World’s Strangest

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13 Disturbing Pieces of Art from History

The media gets a lot of criticism for violent and disturbing imagery. Movies, TV, video games, tabletop RPGs, comic books, and various other things have all gone through periods where they’re blamed for exposing children to dark and unsettling things. What people forget is that the media of yesterday — fine art specifically — were [...]

Thomas Edison’s Eccentric Job Interview Questions — A Cheat Sheet

© Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS Thomas Edison had an encyclopedic memory, and by the early 1920s, he had become increasingly frustrated by the fact that college graduates applying to work for him didn’t have a wealth of knowledge comparable to his own. To test the mental mettle of incoming job seekers, he administered to each a series of [...]

Latin Just Got Deader: Botanists Turn Away from Latin Plant Names

Latin is a dead language, as dead as it can be. It killed the ancient Romans,and now it’s killing me! But it’s payback time. In July, The International Botanical Congress voted to relax the rules that required that all new plant species be named in Latin. This move breaks with a tradition that botanists had maintained [...]

Ten Incredible Perfect Moments in the History of Editing

Novels, movies, cartoons, tattoos… everything is better on the second draft. 1. THE CATCH IN CATCH 22: The Edit that became an idiom In 1961, author Joseph Heller finally submitted his manuscript for Catch-18 to his editor, Robert Gottlieb. Although Heller had spent seven years perfecting the story, Gottlieb saw room for improvement. The editor taped the [...]

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Vergil

1. Vergil or Virgil? Vergil’s proper Roman name was Publius Vergilius Maro. However, many texts refer to the author of The Aeneid as Vergil while others refer to him as Virgil. Vergil is now understood to be the correct spelling of the poet’s name. Why the mistake? There are different theories. Gilbert Highet, in The Classical Tradition, [...]

Did The Earth Move For You?

Some residents in the Upper Midwest were surprised to be shaken by an earthquake last night. The United States Geological Survey reported that the earthquake, which had an estimated magnitude of 4.3, was centered near Virgil, about 50 miles northwest of Chicago, at a depth of about three miles. There were no immediate reports of aftershocks… [...]