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Was Beethoven Really Deaf When He Wrote All His Music?

Was Beethoven Really Deaf When He Wrote All His Music?

Emily Upton and Karl Smallwood May 8, 2014 2

Carmen asks: Was Beethoven really deaf when he wrote all his music? If there is one Ludvig van Beethoven fact everyone knows it’s that he was deaf. But just saying “he was deaf” leaves a

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That Time 26-Year-Old Edgar Allan Poe Married His 13-Year-Old Cousin

That Time 26-Year-Old Edgar Allan Poe Married His 13-Year-Old Cousin

Melissa May 5, 2014 3

As if his stories weren’t occasionally disturbing enough, it turns out Edgar Allan Poe’s love life was more than a little creepy as well. Creepy Courtship Poe met his bride-to-be, Virginia Clemm, when she

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What Was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. a Doctor of?

What Was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. a Doctor of?

Melissa May 2, 2014 5

Stefan asks: What was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. a Doctor of? On June 5, 1955, Martin Luther King, Jr. was awarded a Doctorate of Philosophy in Systematic Theology from Boston University. From that

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Who is Murphy of Murphy’s Law?

Who is Murphy of Murphy’s Law?

Melissa April 30, 2014 4

Bill D. asks: Who is the “Murphy” who made Murphy’s Law? For those not familiar, Murphy’s Law states: “Anything that can go wrong will.” Early Origins Pessimists have existed long before the Murphy whose

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The Speech That Cost Nearly a Billion Dollars

The Speech That Cost Nearly a Billion Dollars

Karl Smallwood April 30, 2014 4

Have you ever said something that you ended up immediately regretting or wanted to take back straight away? Well, unless your words cost someone nearly a billion dollars, then you haven’t messed up quite

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Jan Zizka: The General Who Had His Skin Turned Into a Drum

Jan Zizka: The General Who Had His Skin Turned Into a Drum

Karl Smallwood April 23, 2014 1

Jan Zizka (aka Jan Žižka z Trocnova a Kalicha)  is regarded as one of the single finest military minds in world history. He also had his skin turned into a drum. Before we get

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Was Colonel Sanders Actually a Colonel?

Was Colonel Sanders Actually a Colonel?

Matt Blitz April 21, 2014 9

Rachel M. asks: Was Colonel Sanders really a Colonel? Kentucky Colonel is the highest honor that can be bestowed by the Commonwealth of Kentucky. (Incidentally, if you’re curious: Why Colonel is Pronounced “Kernel”) To

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The Curious Case of Mary Hamilton

The Curious Case of Mary Hamilton

Melissa April 14, 2014 1

In 1746 in Taunton, Somerset, England, Mary Hamilton was imprisoned and whipped for impersonating a man and marrying possibly as many as 14 women (not all at once). Few records of these events have

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The Unmasking of Moriarty

The Unmasking of Moriarty

Melissa March 25, 2014 0

Jill T. asks: My dad told me Professor Moriarty in Sherlock Holmes was based on a real person. Is this true and if so, who? Genius and philosopher, with a “brain of the first

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The Man Who Parkinson’s Disease is Named After Was Implicated in a Plot to Assassinate King George III

The Man Who Parkinson’s Disease is Named After Was Implicated in a Plot to Assassinate King George III

Emily Upton March 19, 2014 2

Today I found out they named Parkinson’s disease after a man who was involved in an assassination attempt on King George III. Parkinson’s disease is a movement disorder characterized by tremors or shaking, with

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Whatever Happened to Ambrose Bierce?

Whatever Happened to Ambrose Bierce?

Melissa March 19, 2014 1

Witty, prickly, bitter and brilliant, for 50 odd years, author and newspaperman Ambrose Bierce eloquently chronicled the latter half of the 19th, and first few years of the 20th, centuries. From moving descriptions of

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The Year’s Free Wages That Resulted in the Novel “To Kill a Mockingbird”

The Year’s Free Wages That Resulted in the Novel “To Kill a Mockingbird”

Emily Upton March 18, 2014 0

Today I found out about the year’s “free wages” that led to Harper Lee writing To Kill a Mockingbird. The book, which was Lee’s first and only published novel, was heralded as an “instant

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The “House of Horrors” Hotel and One of America’s First Serial Killers

The “House of Horrors” Hotel and One of America’s First Serial Killers

Emily Upton March 3, 2014 5

Today I found out about H.H. Holmes, one of the United States’ first serial killers. Herman Webster Mudgett was born in 1861 in New Hampshire to a relatively wealthy family. He was reportedly extremely

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The Pope Who Wrote a Popular Romance Novel

The Pope Who Wrote a Popular Romance Novel

Emily Upton February 28, 2014 2

Today I found out about Pope Pius II, who wrote a popular romance novel called The Tale of Two Lovers. Pope Pius II was born Enea Silvio Piccolomini near Siena, Italy in 1405, one

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Hero of Alexandria and His Amazing Machines

Hero of Alexandria and His Amazing Machines

Melissa February 28, 2014 1

Two thousand ago, the Thomas Edison of the ancient world lived in Alexandria, Egypt where he tinkered, built and wrote about some of the most amazing and whimsical machines the pre-industrial world had ever

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The Remarkable Emma Goldman

The Remarkable Emma Goldman

Emily Upton February 20, 2014 0

Goldman was born in 1869 in Lithuania, the first child from her mother’s second marriage to a man who desperately wanted a son. Her father was abusive, using a whip on Goldman who he

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The Wives of King Henry VIII, Part Two

The Wives of King Henry VIII, Part Two

Emily Upton February 13, 2014 2

For Part I of this two part series, go here. Today I found out about the last three wives of King Henry VIII: Anne of Cleves, Kathryn Howard, and Katherine Parr. We last left

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The Wives of King Henry VIII, Part One

The Wives of King Henry VIII, Part One

Emily Upton February 13, 2014 2

Today I found out about the first three wives of King Henry VIII: Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, and Jane Seymour. “Divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived,” as the old rhyme goes. King Henry

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