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
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?
The world’s fastest highway network has a fatality rate lower than the U.S. Interstate System. Continue reading The Autobahn: Fast but not Furious
Settling into retirement, the Founding Father lived off the profits of an entirely different Spirit of ’76. Continue reading George Washington, King of American whiskey
Both thespians, the Wilkes brothers played drastically different parts off-stage. Continue reading When the brother of John Wilkes Booth saved Lincoln’s son
From “Splinter Cell” to “Blade,” popular culture has long heralded thermal imaging as the pinnacle of surveillance technology. But now infrared cameras have found — or haven’t found — their kryptonite. Continue reading Infrared cameras can’t see polar bears
As of July 11, 2020, there have officially been 45 U.S. presidents. Theories abound regarding the power held by figures such as Dick Cheney or Edith Wilson, but the official tally stands. Should it? The presidential line of succession is an important mechanism to ensure that, at any point in time, someone occupies the office. In 1849, the president pro tempore was third in that … Continue reading President for one day: The David Atchison administration