The famous legal phrase caveat emptor (“let the buyer beware”) entered common law because of a 17th century dispute over a magic bezoar stone.
The Nintendo video game character Mario has gone through a number of name changes throughout the years – including, controversially, whether he has a surname or not.
In apartheid-era South Africa, the government sometimes designated specific people or whole ethnic groups as “honorary whites.” But not everyone accepted it.
From 1939 until 1977, the winner of the annual Trinidad calypso competition was crowned the Calypso King. In 1978 Calypso Rose won the title, so they had to change the name.
When politicians’ historical crimes catch up with them, what happens to their statues?
In 1945 an Air Force bomber crashed into the side of the Empire State Building. An elevator cab carrying Betty Lou Oliver fell 75 floors straight down; she, incredibly, survived.
NASA lost contact with the space probe Deep Impact in 2013 because of a single software bug.
In October 1977, Ali Maow Maalin was the last person to contract naturally occurring smallpox. He died thirty six years later while coordinating a polio vaccination drive.
“Don’t mess with Texas” is an iconic expression of state pride, but it began as an anti-littering ad campaign.
The Vikings may not have worn horned helmets, but the ancient Greeks had helmets covered in boar tusks and the Dayak of Borneo had helmets covered in fish or pangolin scales.
A 1932 lawsuit attempted to answer the question “who was the real Betty Boop?”
In 1830, nearly half of the mathematics class at Yale was expelled for refusing to use a blackboard in their exams.
Rabbits and cattle were introduced to a remote island near Antarctica as food for shipwreck survivors; they bred there in isolation for more than a century.
When is a protest not a protest? In Russia, when it’s a performance art parody of a protest. But that still didn’t stop the Russian government from overreacting.
In 1896 Paul Otlet set up a bibliographic query service by mail: a 19th century search engine.
The 2021 Samoan constitutional crisis came to a head with a face-off between the old prime minister who wouldn’t leave, the new prime minister who couldn’t start, the head of state, the Supreme Court, the Attorney General, and the Speaker of the House. [2 of 2]