The Sideshow
  • 228 customers treated each other to free coffee on a seemingly random December day (WLS Chicago)One coffeehouse customer’s random act of kindness went viral—resulting in hours of free beverages for hundreds of fellow patrons who couldn’t resist the urge to pass along the generosity.

    On the morning of Dec. 21, a customer at a Tim Hortons in Winnipeg Canada decided to pay for the order of the person behind them in line. The customer on the receiving end was so moved they, in turn, decided to pay for the customer behind them in line.The trend continued for three hours and exactly 228 customers.

    "It isn't uncommon for Tim Hortons customers to pay for the next person in line, but this was a real gift," Michelle Robichaud, a spokeswoman for the company, told the Winnipeg Free Press. "It was a boost of goodness, especially with everything happening in the world. ... We don't know who started it, but that's the beauty of this act of generosity. It was the start of something wonderful."

    The rest of us will likely have to wait until September for a shot at receiving a free espresso or

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  • Portrait of Louis XVI by Antoine-François Callet (Wikimedia Commons)

    It's been more than 200 years since King Louis XVI was beheaded by French revolutionaries, but a team of scientists believes a recently discovered gourd contains traces of his blood.

    According to the BBC, the scientists say a dried, hollowed-out squash that had been kept by an Italian family as a souvenir contains a handkerchief that was dipped in the king's blood by a spectator.

    A message on the outside of the calabash reads: "On January 21, Maximilien Bourdaloue dipped his handkerchief in the blood of Louis XVI after his decapitation."

    According to the findings published in Forensic Science International, analysis of DNA taken from the blood revealed it to be similar to DNA from a mummified head believed to belong to Henri IV, Louis' 16th-century predecessor.

    Results of a 2010 test on the gourd were inconclusive, but the genetic connection to Henri's remains led the scientists to conclude the blood found inside the gourd is indeed that of the king's.

    "This study shows that [the remains] share a genetic heritage passed on through the paternal line,” forensic pathologist Philippe Charlier told Agence France-Presse. "They have a direct link to one another through their fathers. One could say that there is absolutely no doubt any more."

    Louis XVI was killed by guillotine on Jan. 21, 1793; Henri IV was killed in 1610.

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  • The tallest building in the world had a big new year.

    The Burj Khalifa, the soaring 2,716-foot tower in Dubai, started 2013 with a massive sound and light show that seemed to turn the high-rise into a giant fireworks display.

    A video, which captured the attention of the Web, shows an eye-popping performance that was accompanied by the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra playing on the Burj Steps, an arena-style venue extending from the building. Fireworks, which were also set off elsewhere around Dubai, appeared around and on top of the skyscraper.

    The tower is used to fame—it had itsHollywood moment in the movie Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol, when Tom Cruise scaled it from the outside.

    Even if you couldn’t afford a $4,300 window-side table at the restaurant on the 122nd floor, aptly named Atmosphere, to catch the show up close, there was plenty to take in from the ground. Close to a million people on the street watched what organizers called “arguably the best display on the

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