Since Henry David Thoreau first recorded the details of his encounter with a "winged cat" in 1842, there have been over 138 reported sightings of such creatures. Some explain the phenomenon as the result of improper grooming, which can lead cats to develop winglike mats of fur, but there are also a few medical conditions that can give cats a winged […]
When Lubang Island in the Philippines was reclaimed by the Allies at the end of World War II, Japanese army officer Hiroo Onoda hid in the dense jungle and refused to surrender. He remained there for 29 years, dismissing all attempts to convince him of the war's end as ruses. Later found by a Japanese student, Onoda refused to surrender unless given the […]
People can and do die of laughter. The 3rd century BCE philosopher Chrysippus, for example, is said to have laughed himself to death while watching the antics of a drunken donkey. In 1410, Martin I of Aragon succumbed to a combination of indigestion and uncontrollable laughter. More recently, a UK man died of heart failure after laughing for 25 minutes at a […]
In Hindu scripture, the age of Kali Yuga is the last of the four cyclic stages of the world and is currently ongoing. It is thought to have begun on the same day that Krishna left the Earth and is said to be marked by greed and murder. The scriptures predict that during Kali Yuga, unreasonable rulers will impose burdensome taxes and people will migrate to wh […]
The US Civil War-era submarine Hunley required an eight-man crew—seven to power the propeller with a hand-crank and one to steer. Within months of its launch, the Confederate sub had sunk and been salvaged twice, taking the lives of five crewmen the first time and the entire crew the second. Manned with a new crew, Hunley became the first submarine to sink a […]
While passing through neutral Norwegian waters during WWII, the German supply vessel Altmark was boarded by Norwegian inspectors. They were told the craft was merely a commercial ship, but it was in fact being used to transport 299 British prisoners of war. The captives tried to make their presence known by banging on the hull, but winches were run to drown […]
Propelled to fame by her 1962 bestseller Sex and the Single Girl, Brown became editor-in-chief of the struggling Cosmopolitan magazine. By directing the magazine toward single, young career women and by being an outspoken advocate of women's sexual freedom, she not only revived the publication but also played a part in the sexual revolution. By the end […]
As a Swiss explorer traveling in North Africa, Eberhardt often dressed as a man to move more freely through Arab society. Intensely independent, she took the side of Algerians fighting against colonial French rule. She converted to Islam, was initiated into a Sufi brotherhood, and married an Algerian soldier. She wrote about her travels in books and newspape […]
A Russian-born British international chess master, Menchik won seven consecutive Women's World Chess Championships, beginning with the first one ever held and ending in 1939, when World War II halted the tournament. She and her family were killed in an air raid on London in 1944. When Menchik entered a men's tournament in 1929, Viennese master Albe […]
Also known as Rashtriya Prajatantra Divas, this holiday commemorates the introduction of a democratic system of government in Nepal, which had been ruled by the Rana family since the mid-19th century. Two other national holidays in Nepal are Unity Day, January 11—celebrating the unification of the various principalities into one country more than 200 years a […]
The Holetown Festival, which takes place in the historic town of the same name in Barbados, marks the approximate date of English settlement and has been an annual event since 1977. The opening celebrations are held at the Holetown Monument, which commemorates the settlers' landing. There are fashion shows, beauty contests, exhibitions, an antique car p […]
The Vietnamese New Year, Tet, is an abbreviation for Tet Nguyen Dan, meaning "first day." This is the most important festival of the year, signifying both the beginning of the year and of spring. At the start of the festival, the Spirit of the Hearth goes to the abode of the Emperor of Jade to report on family members. At midnight the New Year and […]
Definition: (adjective) Green with vegetation; covered with green growth. Synonyms: green, lush. Usage: Habituated to arid landscapes, the desert dwellers were shocked by their first glimpes of the verdant pastures.
Definition: (adjective) Having your attention fixated as though by a spell. Synonyms: fascinated, hypnotized, mesmerized, transfixed. Usage: Nobody thought about her appearance when the power and magic of her voice caught and held her listeners spellbound.
In the future, your robot babysitter will be able to tell if your child has a fever. Researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder say they've developed the first fully rehealable and recyclable electronic skin, or e-skin. The technology mimics the ... Discuss
Crystals similar to those that have been studied in rocks in Scotland have been found on Mars. The tiny V-shaped and single elongated formations were discovered at site on the Red Planet called Jura, the name of a small island in Scotland's Inner ...
Praying mantises do not perceive the world as you and I do. For starters, they're not very brainy — they're insects. A human brain has 85 billion neurons; insects such as mantises have fewer than a million. But mantises, despite their neuronal drought ...
Most men, even in this comparatively free country, through mere ignorance and mistake, are so occupied with the factitious cares and superfluously coarse labors of life that its finer fruits cannot be plucked by them. Discuss