700 posts in, it’s time for more updates.
In 1377 the Tunisian Arab historian Ibn Khaldun listed seven mistakes made by contemporary scholars, and then he made the same mistakes.
Ubykh, an extinct language spoken on the shores of the Black Sea, has more consonants and fewer vowels than almost any other language.
A bump key can be used to open most standard pin tumbler locks.
In 1867 the United States purchased Alaska from the Russian Empire. But before offering it to the Americans, Russia tried to sell Alaska to the Prince of Liechtenstein.
The 1845 German children’s book Der Struwwelpeter features cruel consequences for bad behaviour, including a terrifying tailor who does not care for thumb-suckers.
A last-minute injunction blocked the live stream and recordings of the same-sex marriage court case Perry v. Schwarzenegger. So Dustin Lance Black took the trial transcripts and made a play reenacting the whole case.
In 1687 Ottoman-controlled Athens, the Venetians blew up the Parthenon. The Ottomans built a mosque from its ruins.
In World War I, phenol was a key ingredient in aspirin, explosives, and phonograph records. German agents secretly redirected Thomas Edison’s excess phenol supply to prevent it being used for British bombs.
Gaelic football and Australian Rules football teams don’t have much international competition. So they decided to play each other instead.
El Hombre Caimán is a popular Colombian myth about a man who is half man, half alligator – the result of an accident while peeping on bathing women.
In 1943 a new volcano arose in Hokkaido. The Japanese government managed to keep it a secret for several years.
The oldest known postcard was sent by a practical joker to himself to embarrass the postal service.
In 1968 a North Korean black ops assassination team got within 100 metres of the South Korean president’s house. South Korea formed a team of petty criminals and teenagers to return the favour, but after three years of training they mutinied.
Sputnik 1 orbited the Earth for three months; Sputnik 2 for nearly six months. Explorer 1 stayed in orbit for twelve years, but the fourth artificial satellite, Vanguard 1, is still flying today.