Why didn’t Benjamin Franklin write the Declaration of Independence?

When the Continental Congress assembled the Committee of Five to draft the Declaration of Independence, Benjamin Franklin was a perfect candidate to draft the historic document. Franklin was likely the most famous American in 1776. His aptitude across a range of varied pursuits — scientific, literary, and otherwise — granted him a caliber of respect unmatched by his colonial contemporaries. The Franklin stove, bifocals, lightning … Continue reading Why didn’t Benjamin Franklin write the Declaration of Independence?

Wyoming and women’s suffrage: How the Equality State earned its name

Even most Americans would struggle to pinpoint Wyoming on a U.S. map. The least-populous, and second-least densely populated, of the United States is a perennial afterthought in discussions of the American union. Wyoming has much to offer outside observers, however. In addition to Yellowstone National Park, which lies mostly within the state’s boundaries, Wyoming’s greatest claim to fame is that it was the first political … Continue reading Wyoming and women’s suffrage: How the Equality State earned its name

Sharks can reproduce asexually

In a process called parthenogenesis, many species reproduce asexually. This characteristic, also observed in species such as frogs, rattlesnakes, and birds, can be found in sharks. Typically, asexual reproduction in female sharks occurs when the female shark has had no contact with male sharks. The resulting litters are much smaller than what is ordinarily seen among sharks. Whereas ordinary litters of shark pups can exceed … Continue reading Sharks can reproduce asexually

King George III on General George Washington: Greatest man in the world?

Anyone with a passing understanding of the American Revolution can identify two titular figures in the world-altering American struggle against colonial rule: George Washington, the Commanding General of the Continental Army; and King George III, King of Great Britain. Most would also intuit mutual dislike between the two figures. However, there is considerable evidence that King George III held high regard for the talisman of … Continue reading King George III on General George Washington: Greatest man in the world?

The time the Catholic Church declared cats satanic

Not everyone is a fan of cats. Some might even joke that they are Luciferian in nature. There was a point at which the Catholic Church fueled this belief. Pope Gregory IX has not left a positive image of himself to posterity. The institution of the Papal Inquisition is generally considered the defining feature of his tenure. In fact, it was his zealous pursuit of … Continue reading The time the Catholic Church declared cats satanic

The best way to ensure a coyote population increase is by killing them

When people outside North America imagine the habitat of coyotes, it is possible that they concoct a picture painted by the Road Runner and Wil E. Coyote cartoons. This would lead to an impression that the animal is relegated mainly to the western part of the United States, particularly in the Southwestern deserts. At the time those animated cartoons were created, that was a fairly … Continue reading The best way to ensure a coyote population increase is by killing them

Henry Clay: The Illegitimate Senator?

Henry Clay is one of the most revered figures in American political history. The storied “Great Compromiser,” who, in addition to being a vaunted attorney, served as a U.S. Senator from Kentucky, Speaker of the House, Secretary of State, a lead negotiator of the Treaty of Ghent, and in many other roles. Clay had a head-spinning political resume. Famously, the only political position he couldn’t … Continue reading Henry Clay: The Illegitimate Senator?

The Phoebus cartel: Lighting the way for planned obsolescence

Planned obsolescence is an annoyance to many consumers. The conventional wisdom, that consumer goods were once produced using material that would ensure longer-lasting durability than those today, is based upon solid evidence. What many may not know, however, is that the plethora of cheaper, less durable items lining the shelves of today’s stores is the culmination of several generations. Among the earliest, and perhaps most … Continue reading The Phoebus cartel: Lighting the way for planned obsolescence

America’s first minority vice president: Charles Curtis?

Curtis was born in 1860 in what was then known as the Territory of Kansas (Kansas would be admitted to the Union the following year). He was an enrolled member of the Kaw Nation, and was approximately 3/8 American Indian ancestry. After his mother died at age three, and his father was captured in the Civil War, Curtis was raised by his grandparents. His childhood … Continue reading America’s first minority vice president: Charles Curtis?

King Tut’s cause of death: hippopotamus?

Beloved as the animal might be from the childhood game “Hungry Hungry Hippos,” the hippopotamus is considered the most dangerous animal in Africa. Hundreds continue to be killed by the massive mammals each year throughout the continent. The mighty hippo’s strength is such that its forceful jaws can decapitate a human with a single bite. Though hippos have long since abandoned Egypt, their terror was … Continue reading King Tut’s cause of death: hippopotamus?