Category Archives: People

“The Queen of Thieves”- The Story of Criminal Mastermind, Ma’ Mandelbaum

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Over a 20-year career in post-Civil War New York, Fredericka “Marm” Mandelbaum is estimated to have fenced as much as $10 million in stolen property (around a quarter of a billion dollars when adjusted for inflation). Sitting at the center of a vast crime web the spanned large areas of the United States, Ma Mandelbaum was then known as “the […]

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The Interesting Journey of the Body of Famed Philosopher Jeremy Bentham

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Jeremy Bentham was born on February 15, 1748 in London, England. His father, a lawyer, believed Bentham would follow in his footsteps and enter the law profession. Due to his son’s very apparent intelligence, being something of an intellectual prodigy, he even had wild ambitions for Jeremy to ascend to the position of Lord Chancellor of England. And, indeed, Young Jeremy […]

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Erased from History- Hatshepsut, the Bearded Female King of Egypt

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Hatshepsut was the eldest of two daughters born to Egyptian King Thutmose I and Queen Ahmose Nefertari. Her younger sister died in infancy, meaning twelve year old Hatshepsut was Thutmose I’s only surviving child from his marriage to the queen. However Thutmose I, like other Egyptian pharaohs, maintained secondary wives also known as harem wives. Any sons born from those […]

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Not Guided By Policy- Hunter S. Thompson and the Birth of Gonzo Journalism

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“We were somewhere around Barstow, on the edge of the desert, when the drugs began to take hold.” This is the opening line from the highly acclaimed roman à clef Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream written by Hunter S. Thompson, one of America’s most countercultural and anti-authoritarian writers. The […]

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A $25 Bonus- H. Tracy Hall and the Invention of the Synthetic Diamond

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As you may know, naturally created diamonds are formed from carbon subjected to extreme pressure (725,000 pounds per square inch or so) and heat (1,650 to 2,370 °F) some 90-120 miles down. The world’s natural diamond supply (that has come to the surface) was formed in this way some 1-3 billion years ago. However, scientists only realized that diamonds are […]

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A Mime in the French Resistance

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A fixture in entertainment throughout the second half of the 20th century, a commander of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, and Officer of the Legion d’honneur, the recipient of the Médaille Vermeil de la Ville de Paris, Emmy Award winner, and a grand officer of the Ordre national du Mérite, among numerous other awards and honors, Marcel Marceau is widely […]

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A Violinist and the Devil

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Karl M. asks: How did the story start about Niccolo Paganini selling his soul to the devil in exchange for mastering the violin? At the height of his fame and fortune, Niccolò Paganini, arguably the greatest violinist ever to live, was both the toast, and the bane, of Europe. Considered by most a musical genius, by some a musical god and […]

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