This Week in Google News Alerts: 'Ghost Town' - Atlas Obscura
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This Week in Google News Alerts: ‘Ghost Town’

Bennettville Bunkhouse, California. (Photo: Utilizer)

I’m a pretty bad driver, if we’re being honest. I live in a city with public transportation, fortunately, but my parents live in a rural area, so whenever we visit I find myself behind the wheel. During a recent round of “Jessie Can’t Drive and It’s Terrifying, Ha Ha!” my mom pointed out that a sparsely populated county of flat roads and few intersections was probably the safest place for me to drive.

Someone at the University of Michigan must have had similar reasoning, because this week’s Google News Alert for “ghost town” featured MCity an “intentional community,” except the community is self-driving cars and the intention is safely testing them. MCity has it all: a variety of roadways and signage, hydrants, sidewalks, stoplights, buildings, “stationary and mechanized pedestrians, and anything else you might need to simulate real driving experiences. It’s a 21st-century definition of “ghost town:” an empty town where driver-less, passenger-less vehicles roam the streets aimlessly.

Surprisingly, Mcity isn’t the only ghost town playing a role in scientific research. The rare minerals stichtite and crocoite can be found in western Tasmania’s abandoned ghost town, Dundas. Scientists have traveled to Dundas to study the stichtite, which may help determine whether life ever existed on Mars. Today, the only inhabitants of Dundas are a couple with a love of minerals.

Bonus: Medieval News Alert 

My “medieval” alert provided a variety of news this week. Chastity belts became a trending topic when a woman required the assistance of firefighters to get out of hers. However, despite the enduring tales and a few artifacts, historians believe medieval women didn’t actually use them. If you’d like to verify this by consulting a few primary sources, there’s a new app available for Android and iOS to help you do so. The app features genuine manuscripts from the Leeds University Library and allows you to test your transcription skills. Hopefully, newly digitized materials such as Lehigh University’s collection will be added in the future.

With your chastity belt on and your Book of Hours transcribed, you’re now ready to fully commit to the medieval lifestyle. Luckily for you, Medieval MMA fighting can fulfill your athletic needs, and even your cat can get in on the action, thanks to the more modern technology of 3D printing.

Other Alerts of Note 

“Haunted”Delhi is going after the AO market by emphasizing the city’s haunted and generally spooky tourist destinations.

“Mummy”: The world’s largest scientific study of mummies commences at the Warsaw Mummy Project.

“Two-headed”: I’m happy to introduce you all to Medusa], a two-headed Honduran Milk snake who so far seems to be living a happy life (lives?) with her owner.

That’s it for this week! Remember, let us know what terms you’d like to see, and we’ll see you next week!