Using Pennies to Keep Big Ben Accurate Makes Good Cents

Aside from the monarchy, one would be hard-pressed to think of anything more iconically British than the clock in the Elizabeth Tower of Westminster Palace. Its massive bell, Big Ben, has been keeping Londoners on time for over 150 years. In fact, it has maintained almost freakishly accurate time. It is the biggest, most accurate four-faced... Continue Reading →

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Don’t be a Flipperförälder

We've all seen them. They tend to show up at supermarkets, airports, and movie theaters, and they make life miserable for everyone else. I'm speaking, of course, of the parents who do absolutely nothing to supervise the little terrors who are their children. In Sweden there is a word that beautifully describes this sort of... Continue Reading →

Think Napoleon was Short? Think Again

Whenever the name Napoleon Bonaparte is mentioned, it inevitably brings up images of a short man, laboring under the psychological burden of his diminished physical stature. There's only one problem with this well-known historical fact: it isn't true. Legends about Napoleon's shortness stem from reports, including his autopsy, that placed his height at 5 foot... Continue Reading →

Meet the Artist of the Underwater Crop Circles

Scientists were long baffled by the appearance of beautiful, intricate underwater artwork that resembled crop circles. These phenomena appeared up to 80 feet below sea level and can be up to six feet in diameter. The mystery was solved in 2012 when an underwater photographer captured the images of the puffer fish carefully carving the... Continue Reading →

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 →

Learn This Word Before Your Next Visit to a Pet Store

Have you ever been at a loss to describe your feelings when you see an utterly adorable kitten or a supremely-cuddly puppy? If you lived in the Philippines, you wouldn't struggle. In the Tagalog language gigil describes a trembling or gritting of the teeth in response to a situation that overwhelms your self-control. It’s been... Continue Reading →

The Accidental Invasions of Liechtenstein

Switzerland has a long-standing tradition of neutrality and rarely gets involved in military confrontation. It may, therefore, surprise you to learn that Switzerland has invaded its neighboring country Liechtenstein, not once, but three times in a 22-year period -- each time by accident! On December 5, 1985, the Swiss Army fired rockets as part of... Continue Reading →

The Great Tootsie Roll Battle of the Korean War

On Veteran's Day we honor and celebrate those who have served their country in the armed forces. These individuals are known for bravery, selflessness, commitment to duty, and innovation in the face of challenges. Few moments in history illustrate all of these characteristics better than the Battle of Chosin Reservoir, when soldiers used a tasty... Continue Reading →

Nothing Says, “I Love You” Like Your Husband’s Severed Head in a Bag

Sir Walter Raleigh’s life came to an end on October 29, 1618. On orders from James I, the executioner took Raleigh’s head from his shoulders (although needing two strikes of the axe to finish the job). It then fell to his wife to bury his body -- well, most of it, anyway. Having removed Raleigh’s... Continue Reading →

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