Worshippers of many different religious use beads on a string to count prayers: Catholic Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Sikhs, Hindus, and Baháʼís.
The campaign for women’s voting rights was not smooth: by 1913 suffragettes in Britain were setting fire to houses, cricket pavilions, and Westminster Abbey.
John Cage’s 1942 work The Wonderful Widow of Eighteen Springs was composed for one singer and one piano… with the lid closed.
Oliver Reed, the famed actor and alcoholic, drank 8 pints of beer, 12 shots of rum, half a bottle of whiskey, and some shots of cognac, arm-wrestled five sailors, and then died of a heart attack.
Many of the world’s opals come from a town where the houses are underground and the umbrellas are upside down.
Mantis shrimp have the best eyes of the animal kingdom: they can see a wider range of colours than any other creature, from ultraviolet nearly all the way through to infra-red.
Dr. Oguntola Sapara suspected skulduggery from the influential priests of Sopona, the Yoruba god of smallpox. He was right.
The corpses of Eva Perón, the first lady of Argentina, and Pedro Eugenio Aramburu, one of the generals who overthrew her husband’s government, became the centrepieces of a bitter dispute more than twenty years after Evita’s death.
In the Bible, the Witch of Endor summons the spirit of the prophet Samuel from the dead. Translators and commentators since have been torn: is necromancy real, or was it all a trick?
How do you build a highway flyover without closing the road directly below it? In Indonesia, you build the pylons sideways and then rotate them into position.
In 1899 the President of France died, in his office, alone with his much younger mistress. If rumour is to be believed, he died happy.
Mike returns home from the Vietnam War with PTSD. He joins an underground fight club and wrestles with his own inner demons. Also: Mike is an adorable penguin, and this is one of the weirdest anime films to come out of 1980s Japan.
The inventor of the pie chart and the bar chart was also a secret agent who helped collapse the French revolutionary government’s economy through an elaborate counterfeiting operation.
The Red Hand is the symbol of the province of Ulster, but its origins are lost in time. Possible sources include three different clans, pagans, fairies, and a soldier who chopped off his own hand.
The silicon chip pictured here is the central processor from a 1991 Hewlett-Packard 9000 700-series workstation. It contains 577,000 transistors… and a horse?