In 1976, twenty-six children riding in a California school bus were kidnapped at gunpoint and hidden inside a truck that was buried in a quarry. Twenty-seven hours later, after sixteen hours underground, they escaped.
The largest number; how to build your own magic square; why a gambler should believe in God; and proof that 0.999… is equal to 1.
When the solar wind hits the Earth, it can set off space storms, space hurricanes, and even space tornadoes.
In 1869, some samurai and their families set up a colony in California. Although it only lasted two years, it was the first permanent Japanese settlement in the United States.
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.