Be It Ever So Humble Freakishly-Massive…

Istana Nurul Iman Brunei Palace

They say home is wherever you hang your hat. If you are the Sultan of Brunei, your home has enough space to hang the hats of a sizeable percentage of the human race.  Continue reading

This Tree Leaves Tunes

Singing Ringing Tree Panopticons musical art

Fans of BBC’s Doctor Who might think they have encountered earth’s answer to the Singing Towers of Darillium when they visit Lancashire in the United Kingdom. Unlike that fictional place, where the Doctor and his wife spent their last night together, and where reservations have to be made four years in advance, this place is open to all without any need for advance booking. Continue reading

The Ultimate Rental House Fixer-Upper

White House Truman renovation

As President Harry Truman’s daughter, Margaret, played the piano one day, she was startled as one leg of the piano suddenly dropped through the floor of the White House residential level. Engineers were called in to see what was going on, and the report was nothing short of alarming.

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Royal Bill Referral

Calvin Coolidge send bill to King of England

President Calvin Coolidge was forced to move out of the White House in 1927 for six months so extensive remodeling and repairs could take place. In the course of the repairs, the architect showed the president the extreme damage that had occurred to the rafters when the White House was burned by British troops during the War of 1812.

The architect insisted that the rafters be replaced and asked whether the new rafters should be wood or steel beams. Coolidge was notoriously thrifty but ultimately decided in favor of the more durable option. He justified the extra expense, declaring, “All right. Put in the steel beams and send the bill to the King of England.”

Boller, P. F. (2007). Presidential Anecdotes (p. 244). Philadelphia: Running Press.

Busy Beavers Make World’s Largest Dam

World's largest beaver dam twice size of Hoover dam

The world’s largest dam isn’t man made; it was built by beavers and is still under construction.

Located in Wood Buffalo National Park in Alberta, Canada, beavers began constructing their dam in 1975. Forty years later, they are still adding to it, and it is now 2,790 feet in length — more than twice the size of the Hoover Dam.


Out of Sight, Out of Mind

Andrew Jackson moved Treasury Building to block his view of Capitol

President Andrew Jackson’s relationship with Congress was not always cordial. In fact, it was often outright combative, and he disliked being reminded of that every time he glanced in the direction of the US Capitol Building.

Despite the fact that Pierre L’Enfant designed the city of Washington to provide an unobstructed view down Pennsylvania Avenue between the President’s home and the Capitol Building, Jackson used the expansion of the US Treasury Building as a convenient excuse to put that troublesome house of Congress out of sight. His plans for the Treasury Building got rid of the straight line of Pennsylvania Avenue and put the third-oldest building in Washington, DC directly in the line of sight between the White House and the Capitol.