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On a cold January morning in 2005, in the village of Saru in southern Estonia, farmer Rein Kıiv and his son made a curious discovery. On the sandy floor of their shed, they found a cluster of 16 rats with their tails inexplicably tangled into a knot. The rats were squeaking and struggling to escape but the harder they pulled the tighter the knot became. The animals were apparently trying to dig t Read More »
Alexander Fleming is widely known as the brilliant microbiologist who gave the world the miraculous life-saving drug called antibiotic. But he also had an artistic side that is perhaps less well known. Fleming was a member of London’s Chelsea Arts Club, where he tried his hand at watercolor and created compositions that were amateurish at best. But his artistic talents didn’t lie in watercolors o Read More »
The town of Fermont, situated near the Quebec-Labrador border, is a Canadian mining town. It was founded in the early 1970s by the Québec Cartier Mining Company to exploit the vast deposits of iron ore on Mont Wright, located about 25 kilometers to the west from the town site. It is the only mining town in the region. Fermont is situated above the 52nd parallel which places it in the same latitu Read More »
The inauguration of domestic parcel post service by the United States Postal Office in 1913 was an epochal event in the lives of thousands of Americans, especially those residing in far-flung areas of the country. All of a sudden, commodities such as foodstuff, medicines and other modern goods not easily available in rural areas were as close as the next post office. Customers were able order goo Read More »
Would you cut a ten dollar bill in half and use as two five dollar bills? Of course not. It's silly to even suggest something like that. Likewise, cutting a postage stamp in half would invalidate it immediately and the stamp would cease to be legal. But there was time, not very long ago, when the post office used to honor bisected stamps. Unless you are into philately, you might not have hear Read More »
On the island of Læsø, located off the coast of Denmark, there are houses with roofs made of seaweed. These roofs are up to a meter thick, and the way they hang over the walls the house appears to be wearing a cloak. Apart from their humongous size, they look a lot like thatch but seaweed is far more durable. Some of these roofs are over 300 years old. They are a unique feature of the island of L Read More »
In the Freita mountain range in northern Portugal, close to a village called Castanheira, is a huge block of granite that periodically ejects small pebble-sized stones. This rare geological phenomenon is locally known as Pedras Parideiras, which translates into English as “the rock that gives birth.” The “mother-rock” is a granitic outcrop measuring roughly 1,000 meters by 600 meters. The rock’s Read More »
The New Haven Green in downtown New Haven, a city in Connecticut, USA, is a small park of about 16 acres. Being surrounded by buildings of the Yale University, courthouses, the New Haven Free Public Library and numerous municipal and commercial structures, the park stays typically busy throughout the day. During public events such as classical music and jazz concerts, and art festivals, which the Read More »
In the late 19th century, Valentine's Day was more than an occasion for lovers to express their love for each other by sending greetings cards and presenting gifts. It was also the day for haters to hurl abuses and insults to those they didn’t love. Known as vinegar valentines, these cards carrying caricatures and satirical rhymes intending to vilify, mock and hurt the recipient was available Read More »
In mediaeval England, when feuds were violent and justice swift and brutal, it was common for castles and mansions of the powerful and the wealthy to have secret chambers or hidden passageways that allowed the owners to hide or escape from pursuers in the event of a surprise attack. During the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, the number of such secret chambers and hiding-places increased sharply, espe Read More »
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