Category Archives: People

In 1842, Ada Lovelace Wrote the World’s First Computer Program

Ada Lovelace

Today I found out that Ada Lovelace was the world’s first computer programmer all the way back in the mid-1800s, writing the world’s first computer program in 1842.  She was also an accomplished mathematician, which was obviously quite rare for women in the era she lived. Lovelace was the only legitimate daughter of Lord Byron, though she never knew him […]

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Eating Kentucky Fried Chicken is a Christmas Tradition for Many Japanese

KFC Christmas Tradition

Kentucky Fried Chicken is hardly considered a suitable place to get one’s food for a traditional Christmas meal in most parts of the world. There is one exception, though. In Japan, it is a Christmas tradition to order KFC. So how exactly did Christmas, the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, become synonymous with a bucket of fried chicken […]

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Sarah Hale, Author of “Mary Had a Little Lamb”, Was Largely Responsible for the Establishment of the United States’ Thanksgiving Holiday

Sarah Hale

Today I found out Sarah Josepha Hale, author of Mary Had a Little Lamb, was largely responsible for the establishment of the United States’ Thanksgiving Holiday. Hale, one of the great women in American history, campaigned for nearly 20 years to get Thanksgiving made a national holiday.  It previously was only celebrated, as we think of it, in New England; […]

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David Letterman Started His Broadcasting Career as a Radio Newscaster

David Letterman

Today I found out David Letterman started out his broadcasting career as a radio newscaster.  This was at the WBST radio station, which, at the time, was a college run 10 watt radio station and is now an Indiana public radio station.  After being fired from that radio station for making fun of classical music, he helped found another campus […]

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John Wilkes Booth’s Brother Saved Abraham Lincoln’s Son’s Life Shortly Before Lincoln Was Assassinated

Robert Lincoln's Mansion, Manchester Vermont

As a general rule, historical anecdotes that seem a little “too perfect,” like “John Wilkes Booth’s brother saved the life of Abraham Lincoln’s son shortly before Lincoln was assassinated,” when researched thoroughly almost never turn out to be true.  This, however, is one of the exceptions to that rule and it was no less than Robert Todd Lincoln himself who, in […]

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Harry Houdini Piloted the First Airplane That Flew Over Australia

harry houdini

Today I found out Harry Houdini piloted the first controlled airplane flight over Australia. Houdini initially became fascinated by aviation in 1909, purchasing a French Voisin biplane for $5000 and subsequently hiring a full time mechanic to maintain it.  In his first flight attempt, he crashed the plane, but with the help of his mechanic, fixed it up and made […]

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Tim Allen Was a Convicted Drug Dealer Before Becoming Famous

tim allen mugshot

Today I found out Tim Allen was a convicted drug dealer before becoming famous. On October 2, 1978, shortly after beginning his stand up comedian career while working at an advertising firm, Allen was caught by drug sniffing dogs at Kalamazoo/Battle Creek International Airport transporting about 650 grams (1.4 pounds) of cocaine.  In exchange for not having to go to […]

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The Guy Who Invented One of the First Artificial Hearts Was Also the Voice of Gargamel on the Smurfs, Winnie the Pooh, and Tigger Too

Paul Winchell

Today I found out the guy who invented one of the first artificial hearts was also the voice of Gargamel on the Smurfs; Mr. Owl on the Tootsie Pop commercials; Winnie the Pooh; and Tigger too. The man was Paul Winchell, who is perhaps best remembered for hosting the Winchell-Mahoney Time children’s show in the 1960s with his ventriloquist dummies […]

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