Menu Home

Highest heels

Chopine

Venice, 15th century. It’s a gorgeous city, but has a tendency to get a bit waterlogged, so you wear clogs to keep your clothes out of the mud. Next thing you know, you’re half a metre off the ground.

Venomous primate

Slow Loris

Lots of spiders, snakes, and fish are venomous. This is not news to most people. Many people know that the platypus has venomous spurs… but it turns out that the platypus is not the only mammal with venom.

First fingerprint

Fingerprint

The first criminal fingerprint bureau was set up in Argentina in 1892 by police chief Juan Vucetich. That year, an officer used Vucetich’s techniques to catch the first criminal to be found guilty because of fingerprint evidence.

Chaucer’s astrolabe

Astrolabe

Geoffrey Chaucer is best known as the author of The Canterbury Tales, one of the most important works of early English literature. I guess that didn’t pay the bills, because he also wrote one of the first English technical manuals.

Death chemist

Lead

Thomas Midgley Jr. was responsible for two of the most environmentally damaging inventions of the 20th century. An environmental historian said he “had more impact on the atmosphere than any other single organism in Earth’s history.”

Recursive art

Droste Cacao

The Droste effect describes art that contains itself. The name comes from a brand of Dutch cocoa – the label contained a picture of the tin and the label (which contained a picture of the tin) – but the effect dates back much further.