In a fun bit of history news, a secret passageway into the British House of Commons has been found! The passageway dates to 1660 and the coronation of King Charles II. Sadly, it leads nowhere interesting. The passageway is simply an extra way from a corridor to the House of Commons. It was in use for almost 300 years, until it was enclosed and forgotten during World War II.
The 1950s hit song “Splish Splash” (I Was Takin’ A Bath) was written because Murray Kaufman bet Bobby Darin that he could not write a song beginning with the words, "Splish Splash, I was takin' a bath." So Darin wrote the song.
In North Korea, the supermarket escalator where Kim Jong Il was last seen in public has been turned into a shrine to his memory.
Train travelers wearing masks to avoid catching (or spreading) the deadly Spanish Influenza (1918-1920)
Sonny Bono is the only person in American history to have been a US Senator -- and have a had a number-one pop single on the US Billboard Hot 100.
This is a map of Mexico City, showing flight paths planned overhead for a cartographic flyover. Made by Aerofoto in 1936.
"Woe to all of us if ever as a people we grow to condone evil because it is successful."
Theodore Roosevelt, American president
Charity Hospital is the second oldest hospital in the United States. It was founded when Louisiana was still French, in May of 1736, using money from the will of Jean Louis, a French sailor and shipbuilder who died in New Orleans the year before. His last will and testament was to finance a hospital for the poor in the colony of New Orleans. Only Bellevue Hospital in New York City is older (just barely) since it was founded a month earlier in March of 1736. Charity Hospital was abandoned after Hurricane Katrina flooding and evacuation in 2005. Technically, the new University Medical Center New Orleans has taken over its functions. But the Charity Hospital's imposing, decaying remains still stand in New Orleans, a reminder of what was lost and the work still needing to be done.
New York City's A Train, 1939
In the 1870s, the Harvard College Observatory director was frustrated with his staff, and would often say "My Scottish maid could do better!" When he hired her officially in 1879, Williamina Fleming proved he had been right all along. She spent two years doing astronomical clerical work, then in 1881, Pickering invited Fleming to formally join the Harvard Collage Observatory and taught her how to analyze stellar spectra. She became one of the founding members of the Harvard Computers, an all-women group of human computers hired by Pickering to compute mathematical classifications and edit the observatory's publications. Williamina ran an astronomy team for decades, publishing a classification system of tens of thousands of stars, discovering a total of 59 gaseous nebulae, over 310 variable stars, and 10 novae. One of her most famous discoveries (among astronomers, anyways) was the Horsehead Nebula in 1888.