Damn Interesting https://www.damninteresting.com Science, history, and psychology since 2005. In text and podcast form. Sun, 18 Nov 2018 18:08:34 -0700 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.8 A Debaculous Fiasco https://www.damninteresting.com/a-debaculous-fiasco/ https://www.damninteresting.com/a-debaculous-fiasco/#comments Tue, 06 Nov 2018 12:28:05 +0000 https://www.damninteresting.com/?post_type=upcoming&p=26895 A Debaculous Fiasco:

With graduation less than a week away, the President Emeritus of Lake Forest College was trying not to panic. He’d had an especially difficult time organizing the ceremony that year, and he’d just received word that the scheduled commencement speaker for the class of 1977 was refusing to give a speech. “I talk with people, […]

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Drawing the Shorter Straw https://www.damninteresting.com/drawing-the-shorter-straw/ https://www.damninteresting.com/drawing-the-shorter-straw/#comments Tue, 31 Jul 2018 12:40:07 +0000 https://www.damninteresting.com/?post_type=upcoming&p=22415 Drawing the Shorter Straw:

When the two trailblazers of animated film finally met in 1941, the one named Walt Disney was quickly becoming a legend. The other, an Argentine named Quirino Cristiani, was on an equal but opposite trajectory toward obscurity. Despite their different upbringings, the two men were attracted to film in similar ways. For each of them, […]

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The Curse of Konzo https://www.damninteresting.com/the-curse-of-konzo/ https://www.damninteresting.com/the-curse-of-konzo/#comments Wed, 02 May 2018 13:30:38 +0000 https://www.damninteresting.com/?post_type=upcoming&p=20852 The Curse of Konzo:

On 21 August 1981, Australian physician Julie Cliff received the following message on her telex, a print-on-paper precursor to modern text messaging: “Polio outbreak. Memba District. 38 cases. Reflexes increased.” The apparently routine message was sent from the Provincial Health Directorate in Nampula, a city in northern Mozambique. Cliff worked in the epidemiology department of […]

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A Jarring Revelation https://www.damninteresting.com/a-jarring-revelation/ https://www.damninteresting.com/a-jarring-revelation/#comments Fri, 30 Mar 2018 14:20:09 +0000 https://www.damninteresting.com/?post_type=upcoming&p=19191 A Jarring Revelation:

Poet, inventor, and businesswoman Amanda Theodosia Jones learned firsthand why 19th century America was a tough time and place to be a female entrepreneur, especially one with romantic and spiritual sensibilities. In her long and storied career, Jones made remarkable advances in food safety and other fields, collecting a dozen patents along the way. She […]

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Death by Derivatives https://www.damninteresting.com/death-by-derivatives/ https://www.damninteresting.com/death-by-derivatives/#comments Tue, 21 Nov 2017 13:58:54 +0000 https://www.damninteresting.com/?p=17566 Death by Derivatives:

In April of 1873, an unhappy man walked along Clark Street in downtown Chicago. His name was Aymar de Belloy. There was a gun in his pocket, and a nickel – enough for one final glass of beer. He entered Kirchoff’s tavern and sat at a table, then changed his mind about the beer. He […]

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Ghoulish Acts & Dastardly Deeds https://www.damninteresting.com/ghoulish-acts-dastardly-deeds/ https://www.damninteresting.com/ghoulish-acts-dastardly-deeds/#comments Mon, 31 Jul 2017 12:30:46 +0000 https://www.damninteresting.com/?post_type=upcoming&p=14684 Ghoulish Acts & Dastardly Deeds:

On 29 March 1951, shortly after 5 p.m., a hand-grenade-sized pipe bomb exploded in the landmark Grand Central Terminal in New York City. Ordinarily, the detonation of a pipe bomb in a busy commuter terminal at rush hour would be cause for grave public concern, yet the local news media barely acknowledged the event. It […]

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No Country For Ye Olde Men https://www.damninteresting.com/no-country-for-ye-olde-men/ https://www.damninteresting.com/no-country-for-ye-olde-men/#comments Wed, 19 Jul 2017 13:37:50 +0000 https://www.damninteresting.com/?post_type=upcoming&p=15188 No Country For Ye Olde Men:

The year was 1721. The ship was called the Prince Royal, its destination the American colonies. And the cake–the cake was gingerbread. The British crew shouldn’t have been surprised to find the metal file in the cake. Its stasher, James Dalton–a notorious thief and escape artist–had been shuttled involuntarily between Britain and America more times […]

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Fire and Dice https://www.damninteresting.com/fire-and-dice/ https://www.damninteresting.com/fire-and-dice/#comments Tue, 13 Jun 2017 12:25:39 +0000 https://www.damninteresting.com/?post_type=upcoming&p=14960 Fire and Dice:

Downstairs in the casino, little remained of the MGM Grand Hotel’s former glory. In the early morning hours of 21 November 1980, a fire had broken out in the Las Vegas landmark, ripping through the lounge in an explosive wave that instantly killed everyone in the area. Bodies sat frozen in front of what had […]

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The Reconstruction of Ulysses S. Grant https://www.damninteresting.com/the-reconstruction-of-ulysses-s-grant/ https://www.damninteresting.com/the-reconstruction-of-ulysses-s-grant/#comments Tue, 11 Apr 2017 12:16:01 +0000 https://www.damninteresting.com/?post_type=upcoming&p=13800 The Reconstruction of Ulysses S. Grant:

In the second half of the 19th century, few Americans were better known–and revered–than the man whose face looks out today from the $50 bill. Ulysses S. Grant led Union troops to victory in the American Civil War, then thwarted attempts by President Andrew Johnson to suppress fundamental civil rights of newly freed black Americans. […]

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The Greatest Baroque Composer Never Known https://www.damninteresting.com/the-greatest-baroque-composer-never-known/ https://www.damninteresting.com/the-greatest-baroque-composer-never-known/#comments Tue, 07 Mar 2017 12:14:22 +0000 https://www.damninteresting.com/?p=13453 The Greatest Baroque Composer Never Known:

As a choirmaster in 1870s Salzburg, Innocenz Achleitner often saw sheet music treated in a less-than-reverent manner. It might be scattered across a composer’s desk, crammed into vocalists’ folios, or even marred with personal notes about bowings or breath marks. Never before, however, had he seen it wrapped around vegetables. Only about 80% of men […]

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