Category Archives: History

That Time an English Dude Invented a Gun that Fired Square Bullets, and the Waterfowl’s Nightmare

Considered to be little more than a historical curio today, the early 18th century Puckle Gun was nonetheless one of the most advanced firearms of its age, capable of firing one shot every 6 seconds in an era when even the most highly skilled soldier equipped with a musket typically topped out at a rate of only about one shot […]

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That Surprisingly Recent Time British Husbands Sold Their Wives at Market

While getting divorced in modern times in most nations isn’t exactly a walk in the park, options at least do exist in much of the world, even in cases where one spouse would rather stay together. But this is a relatively modern phenomenon. Classically, getting divorced was almost impossible. So much so that at one point about the only way […]

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That Time Women Could Divorce Their Husbands By Having Intercourse in Court

Throughout a certain portion of history in the western world, getting a divorce was almost impossible. Even the royals had issues on this front, with perhaps the most famous example being the plight of King Henry 8th, a man whose desire to get an annulment famously led to him starting an entirely new branch of Christianity virtually identical to the […]

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That Time the U.S. was Going to Build a Massive, Death Ray Equipped, Military Moon Base

During the Cold War, the U.S. government was hell-bent on one upping the commies in any way possible. In the process, they came up with a number of outlandish plans, such as that time they proposed nuking the moon, interestingly enough a project a young Carl Sagan worked on. There were also many more down to Earth projects like the […]

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What Happens When Someone DOES Object During a Wedding and Where Did This Practice Come From?

Killimimes asks: Why do they have the “speak now or forever hold your peace” part of a wedding and what happens when someone objects? While it may come as a surprise to many, it turns out the whole, “If anyone can show just cause why this couple cannot lawfully be joined together in matrimony, let them speak now or forever […]

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Could You Really Legally Kill Someone with a “Wanted: Dead or Alive” Bounty on Their Head?

Labyrinth900 asks: Were “Wanted Dead or Alive” bounties a real thing? In other words, if you found someone that is wanted dead, could you legally shoot and kill them and collect a bounty, and not be charged for murder? A classic Hollywood trope is the idea of a poster with the photo of a given criminal along with very large […]

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That Time Five Guys Volunteered to Stand at Ground Zero of a Nuclear Blast Just to See What Would Happen

Unless there is a lead-lined refrigerator lying around, we’re guessing none of you reading this would be too keen on standing at ground zero of a nuclear blast. But it turns out this is exactly what six men chose to do with their afternoon in July of 1957- five of them even volunteered, with the sixth not told what he’d […]

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Why Doesn’t the United States Use the Metric System?

Finkbonner14 asks: Why doesn’t the United States stop using idiot units and go metric? In 1793, noted French scientist Joseph Dombey departed Le Havre, France bound for Philadelphia. His mission was to meet with Thomas Jefferson and give him two of the rarest items on Earth. Unfortunately for Dombey, fate had other intentions and storms pushed the ship he was […]

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How Does GPS Actually Work and Why Many GPS Devices are About to Stop Working

Developed over the course of decades, GPS has become far more ubiquitous than most people realize. Not just for navigation, its extreme accuracy in time keeping (+/- 10 billionths of a second) has been used by countless businesses the world over for everything from aiding in power grid management to helping manage stock market and other banking transactions. The GPS […]

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How Exactly Did One Become an Executioner in Medieval Times?

Mary A. asks: How did someone get the job of an executioner in medieval times? Few occupations from history are as maligned as that of Medieval-era executioner. Popularly painted as gleeful dispensers of death and torture, the truth seems to be that many executioners throughout this period usually treated the occupation with a certain reverence and exhibited an extreme dedication […]

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What Were Those Weird Metal Things on the Beaches During the Normandy Invasion?

Joshua T. asks: What were all those metal things you see on the beaches in pictures of the Omaha landing? The Normandy Invasions represented one of the single largest military maneuvers in history. Beginning on June 6, 1944, D-Day (see, What does the “D” in D-Day stand for?), the invasion was the largest amphibious assault of all time and involved […]

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