Damn Interesting https://www.damninteresting.com Science, history, and psychology since 2005. In text and podcast form. Sun, 29 Mar 2020 03:21:54 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.4 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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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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