The Time Virginia Woolf Scammed the British Navy

  The pride and joy of the British Navy was the HMS Dreadnought, its most powerful battleship. That's why, despite the last-minute notice, the ship's commander was only too happy to accommodate a tour for the Prince of Abyssinia and his entourage. The date of February 7, 1910. The sailors of the Dreadnought were dressed in... Continue Reading →

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Et tu, Next Breath?

One of the most famous assassinations in history took place on March 15, 44 BC. Julius Caesar was attacked by a group of Roman senators and stabbed to death. William Shakespeare famously records his last words as, “Et tu, Brute? Then fall Caesar!” (Julius Caesar). Others say his last words were Greek, “Καί σύ, τέκνον.”... Continue Reading →

Where Did the Knock Knock Joke Start? Verily, the Answer May Surprise Thee

William Shakespeare did more than write the most famous plays and sonnets in English literature and contribute more than 1,700 words to the English language.  He can also claim credit for inventing one of the most popular forms of humor: the knock knock joke.The date was 1606, and the venue was Macbeth, Act 2, Scene 3:... Continue Reading →

The Dragon that Almost Ended the Lord of the Rings

English is a language of exceptions, with few concrete rules. When it comes to adjectives, however, there is a very specific hierarchy most English speakers know, instinctively, must be followed to avoid utter confusion. Those rules may be broken only at great risk -- including the risk of derailing one of the greatest literary geniuses in history.... Continue Reading →

This Is Why Teens Generally Don’t Get to Choose Their Names

In 2008 19-year-old George Garratt legally changed his name to "Captain Fantastic Faster Than Superman Spiderman Batman Wolverine Hulk And The Flash Combined." He said he wanted to "be unique." Not to be outdone, these guys went a step further a couple of years later.  They still didn't match the complexity of this fellow, whose given... Continue Reading →

Weird Wikipedia Articles

For a journey through the weird, wonderful, and entertaining, check out this excellent article from Bookshelf.

Bookshelf

alex atkins bookshelf triviaWikipedia is no ordinary encyclopedia. Each month, more than 500 million unique visitors visit Wikipedia to read its more than 40 million articles written in more than 250 languages. The English version grows at a rate of 800 new articles each day. Compared to any written reference work, Wikipedia’s breadth is simply astonishing. But if you spend enough time browsing through this massive encyclopedia, you will come across some rather unusual or weird articles. Wikipedia even has a page that lists all of their “unusual articles” with this note: “There are over five million articles in the English Wikipedia. These are the ones that Wikipedians have identified as being a bit unusual. These articles are verifiable, valuable contributions to the encyclopedia, but are a bit odd, whimsical, or something you would not expect to find in Encyclopedia Britannica. We should take special care to meet the highest standards of an encyclopedia with these articles lest they…

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Meet the Man Who Made Us Marvel

Stan Lee has almost mythical standing among comic book aficionados. Without him, the world would never have heard of Spider-Man, the Hulk, the Avengers, the Fantastic Four, Iron Man, or any of the other 350 comic book characters that sprang from his fertile mind (see the list here). Born Stanley martin Lieber on December 28, 1922,... Continue Reading →

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