The Ferrari LaFerrari Isn’t the One You Need, It’s the One You Want

When it debuted at the Geneva Motor Show in 2013, Ferrari’s LaFerrari was the most powerful production car in the marque’s history as well as the brand’s first hybrid Prancing Horse.

With an MSRP approaching $1.5 million, the “definitive” Ferrari (hence its LaFerrari moniker was also one of the pricer models ever to role out of the Italian company’s manufacturing campus in Maranello.

The 2015 Ferrari LaFerrari which is being sold by RM Auctions at their Fort Lauderdale auction at the end of March. (Robin Adams, 2019, Courtesy of RM Auctions)
The 2015 Ferrari LaFerrari which is being sold by RM Auctions at their Fort Lauderdale auction at the end of March. (Robin Adams, 2019, Courtesy of RM Auctions)
The 2015 Ferrari LaFerrari which is being sold by RM Auctions at their Fort Lauderdale auction at the end of March. (Robin Adams, 2019, Courtesy of RM Auctions)

Packing a 963-horsepower hybrid V12 with enough juice to go from zero to 186 miles per hour in a mere 15 seconds, the seven-speed LaFerrari was one of the fastest sprinters on the market thanks to its 2.4-second zero to 60 time.

Innovative in its design, the LaFerrari concept was outfitted with active aerodynamics that linked with the car’s other dynamic control systems in order to deliver “a breakthrough in overall performance not possible if both were independent.”

The 2015 Ferrari LaFerrari which is being sold by RM Auctions at their Fort Lauderdale auction at the end of March. (Robin Adams, 2019, Courtesy of RM Auctions)
The 2015 Ferrari LaFerrari which is being sold by RM Auctions at their Fort Lauderdale auction at the end of March. (Robin Adams, 2019, Courtesy of RM Auctions)
The 2015 Ferrari LaFerrari which is being sold by RM Auctions at their Fort Lauderdale auction at the end of March. (Robin Adams, 2019, Courtesy of RM Auctions)

Tipping the scales at around 3,500 pounds, Ferrari only allowed loyal customers who already owned five or more of their cars to purchase one of the 499 LaFerraris that were produced between 2013 and 2016.

As if having stable full of Prancing Horses wasn’t enough of a prerequisite, Ferrari dealers had to whittle their list of eligible customers down to a subset of their most loyal. Those names were then submitted to corporate execs in Maranello, where Ferrari bigwigs then made the final decisions.

The 2015 Ferrari LaFerrari which is being sold by RM Auctions at their Fort Lauderdale auction at the end of March. (Robin Adams, 2019, Courtesy of RM Auctions)
The 2015 Ferrari LaFerrari which is being sold by RM Auctions at their Fort Lauderdale auction at the end of March. (Robin Adams, 2019, Courtesy of RM Auctions)
The 2015 Ferrari LaFerrari which is being sold by RM Auctions at their Fort Lauderdale auction at the end of March. (Robin Adams, 2019, Courtesy of RM Auctions)

“People assume that it’s a financial decision, whoever has more money gets one. The reality is … they use it as a reward for people who are loyal to the brand,” Robert Herjavec, a businessman who ended up with one of the 499 told Wired in 2014.  “This is where the Ferrari world is kind of like the Vatican. It’s very mysterious. There are a lot of trinkets you have to wear, and a lot of rings you have to kiss.”

The 500th, and final, LaFerrari was built and auctioned off to raise money to help rebuild the parts of Central Italy affected by a series of earthquakes in 2016. When it sold, that model went for $7 million, making it “the most valuable 21st-century automobile ever sold at auction.”

The 2015 Ferrari LaFerrari which is being sold by RM Auctions at their Fort Lauderdale auction at the end of March. (Robin Adams, 2019, Courtesy of RM Auctions)
The 2015 Ferrari LaFerrari which is being sold by RM Auctions at their Fort Lauderdale auction at the end of March. (Robin Adams, 2019, Courtesy of RM Auctions)
The 2015 Ferrari LaFerrari which is being sold by RM Auctions at their Fort Lauderdale auction at the end of March. (Robin Adams, 2019, Courtesy of RM Auctions)

While it won’t break that record, the 2015 model you see pictured here is expected to bring in up to $3.5 million when it crosses the block March 29 and 30 courtesy of RM Auctions at their Fort Lauderdale sale at the end of the month.

Finished in Giallo Modena that’s accented nicely by the vehicle’s black roof, chassis No. ZFF76ZFA4F0209754 has fewer than 600 miles on its odometer and reportedly still maintains as-new condition throughout.

The 2015 Ferrari LaFerrari which is being sold by RM Auctions at their Fort Lauderdale auction at the end of March. (Robin Adams, 2019, Courtesy of RM Auctions)
The 2015 Ferrari LaFerrari which is being sold by RM Auctions at their Fort Lauderdale auction at the end of March. (Robin Adams, 2019, Courtesy of RM Auctions)
The 2015 Ferrari LaFerrari which is being sold by RM Auctions at their Fort Lauderdale auction at the end of March. (Robin Adams, 2019, Courtesy of RM Auctions)

It ain’t practical, but mamma mia is it pretty.

10 Great Contributions of GOP Presidents on Republican Party’s 165th Anniversary

During a meeting of Whigs in Wisconsin on March 20, 1854, the once prominent party virtually dissolved itself in favor of a new coalition of American political leaders — the GOP.

After the Missouri Compromise was eliminated by the Kansas-Nebraska Bill of 1854, status of former slaves was to be decided in the territories by popular sovereignty. The anti-slave Whigs then decided to disband, instead forming what would become the modern-day Republican Party, as described by the History Channel.

In November 1860, Republican Abraham Lincoln was elected president as the first representative of his party to reach the office. Since then there have been an enormous number of great contributions to American life and liberty made by representatives of the party .

Because the legacy is so vast, RealClearLife is honoring the milestone with ten of our favorite of those contributions, in no particular order:

1. Collapse of the Soviet Union (1991)
GOP anniversary
West Germans celebrate the unification of Berlin atop the Berlin Wall during the collapse of Communism in East Berlin. (Photo By Stephen Jaffe/Getty Images)

The Soviet Union disintegrated into fifteen separate countries in December 1991. Although the collapse of one of America’s greatest adversaries happened during GOP President George H. W. Bush’s time in office, the work it took to get there was largely done by his fellow Republican, President Ronald Reagan. “Its collapse was hailed by the west as a victory for freedom, a triumph of democracy over totalitarianism, and evidence of the superiority of capitalism over socialism,” as The Cold War Museum describes the milestone.

2. Foundation of the United States Forest Service (1905)
GOP anniversary
Badlands National Park in North Dakota inspired President Roosevelt to protect the American wild. (Education Images/UIG via Getty Images)

Perhaps the biggest proponent of conservation, President Theodore Roosevelt created what is now known as the United States Forest Service on February 1, 1905. And though he later left the party, during his tenure as a Republican Commander in Chief, Roosevelt protected wildlife and public lands across the U.S. by establishing 150 national forests, 51 federal bird reserves, four national game preserves, five national parks, and 18 national monuments, according to the National Parks Service. To this day, the “conservationist president” is credited with protecting approximately 230 million acres of public land.

3. The Emancipation Proclamation (1863)
GOP anniversary
President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. (Katherine Young/Getty Images)

The first Republican President, Lincoln ended slavery in the United States when he signed the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. The proclamation declared “that all persons held as slaves” within the defecting southern states during the Civil War “are, and henceforward shall be free.” However, despite this wording, the proclamation was limited in a number of ways, as the National Archives acknowledges, including the stipulation that “it applied only to states that had seceded from the United States, leaving slavery untouched in the loyal border states.”

4. The Interstate Highway System (1956)
GOP Anniversary
President Eisenhower considered the Interstate Highway System to be one of his most important achievements. (Getty Images)

The Interstate System, also referred to as the greatest public works project in history, was the accomplishment of President Dwight D. Eisenhower after he signed the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956. The Interstate System has since been an enormous part of American culture and our way of life ever since, connecting vast stretches of land across the country and greatly aiding in the transportation of goods. The Federal Highway Administration boasts that, “every citizen has been touched by it, if not directly as motorists, then indirectly because every item we buy has been on the Interstate System at some point.”

5. The Environmental Protection Agency (1970)
GOP Anniversary
One of President Nixon’s points when creating the EPA was to order a clean-up of federal facilities that had fouled air and water.

In response to the heightened public concerns about American air, natural lands and urban water supplies, President Richard Nixon wrote up a 37-point message on the environment that he presented to both the House and Senate. Nixon’s concerns led to the creation of the EPA, an agency tasked with fixing national guidelines pertaining to nature and enforce them.

6. Construction of the Hoover Dam (1931)
GOP anniversary
The Hoover Dam is a concrete arch-gravity dam in the Black Canyon of the Colorado River. (Getty Images)

It may have been President Calvin Coolidge who endorsed legislation authorizing construction of the Hoover Dam, but it didn’t take effect until the 31st President of the United States took office — Coolidge’s successor, Herbert Hoover. The great dam that shares the latter’s name spans the Colorado River, linking Nevada and Arizona.

7. No Child Left Behind Act (2002)
GOP anniversary
US President George W. Bush greets students after speaking on No Child Left Behind at General Philip Kearny School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

The No Child Left Behind law of 2002, signed by President George W. Bush, was an update of the elementary and Secondary Education Act that effectively scaled up the federal role in holding schools accountable for the education of all American grade school students across all the states. The Act was the combined, bipartisan efforts of both civil rights and business groups to “close the achievement gap” between poor and minority students and their more advantaged peers.

8. Founding of NASA (1958)
GOP anniversary
The expedition 58 Soyuz was a joint operation led by Commander Oleg Kononenko of Roscosmos, Flight Engineer Anne McClain of NASA, and Flight Engineer David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) (Aubrey Gemignani/NASA via Getty Images)

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration was created when President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958. “And so began a bold journey that has included some of the greatest scientific achievements of humankind,” as APPEL Knowledge Services described the launch, which “continues today at the extremes of the Sun and Mars.”

9. Nixon’s Visit to China (1972)
GOP anniversary
US President Richard Nixon and Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai toast during Nixon’s 1972 visit. (Universal History Archive/ UIG via Getty Images)

President Richard Nixon’s 1972 visit to China was an important strategic and diplomatic move that symbolized the beginning of normalizing relations between the communist nation and the U.S. It opened the door for more productive communication and was seen as a potential wedge Nixon could hammer between two of the world’s biggest communist powers — China and the Soviet Union.

10. Desegregation of American Schools (1970)
GOP Anniversary
Young students picket at a youth march for integrated schools on October 25, 1969 at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC. (National Archive/ Newsmakers)

Although the Supreme Court ruled in the 1954 Brown v. Topeka Board of Education case that having two separate school systems based on race was unconstitutional, many districts in the South were reluctant to abide by the decision. Until in March 1970 when President Nixon decided to take action. He declared Brown to be ”right in both constitutional and human terms” and directed his Vice President, Spiro T. Agnew to lead a cabinet committee to manage the transition.

From Stonehenge to San Quentin Prison: 10 Unique Concert Locations Around the World

With news that the Red Hot Chili Peppers are playing a concert at the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt today, we’re traveling the globe to locate the coolest, oddest, and greatest unusual concert venues from the past. From Pompeii to Antarctica, these 10 locations made the cut.

Johnny Cash – San Quentin Prison

johnny cash concert prison
Musician Johnny Cash on stage with his band, in concert at San Quentin State Prison, California, February 24th 1969. (Photo by Pictorial Parade/Archive Photos/Getty Images)

Johnny Cash recorded his 31st album at San Quentin State Prison in the winter of 1969. The album was certified gold just six months later. During the performance, the camera crew was obstructing Cash’s view of the audience, causing him to flip the middle finger to the crew when they wouldn’t clear the stage after the singer had asked. Cash performed two songs for the very first time here: “San Quentin” and “A Boy Named Sue.”

Queens of the Stone Age – Salt Mines

QOTSA salt mine show planetoid

Queens Of The Stone Age went underground for a 2007 concert in Germany. The band rocked out in a massive salt mine to a group of their biggest fans. The concert was promised to be released on DVD, but for unknown reasons that never happened. Fans created a petition demanding the record label release the footage but that has yet to happen.

Metallica – Tushino Airfield, Russia

metallica concert
Lars Ulrich Of Metallica (Photo by Dave Benett/Getty Images)

Metallica rocked out at two of the ten locations on our list, the first being Tushino Airfield in Moscow, Russia. In 1991, the band played at the Monsters of Rock concert at the airfield in a bill that also featured AC/DC, Pantera, and the Black Crowes during the free concert. The airfield has since been turned into a multipurpose stadium for music and sporting events.

Metallica – Antarctica

Metallica concert
US heavy metal band Metallica’s lead vocalist, James Hetfield (C), and lead guitarist Kirck Hammet (L) perform in Antarctica on December 8, 2013. Metallica can now say it has performed on every continent after giving a rare concert in Antarctica to about 100 spectators wearing headphones. Sunday evening’s unusual concert, near a glacier and inside a transparent dome on Argentina’s Carlini base, took place in daylight because of the continent’s far-southern location, Argentine media said. AFP PHOTO / NA (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)

Twenty-two years after Metallica played an airfield in Moscow, the band, along with 120 superfans, rocked out to a 10-song set list of their biggest hits way down south in Antarctica. The hourlong show made it official: Metallica is the first and only band to play a concert on all seven continents. For about an hour, the Carlini Station in Antarctica was the most metal place on Earth.

B.B. King – Cook County Jail

B.B. King concert cook county jail
Blues musician B.B. King greets the crowd at the Cook County Jail in 1970. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Johnny Cash wasn’t the only music man to play a show in prison. B.B. King rocked out to some of his then current as well as older hits at the Cook County Jail in Chicago. King also recorded the set for a album called Live In Cook County Jail. The album would go on to spend three weeks at number one on the Billboard R&B albums charts.

Diana Ross – New York City’s Central Park

diana ross concert central park
A torrential downpour, with winds gusting to 55 miles per hour, pelt pop singer Diana Ross during a free outdoor concert in Central Park, her “gift to New York.” (Photo by Richard Corkery/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)

In 1983 between 450,000 to 800,000 fans packed into Central Park to watch Diana Ross sing and prance around stage during the pouring rain. Ross wasn’t the last superstar to play New York City’s most famous park. Some 750,000 people rocked out with country music legend Garth Brooks in 1997.

DJ Paul Oakenfold – Stonehenge

concert stonehenge
DJ Paul Oakenfold was the first DJ to play at Stonehenge. (Instagram via Paul Oakenfold)

DJ Paul Oakenfold is no stranger to performing sets at odd (and amazing) locations. In 2003 the DJ played on top of the Great Wall of China- making him the first DJ to do so. Oakenfold made history again in 2018 when he became the first DJ to play a set at Stonehenge. He wrapped up his concert by spinning his newest track: “Stonehenge.”

Pink Floyd – Pompeii

pink floyd pompeii concert
David Gilmour from Pink Floyd. In 1971 the band performed at Pompeii. (Photo by Gijsbert Hanekroot/Redferns)

Filmed over four days during the fall of 1971, Pink Floyd’s epic Pompeii performance became a concert documentary. The doc premiered in 1972 at the Edinburgh International Film Festival. Later releases of the doc had supplementary footage added of the band exploring the area around Pompeii, where in 79 A.D. a massive volcanic eruption coated the entire city in lava. Additional footage of the band working on The Dark Side of the Moon was also included in a re-release.

The Beatles – Apple HQ Rooftop

the beatles concert
The Beatles as they play their final live performance on the roof of 3 Savile Row, Apple Corps headquarters, January 30, 1969 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Jeff Hochberg/Getty Images)

The last time the Beatles performed in public was also that time they did it on the top of a rooftop in London. The famous five played for about 45 minutes until the Metropolitan Police asked the guys to quiet it down. The rooftop belonged to Apple Corps, the band’s multimedia company. As cops climbed up to the roof to shut down the show, Paul McCartney changed the lyrics of “Get Back” and sang “you’ve been playing on the roofs again, and you know your momma doesn’t like it, she’s gonna have you arrested!”

The Defiled – Iceberg in Iceland

concert the defiled
UK band The Defiled plays a concert on top of a floating iceberg in Iceland. (YouTube)

Braving sub-zero temps, The Defiled, an industrial metal group, made the trek across the Greenland Sea from Iceland to hop onto a floating iceberg for an epic rock concert. So much so it made hem the Guinness World Record holder for their accomplishment. Dedicated fans floated nearby on boats as they rocked out to the record holders. Locals helped the band load up the iceberg with their musical equipment and in return The Defiled donated a guitar amp and drum kit to the local community hall.

Meet the Paleontologist Who Discovered 80 New Species of Dinosaur

Long before digging around in the dirt for dinosaur bones was made popular by Jurassic Park, Othniel Charles Marsh, who died 120 years ago next week, was trekking around North America in the 1800s looking for animal fossils of all shapes in sizes.

dinosaur marsh
Paleontologist Othniel Charles Marsh. (Photo by Library of Congress/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images)

Marsh, whose mother died when he was just three years old, grew up on a farm in New York with his dad until his wealthy uncle, George Peabody, gifted the boy with enough money to start a formal education. (Later, in his will, Peabody left Marsh a large sum of money).

Portrait of George Peabody (1795-1869), American financier and philanthropist, illustration from the magazine The Illustrated London News, volume LV, November 20, 1869. (Getty)

Peabody would become known as the father of philanthropy,  with moguls like Bill Gates and John D. Rockefeller later adopting the same beneficent philosophies. He would go on to open The Peabody Institute, The Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology and The Peabody Academy of Science.

It was only natural for Marsh to follow along the scientific lines that his uncle had such an interest in. He received schooling from Phillips Academy and then later at Yale where he would receive his master’s in 1863 and would later returned to teach, making him the first professor of paleontology in the United States.

Ideal Jurassic landscape in America, 1884. From fossil evidence, Othniel Marsh imagined a scene during the late Jurassic epoch 163 to 161 million years ago, with Stegosaurus, Compsognathus (left) and Pterodactyls inhabiting it. From Scientific American. (New York, 29 November 1884). (Photo by Oxford Science Archive/Print Collector/Getty Images)

After he received a sizable inheritance from his uncle, Marsh set out with a group of fossil hunters to explore the United States on the hunt for animals that once roamed the same fields millions of years before man. The team completed four expeditions between 1870 and 1873.

Othniel Charles Marsh (top, center) and his team completed 4 expeditions across the American West on the hunt for animal fossils. (Wikicommons)

Marsh and his team found competition in another up-and-coming bone hunter- Edward Drinker Cope, who was said to have a fierce rivalry with the formally educated Marsh. Although Cope had no formal degrees, when the pair met, he had over 35 scientific papers published in comparison to Marsh’s two. However, the pair were said to have met and stayed together for several days on end and would continue to exchange writings, fossils and photographs of their adventures.

Edward Drinker Cope was a rival paleontologist who, with no formal education, published hundreds of scientific papers about paleontology. (Wikicommons)

Throughout his long, rich career Marsh discovered some 500 different new species of animals never known before. Among them were flying reptiles like the pterosaur, which Marsh was the first to find.

A cleaner dusts a cast of a Diplodocus skeleton at the Natural History Museum in London, 12th November 1936. The cast was made from the D. Carnegiei diplodocus at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Pittsburgh, and was presented to the London museum in 1905. (Photo by William Vanderson/Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

The dinosaur bones that Marsh uncovered were what would make him famous – with positions as the President of the Nation Academy of Sciences and the head of the U.S. Geological Survey. Each new discovery solidified the paleontologist as the most famous in the world.

Gabriel Nicles 7, as seen thru the skull of the 68 million old Triceratop, found in Whyoming. The very first Triceratop was discovered by Marsh. Credit: The Denver Post (Denver Post via Getty Images)
View of a model of a stegosaurus, labelled ‘the Armored Dinosaur,’ on display at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC, 1917. (Photo by Library of Congress/Interim Archives/Getty Images)

Marsh discovered so many fossils his finds made up the majority of the collection at Yale’s Peabody Museum of Natural History. The very first fossil skeleton of the Brontosaurus is the main attraction of the museum’s great hall.

The Peabody Museum of Yale University opened for exhibition brontosaurus, known as the “Thunder saurian,” a huge dinosaur nearly 70 feet long and 16 feet high, the skeleton of which weighs 6 1/2 tons. One of the largest reptiles the world has ever seen, its age is estimated by Yale scientists at 120,000,000 years. Its estimated weight when alive is between 37 and 40 tons. (Photo by George Rinhart/Corbis via Getty Images)

By the end of his life Marsh had discovered and named some of the most famous dinosaurs like the Triceratop, Diplodocus, Allosaurus, Stegosaurus and the Brontosaurus.

A year before his death, Marsh received the Cuvier Prize from the French Academy of Science. Marsh died of pneumonia on March 18, 1899. He donated his home to Yale University and it has been maintained as a National Historic Landmark.

Lamborghini Took a Little Off the Top With the Aventador SVJ Roadster

Unveiled during Monterey Car Week in August, the Lamborghini Aventador SVJ was a super sports performance vehicle car-sonified.

Following its worldwide premiere, the SVJ (SV stands for Superveloce meaning “superfast” while J stands for Jota which denotes the vehicle’s track and performance superiority) proved it wasn’t just a pretty face by setting the Nürburgring-Nordschleife production car record by completing the track’s 12.8-mile lap 6:44.97 minutes.

Automobili Lamborghini launched the Aventador SVJ Roadster at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show. (Lamborghini)
Automobili Lamborghini launched the Aventador SVJ Roadster at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show. (Lamborghini)
Automobili Lamborghini launched the Aventador SVJ Roadster at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show. (Lamborghini)

Now, in order to give drivers a chance to feel the wind peel back their hair, ears, and lower lip, Automobili Lamborghini is bringing an open-top version of the Aventador SVJ coupé to market.

Unveiled earlier this week at the Geneva Motor Show, the v12-powered Aventador SVJ Roadster has similar stats to its coupé cousin (759 ponies, 0-62 miles per hour in 2.9 seconds, 217 mph top speed) and is only about 110 pounds than the Nürburgring record-setting model.

Automobili Lamborghini launched the Aventador SVJ Roadster at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show. (Lamborghini)
Automobili Lamborghini launched the Aventador SVJ Roadster at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show. (Lamborghini)
Automobili Lamborghini launched the Aventador SVJ Roadster at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show. (Lamborghini)

Aerodynamic almost to a fault, the roadster’s removable roof is constructed from a pair of high-pressure carbon fiber panels. Once taken off, the panels store neatly in the front trunk.

Inspired by space ships, jet fighters, and race motorbikes, the Roadster has a driver-controlled rear window which functions as a windshield when closed and amplifies the purr of the naturally aspirated engine when open.

Automobili Lamborghini launched the Aventador SVJ Roadster at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show. (Lamborghini)
Automobili Lamborghini launched the Aventador SVJ Roadster at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show. (Lamborghini)
Automobili Lamborghini launched the Aventador SVJ Roadster at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show. (Lamborghini)

And don’t underestimate the power of that purr. “The high-mounted lightweight naked exhaust produces the most emotive sound from the SVJ Roadster’s engine, adding to the experience of the roadster’s occupants.” That’s a polite way of saying the new Aventador SVJ is gonna wail like a banshee with a pair of stubbed toes.

Limited to a run of just 800 models, the air that runs through the Italian drop-top’s cockpit is going to be rarefied in more ways than one.

Automobili Lamborghini launched the Aventador SVJ Roadster at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show. (Lamborghini)
Automobili Lamborghini launched the Aventador SVJ Roadster at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show. (Lamborghini)
Automobili Lamborghini launched the Aventador SVJ Roadster at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show. (Lamborghini)

“The Aventador SVJ Roadster inherits all the power, performance and groundbreaking aerodynamic technologies of the coupé, but with its own iconic presence and prowess,” said Automobili Lamborghini CEO Stefano Domenicali. “It is as fundamentally exciting to drive as the Aventador SVJ but with an added exclusivity: the option of the open air. With the same extraordinary performance roof on or off, the Aventador SVJ Roadster incorporates the dynamism of the coupé with the unique spirit of a Lamborghini.”

Automobili Lamborghini launched the Aventador SVJ Roadster at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show. (Lamborghini)
Automobili Lamborghini launched the Aventador SVJ Roadster at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show. (Lamborghini)
Automobili Lamborghini launched the Aventador SVJ Roadster at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show. (Lamborghini)

With deliveries set to commence just in time for summertime cruising later this year, the rowdy roadster will have a base price just south of $574,000.

Tax, and cost of a summer’s supply of sunblock and earplugs, not included.

Can the Man Who Saved Mosul Keep ISIS at Bay and Forge a Future?

MOSUL, IRAQ — As we inched through the war-torn streets of Mosul City, the only two things I could think about were naps and car bombs. The man I was headed to see, Major General Najim Abdullah al-Jubouri, needed to sleep. With years of constant fighting and ongoing night raids, the general at the heart of the campaign against ISIS was understandably tired. But there I was, stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic listening to my translator next to me field phone calls from Jubouri’s team, telling them, “We’re almost there!” as we inched along the packed streets.

I was already nervous — it was my first time in Mosul and a car bomb had gone off the week before, killing three and injuring many others. It was the first bomb in Mosul since the city had been liberated from Islamic State’s control a little over a year before. Surrounded by civilians in dense market traffic, exactly the type of target car bombs prefer, I was worried about the physical danger, but even more concerned that I would arrive at the military’s headquarters only to find a napping general.

Jubouri was handpicked by the United States as the man in charge of liberating Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city and the city where ISIS declared their caliphate. An intensely patriotic man, Jubouri was told that removing ISIS would take anywhere from four to 15 years. But through a violently effective campaign using a team of traditional Iraqi units, Iraqi Special Forces, and a coalition of militias and international forces, Jubouri liberated the city in a year and a half.

iraq major general Najim al-Jubouri
Najim al-Jubouri speaking to police members at the Mosul liberation camp in Duburdan, northern Iraq, Thursday, May 28, 2015 (AP Photo/Bram Janssen)

At its peak, ISIS controlled 34,000 square-miles of territory, from western Syria to Eastern Iraq. The extremist group ran their own state, collecting tens of millions of dollars in taxes, according to The New York Times, which they used to “fix potholes, issue birth certificates, finance attacks and recruit followers.” Now, all but one percent of that territory has been taken back, leading President Donald Trump and his administration to say the group is “wiped out” and “in its final throes.”

Iraq is left dealing with the aftermath of these liberations, and the steady flow of news out of the region includes what to do with ISIS wives who want to return to their home countries, the withdrawing of troops from Afghanistan and Syria, and the identification of the narrator in the Islamic State’s infamous videos.

But this recent stream of news has mostly excluded Mosul, which is in desperate need of repair. Between ISIS’s control and later, block-by-block fighting, Mosul is in ruins. In order to save it, Jubouri nearly flattened the physical city. Mosul, which is split by the Tigris River, is filled with bomb craters, bullet holes, and active mines. Buildings that managed to stay upright are missing walls or roofs or are leaning dangerously. The smell of death hangs in the air, as the dead are still being recovered from the wreckage.

The Great Mosque of al-Nuri, where ISIS declared their caliphate (the belief in a single world government), in Mosul’s Old City. November, 2018. (Rebecca Gibian)
A destroyed block in western Mosul. November, 2018. (Rebecca Gibian)

Now, as citizens are starting to rebuild their lives and as Mosul comes back to life, Jubouri is in charge of rebuilding the city he helped liberate. The United Nations estimates that 40,000 homes need to be rebuilt in the city, which would cost an estimated $17 billion, according to CNBC.

The United States has no plans to give any more money to the country, after spending $60 billion in Iraq over nine years. CNBC writes that U.S. government auditors found “massive waste and corruption” of that money.

So what does the man who is tasked with rebuilding the city think? I wanted to understand the man and his mission.

Some originally questioned why he was chosen to lead the liberation. A veteran of the Iran-Iraq war and the 1991 Gulf War, Jubouri is a former member of Saddam Hussein’s brutal Ba’athist military. I met him at his headquarters in Mosul, which are called “ala qusur” or the palaces according to my translator, because they used to be Hussein’s palaces.

But Jubouri left Hussein’s Ba’athist party and became a critical U.S. ally. From 2005 to 2008, during the U.S. occupation of Iraq, Jubouri was the mayor of Tal Afar, an ancient city that Jubouri says he and coalition forces ultimately “cleaned” of al Qaeda extremists during that time. But due to threats on his life, Jubouri and his family fled to the United States for eight years, during which Jubouri studied at the National Defense University in Washington, D.C.

Children playing on rubble in western Mosul, as seen from the passenger seat of my translator’s car. November, 2018. (Rebecca Gibian)

And now, he faces one of his biggest challenges yet: Waging peace in a city that he destroyed in order to liberate.

We conducted the interview in English and Jubouri made a few things very clear: his biggest goals are giving jobs and hope. But the rebuilding of Mosul is about more than just fixing the city, it is also about keeping extremists at bay, who, despite Trump’s declarations, have not disappeared. The Major General is a formal man, and though he speaks at a steady, quiet level throughout our interview, he regularly clapped his hands as if to punctuate his speech for impact.

RG: The idea behind this story is to be about …

The Major General’s phone rings and he ignores it, even though I gesture at him to pick it up. “No, no,” he says and then urges me to continue.

RG: …rebuilding, so the rebuilding of Mosul and with you as the person, kind of profiling you and the fact that you led the offensive and are now leading the rebuild. So I have a couple general questions about how things were during the offensive and how things are now, if that’s okay.

*He starts talking* 

Jubouri: “The rebuilding here in Mosul, very slow … our mission, to repair Mosul, we figure we need to win the people. We need to fix the bad relationship between the people and security forces, and we build many bridges between us and the people, and we success. Now here in Mosul, the mood of the people changed … Positive. Now the people accept the culture forces, accept the Iraqi Army. The relationship, mm, I cannot say very, very good, but good. And now, the people are a very important part of the foundation of security in the city.”

“We finish the first step, we clean the city from ISIS, we hold the city, but the third step, and the important step, the rebuilding and give the people hope and jobs, very slow. I saw many people, many families without any source to live. Many people suffer because they not have jobs, their houses are destroyed, the foundation of the city not good, and the rebuilding very slow. And this very dangerous in the mid-term and the long-term. Maybe any bad organization can return back.

And the world, not stand very strong with Mosul. Yes, Germany help us and uh, French help us, and some NGO, United Nation, but all these things, shy thing.”

Jubouri pauses, then sighs.

“Many, many widow women with kids without any resources. Many students in the university, without any resources. Before, three or four weeks ago, we captured a group that worked with ISIS from the university — students, female and male — and when we ask them ‘Why?’ they say because we do not have any resources to live. This, very dangerous. But our problem? The central government, the Iraqi parliament, not understand what will happen if we do not give the people hope.”

RG: “Why do you think they don’t understand, have they not come and seen Mosul?”

J: Many things. One of things maybe the number of Parliament from Mosul not strong enough. Maybe someone in the central government not have long vision, some of them think if they have good weapons, good security forces, that’s enough. And this is a very wrong thing (to think). The security depend on the people, not on the security forces.

**He claps**

 Before 2014, we had more divisions, more policemen, more equipment, better than now. But in one or two hour, Mosul fell, because the people were not with the security forces.

RG: Why do you think you were chosen to lead the offensive and to lead this rebuild?

J: Me? Because I had good experience before and I studied after that in the United States and know very well where is the problems.

Life is returning to normal at a marketplace in eastern Mosul. November, 2018. (Rebecca Gibian)

RG: How do you take the steps to give people hope? What steps are you taking now?

J: I stand with them, I always encourage them, I talk with them, I give them hope. I talk with many ambassadors, I talk with the Belgian ambassador, with the German ambassador, with the French, the U.S. ambassador, to encourage them to help us. And I talk with many professionals from central government and local government.

We need investment here in Mosul, not just depend on central government. But until now, they stop the investment in Mosul, they’re not encourage the investment and this very wrong thing. Mosul, very important city. The second city after Baghdad and the location of Mosul, very important. Turkey, Syria, Kurdistan and the people in Mosul have good skills and many things and they have good manufacturing, Mosul has oil and many, many things.

RG: Why do you think you’re not receiving international help, with, you know everybody in the world knows what happened?

J: I think … because of the corruption. Many countries, many countries don’t like to give money to the local government because they’re afraid from the corruption. They want to do the projects by themselves. And many people also, work against Mosul, they talk in the media “the situation in Mosul not good, the situation blah blah blah blah.” And you know, the foreign cities, free to come to Mosul and also, many local governments they want to take money, they’re not allowed to project by another country.

RG: So, do you feel like your troops have inspired people in Mosul to feel safer?

J: Yes, I think the relationship good and the people touched with security. But Mosul, the people because have bad experience with ISIS, they stayed about 3 years under ISIS and ISIS very aggressive people, they until now afraid that if they heard any rumor, they they — he presses back, looks frightened — because that, I hate many member of Iraqi parliament from Mosul, they say “ISIS will come back, ISIS, ISIS, ISIS” and the people afraid from that. We need to give them moral, not make their moral down.

Another view of the destroyed The Great Mosque of al-Nuri, where ISIS declared their caliphate. It was the last stronghold of the extremist group. November, 2018. (Rebecca Gibian)

ISIS will not come back. ISIS destroyed. Destroyed. Yes, maybe some sleeping cells here or in the desert, somewhere, but ISIS destroyed, not return back. But this depend on how much we protect the people and put them with us. If you’re (a) mother and you have many kids and you saw your kids without clothes, without medical insurance, without food, how many you come, be patient? 1 month, 6 months, 1 year, 2 year? You need to see light in the end of the tunnel.

**He claps his hands**

This is the case.

RG: ISIS was hard to get out of Mosul, correct? Why? What made it so difficult to liberate Mosul a year ago?

J: Before?

RG: Yes, a year ago.

J: The difficult thing, more than one million still lived with ISIS, and that lead us to work like very sharp surgery to lift the cancer from the button. This was a very difficult mission, very difficult. Many monitors said “Mosul needs four years” and some of them said “Maybe more than 15 years” to break Mosul from ISIS. We liberated Mosul in one year.

*He claps*

And this, like miracle.

RG: And, what would you say … I read criticism before the liberation that the Iraqi army was poorly prepared, like you said, people were saying it was going to take four years, what do you have to say about that, clearly it did not take four years, so do you feel your army exceeded expectations?

J: I think the culture forces especially the American forces help us very much. They used very high technology. They come, and drones make pictures, and we see everything. And they used very high technology of rocket and jet fires.

*He claps again*

This make the moral of our troops high, the moral of ISIS very down. Without the support of culture forces, our mission impossible in Mosul.

RG: Did last week’s bomb at the restaurant scare you at all?

J: What, about the car bomb?

RG: The car bomb, did it worry you?

J: No, this happened here in Mosul … in Baghdad, in east Iraq, in Belgian, but the different thing, the people here, as I told you, had very bad experience with ISIS and some people stand with ISIS in the media and some people still talk about ISIS will return back in Erbil, but … normal, happen anywhere. Anywhere … Happened in Ramada, in Baghdad, common, but we need someone make the moral of the people very high, when you say this: “Normal, happen anywhere,” but if one says, “Oh that means that ISIS will return back, that many hundred of ISIS in and near Mosul, they will attack Mosul,” they make they people afraid and that is the difference.

But I think when I talk with the people and when I go in my missions outside and kill some ISIS in the mountain, in the desert, in the islands, the people return back more comfortable.

A pile of rubble across the street from the Great Mosque of al-Nuri. November, 2018. (Rebecca Gibian)

RG: Does religion play a role in rebuilding Mosul at all?

J: What mean religion? You mean Christian, Muslim?

RG: Yes, you know ISIS was basing…

J: Destroying the public, yeah. Now I think day by day, the relationship become healthy. Me always, when I talk, I say I will take care of the Yazidi more than the Christian, and I will take care about Christian more than the Muslim. Here, we Iraqi, not Christian or Muslim or Yazidi. They our people. We like the Yazidi, like anyone, we like the Christian, like anyone. And maybe we prefer the Christian and the Yazidi more than the Muslim, we need them with us.

I think now, day by day, I return many houses of Christian to them, they comfortable with that. And many time in conference in the media, I stand with the Yazidi people, I say, *he claps again* we need to stand with them more than anyone in the city and they comfortable to that, I think. Yes, that’s some politicians’ problems affect making influence, but I think step by step everything return back. But as I told you, we need to give hope, jobs.

RG: Is there anything that the international world gets wrong about Iraq?

J: The international world not stand enough with Mosul. Here disaster happened. And you know ISIS and the bad organizations always lived in the poor area, in the turmoil area. Because of that, I tell them, we need more projects here in Mosul. Look, now we have more maybe three hundred thousand lived in the camps, now we liberated Mosul before one year and a half, not many houses built near to them.

Many people left their houses here and go to the camps because they give them some support, food and electricity and something … because they do not have anything. And the disaster, sometimes the Iraqi government refuse the help because they want to do the project by themselves, I mean the country’s, they want the Iraqi to do the project. For me, I’m not worried who built the hospital, to me, UAE … Saudi Arabia, Germany, I not worried, the people need hospital.

RG: Is there anything that I haven’t asked you about that you want me to know, about Mosul, about you?

J: Look, Mosul, the majority of people, they’re not changed. Now, you can walking in the streets, before 2014, impossible for you to walking in the street. Before 2014, no any Shia student or Christian student can study in the university.

Now, normal. Before 2014, no anyone from the south of Iraq can visit Mosul and walking in the street, now different. The people accept the coalition forces, many foreign companies in Mosul. I think this is a good chance to the west, to the U.S., to the world, to capture this chance and to keep the people with them. Not let the people facing their destination alone.

*He gives a final clap*

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

SpaceX Dragon Capsule Docks With ISS as New Era of Manned Space Exploration Debuts

At 2:40 a.m. on Saturday, March 2, people were still getting out of their cars in Titusville, Florida. Lugging lawn chairs, dragging drowsy children and powering up drones, hundreds of people gathered quietly on the Western shore of the Indian River to watch SpaceX’s Falcon 9 launch the company’s Crew Dragon capsule up and out of the atmosphere from the historic Pad 39-A just across the way on Merritt Island. Along the water, radios hummed with NASA’s broadcast of the launch, giving listeners a play-by-play as systems were checked and the green light was given for take-off.

Lightning cracked across the sky in the moments before the capsule began its maiden voyage to the International Space Station, illuminating otherwise invisible cumulus clouds. And then, at 2:49 a.m., the rocket rose into the air, carrying 400 pounds of cargo and a dummy astronaut nicknamed Ripley, after the hero of the Alien movie franchise. Light from the rocket’s exhaust flames ascended steadily, a small sun carving a blazing path through the darkness. Soon after came powerful sonic booms, louder than any Earthly thunder. The crowd craned their necks as the light became a streak, and then shrunk to a speck, blending in with the stars in a matter of minutes. Cheers and applause erupted from the riverbank, united in witnessing this small, but momentous, part of history.

The people watching already seemed to know what NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine and Kennedy Space Center director Robert Donald Cabana told press on a lawn just miles from Pad 39-A late on Friday afternoon:

A new era of space exploration has begun.

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, with a Crew Dragon capsule as its payload, sits on Launch Pad 39-A at Cape Canaveral, Florida, on March 1, 2019. (Photo credit: Diana Crandall, RealClearLife)

Saturday’s Demo-1 mission is unusual because it’s a foray into the unknown for SpaceX and for NASA, as well as the growing number of companies vying for a bite of the booming commercial space industry. What makes the Demo-1 mission different from those in years past, Bridenstine said, is that SpaceX is a private company, with Elon Musk at its helm, and NASA—a government agency funded by taxpayer dollars—is purchasing services from SpaceX. Bridenstine explained that this will be the new normal for the space agency.

“NASA is not going to purchase, own and operate the hardware. We’re going to be a customer,” Bridenstine said. “Our goal here is to be one customer of many customers driving down the cost and increasing the access to space in a very robust, commercial marketplace, for human spaceflight in low-Earth orbit.

“We also want ultimately to have numerous providers that are competing on cost and innovation…we’re going to have more access to space, at a better cost, than at any point in human history.”

It’s also momentous, Bridenstine and Cabana noted, because NASA is developing an entirely unique, new program. In response to a question about new procedures and preparations from RealClearLife, Cabana, who is a former astronaut, explained:

“One of the great things about this test flight is there are some differences. It’s not exactly the way we [NASA] did [the shuttle program], it’s not exactly the way we do cargo or launch service program missions…we’re setting up our procedures and processes to prepare us—this is a great learning event, all the way through—as we work through all the issues that we have to clear everything for readiness for this flight, and prepare the next step for actually putting crew on board.

“This isn’t just a test flight of the vehicle,” he added, gesturing to the Pad 39-A. “It’s a test flight of the entire leadership management team.”

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft onboard is seen as it is rolled out of the horizontal integration facility at Launch Complex 39A. The Demo-1 mission will be the first launch of a commercially built and operated American spacecraft and space system designed for humans as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. (Photo by Joel Kowsky/NASA via Getty Images)

It’s not just a new, revitalized space program NASA is celebrating—it’s also something of a restart for its longtime home on Cape Canaveral.

“It is absolutely true that with the retirement of the space shuttles and the cancellation of Constellation, [Kennedy Space Center] was devastated,” Bridenstine said. “Because of the activities going on here under Bob (Cabana’s) leadership and previous NASA administrators, this center, the Kennedy Space Center, is thriving—and in fact, it’s growing,” he said. “We have a lot under development right now. In fact, you could argue we have more under development right now than at any time even during the Apollo era.”

With that development comes a ton of overtime. While the early-morning crowd of onlookers dissipated quickly after the launch, the work for those involved in the joint NASA-SpaceX Demo-1 mission was just beginning. NASA has outlined several objectives for Crew Dragon to complete, to ensure that its astronauts will be safe when they climb aboard the capsule themselves for the Demo-2 flight. The astronauts are currently training for that launch, tentatively scheduled for July 2019, which will be the first time since the space shuttle program shuttered in 2011 that American astronauts will head to space from U.S. soil. A vital part of that preparation, astronaut Doug Hurley said, is involving family as much as possible.

“I don’t know if you know this, but both Bob (Behnken) and I are married to astronauts, so in a lot of cases it makes the discussions at home a little easier,” Hurley, who is training for the Demo 2 flight, said. “I’ve told Victor (Glover) this a couple times—the hardest job is not your job, it’s the spouse that’s watching you launch into space. So an appreciation for that—whatever you can do to include your family in any event.”

Behnken echoed Hurley’s sentiments, explaining how he and his wife are preparing their child.

“The last time I flew into space, I didn’t have a son, now I have a four-year-old. He had not been to a rocket launch before, and I didn’t want his first one to be his father launching into space,” Behnken said. “And so we came down here and were on the top of the building just across the way, and watched [a cargo mission] together as a family in preparation for my eventual flight on a Falcon.”

The gravity of the commitment made by these astronauts is not lost on visitors of Titusville’s Space View Park. Just a few hundred yards away from the water’s edge where the crowd gathered to watch the launch stands monuments that honor the ultimate sacrifice: Engineers, electricians, lab assistants, heavy equipment operators, roofers, painters, and of course, astronauts, are all recognized for giving their lives in the ongoing pursuit of this final, wondrous frontier. In the hours after the launch, at the base of these monuments, anonymous passersby had laid fresh cut red roses. Bridenstine told reporters that it’s his “requirement” to make sure that, first and foremost, the crew of Demo-2 is safe. 

SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft onboard takes off during the Demo-1 mission, at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on March 2, 2019. (Photo by Jim Watson, AFP/Getty Images)

“I want to be clear about this point,” he said. “We are not in a space race. We have no requirement to go early…that race is over. We went to the moon and we won. It’s done. Now we’re in a position where we can take our time and get it right. That’s the goal here. Make sure we get it right. And that’s what we intend to do.”

On early Sunday morning, March 3, the Crew Dragon capsule successfully docked with the International Space Station. Watch the final leg of the Demo-1 mission’s journey below.

Endangered Animals From Each of the 50 States

When you think of endangered animals, species found far inside a tropical rain forest or deep below the ocean’s surface might to spring to mind. However, each state in the U.S. is also home to its own unique animal at risk of going extinct.

To increase awareness of these at-risk species, NetCredit posted a blog with images they created of these unique animals. Below is a selection from across the United States that sit on the endangered species list.

Texas – Northern Aplomado Falcon

Endangered wildlife
Northern Aplomado Falcon (NetCredit/Getty)

The northern aplomado falcon pairs up with a mate for life and then they hunt together to find and eat prey. In the late ’80s the bird was put on the Federal endangered species list. Since then, the falcons have only seen a meager increase in their numbers, despite successful efforts throughout the decades to reintroduce birds bred in captivity into the wild.

Alaska – Blue Whale

Endangered wildlife
Blue Whale (NetCredit/Getty)

Only about 25,000 blue whales remain gracefully gliding through our oceans. Thanks to commercial whaling in the 19th and 20th centuries, the largest mammal species on Earth nearly died out. In 1966, the blue whale became protected from commercial whaling, but that hasn’t stopped the illegal market from taking chunks out the whale’s numbers.

Oklahoma – American Burying Beetle

Endangered wildlife
American Burying Beetle (NetCredit/Getty)

The burying beetle burrows into rotting animal carcasses, mates, and then raises its young in the dead animal. Pesticides and habitat loss are the main reasons why the insect has nearly disappeared from the almost 35 states it once burrowed into. At one point, just a single population of the beetle was known to remain. Now however, thanks to placement on the endangered species list in 1989, six different native and introduced populations survive in the wild.

Louisiana – Louisiana Pine Snake

Endangered wildlife
Louisiana Pine Snake (NetCredit/USDA)

The Louisiana pine snake is a trickster—when provoked, it might flatten its head and hiss loudly as it “rattles” its tail like a rattler. Because of both deforestation of its native home, the longleaf pine tree, and intrusion into its habitat by roads and highways, the Louisiana pine snake is not only listed as federally threatened but internationally endangered as well. Luckily, efforts to increase the population have been successful, thanks in part to timber companies planting longleaf pines as replacement trees instead of loblollies.

Missouri – Ozark Hellbender

Endangered wildlife
Ozark Hellbender (NetCredit/USFWS)

As of 2012, there were only 600 Ozark hellbenders left in the wild. But at one time, over 8,000 of these unique salamanders climbed and slithered around northern Arkansas and southern Missouri. Listed as endangered in 2011, the St. Louis Zoo has been able to successfully breed and reintroduce 185 of the species to the wild so far.

Washington – Columbia Basin Pygmy Rabbit

Endangered wildlife
Columbia Basin Pygmy Rabbit. (NetCredit/reddit)

The Columbia basin pygmy rabbit had all but vanished when it was listed as endangered in 2001—only 50 of the species were thought to remain. Due to expansion of agriculture throughout their habitat, the rabbit had nearly gone extinct. Thanks to efforts by the Oregon Zoo, however, the rabbit has made a moderate comeback, and the zoo has now bred and released more than 50 bunnies onto protected lands.

West Virginia – Virginia Big-Eared Bat

Endangered wildlife
Virginia Big-Eared Bat (NetCredit/Larisa Bishop-Boros)

The Virginia big-eared bat has been listed as endangered since 1979. The mammal’s numbers had greatly decreased due to human intrusion, as the bats are easily disturbed by our presence and, when provoked or scared, they will abandon the safety of their caves, leaving their young alone to die. With only roughly 200,000 bats left in the wild, it’s important that humans steer clear of their native habitat caves when hiking or exploring the forests of the mid-Atlantic region.

Endangered wildlife
Endangered wildlife from each of the 50 United States. Each state is home to one or more unique animals at risk for extinction. Several fish, snake, and bird species right here in the United States have made their way to the endangered species list. (Photo credit: NetCredit)


endangered animals species united states

Check out each of the 50 states’ endangered animal illustrations here.

Fingerprinting: How Studying These Unique Patterns Forever Changed History

Since the 17th century, scientists in various fields had made observations about the ridges and patterns on our fingertips. In 1684, Nehemiah Grew, an English doctor and microscopist, published the first scientific paper describing the unique skin covering our fingers and palms. But the science of fingerprinting wouldn’t arrive until centuries later.

In fact, it wasn’t until 1892, when Sir Francis Galton, a cousin of Charles Darwin, published “Fingerprints,” the first book of its kind to outline a fingerprint classification system. He classified three different patterns in fingerprints, which he called loops, arches and whorls.

fingerprint fingerprinting darwin
Sir Francis Galton and his wife Louisa Jane. Galton was an English scientist and cousin of Charles Darwin. His work covered the areas of meterology, colour blindness, fingerprint identification and mental imagery. Galton was also the founder of eugenics, which attempts to use controlled breeding to increase the occurence of desirable heritable charactersitics in a population. (Photo by SSPL/Getty Images)

Radial and ulnar loops both begin on one side of the finger and exit the other. However, radial loops slope toward the thumb while ulnar loops slope toward your pinky finger.

Arches, like narrow mountains, slope upward and then down, while whorls form a spiral or circular-shaped pattern.

FBI fingerprint fingerprinting
F. B. I. Police Academy: fingerprint study, one of the main courses. There are three different fingerprint pattern classifications: whorls, loops, and arches. (Getty Images)

Scientists look at the shape, size, and the number and arrangement of the lines of fingerprints to distinguish one person and print from the another.

In Argentina, around the same time as Galton, a Buenos Aires police officer named Juan Vucetich was working on a local murder investigation involving two boys while also developing his own variation on the fingerprinting system.

In 1892, when Vucetich used fingerprinting to positively identify one of two murder suspects, it was the first time fingerprints had been used in a criminal investigation. He called his system “comparative dactyloscopy.”

Fingerprinting instructions. Vucetich wrote out his original instructions for taking fingerprints, including explanatory diagrams. (Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)

Sir Edward Henry, a London police officer, built upon Galton’s system and created Henry Classification System. Sir Henry’s system replaced a French system developed by Alphonse Bertillon which measured suspects’ feet, heads, and other features that might distinguish one perp from the next.

Scotland Yard detectives comparing fingerprints in an effort to identify a suspect. (Getty Images)

By 1901, Scotland Yard had established the first Fingerprint Bureau and a few years later the FBI and NY state prisons adopted the use of fingerprints for identification.

1911 mug shot of Vincenzo Perugia, the Italian man who stole the Mona Lisa out of the Louvre Museum in Paris. Police found fingerprints at the scene and used those to identify the thief. Perugia claimed he completed the act out of patriotism, insisting the painting belonged in Leonardo da Vinci’s home country, Italy, and not France. (Getty Images)

In 1911 when Vincenzo Peruggia snatched the Mona Lisa from the Louvre (where he also worked), he also left behind some prints that then later led to the Italian thief’s identification and conviction in Europe.

fingerprinting al capone
Al’s Fingerprints Marked for Police. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The fingerprints of “Al Scarface” Capone, which were taken by Philadelphia police when they arrested him and his bodyguard Frank Cline here. Capone and Cline received a year’s sentence for carrying concealed weapon. (Getty Images)

That same year, the Illinois Supreme Court officially recognized fingerprints as a means of identification, making it the first court in the country to do so. By the 1920s, fingerprinting was a regular procedure for police.

Fingerprint experts examining records and checking them with prints found at scenes of crime at New York Police Department’s Bureau of Criminal Identification. (Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images)

Over the decades enough fingerprints were taken that by 1980 the first computer database of fingerprints was created. Known as Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS), its is now used by the CIA and FBI as well as local law enforcement.

AFIS collects digital prints with sensors and then uses computers to look for patterns in the prints (based on Sir Henry’s system) and finds the best match in the database. As of 1999, every law enforcement agency in the United States was connected to the system, sharing prints across agencies (from local to federal) and states.

Law enforcement agents can collect two types of prints: visible and latent. Visible prints are made on an impressionable surface like blood or dirt while latent prints are made when oil, sweat or another substance on the skin leave behind the print on a surface that is touched by the perpetrator.

A volunteer has his fingerprints scanned for a biometrics enrolment card in British Passport Office, London, England, April 24, 2004. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

Nowadays it’s not just criminals being fingerprinted. Immigrants are fingerprinted and some folks have their prints taken to obtain a state driver’s license or as part of a background check for work for a government job or as a police officer or teacher. Last week, after the mass shooting in Aurora, a state lawmaker is seeking to require fingerprinting for residents of Illinois to own a gun. 

The Grandest Part of “America’s Best Idea” Turns 100

A UNESCO World Heritage Site which was made a national monument in 1908, the Grand Canyon was designated a national park by President Woodrow Wilson 100 years ago on February 26, 1919.

“The parks do not belong to one state or to one section,” said Stephen Tyng Mather, the first director of the National Park Service. “They have become democratized. The Yosemite, the Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon are national properties in which every citizen has a vested interest; they belong as much to the man of Massachusetts, of Michigan, of Florida, as they do to the people of California, of Wyoming, and of Arizona.”

Visited by approximately six million people per year, Grand Canyon National Park is 190 miles long, covers an area of roughly 1,900 square miles, and contains some 277 miles of the Colorado River.

With a depth of 6,093 feet at its deepest point, the Grand Canyon is shallower than the Yarlung Tsangpo Grand Canyon (17,567 feet) in Tibet by more than two miles. The Yarlung Tsangpo is also about 30 miles longer.

Populated by five Native American tribes (Hopi, Navajo, Havasupai, Paiute, Hualapai), the Grand Canyon is home to approximately 70 species of mammals, 250 species of birds, 25 types of reptiles, and five species of amphibians.

Interestingly, the conditions within the Colorado River (heavy silt, frequent floods, extreme temperature swings) make it difficult for fish to survive and the river is only home to eight species, six of which are found nowhere else.

The bulk of the canyon’s human population – which it does have – is located in Supai Village inside the Havasupai Indian Reservation. With a population of 208, Supai Village is the only location in the lower 48 states where mail is still delivered by pack mule.

Of the park animals which the villagers and visitors must contend with – which include bighorn sheep, mountain lions, rattlesnakes, and California condors – the most dangerous one is also one of the smallest: the rock squirrel.

Every year, the moody mammals bite visitors who attempt to feed them. They aren’t bears, but when they say don’t feed the animals at Grand Canyon National Park, the employees mean it.

He never spoke on the squirrels, but President Theodore Roosevelt, who was responsible for declaring the Grand Canyon a national monument, said this of the giant hole in the ground: “Let this great wonder of nature remain as it now is. You cannot improve on it. But what you can do is keep it for your children, your children’s children, and all who come after you, as the one great sight which every American should see.”

In case you haven’t, we’ve curated a set of 20 of the best Grand Canyon photos available in honor of the national park’s centennial.

Grand Canyon of the Colorado, Arizona c1898. By William Henry Jackson 1843-1942, photographer. (Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)
Arizona, USA. Grand Canyon with the Colorado RiverAerial view. (Photo by: Photo12/UIG via Getty Images)
The Grand Canyon (Photo by Bernard Annebicque/Sygma/Sygma via Getty Images)
The Grand Canyon in Arizona. (Photo by Russell Lee/Getty Images)
GRAND CANYON,ARIZONA – JUNE 1952: A view of the Grand Canyon, Arizona. (Photo by Ivan Dmitri/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
A view of the Grand Canyon after snow fall in Arizona, January 1988. (Photo by Tom Stoddart/Getty Images)
Grand Canyon, Bright Angel. (Photo By: MyLoupe/UIG Via Getty Images)
Black and white photograph, view with rock formation in foreground, captioned “Grand Canyon National Park”, by Ansel Adams, from Photographs of National Parks and Monuments, Arizona, United States, 1941. (Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images).
South Rim of the Grand Canyon, Arizona. (Photo by Independent Picture Service/UIG via Getty Images)
Grand Canyon, Navajo Point. (Photo By: MyLoupe/UIG Via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES – CIRCA 1994: The Grand Canyon in United States in 1994 – Arizona. (Photo by Jean-Erick PASQUIER/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
Closer view, from north rim, of cliff formation, in Grand Canyon, Arizona, 1941. (Photo by Ansel Adams/National Park Service/Buyenlarge/Getty Images)
Grand Canyon, Lipan Point. (Photo By: MyLoupe/UIG Via Getty Images)
UNSPECIFIED – CIRCA 1997: United States of America – Arizona – Grand Canyon National Park (UNESCO World Heritage List, 1979). (Photo By DEA / L. ROMANO/De Agostini/Getty Images)
Grand Canyon of Arizona 1900, By William Henry Jackson 1843-1942, photographer. (Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)
Part of the Grand Canyon, reflected in the Colorado River, Arizona, USA, circa 1970. (Photo by Ernst Haas/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
UNSPECIFIED – CIRCA 1997: United States of America – Arizona – Grand Canyon National Park (UNESCO World Heritage List, 1979). Little Colorado river. (Photo By DEA / L. ROMANO/De Agostini/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES – JANUARY 01: Colorado River and the Grand Canyon. (Photo by Dmitri Kessel/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES – 1991/01/01: USA, Wyoming, Yellowstone Np, Grand Canyon Of The Yellowstone, Lower Falls, Yellowstone River. (Photo by Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images)
This is the south rim of the Grand Canyon known as Grand View Point, Also in view is the Colorado River at sunrise. (Photo by Visions of America/UIG via Getty Images)

Hollywood’s Who’s Who of Posthumous Oscar Winners

The 2019 Oscars will mark the 10-year anniversary of Heath Ledger winning an Academy Award—a Best Supporting Actor win for his role as the Joker in The Dark Knight—not long after his untimely death. Let’s take a look back at other Oscar winners who left us before they could collect their golden statue.

Sidney Howard

sidney howard academy award oscars
In 1940, playwright and screenwriter Sidney Howard won an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for his work on the iconic masterpiece “Gone with the Wind.” The writer died before he could collect the award. (Photo by Florence Vandamm/Condé Nast via Getty Images)

Year: 1940

Award: Best Adapted Screenplay, Gone with the Wind

Sidney Howard was a playwright and screenwriter who received a Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1925 for his Broadway play They Knew What They Wanted. He won an Academy Award in 1940 for Best Adapted Screenplay for his work on the iconic film Gone with the Wind. But during the summer before the Oscars, in 1939, Howard was in a tragic farming accident that took his life.

Victor Young

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A portrait of Composer Victor Young, March 2nd 1954. In 1957 Young won an Academy Award after his death for Best Music for “Around the World in 80 Days.” (Photo by Archive Photos/Getty Images)

Year: 1957

Award: Best Music (Scoring), Around the World in 80 Days

Victor Young had had a long successful career in Hollywood, having been nominated 20 times prior to his post-death win. He had scored notable films such as Gulliver’s Travels and For Whom The Bell Tolls. Young finally won an Oscar for Best Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture for the 1956 film Around the World in 80 Days. However, Young died from a cerebral haemorrhage before he could collect his award. The composer was just 56.

William A. Horning

william a. horning oscars academy awards
William A. Horning won two Oscars for Art Direction after his death, one for “Gigi” and another for “Ben-Hur” (“Ben-Hur” photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)

Year: 1958 & 1959

Award: Best Art Direction, Gigi and Ben-Hur

Art director William A. Horning has the rare distinction of being a two-time, posthumous Academy Award winner in consecutive years. Horning, who passed away in 1956, first won for art direction for his work on the 1957 film Gigi, which won Best Picture in 1958. The following year he won again in the same category for the film Ben-Hur, which also won Best Picture.

Sam Zimbalist

Ben-Hur academy awards oscars
Italian actress Gina Lollobrigida leaning her head on American film producer Sam Zimbalist’s shoulder. After his death in 1958, Zimbalist won the Academy Award for Best Picture for “Ben-Hur.” (Photo by Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images)

Year: 1959

Award: Best Picture, Ben-Hur

Sam Zimbalist is the only person to win a posthumous Oscar for Best Picture. Zimbalist died in 1958 before he could accept the award for his work on classic Roman tale Ben-Hur. Zimablist was a well-known Hollywood producer and film editor. He worked on nearly 30 films before his death at age 57.

Eric Orbom

academy award oscars eric orbom
English actor Laurence Olivier as Crassus, and actor John Gavin as Julius Caesar, in a bath scene in ‘Spartacus’, directed by Stanley Kubrick, 1960. Eric Orbom, the film’s art director, won the 1960 Academy Award for art direction after his death. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)

Year: 1960

Award: Best Art Direction, Spartacus

Swedish-born art director Eric Orbom received a posthumous Academy Award in 1960 for his work on the film Spartacus. Orbom was also the art director for more than 35 other films including This Earth is Mine and Twilight for the Gods.

Walt Disney

walt disney oscar academy awards
Walt Disney, shown here in 1967, won an Academy Award in 1969, after his death, for the short film “Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day” (Photo by Frankenberg/ullstein bild via Getty Images)

Year: 1969

Award: Best Short Film, Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day

In 1969, the legendary Walt Disney posthumously won his final Academy Award, in the Best Short Subject category, for Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day. This was Disney’s 26th Oscar. Among his earlier notable nominations was a Best Picture nod in 1965 for Mary Poppins. Mickey Mouse’s creator holds the record for most nominations and most wins by any individual.

Raymond Rasch & Larry Russell

academy awards oscars
Actor Charlie Chaplin in “Limelight.” Twenty years after the film’s release, Raymond Rasch and Larry Russell were awarded an Oscar for Best Music for their work on the 1952 film. (Photo by W. Eugene Smith/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)

Year: 1972

Award: Best Music (Scoring), Limelight

Twenty years after the initial release of the Charlie Chaplin movie Limelight, the film’s composers Raymond Rasch and Larry Russell, since deceased, were awarded an Oscar for their work on the film. Limelight had been the 81st movie to star the legendary silent film star Chaplin, but when it was originally released in 1952 it had been widely panned by critics. When the film was re-released twenty years later, however, it garnered two Oscars, one for Best Music and one an honorary Academy Award for Chaplin.

Peter Finch

oscars academy awards
British-born actor Peter Finch wears a raincoat and raises his arms in a still from the film, “Network”, directed by Sydney Lumet, 1976. Finch is the only actor to have won a Best Actor Oscar after death. (Photo by MGM Studios/Courtesy of Getty Images)

Year: 1977

Award: Best Actor, Network

Peter Finch won the Best Actor Oscar for his role in the 1976 film Network. The actor’s widow, Eletha Finch, accepted the award in his honor at the ceremony. Network went on to win three more awards that evening: Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Original Screenplay. Finch was the first—and is still the only—actor to posthumously win the Best Actor award.

Geoffrey Unsworth

oscars academy awards
Holding Oscars for Best Cinematography are Jackie Unsworth (second from left) and Chislain Cloquet (second from right). Unsworth accepted the award at the 1981 Academy Awards on behalf of her father, Geoffrey, as he died prior to the ceremony. (ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images)

Year: 1981

Award: Best Cinematography, Tess

After his death, Geoffrey Unsworth won an Academy Award for Tess in 1981. The well-known cinematographer had won in the past for his work on the film Cabaret. Unsworth is perhaps best known for his work on Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey and Richard Donner’s Superman.

Howard Ashman

oscars academy awards
Howard Ashman died due to complications from AIDS before he could collect this Best Song Academy Award for the title track from the Disney classic film “Beauty and the Beast.” (Disney)

Year: 1992

Award: Best Music (Original Song), Beauty and the Beast

Howard Ashman’s lyrics are beloved by millions—he wrote and won an Oscar for The Little Mermaid song “Under the Sea,”. However, after his death in 1991 due to complications from AIDS, Ashman went on to win another Academy Award for Best Original Song for the title track from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. The composer’s music also went on to be featured in Aladdin, for which he was also nominated for the song “Friend Like Me.”

Thomas C. Goodwin

Oscars Academy Awards
A still from “Educating Peter.” Thomas C. Goodwin won the award after he passed away. His producing partner on the documentary accepted the award on his behalf. (HBO/YouTube)

Year: 1993

Award: Best Documentary (Short Subject), Educating Peter

Thomas C. Goodwin died before he could accept his Oscar for Best Documentary Short at the 1993 Oscar Awards. His producing partner, Gerardine Wurzburg, accepted the award on their behalf, saying she was “dedicating this to my partner, Tom Goodwin—business partner—who died this past year, and his wife Dorothy Jackson.”

Conrad Hall

oscars academy awards
Conrad W. Hall, accepting the award for Best Cinematography for “Road to Perdition” awarded to his late father, Conrad L. Hall (Photo by J. Vespa/WireImage)

Year: 2003

Award: Best Cinematography, Road to Perdition

Conrad Hall was a French-American cinematographer best known for his work on iconic films like Cool Hand Luke and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Hall died a few months before he could collect his Best Cinematography Oscar for his work on the 2002 Paul Newman film Road to Perdition. The film was nominated for six Academy Awards, Hall being the only nominee to win the prize.

Heath Ledger

oscars academy awards
Heath Ledger passed away before receiving his Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for the 2008 Batman movie “The Dark Knight.” The actor was found dead in his apartment of a drug overdose weeks before the Oscar ceremony. (Photo by Carlo Allegri/Getty Images)

Year: 2009

Award: Best Supporting Actor, The Dark Knight

Heath Ledger is the only actor to win the Best Supporting Actor Academy Award posthumously. Ledger won for his unforgettable performance in The Dark Knight as The Joker. The 2019 Academy Awards will mark the 10-year anniversary of the late actor’s post-death win.

Gil Friesen

oscars academy awards
After he died, Gil Friesen, seen here with his wife Janet Friesen, received an Oscar for his documentary “20 Feet From Stardom.” (Photo by Stefanie Keenan/WireImage)

Year: 2014

Award: Best Documentary Feature, 20 Feet From Stardom

Gil Friesen was known as the executive producer for the 1980’s cult classic film The Breakfast Club as well as an American music executive. Friesen worked as promoter for musical acts such as The Carpenters, The Police, and Janet Jackson. Friesen went on to produce the 2013 music documentary about back-up singer, 20 Feet From Stardom, which earned him a posthumous Oscar as well as a Grammy Award for Best Music Film.