In World War I, phenol was a key ingredient in aspirin, explosives, and phonograph records. German agents secretly redirected Thomas Edison’s excess phenol supply to prevent it being used for British bombs.
In 1968 a North Korean black ops assassination team got within 100 metres of the South Korean president’s house. South Korea formed a team of petty criminals and teenagers to return the favour, but after three years of training they mutinied.
At the start of this year the largest free trade agreement in the world came into effect, with the goal of connecting the entire African continent.
In 1859 a dispute over a single pig led to a military standoff between the United States and the United Kingdom. The conflict would eventually draw in George Pickett (of Pickett’s Charge), Henry Robert (of Robert’s Rules of Order) and Kaiser Wilhelm I.
When British suffragettes were released from prison, they got medals.
Vietnam is the second-largest producer of coffee in the world because of a crisis in 1970s East Germany.
António de Oliveira Salazar served as prime minister and dictator of Portugal for 36 years. Following a head injury he was removed from office, but no-one told him and he died two years later still believing himself in charge.
The Parents Music Resource Center was formed to fight obscenity in popular music. The parental warning labels were their doing. Musician and notorious non-conformist Frank Zappa fought back the only way he could: with music.
The ruler of Medieval Venice was chosen by an exceptionally complex ten-step process of alternating random lots and elections.
Five US presidential elections (so far) have elected presidents who received fewer votes than one of their opponents.
The classic horror film Nosferatu was nearly lost forever because of Bram Stoker’s widow.
King Gustav III of Sweden was warned of assassins at his masquerade ball. He went anyway.
In 1989 two million people formed a human chain stretching 675km from Tallinn to Riga to Vilnius.
The Gallagher Index measures how well the makeup of a legislative body represents the proportion of votes cast to elect it. Some countries do this much better than others.
To win the game Nomic, you need to change the rules so that you can win the game Nomic.