July 15 is Saint Swithun’s Day. Legend has it that, if it rains today, we’re in for forty more days of bad weather. It’s like Groundhog Day, but instead of a whistlepig there’s a saint who was buried outdoors.
Is it better for software to be simple or consistent? Richard P. Gabriel suggested that simplicity was the most important aspect of software design, more than consistency, correctness, or completeness. He called it “worse is better.”
There’s no word in English that rhymes with “orange.” Everyone knows this. But what rhymes with “problem,” “depth,” “wolf,” “elbow,” or “with”?
Like coffee? Great. Like tea? Superb. Visit Hong Kong, and you can drink both of them at the same time.
Batman lives in Gotham City. Where did the name come from? Its history follows a circuitous route via the 19th century equivalent of Mad magazine, smart idiots who hated public infrastructure, goats, and Robin Hood’s King John.
Justin O. Schmidt, an entomologist from the United States, has ranked the relative pain caused by bee, wasp, and ant stings. How do you find that out, though? Easy enough, you just sting yourself.
For three years in the middle of the 12th century, the Tu’i Tonga Empire was ruled by a piece of wood.
A tiny yolkless egg shows up in your henhouse. Today, we know this to be a chicken’s first training egg. In the 12th century? It came from a rooster, and you better throw it over your house or it will be born a monster.
January 25, 1979: the day that the robot uprising began. Well, not precisely, but that day saw the first human fatality caused by a robot. It would not be the last.
What’s the smallest tree in the world? It depends on what you define as a tree, but my favourite candidate has the most adorable name possible: the least willow.
“Stuck a feather in his hat and called it macaroni.” What does that even mean? As it turns out, a macaroni was an 18th century hipster.
In the era of silent film it was common to have live piano or organ accompanying the show. In Japan, they had people as well – specially trained to provide narration, translation, poetry, and commentary for the films on the screen.
Okay okay, I know I said that chess boxing was my favourite hybrid sport, but now there’s a new contender. I have one word for you, just one word: parahawking.
Horse-drawn canal boats made up the early British Industrial Revolution’s transportation network. But they presented a tough problem: how to get a horse from one bank of a canal to another, without disconnecting the rope?
Malagueña Salerosa is a Mexican Son Huasteco song covered hundreds of times (including versions by Plácido Domingo, José Feliciano, and Avenged Sevenfold). It’s also a challenge: how long can a singer sustain a single note?