Category Archives: History

The Corporation


The following is an article from Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader To some people, the word “corporation” has negative connotations, and not without reason—names like Enron and Lehman Brothers come to mind. But it’s also one of the greatest tools for economic growth ever invented. Here’s a brief, fascinating history of the corporation. BACKGROUND Most of us have a simple understanding […]

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That Time Cadets at West Point Rioted Over Eggnog


From the beginning, heavy drinking was fairly commonplace among the cadets at the United States Military Academy at West Point (founded in 1802). In an attempt to stem this in 1826, the academy’s strict superintendent and the “Father of West Point,” General Sylvanus Thayer, began a crackdown by prohibiting alcohol on campus. As Christmas approached and the cadets realized that […]

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That Time When the Elite of the Western World Rented Pineapples by the Hour


The humble pineapple is most often seen today either sitting proudly in the centre of an uncomfortably well stocked fruit bowl or being used as the home of a lovable talking sponge. However, between the 16th and 18th centuries, pineapples were so expensive and rare that they were often displayed like fine works of art. Converting exactly how much a […]

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François-André Danican Philidor and Blindfold Chess


In 1744 at the age of 18, François-André Danican Philidor (1726-1795) enthralled Parisian society after playing two simultaneous games of chess in a public demonstration, all while blindfolded. And even though he lost one game and only drew the other, the display established Philidor as a chess master par excellence, and blew new life into the ancient practice of blindfold […]

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First Look at Your Baby: The Fascinating History of the “Sonogram”


The following is an article from Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader If you have kids, there’s a good chance that the very first time you laid eyes on them was via a “sonogram” image taken before they were even born. The grainy images are so common that they’ve become a rite of passage for parents all over the world. Here’s the […]

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