Damn Interesting https://www.damninteresting.com Science, history, and psychology since 2005. In text and podcast form. Wed, 14 Oct 2020 16:29:06 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.5.2 How Miss Shilling’s Orifice Helped Win the War https://www.damninteresting.com/how-miss-shillings-orifice-helped-win-the-war/ https://www.damninteresting.com/how-miss-shillings-orifice-helped-win-the-war/#comments Fri, 09 Oct 2020 12:33:00 +0000 https://www.damninteresting.com/?post_type=upcoming&p=52157 How Miss Shilling’s Orifice Helped Win the War:

The Supermarine Spitfire is nearly synonymous with Britain in World War II. It was a superb fighter plane, beloved of its pilots for its speed and agility, and by the British public as a bona fide national icon and war winner. That status was in no small part thanks to its elegant elliptical wings and […]

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The Damn Interesting Curio Cabinet https://www.damninteresting.com/the-damn-interesting-curio-cabinet/ https://www.damninteresting.com/the-damn-interesting-curio-cabinet/#comments Sun, 06 Sep 2020 17:35:38 +0000 https://www.damninteresting.com/?p=51633 The Damn Interesting Curio Cabinet:

Fifteen years ago today, Damn Interesting materialized on this series of intercontinental information tubes. This has made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move (with apologies to Douglas Adams). To observe this controversial conception, we are sowing further controversy: Our short-form writings, formerly known as “nuggets”, will […]

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Dupes and Duplicity https://www.damninteresting.com/dupes-and-duplicity/ https://www.damninteresting.com/dupes-and-duplicity/#comments Fri, 04 Sep 2020 13:53:09 +0000 https://www.damninteresting.com/?post_type=upcoming&p=51353 Dupes and Duplicity:

On March 7, 1775, a handsome young apothecary named Robert Perreau entered a London bank with a simple, if somewhat extravagant request. He wanted to take out a £5,000 loan (equivalent to just under $1 million today) from the bank’s owners, the Drummond brothers. As collateral for the loan, Perreau offered a bond for £7,500 […]

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The Return of the Bandit https://www.damninteresting.com/the-return-of-the-bandit/ https://www.damninteresting.com/the-return-of-the-bandit/#comments Wed, 26 Aug 2020 13:37:55 +0000 https://www.damninteresting.com/?p=51131 The Return of the Bandit:

Five years ago, we at Damn Interesting published an original long-form article titled The Zero-Armed Bandit. It describes how a large, menacing device appeared mysteriously one morning in a popular Lake Tahoe casino in 1980, along with a note claiming that the thing was a bomb. But it didn’t look like any bomb anyone had […]

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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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