World’s Strangest

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9 of the World’s Weirdest Museums

While museums dedicated to Spam and barbed wire are strange in their specificity, some museums are just plain bizarre in their subject matter. Here are some of the weirdest museums ever curated. 1. Leila’s Hair Museum Flickr These days, the idea of hair jewelry seems like something that should be left to stalkers and serial killers, but [...]

How an 18th-Century Mutiny May Help Explain Migraine Headaches

Jupiterimages On April 28, 1789, Fletcher Christian and 18 other sailors aboard the HMS Bounty wrested control of the ship from their commanding officer, Lieutenant William Bligh. The mutineers sent Bligh and the members of the crew loyal to him off in a lifeboat in the South Pacific, then set sail to some nearby islands for [...]

How the Canadian Provinces and Territories Got Their Names

Here’s a little more Canadian history on this Canada Day. Alberta Named in honor of Princess Louise Caroline Alberta (1848-1939), the fourth daughter of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert and the wife of the Marquess of Lorne, Governor General of Canada from 1878 to 1883. Lake Louise, the village of Caroline, and Mount Alberta are also named after her. British Columbia The name refers to the Columbia District, the [...]

The Memorial to Heroic Self-Sacrifice

Postman’s Park in London, England, has a small memorial garden featuring 54 plaques that honor common men and women who were never famous, but died during a heroic act of saving someone else. The Memorial to Heroic Self-Sacrifice was the brainchild of George Frederic Watts, a painter who, while eminent in the Victorian age, harbored a [...]

That One Time Abraham Lincoln Threw a Wedding Reception for Tom Thumb

It’s a bit unbelievable to think that Barack Obama would hold a White House wedding reception for Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, but something just like that happened almost 150 years ago when Abraham Lincoln held a White House reception for General Tom Thumb and his wife. The 2’11″ Charles Stratton had toured with P.T. Barnum [...]

How Wildman Whitehouse Destroyed the Transatlantic Cable

We’re pretty used to our instantaneous communications these days, aren’t we? We get mad when an email takes too long to send or if a page takes more than five seconds to load. Back in the 1850s, though, people were awed and amazed when the first communication was successfully transmitted via the Transatlantic Cable in [...]

Bringing a Different Meaning to the “Crown” Jewels

A tooth necklace might seem like the type of accessory you would have found in Jeffrey Dahmer’s dresser drawers, but back in Victorian times, there was no sweeter way to commemorate your child’s first lost tooth. In fact, Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert, had their first daughter’s milk tooth made into a brooch shaped like a [...]

The Rich History of Chocolate

This article is taken from the book Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Plunges Into History. Among the ancients, it was revered as “the elixir of the gods.” Today, it is the one sweet temptation that most of us find impossible to resist. Yet, for most of its 3,500-year history, it was not eaten but rather consumed as a [...]

The Royal or Editorial "We"

Ben Zimmer has an article at The New York Times addressing a person using the word “we”, sometimes referred to as “the royal we”, when speaking or writing. When it’s not clear who the person is speaking for, it can sound downright pompous. A New York senator, Roscoe Conkling, once said, “Yes, I have noticed [...]

David’s Removable Fig Leaf

A plaster cast from the collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum - This fig-leaf was hung on the David on the occasion of visits by royal ladies. It was last used in the time of Queen Mary (1867-1953). According to anecdotal information, on her first encounter with the cast of ‘David’, Queen Victoria was so [...]