5 Historic Artifacts You Won't Believe still Work

Unless you're talking about diamonds, Twinkies or vampires, lasting forever usually isn't in the cards. Yet all over the world -- and universe -- there are machines, engineering feats and pieces of meat that never got the memo that we all have a use-by date. If we didn't know any better, we'd think these things were actually us with their tenacity.5The Light Bulb That Has Been Shining for 110 YearsIn 1901, the Livermore Fire Department in California decided it was time to try that newfangled "electricity" thing all the kids were jabbering about. So they installed electrical lighting in the station, complete with modern light bulbs and everything.And 110 years later, one of those original bulbs is still doing its thing.When you look at the statistics, this is truly mind-boggling: Old-style incandescent light bulbs only last , while newer bulbs can go up to 25,000 hours with moderate use. The Livermore bulb, by comparison, has been in near-continuous use for over 110 years, and . That time period alone is .In the early '70s, a reporter (who was apparently going through one hell of a slow news day) found out about the old bulb and started digging around. Instead of printing a half-assed article filled with light bulb jokes, he the , and General Electric. When they all verified that the bulb was actually the oldest functioning one in the world, the town went nuts, even giving the bulb when it was switched between the old fire station and a new one in 1976.Since then, it has gained widespread attention and the media friendly, in-no-way-pompous nickname of .4The 2,000-Year-Old Tomb ... With Working Booby TrapsIf there's anything that adventure movies have taught us, besides the importance of sports bras, it's that tombs are tricky business. Yes, they hold rich stuff and hidden pirate ships and badass skeletons sporting diamond eyes, and yes, those facts are totally scientific and not stolen from , but they're also rigged with things that will kill you. One misstep on an ancient tripwire or floor tile, and BAM! Decapitating blades, giant spikes and crushing drop ceilings for everyone!Of course, that's just what the movies would have us believe. In reality, the burden of countless centuries would easily obliterate such delicate designs, as wood and rope and other old-time building supplies would have rotted to dust by now. Right?Well ...The mausoleum of the ancient Chinese emperor was discovered in the 1970s. You might have heard about the fantastic, world famous found guarding it. A less known fact is that to this day, the site remains largely unexplored. This is largely because of pressing moral questions about preserving the past and a shitload of cunning booby traps that might still totally work.Ancient writings about intricate traps and contraptions such as pressure-sensitive crossbows and murderous mini-oceans full of mercury were dismissed as fairy tales ... that is, until scientists ran probes into the tomb, just on the off chance that there was something to the legends of mercury rivers guarding the long-dead emperor. What did they find? A fire-breathing dragon! Just kidding. A lot of mercury is what they found -- at levels . The scientists couldn't help but think there might be something to the ancient warnings.But what about the automatic crossbow contraptions? Those would be long rusted by now, right? Nope -- other weapons excavated in the tomb were coated with something called chromate, which made them rust-resistant. So it only makes sense that the hair-trigger crossbows were also coated with the stuff, since they were the ones guarding the emperor and all. And according to , "."After this find, the excavation staff was naturally pretty reluctant to venture farther into the tomb. They were still willing to do some further research, perhaps eventually going as far as opening the tomb itself. However, the Chinese government and, presumably not wanting to become the first nation to host a reenactment of the opening scenes of , vetoed further excavations. This ban lasted ... and even today, archaeologists must remain well away from the tomb itself, probably so that a giant rolling rock doesn't crush them.3The "Temporary" Dam ... Built 2,000 Years AgoIn the second century, the Indian Chola government to divert water for irrigation. However, due to the on the decided spot, the area was particularly prone to floods. So before they could actually get around to building a dam, a rough, makeshift stone-block version was hastily constructed for the oncoming rainy season, with the reasoning that they would build a new one in about 20 years when this one inevitably failed.However, like so many government-funded projects, the construction of a better dam was delayed again and again and again. So the makeshift dam did what it could, then finally fell apart and gave the people of the plains below the gift of a watery grave.Ha, no, not really. No matter how much water came, . Decade after decade, century after century, . In fact, up until the bossing around 1,500 years later, the supposedly temporary construct -- now known as the Grand Anicut -- was the area's only line of defense against the huge floods that attempted to kill everyone on a yearly basis. In photos, you see some modern additions to the dam, but make no mistake: The original structure is still there, doing its job.It turned out the Grand Anicut's unique "just build it however" design was, by sheer stupid luck, actually one of the best ways to build a dam, ever. It was so efficient and cost-effective that the British engineers ended up of the of the people they were supposed to be governing.2The Twin Satellites That Refuse to DieWhen satellites are sent out into space, scientists generally hope for a few good years of info before the equipment succumbs to the cold abyss and/or is eaten by Space Trolls. Few orbiting satellites get past their 10th birthday, and operating that long of orbit is pretty much unheard of.Except, that is, for the .In 1977, NASA to gather data on Jupiter and Saturn. Their life expectancy was estimated to be four years, but after five had passed, the satellites just kept on trucking. People started wondering what would happen if NASA just kept them out there ... forever. Voyager 1 on a course to outer space, and Voyager 2 got a ticket to explore Neptune and Uranus.Thirty-five years and 14.5 billion miles from Earth, both Voyagers are working as well as they did the day they were launched. And although most of their current data is strictly confined to how cold and empty space is, they might still have a role to play: They are about to exit the sun's sphere of gravity, and will soon, for the first time in history, provide invaluable firsthand information about what lies beyond.1The 36,000-Year-Old DinnerAt some point, we've all stretched the scientific limits for how long food can last before it becomes inedible and/or poisonous. Meat can generally be safely kept in a freezer for . Military Meals Ready to Eat (MREs), if stored properly, . The canning process can give certain foods a shelf life of decades. And the Arctic ... well, it can apparently preserve an edible bison or woolly mammoth for a few dozen centuries. And yes, humans have eaten them.First, let us rewind to 10,000 years ago, the time when were roaming Siberia. When they died, their carcasses were lost in the permafrost. Frozen solid, they could , as if they'd perished just yesterday. And as the mammoths slowly became extinct, their hulking bodies remained frozen in the hellish wastelands we now lovingly call the Arctic.So in the 1920s, people started finding mammoth bodies with meat so well preserved as to be edible ... if you call half-rotted and definitely freezer burned "edible." Having better food available, and also common sense, the meat was reportedly .But in the early 2000s, Russian scientists weren't as choosy or concerned with self-preservation. Feeling the urge for some sweet, sweet mammoth steak, one reckless soul carved a bit off of the they had in their cold storage and Epic Meal Timed the s**t out of it.The resulting banquet was perfectly edible all right, but tasted "awful" and, shockingly, not unlike "meat left too long in a freezer."That's not to say ancient meat tastes like ass, though. When a 36,000-year-old baby bison was found frozen in Alaska in 1979, one scientist knew exactly what to do with it. He performed a bunch of experiments ... and then calmly carved some meat out of it and , because heavy sciencing makes for a heavy appetite.The stew was not only edible, but deemed "." So, yeah, that meatloaf you've had in the freezer since 1994? Some day, after civilization has collapsed, risen again and collapsed once more, some cyborg will heat that s**t up and declare it "OK."

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