Puzzling, Peculiar and Phenomenal: Our Best Stories You Might Have Missed This Week

The Marchesa Luisa Casati (R) had quite a flair for dressing up. Next to her is painter Giovanni Boldini and another party guest (L). Heritage Images/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

If you missed some of our articles and podcasts this week, it's OK — at least you're here now! Keep reading to catch up on some of our latest stories, from the discovery of ancient underwater Roman ruins to packaging you can eat.

The Puzzling

From the outside looking in, it may seem ridiculous for someone to hunker down at home when a potentially life-threatening storm looms. But there are some logical reasons why a person would want, or need, to stay put during a natural disaster. Check them out in this article.

HowStuffWorks' stomping ground, Atlanta, is home to the historic and swanky Fox Theatre. But why is its name spelled "theatre" and not "theater"? Is "theatre" more refined and therefore fitting for a venue of its caliber (or calibre, as it were)? Well, not exactly — the spelling difference stems from a desire to separate American and British culture and do away with "Britishisms," as writer Mark Mancini puts it in this new article.

In 1741, Russia claimed Alaska. In 1867, Alaska became an American territory for the extremely reasonable price of $7.2 million. But why the U.S. got the territory for such a steal, and how Alaska even came under American rule in the first place, deserves some explanation. Find out what the 19th-century "Great Game" and sea otters had to do with it all here.

The Peculiar

People aren't prone to picking up calls from unknown or 800-numbers. That's why telemarketers are now using a clever tactic to get people to answer their calls: neighbor spoofing. Learn how scammers are illegally using robocalls from local phone numbers to commit fraud in this article.

Good news: Now you can replace your Styrofoam cup-chewing habit with a tastier, and greener, alternative — edible cups made using organic sweeteners and seaweed. And if chewing plastic isn't your thing, maybe knowing that edible packaging reduces waste and makes eating way more fun can convince you of its merits. We list three supercool and environmentally friendly options for packaging you can guzzle in this article.

The fact that heiress and socialite Luisa Casati was buried with her taxidermic toy dog, wearing false eyelashes and a leopard-trimmed cape, can tell you a lot about her eccentric, yet troubled, life. Stuff You Missed in History hosts Tracy and Holly step into the world of the Marchesa in a recent episode of the podcast.

The Phenomenal

Archaeologists recently found ancient Roman ruins of the coast of Tunisia that could be remnants of Neapolis, a city that might have been destroyed by a tsunami in the 4th century. Among their discoveries were streets, monuments and tanks that were likely used to produce a fishy condiment. Read more about why the discovery was so significant in this article.

Denmark gets a lot of props for being one of the world's "happiest countries." If you're not quite sure how one could measure happiness, check out this article to find out why Danes live so joyously. (Hint: It has a lot to do with the dynamics of family and friend relationships.)

OK, minivans aren't exactly visions of luxury and speed, but they are pretty darn efficient and roomy. And as a new article (and CarStuff episode) details, the boxy vehicles have a surprisingly innovative history. Follow along as writer Kate Kershner presents three supercool facts about minivans here.

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