The Musician Who Was So Good, He Had to be Evil

Niccolò Paganini (1782-1840) was more than a violin virtuoso; he was one of the best violinists of all time. By the time he was in his 20's, he was known throughout Europe. His command of the violin was so complete, in fact, that rumors quickly spread that such ability was not humanly possible and that... Continue Reading →


A Smile So Sharp It Will Split Atoms

From 1940 to 1945, if you wanted to acquire radioactive material in Germany, you didn't have to engage in cloak-and-dagger shenanigans; you simply had to go to the nearest pharmacy and purchase a tube of Doramad toothpaste.  Doramad was produced with small quantities of radioactive thorium. This wasn't a manufacturing accident; it was an intentional... Continue Reading →

Was Tycho a Psycho? Weird Facts About One of History’s Greatest Astronomers

Tycho Brahe (1546-1601) was one of the greatest astronomers to ever live. He was also probably at least a little bit off his gourd, if history is to judge. The Danish astronomer who brought a new level of exactitude to astronomical observations and applied that specificity to the theories and observations of Copernicus and Ptolemy,... Continue Reading →

One Heartbeat Away — Two Different Times

William Rufus King may have risen to the highest political office of any person from Alabama, but history has all but overlooked the man who had the singular distinction of twice being one heartbeat away from the Presidency. Born ten years into the independence of the United States, King was a bright young star in... Continue Reading →

Here Is Your Motivation to Exercise and Eat Healthy

Guinness World Records identifies Jon Brower Minnoch (1941-1983) as the heaviest person in medical history. Minnoch's top weight in March 1978 was 1,400 pounds (635 kg). A normal body mass index (BMI) is between 18.5 and 24.9. Those with a BMI of 25-29.9 are considered overweight, and those over 30.0 are considered obese. With a height... Continue Reading →

Welcome to the White House. Don’t Drink the Water

Three Presidents who died in the years between 1840 and 1850 have inspired the well-known tales regarding the cause of their deaths. We all know that William Henry Harrison's one-hour-and-forty-five-minute inaugural address, delivered without a hat or coat during a snowstorm, resulted in the President catching pneumonia and dying just thirty days into his administration.... Continue Reading →

Radioactive Fallout? No Problem… Just Grab a Paper Towel

The 1963 film About Fallout (watch the film here) produced by the Office of Civil Defense offers helpful advice to anyone who might be concerned about radioactive fallout after a nuclear attack. Among the helpful tidbits are these gems: When possible, rinse the fallout off your potatoes before consuming them. How to open food packages that are covered... Continue Reading →

That’s Bloody Expensive!

One of the most expensive substances on the planet comes from one of it's unlikeliest -- and ugliest -- sources: the horseshoe crab. The bright blue blood of the of these inhabitants of shallow ocean waters fetches an astonishing $60,000 per gallon. With one gallon containing 75,708 drops, this equates to each drop of blood being worth... Continue Reading →

And This Was Supposed to Be a Children’s Toy?

Hasbro introduced a toy in 1962 called "Flubber" (tied to the movie Son of Flubber). It was made from synthetic rubber and mineral oil. Unfortunately, it made people sick. In 1963 it was recalled when more than 1,600 people developed sore throats, rashes and other reactions from contact with the stuff. What do you do with... Continue Reading →

Not Really a Surgeon? What Was the First Clue?

It never hurts to check the credentials of anyone who is going to be performing surgery on you. Just ask the San Francisco woman who asked Carlos Guzmangarza to perform a liposuction on her. As it turns out, Guzmangarza wasn't a surgeon and never held a medical license; he was pretending to be a physician's... Continue Reading →

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