In the 1700s, Whalers Avoided Hawai’i for an Odd Reason

Honolulu was such an alluring port that many strong-minded captains refused to touch there, for desertions of nearly half a ship’s complement were not uncommon. In time the problem became so acute that ship owners banded together and paid head money to native gangs for each deserter hauled in from the hills or lush valleys, but some wise Yankee skippers avoided the whole problem by cruising back and forth in sight of land and sending ashore only longboats manned by trusted officers, who accumulated the required provisions and rowed back to their reluctant ships. Occasionally, of course, even such special crews deserted.

Michener, James A., et al. “The Globe Mutineers.” Rascals in Paradise. The Dial Press, 2016. 15, 16. Print.

Purple Oceans

For about seven-eights of the Earth's history, its oceans were extremely rich in sulfides. This would have prevented animals and plants from surviving in 70% of the planet. But it was a great habitat for photosynthetic bacteria that require sulfides and sunlight to live. Known as purple and green sulfur bacteria (because those are the two colors it comes in) these single-celled microbes can only live in environments where they simultaneously have access to sulfides and sunlight. That they thrived in the sulfide-rich ocean has been confirmed with the finding of fossilized pigments of purple sulfur bacteria in 1.6 billion-year-old rocks from the McArthur Basin in Northern Australia.

The Sauropods, a dinosaur clade, were the tallest animals that ever lived. Some were more than twice the height of a giraffe. (They also include some of the largest animals to have ever lived on land.)

Well Done New Zealand

New Zealand was the first country to have its top three positions of power held simultaneously by women. These were Prime Minister Helen Clark, Governor General Dame Silvia Cartwright, and Chief Justice Sian Elias from 2001 to 2007. (New Zealand also has repeated this, with three women in the top positions of power since 2017.)

Moths Once Supplemented Ancient Australians' Diets

Microscopic remains of Bogong moths were detected on a grindstone recovered from Cloggs Cave, which is located in southeastern Australia. Utilizing residue analysis, independent archaeologist and pharmacologist Birgitta Stephenson was able to identify wings and legs of moths that had been ground to make food 2,000 years ago. Australia's ancient GunaiKurnai people traveled to the region each summer to harvest the billions of high-fat moths that migrated to the cooler alpine area of Cloggs Cave. The moths were harvested and cooked over fire or ground into cakes or paste that could be smoked and preserved for weeks.

While we know this from the oral traditions of the GunaiKurnai, the actual practices and techniques have been lost, since Australia was colonized. And unfortunately Bogong moth populations have severely dropped in recent years. Pollution, drought, and city lights are all thought to have contributed.

Maria Ann Smith -- or as you might know her, Granny Smith -- propagated the ancestor of all modern Granny Smith apples from one tree near Sydney, Australia in 1868.

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    By Lillian Audette

    This blog is a collection of the interesting, the weird, and sometimes the need-to-know about history, culled from around the internet. It has pictures, it has quotes, it occasionally has my own opinions on things. If you want to know more about anything posted, follow the link at the "source" on the bottom of each post. And if you really like my work, buy me a coffee or become a patron!

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