Category Archives: History

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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The Ridiculous Way British Sailors Were Ordered to Stop German U-boats During WWI

In the opening days of WW1, Unterseeboots, better known simply as U-boats, proved to be a potent and constant threat to Allied ships, with one U-boat identified as SM U-9 infamously killing nearly 1,500 British sailors in less than an hour by sinking three armoured British cruisers on September 22, 1914. That same U-boat would go on to sink over […]

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That Time a Guy Destroyed One of the Ancient Wonders of the World Just So People Would Remember Him

Long considered the greatest of the so-called “Seven Wonders of the Ancient World”, the Temple of Artemis located in modern-day Turkey consists of nothing more than a single column of marble surrounded by random pieces of debris. Famously destroyed and rebuilt multiple times over the centuries, the temple is most notable for being burned down by a guy who wanted […]

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That Time Marines Dumped Millions of Dollars of Helicopters Into the Ocean to Save One Family

Few feats of engineering are as impressive as a military-grade helicopter. Today worth millions of dollars each, these high-tech birds are a formidable military asset, including, among many other uses, for rescue operations- all a fact US military personnel helpfully chose to ignore during Operation Frequent Wind when they pushed several dozen of them into the sea, in one case […]

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The Japanese Battleship with Guns that Weighed More than Entire American Battleships

Prior to WW2, knowing that they couldn’t compete with the numbers of the US navy, the Imperial Japanese Navy quietly authorised the construction of the two largest battleships by weight ever seen in warfare- the Musashi and her sister ship, the Yamato. The origins of these two behemoths can be traced back to Japan’s 1934 withdrawal from the League of […]

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That Time a Luftwaffe Pilot Risked His Own Life to Save an American Bomber

The pilot community, on the whole, is surprisingly close-knit, with fellow pilots seemingly always willing to extend a helping hand to their winged brethren. This is seemingly the case even during war amongst pilots otherwise trying to kill one another, as illustrated previously in our article on the real Red Baron and in the subject of today’s article- that time […]

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That Time Someone Actually Achieved the Alchemists’ Dream of Turning a Different Material Into Gold

While it’s likely others had tried it before, the first surviving documented attempt of someone trying to turn something to gold in a (relatively) scientific fashion occurred around 300 AD. The proto-scientist in question was a Greco-Egyptian named Zosimos. During his lifetime, it’s thought that he wrote nearly thirty books about alchemy, but most of them have been lost to […]

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