Damn Interesting https://www.damninteresting.com Science, history, and psychology since 2005. In text and podcast form. Tue, 28 Jul 2020 04:23:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.4.2 Chronicles of Charnia https://www.damninteresting.com/chronicles-of-charnia/ https://www.damninteresting.com/chronicles-of-charnia/#comments Wed, 01 Jul 2020 14:45:00 +0000 https://www.damninteresting.com/?post_type=upcoming&p=49408 Chronicles of Charnia:

In the spring of 1957, three schoolboys were climbing in an abandoned quarry in Charnwood Forest, an area of rugged hills and bluebell-wooded valleys not far from the geographic centre of England. One of the boys spotted something unusual. “Look at this!” Richard ‘Blach’ Blachford called out. Fifteen-year-old Roger Mason scrambled down to the base […]

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The Spy of Night and Fog https://www.damninteresting.com/the-spy-of-night-and-fog/ https://www.damninteresting.com/the-spy-of-night-and-fog/#comments Wed, 06 May 2020 15:25:41 +0000 https://www.damninteresting.com/?post_type=upcoming&p=47020 The Spy of Night and Fog:

In the very early hours of 17 June 1943, a few miles south of the rural commune of Tierce, France, two Lysander airplanes touched down in the dark on a makeshift airstrip. A secret agent disembarked from the cramped passenger compartment of one plane, and two emerged from the other. The agents were all women–two […]

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Radical Solutions https://www.damninteresting.com/radical-solutions/ https://www.damninteresting.com/radical-solutions/#comments Thu, 26 Mar 2020 13:56:35 +0000 https://www.damninteresting.com/?post_type=upcoming&p=45847 Radical Solutions:

Paris, 29 May 1832. All through the night, a young Frenchman named Évariste Galois stayed awake, quill in hand, frantically scrawling notes and equations across dozens of sheets of paper. He had only been studying mathematics seriously for a few years, but he had proven to be a veritable prodigy. After quickly exhausting the knowledge […]

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Private Wojtek’s Right to Bear Arms https://www.damninteresting.com/private-wojteks-right-to-bear-arms/ https://www.damninteresting.com/private-wojteks-right-to-bear-arms/#comments Thu, 12 Dec 2019 12:26:31 +0000 https://www.damninteresting.com/?post_type=upcoming&p=43094 Private Wojtek’s Right to Bear Arms:

During World War II, tens of thousands of Polish soldiers fought to defend and recover their war-ravaged homeland. Their sacrifices are still remembered in Poland, especially the contributions of one particularly hirsute soldier. The fearless and loyal Private Wojtek traveled with the Polish Army from the mountains of Iran to the battlegrounds of Europe, helping […]

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Permission to Grow https://www.damninteresting.com/permission-to-grow/ https://www.damninteresting.com/permission-to-grow/#comments Fri, 22 Nov 2019 16:10:13 +0000 https://www.damninteresting.com/?p=42148 Permission to Grow:

Beards have been banned in a number of military forces in history, from Qing Dynasty China to the modern-day Indian Army (apart from Sikhs). However certain countries allow soldiers to wear beards as long as they receive authorization from a commanding officer. In the UK’s Royal Navy, for instance, the traditional formula has been to […]

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Dead Reckoning https://www.damninteresting.com/dead-reckoning/ https://www.damninteresting.com/dead-reckoning/#comments Thu, 12 Sep 2019 13:10:14 +0000 https://www.damninteresting.com/?post_type=upcoming&p=37058 Dead Reckoning:

This story is assembled from contemporaneous first-person accounts. As such, quotations contain some antiquated spellings, grammar, and phrasing. In the Earth’s extreme southern latitudes, where the Pacific and Atlantic oceans meet, there is a rocky gap of sea between Antarctica and South America known as the Drake Passage. Among 18th century seafarers, this corridor was […]

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The Eponymous Mr. Ponzi https://www.damninteresting.com/the-eponymous-mr-ponzi/ https://www.damninteresting.com/the-eponymous-mr-ponzi/#comments Mon, 02 Sep 2019 12:27:38 +0000 https://www.damninteresting.com/?post_type=upcoming&p=37545 The Eponymous Mr. Ponzi:

Nobody knows who did it first. Swindlers have been pulling off the scam for centuries, paying existing investors with the deposits of new ones to create the illusion of an incredibly profitable investment opportunity. Before 1920, it was known as “robbing Peter to pay Paul” or “the Peter-to-Paul scheme.” For example, Sarah Howe, a fortune-teller […]

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The Most Modern of Modern Sports https://www.damninteresting.com/the-most-modern-of-modern-sports/ https://www.damninteresting.com/the-most-modern-of-modern-sports/#comments Mon, 15 Apr 2019 11:26:00 +0000 https://www.damninteresting.com/?p=32482 The Most Modern of Modern Sports:

When the Admiral Van Heenshirt docked in England in 1936, she held more than one surprise for the men who unloaded her cargo. Exotic produce and spices were common aboard the merchant ship, which had traded between East Africa and England for close to a hundred years, but live animals were considerably rarer. What’s more, […]

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A Pregnant Pause https://www.damninteresting.com/a-pregnant-pause/ https://www.damninteresting.com/a-pregnant-pause/#comments Fri, 29 Mar 2019 14:51:12 +0000 https://www.damninteresting.com/?p=32058 A Pregnant Pause:

In January of 1963, husband and wife George and Charlotte Blonsky submitted a patent application for a revolutionary invention. George, a mining engineer, was not a father himself, but he was fond of children, and he evidently wished to expedite the propagation of the human species. To that end, the Blonskys proposed their “Apparatus for […]

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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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