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?

Samuel Dickstein: Congressman, New York judge, HUAC Committee member… and Soviet spy

The infamous House Un-American Activities Committee, associated with the excesses of the Second Red Scare in the popular imagination, perhaps should have investigated one of its own members. Samuel Dickstein, a Democratic congressman from New York from 1923 to 1945, was well-known as a fierce interrogator of communists and especially fascists. His conduct during hearings was extreme even by the general standards of the Committee, … Continue reading Samuel Dickstein: Congressman, New York judge, HUAC Committee member… and Soviet spy

Worst year to be alive? Try 536 AD, not 2020

When asked which year was the worst in history to be alive, many historians are quick to mention 536 AD. It might seem surprising that these historians can pinpoint a specific year as a clear winner, considering how fraught human history is with suffering. Perhaps it is less surprising, however, when the events of 536 are described. Due to a heavy fog, many portions of … Continue reading Worst year to be alive? Try 536 AD, not 2020

Did Native Americans settle Polynesia?

Many people think so, at least to a limited extent. For many decades, the theory rested on the presence of sweet potatoes in Polynesia, a food that has its origins in the Americas. Recently, however, more concrete evidence of the interactions between Native Americans and Polynesians has emerged due to genetic testing. Polynesians in French Polynesia, for instance, carry DNA associated with Native Americans. Studies … Continue reading Did Native Americans settle Polynesia?