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

The Order of the Pug: Meet Bavaria’s bizarre secret society

It is 1738, and the Catholic Church has just banned its members from partaking in freemasonry. How are freemasons in a region known for its love of secret societies to react? Against this backdrop, the Order of the Pug was formed. The Order of the Pug retained many of the conventions of masonry, but used a different name in order to skirt the Catholic Church’s … Continue reading The Order of the Pug: Meet Bavaria’s bizarre secret society

The monkey business of picking coconuts: The modern ethical issue of ‘monkey slavery’

Seemingly out of nowhere the people are going bananas over “monkey slavery.” From the usual suspects, like PETA, to more unexpected individuals, like Boris Johnson’s fiancee Carrie Symonds, people are up in arms over this purported exploitation of a wild animal. Since biblical times, animals have been working alongside people – oxen pulling plows and wagons, dogs herding cattle and sheep, and other dogs used … Continue reading The monkey business of picking coconuts: The modern ethical issue of ‘monkey slavery’