, at that moment, beginning.

That means that 0.3 percent of you reading this gave your mother an orgasm once. Are you one of them? Go ask her! And then let us know in the comments. Please. I promise to write an article about you.

2 Yoga

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Well, that’s not surprising. Yoga is only popular for one reason—yoga pants, which make everyone look great (or are only worn by great-looking people; I honestly can’t tell). But it turns out that when people indulge in the “downward-facing dog” or “leftward seagull” or whatever, they may also secretly be indulging in the famed “I’m right now climaxing.” Some yogis are actually encouraging it as a stress-relieving practice.

1 Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder

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PGAD is one of those diseases that sounds like an ironic punishment plucked right from Dante’s Inferno. “So you like sex, eh?” says the Devil. “Then how do you feel about climaxing constantly, every day, forever?” The worst part is it must be nearly impossible to get sympathy from people, and you probably have to keep hearing the “Well, isn’t it kinda awesome sometimes?” question more than you’d ever want to.

Naturally, it sucks, and everyone who suffers from it is bummed out forever. Luckily, there have been recent breakthroughs and maybe the sufferers of this disease will one day be able to reliable enjoy orgasms the way we’re all meant to: Shamefully. With strangers. In truck-stop bathrooms.

JF Sargent is an editor at Listverse. Follow him on Twitter or read his free sci-fi novel.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2013/08/12/10-weird-and-non-sexual-ways-people-have-orgasms/

10 Striking Images That Foreshadow Tragedy

[WARNING: This list contains images that may disturb some readers.]

A simple snapshot can live on for decades, gathering dust and fading as the world around us changes. Whether it be an image that forces you to question your faith in humanity or a photograph that defines an era, it seems that the saying “A picture is worth a thousand words” can, in some cases, be true. These pictures, however, may just leave you speechless.

10A Normal Day In Omagh

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On August 15, 1998, a car bombing took place in Omagh, Northern Ireland. It was carried out by the Real IRA and resulted in the deaths of 29 people, while further injuring over 200. The bombing took place during “the Troubles,” an ethno-nationalist conflict in Northern Ireland that lasted for over 30 years. The Omagh car bombing had the highest death toll of any incident during “the Troubles.”

The camera containing this picture was found buried beneath the rubble, boasting this snapshot of a quiet street moments before the impact of the bomb. One of the more poignant pictures published in the aftermath of the Omagh bombing, this image is now infamous. The serenity, the smiles, the unknown threat—it all makes for a truly harrowing image. One that inadvertently foreshadows a massacre, unbeknownst to the people in this snapshot frozen in time.

9The Final Moments Of Regina Kay Walters

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Regina Kay Walters was a 14-year-old girl from Pasadena, Texas, who was murdered by a notorious serial killer, Robert Ben Rhoades. One of three victims—although Rhoades claims to have killed more—Walters was the unfortunate exception in the way Rhoades toyed with her. Rhodes cut her hair, dressed her up, and took pictures of her in distress—the most saddening of which is the picture you see above.

Robert Ben Rhoades was captured in September 1992, but not before taking two more lives. He was sentenced to life without parole and remains imprisoned in Texas to this day.

The picture of this young girl in her final moments—dressed, altered, and stranded with a monster like Rhoades—is a difficult thing to look at. The forceful nature of the lens being pointed at Walters and the look of desperation on her face make this picture a hideous display in human torture—a cat playing with a mouse. An image that will forever mark the breaking of one man’s psyche.

8Reynaldo Dagsa Assassination

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Reynaldo Dagsa was a Filipino politician who was murdered by an armed assailant on New Year’s Day 2011. His murder gained worldwide notoriety due to the photograph he had taken of his family just seconds prior to the shooting, which captures the gunman aiming at Dagsa while his lookout stands guard.

As you can see in the picture above, Dagsa was snapping a shot of his wife, daughter, and another elderly female relative, when the shooter and his lookout appeared and were caught in the flash. The photograph was used as evidence by Dagsa’s wife, which lead to the almost-immediate arrest of both men, though it was believed that there was more to his death than what was originally perceived.

Although fascinating, this picture is a testament to the absolute absurdity of life: A man, only 35 years of age, at the very beginning of a new year, takes a picture of his loving family and simultaneously captures his own death in the lens? I guess it doesn’t matter who shot first.

7The Beas River Tragedy

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On June 8, 2014, 24 engineering students from Hyderabad, India, lost their lives on a college trip when a sudden surge of water was released upstream from the Larji Hydroelectric Power Project on the Beas River.

The students of VNRVJIET were on an educational tour in Himachal Pradesh, traveling from Shimla to Manali, when the bus stopped so that the students could take pictures on the banks of the Beas River. Without warning, the floodgates opened and a torrent of water took the group of 24 by surprise, sweeping them away in an instant—an incident caused by gross negligence on the part of the Larji Hydroelectric Power Project.

While this picture should have been just another fond memory from a tedious college trip on the phone of one young student, it has instead become a harrowing look at the final peaceful moments of a group of friends who have now lost their lives.

6‘DOOMED’

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The above picture—and the gaudy headline—used ever so eloquently by the New York Post (a paper generally not fit for cleaning one’s shoes), shows the final moments of Ki-Suk Han—a 58-year-old father and husband who was pushed in front of an oncoming train by Naeem Davis, a homeless man whom Han had argued with.

According to witnesses, Han may have initiated the exchange, drunkenly accosting Davis after leaving home intoxicated due to an argument with his wife. Although Naeem Davis blames his aggressive actions on multiple reasons—the voices in his head, drugs, and even a lost pair of boots (they were very nice boots)—he maintains that Han would not leave him alone, and that he acted accordingly upon being harassed. After originally pleading “not guilty,” Davis was later charged with second-degree murder after implicating himself in the investigation.

Regardless of the reasoning behind the death of Ki-Suk Han, this picture will forever remain a distressing look at the abrupt nature of death.

5The Public Suicide Of Budd Dwyer

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Robert Budd Dwyer was a politician serving as a Republican member of the Pennsylvania State Senate for over 10 years. He later served as the Treasurer of Pennsylvania until the day of his death—January 22, 1987.

After being convicted of having accepted a bribe, Dwyer called a press conference where he was to announce his resignation. Upon being found guilty, Dwyer faced up to 55 years imprisonment and a hefty fine of $300,000—an unjust punishment in the eyes of Budd Dwyer, since, many years later, ex-attorney William T. Smith admitted to lying under oath when accusing Dwyer of bribery.

The press conference was broadcast live to television audiences across the state of Pennsylvania. After part of his original speech had been read out, Dwyer stopped reading from his prepared text and began to hand out envelopes to his staffers. From the final envelope, Dwyer then produced a gun and said, “Please leave the room if this will offend you.” As friends and fellow cabinet members from the audience pleaded, he spoke and stuttered under the weight of their words, quickly pulling the trigger before he could be stopped—dying in office.

If, for some odd reason, you wish to see the video of Budd Dwyer’s suicide on live TV, you can find it on Youtube.

4The Death Of Travis Alexander

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You may have already seen this picture of 30-year-old Travis Alexander showering before being brutally murdered by his ex-girlfriend, Jodi Arias. It was widely distributed via news channels after the murder occurred. That cannot, however, take away from the impact the image has on the mind.

In 2008, friends found Travis Alexander dead in his home in Mesa, Arizona. He was found on the floor of his shower with 27 stab wounds, a slashed throat, and a gunshot wound to the head. Arias initially denied killing Alexander, stating that she believed he was murdered during a burglary, but she later changed her statement, saying that she killed Alexander in self-defense.

Jodi Arias is now in jail awaiting her sentencing trial, which will take place on September 8, 2014. You can view some of Arias’s original artwork here, if you’re into that sort of thing. Yet the chilling pictures of Travis Alexander in his final moments are not to be taken lightly and remain just as potent today as they ever were.

3James Bulger CCTV Image

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In February 1993, Jon Venables and Robert Thompson, both 10 years old, murdered two-year-old James Bulger after kidnapping him from the Strand Shopping Centre in Bootle, Liverpool. The details of this case were to send a shock wave of panic across England, forcing parents to question what their children were capable of and what they were exposed to. The infamous CCTV image of young James Bulger being led away by his killers would grace the news channels for months to come, and it would forever remain a haunting look at an infant in his last hours.

Venables and Thompson lured James Bulger away from his mother and walked with him, hand-in-hand, to a railway embankment 4 kilometers (2.5 mi) away from the shopping center. Along the way, the boys were stopped multiple times, being asked if they were lost, needed help, and also being urged to take their “younger brother”—who would not stop crying—home.

James was found two days after his death, tied to a railway line in Walton. His extremely horrific injuries were covered in the media and sparked outrage at the leniency of the court’s decision regarding the incident. Venables and Thompson remained in young offenders’ institutions for eight years, getting psychiatric help until the age of 18. They were released with new identities and subsequently given care and security by the government. Because the government is always looking out for the right people. Right?

2Mark Chapman Meets John Lennon

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On the day that John Lennon died, the Earth stood still and mourned. In cities all over the world, distraught fans and music acolytes alike joined together and organized mass funerals in the name of one man. That was the kind of love that John Lennon aimed to inspire in people—a kind of musical kinship. Just one month prior to his death, John had released Double Fantasy—his long-awaited comeback album and his first solo effort in five years. This would be his final album.

On December 8, 1980, Mark David Chapman shot and killed John Lennon at the entrance of The Dakota (the building where Lennon lived) in New York City. The delusional Mark Chapman decided to target Lennon because of his fame—though he just edged out Johnny Carson and George C. Scott. “If he was less famous than three or four other people on the list, he would not have been shot,” Chapman told police.

It was merely hours after this picture was taken that John Lennon was killed. The quiet, unassuming fan waiting for his autograph in the image above is none other than Mark David Chapman. Along with being Lennon’s killer, he was, unfortunately, also the last person to be photographed with Lennon alive.

Life is a journey; death will always be rife among those wanting to travel further and change things for the better, but like John Lennon once said, “I’m just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round.”

1Two Brothers On Vacation

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In 1975, Michael and Sean McQuilken were just two smiling San Diego natives on a family vacation in California. Along with their sister, Mary, they posed for photographs with their hair raised, laughing at the strange situation, as others in the vicinity did the same. Moments after this picture was taken from atop Moro Rock in Sequoia National Park, the boys were struck by lightning, seriously injuring but—contrary to popular belief—not killing them.

This image has been recycled countless times over the years, mostly as a public service announcement to bring attention to lightning safety. The picture of the happy, carefree faces of the two brothers morbidly hints at the life-threatening danger that is imminent—a danger that, astonishingly, causes 24,000 deaths per year worldwide.

For that reason, this picture is still just as shocking now as it ever was.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2014/07/20/10-striking-images-that-foreshadow-tragedy/

10 Modern Explorers Who Pushed The Limits

There are no blank spots left on the map, no uncharted mountain ranges or unknown expanses of the oceans and seas. We’ve sent humans to all four corners of the globe and launched satellites above the sky to photograph the most remote and inaccessible areas of the planet. The explorers of old aren’t quite extinct, but they’re an endangered species whose native land is fast disappearing. And out of their death comes the rise of the modern explorer—pioneers and navigators who look inward to explore the sheer breathtaking limits of human potential. These men and women have inspired and amazed millions by showing us what humanity is truly capable of.

On May 23, 2012, Gary Connery jumped out of a helicopter 2,400 feet (731.5 meters) above the ground. A minute later, clocking speeds of 80mph (128 kph), he landed. Without a parachute.

Wingsuit jumping is the sport of skydiving with specially designed suits that allow the wearer to glide, sometimes for miles, before releasing their parachute and drifting through the final descent. Gary Connery simply decided that the parachute wasn’t necessary anymore, and opted instead for a makeshift landing strip of stacked cardboard boxes.

At the age of 42, Connery has completed more than 1,350 jumps, and you’ve probably seen him dozens of times without realizing it. He has worked on over 100 films and TV shows as a stunt coordinator and performer, and stood in as a stunt double on films like Indiana Jones, Batman Begins, and the latest Sherlock Holmes adaptation. In other words, he’s the guy they turn to when Batman needs to act more like a superhero.

Geoff Mackley has made a career out of being in places where no human would ever want to be. He’s a photographer who has provided footage from more than 70 fatal natural disasters, including tsunamis, category 5 hurricanes, and blazing forest fires—when everybody else is fleeing for their lives, Geoff Mackley is elbowing through the crowds in the opposite direction, camera in hand.

In 2010, Geoff Mackley and his crew climbed into the crater of the Marum Volcano in Vanuatu—while it was erupting. They traveled down more than 500 yards (457 meters) below the rim of the crater inside heat-resistant suits to capture their footage while the lava bubbled and sprayed almost close enough to touch. And according to Mackley, they would have gone farther, but they “ran out of rope.”

Freediving is sort of like scuba diving, but without all those pesky oxygen tanks. Freedivers hold their breaths the entire time they’re underwater, usually while competing for distance or depth records. Sometimes that means holding your breath for 15 minutes or more, while swimming and experiencing extreme pressure changes on your body. Perhaps the most influential freediver is Guillaume Nery, who broke his own world record in 2006 for freediving to a depth of 109 meters below the surface (though the current record is 124 meters, set by Herbert Nitsch).

In 2010, Guillaume Nery dove Dean’s Blue Hole, which at 203 meters is the world’s deepest known underwater vertical cave. Because of its depth, it rapidly changes from aquamarine to near pitch black. The video above shows Nery gracefully floating down to the sandy seabed, then literally climbing hand-over-hand up the rock wall to get back to the surface.

At 27 years old, Alex Honnold is one of the most prolific free solo climbers in the world. “Free soloing” is the act of rock climbing without the use of a harness or a rope, and Alex Honnold takes it to an extent that would make any mother cringe.

On September 6, 2008, Honnold free soloed the Northwest Face of Half Dome, a peak in Yosemite National Park. The kicker: The distance from the bottom to the top of the cliff measures about 2,000 feet (600 meters) of vertical rock. And he did it without a single rope.

Then, in 2012, he did it again, but this time he went for two other peaks in Yosemite at the same time, completing all three—a total climb of about 6,500 feet (2000 meters)—in just under 19 hours.

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Spelunking, otherwise known as caving, is the sport of exploring underground caves. Like with any sport, there are hobbyists all the way through extremists, and Robbie Shone falls somewhere close to the extreme end of the scale. He’s traveled across the globe from Borneo to Papua New Guinea in an effort to find the most remote and bizarre caves, and he does it all while lugging along pounds of camera equipment, hoping to capture “the perfect shot.”

Between floods, falls, and cave-ins—not to mention losing your way in the subterranean maze—caving can be incredibly dangerous, but Robbie Shone takes plenty of precautions, despite climbing into some unusual vantage points to get a picture. And then there are unforeseen dangers, one of which Shone describes from a three month trip to Papua New Guinea: “During that trip I even had a leech stuck to my eyeball for a couple of days. We tried coaxing it off with some raw meat and salt.”

If you’re going to put years of preparation and training into breaking a world record, why not just break three at the same time? That’s apparently what Felix Baumgartner set out to do on October 14, 2012, when he broke the records for highest parachute jump, highest manned balloon flight, and maximum speed outside a vehicle—blasting through the sound barrier at Mach 1.25 (that’s 843 mph).

To be perfectly clear, Baumgartner’s record-setting jump took place from the stratosphere at 24 miles (39 km) above sea level—not space, which is officially set at 62 miles (100 km) up. However, the altitude (three times higher than commercial airliners fly) still required him to wear a fully enclosed pressurized suit to protect him from the thin atmosphere and freezing temperatures.

Dan Osman was one of the pioneers of the sport of free soloing, but he took it to an entirely different level. Not only did he make a habit of climbing hundreds of feet without the safety of a rope, he did it as fast as possible. The rock climbing documentary Masters of Stone IV shows Dan Osman speed climbing Bear’s Reach, a cliff face in the Lake Tahoe region of California.

In only four minutes and twenty-five seconds, Dan Osman scaled 400 feet (122 km) of vertical rock, at times leaping upward with nothing below him but air. Unfortunately, his thrill-seeking nature led to his death in 1998, when a rope snapped during a free fall in Yosemite National Park. He remains an inspiration to thousands of people and climbing enthusiasts today.

The Amazon River runs for approximately 4,000 miles, starting as a stream in the Andes mountains before running through some of the most dangerous and unexplored territory left on the planet. Eventually it builds into the widest river in the world, a roaring deluge 150 miles (240 km) across by the time it spits out into the Atlantic Ocean. In 2008, Ed Stafford began walking down the Amazon River and didn’t stop until two years later on August 9, 2010 when he reached the Atlantic, becoming the first person to walk the entire length of the river.

For supplies he carried rice and beans, picked up a few necessities as he passed through villages, and fished for piranha. Throughout the trek, the ex-stockbroker was faced with anacondas, crocodiles, tropical illnesses, and was even captured by a tribe of natives at one point—all while bringing global awareness to the deforestation of the Amazon forest.

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Lynne Cox swims like most people drive. She began to get attention in the 70′s for setting the speed record for swimming the English Channel—she held it twice in two consecutive years. In 1987 she became the first person to swim across the Bering Strait from Alaska to the Soviet Union, spending over two hours in the frigid water that averages 40 F (4 C)—on a good day. It was so cold, and over such a length of time, that she had to be enclosed in a heated chamber to bring her body temperature up to safe levels.

But then in 2003, Lynne Cox did something that made all of her previous accomplishments pale in comparison—wearing nothing but a swimsuit and goggles, she swam 1.22 miles (1.96 km) through the waters of the Antarctic, spending 25 minutes in water cold enough to kill a person after only 5 minutes.

Perhaps the most inspiring person on this list, Erik Weihenmayer is a mountaneer, skydiver, ice climber, distance biker, and skier—despite the fact that he lost his eyesight at the age of 13. In 1995 he climbed 20,320 ft. to the top of Mt. McKinley, and two years later he reached the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro. In 2001, Erik Weihenmayer became the first blind person to climb Mt. Everest.

Rather than bask alone in his achievements, Weihenmayer works with blind teens in Tibet, leading them on small mountain climbing expeditions in a project called Climbing Blind. Now, he’s got his sights set on kayaking, training himself to guide the kayak based on the sound of the rapids and the feel of the flowing water beneath him in preparation for paddling the Grand Canyon.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2013/02/26/10-modern-explorers-who-pushed-the-limits/

Another 10 Common English Errors

This is a list of 10 more common English errors. This list follows our previous popular list of Top 10 Common English Errors. Hopefully a few of these will help to fix one or two mistakes that we all make from time to time.

Whom

This particular error has become so common that it is beginning to look like the word “whom” may vanish entirely from the English language. The reason for this is that so many people have no idea what the difference is. The difference is a simple one: who “does” the action, and whom has the action “done” to them. We use this difference in other words – “I” and “me” for example. “who” is the equivalent of “I”, and “whom” is the equivalent of “me”. The technical term for this difference is noun case – “who” is the nominative case, and “whom” is the accusative. Here is an example of correct usage:

Who is going to kill Bob? (I am going to kill Bob)
Bob is going to be killed by whom? (Bob is going to be killed by me)

English does not use cases as much as it used to. Many other language do use cases frequently, such as German, Latin, Greek, etc. [Image Source – click for a larger view]

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On the previous list of errors I included Irony as a bonus – it deserves its own place and a fully description so here it is. There are four types of irony (none of which resemble remotely anything in Alanis Morissette’s song:

I. Verbal irony

This is when the speaker says one thing but means another (often contrary) thing. The most well known type of verbal irony is sarcasm. For example: “He is as funny as cancer”.

II. Tragic irony

Tragic irony occurs only in fiction. It is when the words or actions of a character contradict the real situation with the full knowledge of the spectators. For example: In Romeo and Juliet, Romeo mistakenly believes that Juliet has killed herself, so he poisons himself. Juliet awakens to find Romeo dead so she kills herself with his knife.

III. Dramatic Irony

In drama, this type of irony is when the spectator is given a piece of information that one or more of the characters are unaware of. For example: in Pygmalion, we know that Eliza is a prostitute, but the Higgins family don’t.

IV. Situational Irony

Situational irony is when there is a difference between the expected result and the actual result. Take for example this account of the attempted assassination of Ronald Regan: “As aides rushed to push Reagan into his car, the bullet ricocheted off the [bullet-proof] car, then hit the President in the chest, grazed a rib and lodged in his lung, just inches from his heart.” The bullet proof car – intended to protect the president, nearly caused his death by deflecting the bullet.

You may want to check out our list of 10 images of irony.

Affect-Effect

These two words are commonly confused – probably due in part to the fact that both words have more than one meaning. I will explain clearly the main difference and just briefly mention the other (rare) meanings:

Affect (a-FECT): this is usually a verb (doing word) and the form most commonly confused with “effect”. It means “to influence” or “to cause a change”. For example: John’s protest affected great change in the farming industry (John’s protest caused change to happen).

Effect (e-FECT): this is usually a noun (thing) and it refers to the “end result” or the impact something has on someone or something. For example, “the cocaine had a numbing effect”, or “her smile had a strange effect on me”.

For those who are curious, affect (AFF-ect) means “emotion” but this meaning is used almost exclusively by psychiatrists. And just to further confuse the whole thing, “effect” can also mean “to create” – which is probably the reason that many people confuse it with affect (a-FECT). For example: “I am trying to effect a new council in the city”.

But wait, there’s more: something can “take effect“, but it cannot “take affect“.

Confused? No wonder. Here is a simple way to remember the basic rule:

If it’s something you’re going to do, use “affect.” If it’s something you’ve already done, use “effect.”

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Lay: To put something or someone down: “lay your head on the pillow”. Lay needs a direct object to act upon – in the example here the object is “your head”.

Lie: To rest in a horizontal position or to be located somewhere: “If you are tired, lie down”, “New Zealand lies in the Pacific Ocean”. Lie does not need a direct object to act upon – therefore it would be wrong to say “if you are tired, lie yourself down”.

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This is seen quite often these days and some people claim that it is acceptable English, but it is not. Do not do it. Here is an example of the offending phrase:

“I wish she would have kissed me”

To correct this grievous error, you need to say: “I wish she had kissed me”.

The reason this is wrong is that “wished” suggests something contrary to reality, and adding “would have” which is also a statement of contrariness, is excessive and unnecessary.

Of course, “would have” is perfectly acceptable in the following sentence: “I would have given a donation if I agreed with the party’s politics.”

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The most common problem here is the use of “myself”. Take this sentence: “If you have any questions, ask Jane or myself”. This is wrong. To see how obviously wrong it is, just take Jane out: “If you have any questions, ask myself”. It seems that many people think that “myself” is like an intensified version of “me”. So how do we use “myself” correctly?

“Myself” is only used when “I” has already been used. For example: “I washed myself” or “I put half of the cake away for myself.” This is the only time it is ever used. The same rules apply for “herself” and “himself”.

The difference between “I” and “me” is the same as that shown in item 10 above. “I” is the “doer” and “me” is the “done to”. For example:

I paid the tax department.
The tax department paid me.

Things get a bit more confusing when you add a second person, but the rule is exactly the same:

Jim and I paid our taxes.
The tax department gave refunds to Jim and me.

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The difference between less and fewer is that one is used in reference to “number” – things you can count, and the other in reference to “amount” – things measured in bulk. For example, you can’t count sand, so if we want to empty a hole filled with sand, we say “we need less sand in that hole” – but if we want to empty a hole filled with eggs, we say “we need fewer eggs in that hole”. There are other words that follow the same rule:

“A great quantity of sand” – “A great number of eggs”
“We should remove a little sand” – “We should remove a few eggs”
“There is too much sand” – “There are too many eggs”

If you eat too many ice-creams, people might think you have eaten too much dessert.

We commonly see this error crop up with regards to people: “We need less people on this team” – this should actually be “we need fewer people on this team”.

Measurements of time and money ignore this rule, therefore we say: “I have less than 5 dollars” and “It takes less than 2 hours to get to Paris”.

This is wrong. It is a very common error and an appalling one at that! The correct form is “different from”. In British common use, many people say “different to” but that is still technically bad form and most UK style guides reject it. Let us look at each option:

Wrong: “Pink is different than blue” (common use in the US)
Wrong: “Pink is different to blue” (common use in the UK)
Questionable: “John is different than he was before his accident. (this can be phrased better – but because “different” is followed by a full clause, some accept it.)
Right: “Pink is different from blue”.

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First of all, “anyways” is not an English word – in fact, I am not aware of it being a word in any language at all. You should never say “anyways”. The word most often crops up in sentences such as this: “John was an idiot anyways!” The correct word to use is “anyway”.

Secondly, anyway is different from any way – both are acceptable but have different uses:

“I didn’t like him anyway”, and: “is there any way to stop the marriage?”

Normal Spelling Errors

I am sure no one will disagree with this entry being number 1 on the list – it is extremely common nowadays to see these words interchanged – sometimes with hilarious consequences but usually not. Let us look at each word separately:

They’re: The apostrophe is used here to replace a missing letter – the letter ‘a’. “They’re” means “they are” – it only mean “they are”, and can never mean anything else. So if you want to say that someone is happy, you say “they’re happy”. Remember, the apostrophe stands for a missing letter.

Their: This means “belongs to them” – it only means “belong to them” and nothing else. The confusion that has arisen over this word is no doubt related to the fact the an apostrophe is often used to denote possession – such as “John’s dog” – but when we are talking about “them” possessing something, we don’t use the apostrophe.

There: Everything else falls in to this category. “There is a happy man”, “Over there!”, “There aren’t many people at the party”.

Here is a little tip for remembering:

Their – “Their” has “heir” in it – an heir ultimately possesses items left to them in a will.
There – “There” has “here” in it – this can remind you that it refers to a place.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2008/09/11/another-10-common-english-errors/