The Akan of Ghana name their children after days of the week, birth order, and sometimes notable facts about their birth. Kofi Atta Annan, for example, was a twin born on a Friday. But nobody wants to be called Obím̀pέ.
Princess Alexandra of Bavaria was a noted author and translator in the mid-19th century. She also firmly believed that as a young child she had swallowed a grand piano made of glass.
Michael Rockefeller, of the famous oil dynasty, was collecting indigenous art in Dutch New Guinea when his boat overturned. He may have drowned or been eaten by crocodiles, but the most likely theory is he suffered a much worse fate.
The first tin cans of food were manufactured around 1813. The first can openers arrived more than thirty years later.
Around 1200 BCE, almost every civilisation in the Eastern Mediterranean collapsed, or just barely survived. One possible culprit were invaders from across the sea: the Sea Peoples. No-one knows precisely who they were.
Cuckoos are not the only animal to have their young raised by other species. Bees, wasps, and fish also exhibit the same parasitic behaviour.
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 you’re using an Australian recipe book, watch out for the tablespoon, or your baking will turn out all wrong.
What is the smallest boring number? There’s no such thing, because the title of smallest boring number automatically makes that number interesting.
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.
In 1925, staff from Osram, General Electric, Philips, and others met in Switzerland to artificially fix the life expectancy of light bulbs worldwide. For the next 14 years, the Phoebus cartel controlled the world supply of light.
In 1976, North Korea, South Korea, and the United States almost went to war over a single tree.
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.