In 2004, in response to an Australian law defining marriage as between a man and a woman only, a group of activists declared independence and raised a rainbow flag over the Coral Sea Islands.
What do the River Avon, the Gobi Desert, and the La Brea Tar Pits have in common? Redundancy.
In 1930 the Swedish match magnate Ivar Kreuger negotiated a legal monopoly with Germany; it lasted for fifty three years.
Colombian Nadaists; the tomb-raiders whose blackmail returned Eva Perón’s body to Argentina; the 40,000km-long Incan road network; and why the largest national park, and the largest rainforest, in the European Union is in South America.
History’s most unlikely conflicts: horses vs. ships, Manuel Noriega vs. The Clash, a jet fighter vs. a New Jersey intermediate school, and that time the Irish invaded Canada.
The Salt Cathedral lies 200 metres below the surface of Zipaquirá, Colombia.
Between 1867 and 1927 the New Zealand government built, supplied, and maintained a set of supply huts on islands in the Southern Ocean so that no more castaways would starve to death while waiting for rescue.
The Tsar Bell in Moscow is the largest extant bell in the world – but it has never been rung.
The Imperial Regalia of Japan consists of a legendary sword, mirror, and jewel. They are brought out at every imperial enthronement, but only a few priests and the emperor himself are ever allowed to see them.
In 1981 Phillip Lewis released potato chips flavoured like roasted hedgehog. In 1982 the UK government prosecuted him for false advertising because the chips did not contain real hedgehog.
How Monet captured colour and weather in his haystacks; the proto-Escher engravings of Piranesi; the extraction of Goya’s famous Black Paintings; and the ancient artistic motif spread across Europe, the Middle East, and India.
Radio announcers’ tongue twister tests, the pirate radio station that broadcast while it sank, the radio play hoax attack twelve years before The War of the Worlds, and the broadcaster who was the last person in the UK executed for treason.
Ghost leg is a technique to randomly match up two groups – assigning a list of chores to a list of people, for example. And all you need is a drawing of a ladder.
The new terminal building of Ottowa’s international airport was supposed to open in 1959. After one pass by a US air force jet the day before the opening ceremony, it could not open until 1960.
The “personal carbon footprint” concept was popularised by an oil company advertising campaign to divert attention away from their own climate-unfriendly practices.
John F. Kennedy, Aldous Huxley, and C. S. Lewis all died the same day. The following day, Doctor Who premiered.