Ramesses II was the most famous and powerful pharaoh of Egypt’s New Kingdom. And we’re pretty sure that he was a redhead.
When trialling a new medicine, it’s standard practice to test it against a placebo medicine. But what do you do if you’re trialling a new surgery instead?
Peter the Great founded a drinking club when he was a young man. Because he was tsar, he took it too far.
Have you ever had a boss who just had to contribute to your project in order to prove their worth? There’s an easy way to counteract that: just add a duck.
M. C. Escher drew impossible objects – things that could not actually exist in three-dimensional space. But an Italian engraver named Giovanni Battista Piranesi was drawing them more than a hundred years earlier.
If you kill someone because you think they’re a ghost, is it murder or manslaughter? Or self-defence?
King Gustav III of Sweden was so convinced that coffee was bad for you that he enlisted two criminal twins to prove his case scientifically.
Pink for girls, blue for boys. Or is it pink for boys, blue for girls? A persistent myth holds that colour stereotypes flipped some time in the 20th century.
What’s the oldest river in the world? Well, Larapinta in western Australia only has water for a few days each year, but it has probably been around for four hundred million years.
Meet Disney’s seven other dwarfs: Baldy, Burpy, Puffy, Snoopy, Nifty, Thrifty, and Awful.
Everyone dreams of being a scientist, but few understand just what that profession entails. Well, among other things, you could be a whale snot drone pilot.
Eighty percent of the surface area of the Pacific country Nauru has been strip-mined; most of its land has been shipped to Australia, New Zealand, and Britain.
In France, China, and Sudan you can marry a ghost.
Flother is another word for a snowflake. It appears only once, in a 1275 CE book. The poison that killed Hamlet’s father in Shakespeare’s play, hebenon, is mentioned nowhere else. These are the hapax legomena, the lonely words.
In the 1950s and 60s, foreign music was censored in the Soviet Union. So bootleggers made illegal records out of old X-ray film: the jazz on bones.
Statistics are tricky. Consider this: of two treatments for kidney stones, Treatment A is better on average for large stones and small stones. But consider all stones together and Treatment B is better. This is Simpson’s paradox.