Category Archives: People

Forgotten History: the Story of Emma Sharp and the Barclay Challenge


In 1809, Captain Robert Barclay Allardice made a bet with one of his pedestrian rivals, Sir James Webster-Wedderburn, that he could walk 1,000 miles (about 1,609 kilometers) in 1,000 hours. The wager? 1,000 guineas. To get around the major problem of needing to rest, Barclay figured if he walked back to back miles–a mile at the end of one hour and another […]

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The Original Dungeon Masters


The following is an article from Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader ROLLING THE DICE Gary Gygax (pronounced GHEE-Gax) was an insurance underwriter living in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, in the late 1960s. He made his living calculating the probabilities that an individual seeking to buy insurance would become sick or disabled or die, and he used these estimates to set the premiums […]

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That Time a Professional Gambler Turned $50 into $40 Million, Then Promptly Lost It All


In the world of professional gambling, there is a well documented hot streak of near-mythical status referred to by many as “The Run”. During this streak, a man known as Archie Karas turned $50 into $40 million by primarily shooting pool and playing poker in Vegas. What makes this run so infamous is that, after winning more money than most […]

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That Time an Olympic Rower Stopped to Let Some Ducks Swim By and Still Won the Gold Medal


Born in Sydney Australia in 1905, Henry Robert Pearce, better known as Bobby Pearce, dominated the world of competitive rowing throughout the 1920s and 1930s and was extremely popular with fans of the sport due to a combination of the ease with which he seemed to best opponents and his affable personality. Perhaps the greatest example of both of these […]

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Changing the World Twice- The Story of Eli Whitney


The following is an article from Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader When you hear the name Eli Whitney, you probably think of his invention, the cotton gin. But you may not realize how profoundly it (and his other inventions) changed the world. Here’s the history they never taught you in school. LOOKING FOR WORK In 1792 a 27-year-old Massachusetts Yankee named […]

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Why Are Some People Claustrophobic?


Noah R. asks: What causes people to be claustrophobic? If you have a friend who refuses to ride the elevator to his 15th floor office every day, he may be a fitness freak, but chances are, he is claustrophobic. Similarly, when someone’s action seems illogical as shown by their persistent, determined avoidance of enclosed spaces or restrictive clothing, the likely explanation […]

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Just Have One More Try – The Amazing Story of Douglas Mawson’s 300-Mile Antarctic Trek


On a brutal Antarctic day in January 1913, without food, dogs, transport or companionship, starving, covered in open sores and with the soles of his feet attached to his body with only tape, 30-year-old Australian geologist and explorer Douglas Mawson’s only remaining motivation for soldiering on was to leave his diary in a place where searchers might eventually find it. […]

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From Longtime Dramatic Actor to Total Goofball- The Story of Leslie Nielsen


Despite spending the first 30 years of his career almost exclusively a prolific dramatic actor, today Leslie Nielsen is generally remembered as one of the greatest comedic actors of all time for his roles in films like Airplane! and The Naked Gun series. As it turns out, these two factors are more closely linked than you might think and Nielsen’s […]

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