The Strange Life and Death of Tycho Brahe

If you’ve heard of Tycho Brahe, it is probably his achievements in astronomy that you are familiar with.  His observations of the positions of stars and planets, all made without a telescope, were critical for his successors in later establishing that the sun was the center of our solar system. As accomplished as he was,…

History’s Strangest Animal Lover

History is full of eccentric characters, but James “Jemmy” Hirst may be one of the strangest. This animal-loving inventor’s life would be worthy of a Hollywood film. Jemmy was born in 1738 in a small Yorkshire town in England to a respectable and successful farming family. From a young age, he stood out from his…

America’s Army of Two

Many heroic tales emerged from the War of 1812. One of the most famous is the story of Dolley Madison’s flight from the White House before the British burned it in the middle of the war in 1814. In her escape, she managed to save an important painting of George Washington. But there is a…

The Trial of the Dead Pope

Church trials used to be a regular feature of life in Europe. The Inquisition was the most famous set of church trials, but there were many more, including everything from witch trials to mundane family court issues. The prize for the most outlandish trial in the history of church courts, though, must go to the…

The Frozen Continent is Becoming Greener

Antarctica has always been associated with ice and snow. It is seen as a place where nothing really grows and where no humans can sustain a civilization. All of that might change in the near future due to climate change. While it’s not becoming a farmer’s paradise, Antarctica has started becoming green in recent years.…

Money Can Make You Really Sick

Though the world is becoming increasingly cashless, actual paper money is still widely used in most countries. Everyone knows that paper money can be dirty. How could it fail to be when so many people handle it? But a recent study published in the journal Frontiers in Microbiology shows just how dirty it really is.…

The Poison Widow of Hardscrabble, Ohio

Martha Hasel seemed doomed from birth to a miserable existence. Born in 1884 to poor farmers, as she grew her unattractive appearance and charmless personality became painfully apparent. Marrying and having a family was all that most women could hope for in those days, but it didn’t seem like Martha would succeed in that goal.…