Abandoned Fort on a Private Island in New York Has Hit the Market for Less Than $1 Million

If you love old, abandoned places and don’t mind a fixer-upper, this 19th-century fort could be yours for less than $1 million. As Atlas Obscura reports, Fort Montgomery in upstate New York is currently for sale at a reduced price. The owners have been trying to offload the property for decades, but to their disappointment, there haven’t been any interested buyers.

It's part of the town of Rouses Point, New York, which is situated along the Canadian border. The fort comes with the 8-acre island it’s situated on, plus an additional 86 acres of underwater land in Lake Champlain.

Sure, the fort itself has seen better days, but it might appeal to history buffs. Before Fort Montgomery was built, the island was home to an earlier structure that was meant to protect the U.S. border, but was mistakenly built on the Canadian side. This mishap earned it the nickname “Fort Blunder.” At the time, relations between America and British-governed Canada were somewhat tense, so the structure was torn down and Fort Montgomery was erected (on the correct side of the border). It was built over the course of three decades and ended up being a proper fort with a moat, drawbridge, and armed soldiers to boot.

Nowadays, it’s less of a military outpost and more of a “serene retreat,” according to real estate company Private Islands Inc., which is hoping to sell the property for $995,000. “When you enter Fort Montgomery Island Estates, you cross the threshold into a priceless scenic world,” the site's description of the property reads. “Sunrises and sunsets illuminate the sky over picturesque Lake Champlain and a magnificent 6,500 feet of nature preserves.”

If this property doesn’t appeal to you, there's a private island with ancient ruins in Ireland that could be yours for $1.4 million, while another island off the coast of Sicily could sell for as little as $1.1 million.

[h/t Atlas Obscura]

Science Finds a Better Way to Calculate 'Dog Years'

thegoodphoto/iStock via Getty Images
thegoodphoto/iStock via Getty Images

Anyone who has ever owned a pet is likely familiar with the concept of “dog years,” which suggests that one year for a dog is like seven years for a human. Using this conversion metric, a 2-year-old dog is akin to a high school freshman, while a 10-year-old dog is ready for an assisted living facility.

If that seems rather arbitrary, that’s because it is. But now, researchers at the University of San California, San Diego have come to a more data-based measurement on dog aging through DNA.

The paper, published on the preprint server bioRxiv, based the finding on DNA methylation, a process in which molecules called methyl groups attach themselves to DNA and serve as an indicator of aging. Generally speaking, the older living beings get, the faster the rate of methylation. In the study, 104 Labrador retrievers were examined, with subjects ranging from 1 month to 16 years old. The results of their DNA methylation were compared to human profiles. While the rate of methylation tracked closely between the two—young and old dogs had similar rates to young and old people—adolescent and mature dogs experienced more accelerated aging.

Their recommended formula for comparing dog and human aging? Multiply the natural logarithm of a dog’s age by 16, then add 31. Or, just use this calculator. Users will see that a 2-year-old dog, for example, wouldn’t be the canine equivalent of a 14-year-old. It would be equivalent to 42 human years old and should probably start putting money into a 401(k). But because methylation slows considerably in mid-life, a 5-year-old dog is approximately a 57-year-old human, while a 6-year-old dog is nearing 60 in human years—a minor difference. Things level out as the dog gets much older, with a 10-year-old dog nearing a 70-year-old human.

Different breeds age at different rates, so the formula might not necessarily apply to other dog breeds—only Labs were studied. The work is awaiting peer review, but it does offer a promising glimpse into how our furry companions grow older.

[h/t Live Science]

Werner Doehner, the Last Survivor of the Hindenburg, Has Died at 90

Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain
Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

The Hindenburg disaster signaled the end of the Airship Era and the rise of Nazi Germany. As The New York Times reports, Werner G. Doehner, the last surviving passenger of the historic crash, died on November 8 at age 90.

Doehner was just 8 years old when he boarded the Hindenburg with his father, mother, brother, and sister in early May 1937. The family made up five of the 97 passengers and crew members who took the three-day flight from Germany to the United States.

In New Jersey, the German airship's voyage was cut short: It erupted into a ball of flame during its descent, an accident that likely resulted from static electricity igniting a hydrogen leak. Werner Doehner spent several months in a hospital with severe burns on his arms, legs, and face. His father and sister were among the 36 people who perished in the tragedy.

Doehner went on to live a long life. After the disaster, he returned with his surviving family to Mexico City, the place were he grew up. He continued to live there with his wife Elin and his son Bernie until 1984, when he moved to the United States with his family to work as an engineer for General Electric. Bernie Doehner shared that his father didn't like to talk about his memories of the Hindenburg disaster—though they did make a solemn visit to the site of the crash when Bernie was an adolescent.

Werner Doehner died of complications related to pneumonia earlier this month in Laconia, New Hampshire. He had been the youngest passenger on board the Hindeburg's final voyage, and at age 90, he was the last remaining survivor.

[h/t The New York Times]

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