The mosque in the middle of the Parthenon; the book smugglers of Russian-occupied Lithuania; the fake-real bridges of the Euro banknotes; and the time Da Vinci and Machiavelli conspired to steal a river.
This website is three years old today.
In the English-speaking world, more people are born in September than any other month of the year; the least popular birthdays (outside of leap days) are around Christmas, New Year, and other public holidays.
The Vikings navigated by the position of the sun. But what did they do when it was cloudy?
When asked why we have no proof of extraterrestrial life, the Hungarian physicist Leo Szilard joked that Martians were already among us… they just called themselves Hungarians.
The arpicembalo (harp-harpsichord) of Bartolomeo Cristofori could play notes both loud and quiet, which the harpsichord could not. It was the first piano.
Disney’s Robin Hood features a song about the “Phony King of England.” That song is based on an old (and very bawdy) English folk ballad about “The Bastard King of England.”
In 1978 a cache of five hundred film reels was discovered under an ice rink in Dawson City, Yukon. These buried reels included the only copy of films that had been lost for decades.
The Roman measurement of a human lifetime; the extinct species of gibbon we know only from a Chinese noblewoman’s tomb; how Pompey the Great was defeated by maddening honey; and the treasure map in the Dead Sea Scrolls.
One of the few female artists of the Italian Renaissance; the Mona Lisa with and without a moustache; why the Sistine Chapel ceiling has green shadows; and the Inquisition vs. a Last Supper painting with drunken Germans, dogs, parrots, and dwarfs.
A highway goes directly through the Gate Tower Building in Osaka, Japan; a monorail line goes directly through an apartment block in Chongqing, China.
Pangur Bán was an Irish monk’s cat in 9th century Germany; we know this cat’s name because the monk wrote a poem about him. Even though this poem was written more than a thousand years ago, Pangur Bán was not the first named cat in history.
The 1988 Winter Olympics included three freestyle skiing events as a demonstration sport: moguls, aerials, and ski ballet. Two of these have become official Olympic sports. One has not.
The blues music genre at its core is about hardship, oppression, and suffering. But it took Screamin’ Jay Hawkins to sing about that real pain down inside.
What do Marie Antoinette, Lorenzo the Magnificent, Charles I, and Napoleon have in common? All of them were not in the same location as their partner when they married.
The anonymous unauthorised contemporary sequel to Don Quixote; the inflammatory lost memoirs of Lord Byron; the library buried for a thousand years; and the strange fate of the Tin Woodman’s human body parts.