In 1324, Pope John XXII issued a papal bull condemning the excesses of modern popular music.
When British suffragettes were released from prison, they got medals.
In many parts of the world it is traditional to celebrate by firing guns in the air. But what happens to the bullets?
In 1997, professor of mathematics and crochet enthusiast Daina Taimiņa found a way to join those two passions in order to craft durable sections of hyperbolic surfaces.
The jack jumper ant of south-eastern Australia has a nasty sting, can jump five times its own body length, and has the fewest chromosomes of any living thing.
In 1919, Marcel Duchamp drew a moustache and goatee on a postcard of the Mona Lisa, renamed it with a bawdy French pun L. H. O. O. Q., and called it art. Half a century later, he framed an unmodified Mona Lisa postcard and named it L. H. O. O. Q. Shaved.
The saros is a measurement of time equal to 6585 days (plus one third of a day). It is the time between identical eclipses.
Up near the Arctic Circle, the best waterproof parkas are made out of guts.
Cartographers will sometimes insert fake locations in order to catch plagiarism of their maps. But sometimes those fake locations then become real.
In 1958 Mao Zedong declared war on sparrows. Although he won that battle, China lost the war.
The Quran contains 114 chapters, but they are arranged neither chronologically nor thematically. Instead, they go from longest to shortest.
Slim Gaillard had one of the more remarkable lives of the 20th century: when he wasn’t inventing words or writing songs about cement mixers he was jamming with Charlie Parker, running bootlegged whiskey in a hearse, or wowing Jack Kerouac in On the Road.
In 1990 a British Airways plane heading to Spain had a windscreen malfunction mid-flight. The captain was sucked out of the gap, but a flight attendant caught his belt and the plane landed safely with the captain stuck halfway outside.
George Forster was executed for murder in 1803. Later that same day his corpse was dancing, thanks to Luigi Galvani’s nephew.
Vietnam is the second-largest producer of coffee in the world because of a crisis in 1970s East Germany.
Enrico Fermi switched on the first human-made nuclear reactor in 1942, but the first natural nuclear reactor on Earth occurred 1.7 billion years earlier.