The eruption of Mount Vesuvius, which destroyed the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum, also killed the famous author of one of the earliest encyclopedias.
Lord Byron, the Romantic poet and infamous libertine, wrote a book of memoirs that may have set 19th century England aflame with scandal – if they hadn’t been deliberately destroyed within a month of his death.
Every year in late February and early March, at the South Pole research station, the last flight leaves and the last sun sets. Neither will return for months. How do you mark such an occasion? With a horror film festival, of course.
William McGonagall is widely recognised as the worst poet in history.
Elementals are a common feature of modern bestiaries, video games, and RPGs. We have the 16th century alchemist Paracelsus to thank for thinking them up.
If the eyes are the windows to the soul, why would you paint anything else? The eye miniature was one of the oddest trends in late 1700s art.
Author Ayn Rand wrote a play about a murder trial. Audience members were invited to play the jury and determine the end of the play – thus creating one of the first choose-your-own-adventure plots in history.
An earworm is a piece of repetitive memorable music that gets stuck in your head. How do you cure it? Chew gum.
Manuel Noriega was the CIA-funded dictator of Panama from 1983 to 1989. When the United States invaded Panama, they drove him out with The Clash’s cover of I Fought the Law.
In a 1939 short film, Porky Pig swears in the funniest way possible. It was not seen by the public until the 1970s.
In 1958, surrealism, the Beat Generation, and a decade of civil war in Colombia distilled itself into the Nadaist movement – a rejection of Colombian government, literature, religion, and orthodoxy.
It’s my 200th post! Time to talk about the nature of proof, using 18th century literary hero Baron Munchausen and his horse too.
Many Buddhist scriptures include a list of games that Buddha would not play. It is the first list of games in history.
In the myth, Icarus flew too close to the sun on wings of wax and fell to his death. 16th century Dutch / Flemish artist Pieter Bruegel the Elder asked the question: what if no-one noticed?
Europe has a long tradition of puzzle and prank cups and jugs: to drink out of these vessels you must first solve a mechanical challenge.