By tradition, the president of Argentina is godparent to all seventh sons and seventh daughters born in the country; in Belgium, the seventh children are named after the reigning monarch, and that monarch also becomes their godparent.
The 105th surah of the Quran relates a battle outside Mecca between Yemeni war elephants and a flock of birds.
On May 10, 1849, New Yorkers rioted over who was the better Shakespearean actor, the English performer William Macready or the American Edwin Forrest.
There are few pubs in the world that can claim to be the site of the founding of a religious denomination, the creation of a style of beer, and also a murder by a famous gangster. But there’s at least one pub that can.
The planet which is the closest to every other planet in the solar system; stars escaping their galaxy; the Martian moon that’s one third empty space; and the unidentified anomaly pulling a hundred thousand galaxies (including our own) around.
The two Koreas’ black ops assassination teams; the North Korean who defected with a MiG jet; the involuntary park inside the demilitarised zone; and the single tree that set off an international stand-off.
In March 1940 two physicists wrote a top secret memo describing, for the first time, just how to make an atom bomb.
In an early version of J. R. R. Tolkien’s stories, the tales of Middle Earth are brought to our world by Ottor Wǽfre, who would go on to be the father of both the author of Beowulf and the Anglo-Saxon invaders of Britain.
The origins of the modern piggy bank are lost to history, but the oldest extant piggy bank comes from 12th century CE Java.
What would a country look like without banks? In 1970, all the banks in Ireland closed for half a year. In response, the Irish people set up their own exchange systems centred on (of course) pubs.
The first time you get sick with a virus can affect how your body responds to that virus for the rest of your life.
The mistaken message that changed the course of the largest naval battle in history; the oldest artificial satellite still in orbit; the Cold War tunnels underneath Beijing; and the country that lost 80% of its land to strip-mining.
The oldest game in the world with the original rules; a game of pool with three “lives”; Medieval dice chess; and the forgotten chess pieces: couriers, henchmen, spies, and fools.
In November 1974, Richard John Bingham (the Earl of Lucan) and John Stonehouse (a British MP) both disappeared after committing serious crimes. One was soon found, but only because he was mistaken for the other.
Arktika, the second nuclear-powered icebreaker made by the Soviet Union, was the first surface ship to reach the North Pole.
In mathematics, the Pólya conjecture is true for every natural number up to 906,150,256… and then it’s not.