In 1725 Professor Beringer of the University of Würzburg dug up some extraordinary fossils: they contained the name of God written in Hebrew. A book, a court case, and the ruining of several careers ensued.
The legendary voice actor Mel Blanc appeared in only two Disney films in his entire career, and in one of them he was mute.
Shengguan Tu is a board game from a millennium ago that charts players’ rise through the many layers of Chinese bureaucracy.
Every species named by science has a “type” attached to it: an individual specimen that serves as the definitive example of that species. And yes, that includes humans: the type human was born in 1707.
In 1953 No Kum-Sok defected from North Korea. He brought a MiG-15 Soviet jet fighter with him.
Car tyres have a long stretch of letters and numbers embossed on them, something like P215/65R15 95H M+S . Let’s decipher them together.
From 1996 onwards vast swathes of peat swamp in Borneo were cleared to make rice paddies. But then the swamp caught on fire.
Mix egg yolks, dates, honey, vinegar, oil, wine, shallots, and herbs, and then add a roasted flamingo. This is Apicius, one of the earliest surviving cookbooks.
You think a peanut allergy is bad? Try being allergic to water.
In 1975 the artists Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt published a set of cards designed to provoke creative thinking. The Oblique Strategies deck has become a legend of the art and design worlds.
In the 1950s cigarette companies tried to make their products appear healthier. One of them decided to do this by adding asbestos.
Imagine a neighbour talking to a neighbour talking to a neighbour in a long chain of communication. At the start of the chain, they are speaking Portuguese. At the end of the same chain, they are speaking Italian.
The Poison Damsels of ancient Indian mythology were assassins who could kill someone with a look or a touch.
In 1967 the prime minister of Australia walked into the ocean and was never seen again.
Paintings last longer on canvas than wood or plaster – so from the 18th century CE on, restorers have transferred famous art onto canvas using razors, laughing gas, and glue.