Patent Schmatent

Patent Schmatent

  In 1895, German physicist Wilhelm Roentgen was conducting experiments with a Crookes tube – basically a glass gas bulb that gives off fluorescent light when a high-voltage current is passed through it.  Despite the tube being shielded by heavy black cardboard,...

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My Name Is Mud

My Name Is Mud

      He’s been described as a thief, a swindler and a conman, though he prefers to think of himself as an entrepreneur.  He sold illegal booze, ratted out his criminal comrades, drugged women in order to sell these as wives to lonely settlers, tried to...

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New Year, New Everyone

      On Monday this December 30th past, I clocked in at my retail jobs, put on my headset, and played the morning messages.  There was one from my manager telling us what to expect in terms of sales volume that day and one from corporate welcoming us...

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The Jews Who Wrote Christmas

The Jews Who Wrote Christmas

      “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” “Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!” “White Christmas,” “Do You Hear What I Hear,” “Silver Bells,” “The Christmas Song,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “Holly Jolly Christmas,” “Rockin’ Around the Christmas...

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hiStory 2

hiStory 2

  The reign of Queen Victoria is remembered for two things above all else -- imperialism and prudishness.  Sexual repression was the watchword of the era. Fashion trends soon saw women in dresses that reach from their jaw to the ground.  A glimpse of ankle was so...

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You Gonna Eat That?

You Gonna Eat That?

For this recipe, take some whitefish, heavily salt and air-dry it.  Ship it across an ocean, then soak it for a week days in a solution of cold water and sodium hydroxide, also known as caustic soda, also known as lye, the chemical used to make soap, yes, just like in...

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Conspiracy Truthies

Conspiracy Truthies

Make love not war may be the enduring slogan of anti-war campaigners but in 1994 the US air force produced its own variation on the philosophy. What if it could release a chemical that would make an opposing army's soldiers think more about the physical attributes of...

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The Dogs (and inventions) of War

The Dogs (and inventions) of War

3,150 soldiers and 54,000 pigeons made up the United States Army Pigeon Service, from 1917 to 1957, who delivered messages with an astounding 90 percent success rate.  One American pigeon known as G.I. Joe, no joke, even received a medal for gallantry after delivering...

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Moral Panic! at the Disco

Moral Panic! at the Disco

 In the mid-18th century, American church officials spoke out vehemently against the work of founding father and inventor Benjamin Franklin.  They called him a heretic and said he would bring destruction upon them all. One pastor even blamed Franklin for invoking...

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