Cascata delle Marmore (Marmore Falls) Romans built the world's tallest artificial waterfall in 271 BC.

Cascata delle Marmore, or Marmore Falls, is a magnificent sight to behold. Water from the Velino River surges through the hills above the city of Rieti before bursting over verdant cliffs and plummeting into the valley below. The tiered waterway, surrounded by trees and greenery, looks like a fabulous force of nature.

In reality, there’s nothing natural about these falls. At 541 feet tall, this waterway is the tallest human-made waterfall in the world. It’s impressive stature is a 2,000-year-old testament to human engineering.

The Romans built Cascata delle Marmore in 271 BC. At the time, the hills were a marshy spot, full of stagnant water and disease-bearing insects. To fix the issue, a Roman consul ordered workers to construct a canal that would send the water soaring over a nearby cliff and down into the Nera River, which flowed through the valley below.

While this did in fact fix the swamp issue, it unfortunately created another problem. The canal was so effective at rerouting the water that it wound up flooding the river below, threatening the nearby city of Terni. Tension over water management between the highland and lowland residents became so heated the Roman senate was forced to intervene in 54 BC (though their involvement actually accomplished nothing).

The falls continued to flow uninterrupted until the 15th and 16th centuries, when a couple of new channels were created to help divert the flooding. Cascata delle Marmore received its current look in 1787, when an architect diverted some of the water to create a series of lateral cataracts.

Humans still control the waterfall. Much of the Velino River is now channeled into a hydroelectric plant, which reduces the fall’s thundering, roaring flow to a mere whimper. But twice a day, much to the delight of visitors, the power plant flips a switch and lets the water once again gush over the cliffs as it had for millennia.

The Absurd Story Of The Pope Who Put His Predecessor’s Corpse On Trial

Pope Stephen VI despised his predecessor — Pope Formosus, who reigned from 891 to 896 — because he felt Formosus had assumed the papacy illegally. So extreme was this hatred that Stephen VI decided to formally try Formosus for his crimes.

But there was an issue: Formosus had been dead for over a year.

Stephen VI was undeterred. And instead of merely putting Formosus posthumously on trial, Stephen VI had Formosus’ rotting corpse exhumed, dressed in full papal garb, given a lawyer, and propped up on the stand as if it were any other inquest.

The events that led up to the Cadaver Synod actually began before Formosus’ reign. While Rome had once been the undisputed epicenter of the Papal States, smaller cities around it were starting to flourish. Rifts began forming within the Church, which had previously established a unified front, and the papacy was becoming something men were aspiring to as a position of power more than divine leadership.

Formosus’ rise to the papacy received momentum when he was appointed bishop by John VIII. The new bishop had been a successful missionary and was known for spreading Catholicism in the Bulgar kingdom. However, because of his success, rumors abounded that he had taken up residence as the bishop of more than one city, which would have violated Church policy.

Fearing Formosus’ growing influence, John VIII excommunicated him.

In fact, shortly after excommunicating Formosus, John VIII was assassinated. Then, following a series of short-lived popes, Formosus finally took the papacy.

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Man Busted For Disguising His Cannabis Plants As Bonsai Trees

It’s no surprise that most ordinary joes in Japan are unfamiliar with cannabis growing techniques. So when one Osaka resident decided to take up his own crop, he decided to go at the green with a much different tradition of gardening.

Satoshi Ohashi, a 35-year old janitor living in the Higashiyodogawa Ward of Osaka, Japan, was arrested at his home last month for cultivating and selling “taima”—the Japanese word for marijuana (pronounced “tie-mah”)—which resembled bonsai trees due to his unique cultivation methods.

Ohashi treated his pot plants as if they were bonsai trees, rather than employ the usual cultivation and production methods to grow pot plants, which normally grow over a meter high. Ohashi’s plants maxed out at 40 centimeters (15.748 inches) high instead.

Police discovered 21 bonsai pot plants, each approximately 12 to 15 inches high, in Ohashi’s house.

While most cannabis plants can grow up to a meter, the Osaka local was snipping his off at 15 inches. The bonsai tree tradition goes all the way back to the 6th century. Beginning with a variation on the Chinese practice of ‘penjing,’ or ‘tray scenery,’ it has since become better known as a Japanese art form of its own. The practice exercises grace, patience and a green thumb. When pressed by authorities, the Osaka janitor said it was to conserve space. Just making the most of his tiny apartment. But at the same time, Ohashi said it was the first time he “produced such a great crop.”

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Gandhi and the Professor [via Mary Calhoun]

When Mahatma Gandhi was studying law at the University College of London, a white professor whose last name was Peters disliked him intensely and always displayed prejudice and animosity towards him.  Also, because Gandhi never lowered his head when addressing him, as he expected.... there were always "arguments" and confrontations.

One day, Mr. Peters was having lunch in the dining room of the University, and Gandhi came along with his tray and sat next to the professor.  The professor said, "Mr. Gandhi, you do not understand.  A pig and a bird do not sit together to eat."

Gandhi looked at him as a parent would a rude child and calmly replied, "You do not worry professor.  I'll fly away," and he went and sat at another table.

Mr. Peters, reddened with rage, decided to take revenge on the next test paper, but Gandhi responded brilliantly to all questions.  Mr. Peters, unhappy and frustrated, asked him the following question: "Mr. Gandhi, if you were walking down the street and found a package, and within was a bag of wisdom and another bag with a lot of money, which one would you take?"

Without hesitating, Gandhi responded, "The one with the money, of course."

Mr. Peters, smiling sarcastically said, "I, in your place, would have taken the wisdom, don't you think?"

Gandhi shrugged indifferently and responded, "Each one takes what he doesn't have."

Mr. Peters, by this time, was fit to be tied.  So great was his anger that he wrote on Gandhi's exam sheet the word "idiot" and gave it to Gandhi.  Gandhi took the exam sheet and sat down at his desk trying very hard to remain calm while he contemplated his next move.

A few minutes later, Gandhi got up, went to the professor and said to him in a dignified but sarcastically polite tone, "Mr. Peters, you signed the sheet, but you did not give me the grade."