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.
In 1896 Paul Otlet set up a bibliographic query service by mail: a 19th century search engine.
Although playing cards in Europe date back to the 14th century, Samuel Hart printed the first joker in 1863.
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 He-Gassen scroll of Edo period Japan depicts an epic battle… of farts.
In 1864 two ships were wrecked on the same desert island. Despite sharing the island for an entire year, the crews never met and had no idea they were not alone.
Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky composed Pictures at an Exhibition based on a journey through his late friend’s art exhibit – but what happened to the pictures?
Bir Tawil is a wedge of land between Egypt and Sudan. Neither wants to claim Bir Tawil: it is one of the only unclaimed territories in the world.
Richard Wagner’s opera Tristan und Isolde set the course of 20th century classical music by keeping the audience in suspense for four hours with a single unresolved chord.
The late 19th and early 20th centuries saw many feminist utopias that portrayed a society run by women: by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Irene Clyde, former New Zealand prime minister Julius Vogel, and the influential Bangladeshi author Begum Rokeya.
The first Olympic marathon was pretty wild: an Australian competitor collapsed and then punched a spectator, the third-place runner was disqualified for riding in a carriage, and a woman prevented from entering ran the same course the next day.
Between 1894 and 1895 Annie Londonderry cycled around the world – the first woman to do so.
The Church of One Tree in Santa Rosa, California, was built in 1873 out of a single giant redwood tree.
Eugene Debs received more than 900,000 votes in the 1920 American presidential election – while in prison for sedition.
How did people wake up in the morning before alarm clocks? They paid to get knocked up.