Papyrus is expensive. Scripture is repetitive. The earliest Christian texts used a clever set of abbreviations to save space and time.
The most common time signatures in music are 4/4, 3/4, and 2/4. Dave Brubeck and Paul Desmond famously recorded Take Five in 5/4 time, but another jazz icon named Don Ellis took time signature experiments to a new level.
Clip shows are an easy way to make a new episode cheaply from existing footage. One series made a clip show out of their second ever episode.
The idea of the tractor beam first appeared in fiction in 1931. Since then, scientists have worked to make it a reality… and they’ve actually had some success.
The 19th century had many different cue sports, like everlasting pool and scratch pool. Life pool, one of the ancestors of snooker, gave each player three ‘lives’ which other players could eliminate until only one was left standing.
The Areni-1 cave in southern Armenia is the site of the oldest shoe, and also the oldest winery, in the world.
The 1597 piece My Lord Chamberlain, His Galliard is a lute duet. The piece is played by two people, but they must only use one lute.
Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton were two of the biggest stars of silent film. They didn’t appear in a film together until 1952, and that film didn’t win an Academy Award until 1973.
The portable vacuum cleaner Dustbuster was built on the back of technology for the moon landings.
There are a lot of pseudo-Hollywoods making films: Bollywood, Dhallywood, Mollywood, and Wellywood. My favourites are the hyper-violent action films of Uganda’s Wakaliwood.
Chaucer, Shakespeare, Cervantes, and Rabelais all wrote about the medlar fruit, which must rot before it is ready to eat.
From 1913 to 1929, the hobos had their own newspaper.
The Wilhelm scream is a sound effect that has been used in hundreds of films, including Disney, Lord of the Rings, Indiana Jones, and Star Wars films. But who was Wilhelm? And why was he screaming?
Leave it to the Norwegians and Swedes to take a way to call cattle in high mountain pastures and turn it into a genre of music.
Sergio Leone famously filmed Westerns in Italy and Spain, creating the genre known as the Spaghetti Western. But Soviet bloc countries had their own version too: the Red Westerns.