In 1884, electrical engineer Rookes Crompton wrote, “At the recent Crystal Palace Electrical Exhibition, a couple from the country asked the price of an incandescent lamp at one of the stalls, and being supplied with it for 5s., expended a box of matches in trying to light it, and then declared the whole thing was a swindle.”

Beware The Jellyfish

The box jellyfish's sting causes severe headaches, vomiting, rapid heartbeat, pulmonary edema, and severe anxiety -- its apparently so bad that some victims beg doctors to kill them. It is estimated that since 1954 box jellyfish have caused more the 5,500 deaths.

How The Squid Lost Its Shell

Did you know squid ancestors used to have shells? Well, they did, and it made them very well adapted to living in the ocean. Over time, however, that usefulness became a weakness

Studying "Study of an Archer"

This unifinished study, from India around 1750, helps modern art historians understand how paintings were created at that time. Artists began by covering the paper with a thin layer of white paint, which created an even surface suitable for detailed work. They then made a preliminary drawing using ink and a fine brush; this is clearly visible where the quiver was meant to be executed. Pigments were then added, in this case, opaque watercolors. And at various stages, the painting was turned face down on a smooth surface, and rubbed with a hard tool to achieve a glossy finish.

The Precursor to Modern Sign Language

The first modern sign language for the hearing impaired is credited to Pedro Ponce de Leon, a Spanish Benedictine monk who lived in the 1500s. Native Americans had long used hand gestures to communicate with other tribes and to facilitate trade with Europeans. Inspired, de Leon adapted the gestures used at his monastery to create a method to teach the deaf to communicate.

de Leon's first success was with Gaspard Burgos, a deaf man who, because of his difficulty with oral communication, had been denied membership in the Benedictine order. Under de Leon's tutelage, Burgos learned to speak so that he could make his confession. Burgos later wrote a number of books. de Leon went on to teach a number of other individuals how to speak and write, using his sign language, but his exact methods of teaching have been lost to history.

It took another Spanish cleric building on his work, one Juan Pablo Bonet, to write the first surviving work on educating individuals with hearing disabilities. Titled "Summary of the letters and the art of teaching speech to the mute" it was published in Madrid in 1620. However, both de Leon and Bonet focused on teaching the deaf to speak and write, and their sign languages were systems used to facilitate that. Their manual systems were not true "languages" with grammar and syntax.

There are oly four entities that have put humans into space. They are the government of Russia, the government of the United States, the government of China, and the private spaceflight company Scaled Composites.


"It is the duty of a good shepherd to shear his sheep, not to skin them."

Tiberius, Roman Emperor (14 CE to 37 CE). It was rephrased by the Sicilian mafia in the 1800s as "You have to skim the cream off the milk without breaking the bottle" -- the mafia took what they needed, without harming their source of income.

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • >
  • Leave us a message

    HISTORICAL NON-FICTION

    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!

    Website design and coding by the Amalgama

    About us X