Benjamin Franklin: America’s Genius

  Benjamin Franklin was a genius, recognized as such at home and abroad in his own time and still today. George Washington referred to him as ‘that great philosopher.’ Thomas Jefferson called him ‘the greatest man of the age and country in which he lived.’ John Adams said of him: ‘Franklin had a great genius,…

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Surprising Facts About Alexander Hamilton

Alexander Hamilton is an improbable success story. The United States’s most enigmatic founding father rose from obscurity to help build a new nation—one where he earned friends and enemies at just about every turn. Here are 12 things you might not know about Hamilton. 1. ALEXANDER HAMILTON PROBABLY LIED ABOUT HIS AGE. We know Hamilton was…

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Palace of Versailles: Facts & History

The Palace of Versailles is an opulent complex and former royal residence outside of Paris. It has held sway in the public imagination for years because of its architectural grandeur and political history.  “To the public imagination, Versailles is the epitome of opulence,” said Louise Boisen Schmidt, a Denmark-based writer at This Is Versailles. “It represents an…

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What’s the Shelf Life of a Ketchup Packet?

Kraft Heinz says an unopened ketchup packet will last about nine months, and it doesn’t have to be refrigerated. There are two types of people in the world: ketchup-packet hoarders and non-ketchup-packet hoarders. Before you non-hoarders judge us hoarders (also known as survivalists), think about whose car you’d rather be in if, say, you ran out gas…

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The Health Problems of Charles II of Spain

Perhaps there hasn’t been a royal house as powerful as the House of Hapsburg (also called the House of Austria). This family provided kings that reigned over vast territories that included Bohemia, Hungary, Portugal, Croatia, Germany, Spain, and, of course, Austria. In the reign of the 16th century’s Charles V, with European kingdoms and colonies…

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How the Roman Colosseum Was Built

The iconic amphitheater, the emblem of Rome, the Colosseum is one of the most easily recognizable wonders of the Roman Empire.  Despite these base associations, no one can neglect the majestic architecture of the building and its influence on the Romans. The Roman Colosseum has undergone a transition from a premier amphitheater to a stone…

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The Dark Origins of 11 Classic Nursery Rhymes

An artwork about nursery rhymes

In the canon of great horror writing, Stephen King, Edgar Allan Poe, H.P. Lovecraft, Bram Stoker, and Mary Shelley tend to dominate the craft. But Mother Goose isn’t too far behind. Yes, that fictional grande dame of kiddie poems has got a bit of a dark streak, as evidenced by the unexpectedly sinister theories surrounding…

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How 5 of History’s Worst Pandemics Finally Ended

A painting of people surrounding a sick person

How 5 of History’s Worst Pandemics Finally Ended While some of the earliest pandemics faded by wiping out parts of the population, medical and public health initiatives were able to halt the spread of other diseases. As human civilizations flourished, so did infectious disease. Large numbers of people living in close proximity to each other…

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How the Donner Party Was Doomed By a Disastrous Shortcut

The pioneers hoped to shave 300 miles off their journey. But the route they took to California had never been tested. After it was all over, Virginia Reed wrote a long letter to her cousin. A member of the infamous Donner Party, the 13-year-old had recently suffered through one of the most grueling—and gruesome—overland crossings of…

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London’s Great Stink of 1858

  London’s Great Stink of 1858 didn’t merely cause nausea citywide, it led to world-changing developments in science and engineering. Punch Magazine/Wikimedia CommonsThe silent highwayman: Death rows on the Thames, claiming the lives of victims who have not paid to have the river cleaned up, during the Great Stink. [Cartoon from Punch Magazine. July 10, 1858.]…

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How Ben Franklin Established the US Post Office

Postal mail delivery became a vital communication line for the colonies—and then helped unite the newly independent United States. During the Revolutionary War, when there wasn’t any internet or telephones to provide instantaneous communication over long distances, the connective tissue that held the American colonies together was mail that was transported by horseback riders on the…

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How Teddy Roosevelt’s Belief in a Racial Hierarchy Shaped His Policies

His conviction that white men of European descent were innately superior informed his actions on matters from national parks to foreign policy. Theodore Roosevelt, known for his boundless energy and brash, adventurous spirit, possessed one of the biggest personalities of any American president. But, he once said, “It is a quality of strong natures that…

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Was the Iroquois Great Law of Peace the Source for the U.S. Constitution?

Representatives from various Native American tribes: from left to right, an Iroquois, an Assiniboine, a Crow, a Pawnee, an Assiniboine in gala dress, a Dakota or Sioux warrior and a Dakota or Sioux woman. (Original artwork engraved by JJ Crew after a drawing by A Huttula.) HULTON ARCHIVE/GETTY IMAGES Back in 1744, colonial leaders from Pennsylvania,…

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Can the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election Be Postponed?

A National Guard member works on election day at a polling location on April 7, 2020 in Madison, Wisconsin. Residents there were forced to go to the polls a day after the U.S. Supreme Court voted against an extension of the absentee ballot deadline in the state. ANDY MANIS/GETTY IMAGES The coronavirus has upended every facet of…

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What the 1919 Anti-Mask League Can Teach Us About Public Health

Red Cross workers making anti-influenza masks for soldiers in camp. Boston, Massachusetts. NATIONAL ARCHIVES After several weeks of mostly sheltering in place, after watching their 401ks crash and their toilet paper cache shrink, some people across the United States are starting to tire of what they see as this unBrave New World of ours. Protests across America are calling…

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The Fall of Constantinople

The city of Constantinople (modern Istanbul) was founded by Roman emperor Constantine I in 324 CE and it acted as the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantine Empire as it has later become known, for well over 1,000 years. Although the city suffered many attacks, prolonged sieges, internal rebellions, and even a period of occupation in the 13th century CE by the Fourth…

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10 Little-Known Facts About the Lewis and Clark Expedition

Explore ten surprising facts about one of America’s first and greatest expeditions of discovery. 1. Lewis first met Clark after being court-martialed by the Army. Lewis (L) and Clark (R). (Credit: Jean-Erick PASQUIER/Getty Images) While serving as a frontier army officer in 1795, a young Meriwether Lewis was court-martialed for allegedly challenging a lieutenant to a duel…

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Alexander the Great Died Mysteriously at 32. Now We May Know Why

“His death may be the most famous case of pseudothanatos, or false diagnosis of death, ever recorded.” When Alexander the Great died in Babylon in 323 B.C., his body didn’t begin to show signs of decomposition for a full six days, according to historical accounts. To the ancient Greeks, this confirmed what they all thought…

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The Ireland Potato Famine

Though the people of Ireland are known for their engaging manner, the history of the nation is rife with sadness. The infamous potato famine, however, stands alone. 1847, dubbed “Black ’47” for its horror. The famine was the most severe in Europe in the 19th century and decimated the Irish population and economy, forever changing…

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Why the Bay of Pigs Invasion Went So Wrong

Before the break of dawn on April 15, 1961, a squadron of eight B-26 bombers piloted by Cuban exiles roared down a Nicaraguan airstrip on a secret mission. The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and President John F. Kennedy hoped the Bay of Pigs Invasion would result in the overthrow of Cuban leader Fidel Castro. But the operation that…

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The wild horses of the Outer Banks won’t evacuate. They have a special trick to survive hurricanes

(CNN)A bunch of majestic horses that spend their days frolicking on the beach in North Carolina’s Outer Banks will not be evacuated. With Hurricane Dorian quickly approaching, the colonial Spanish mustangs will huddle together and ride out the storm using a trick horses have used for centuries. They will move to higher ground and gather under sturdy oak trees to shelter…

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Why Are Certain Foods Eaten Mainly at Breakfast

A typical American breakfast today is often something that can be prepared and eaten fast, like cold cereal, fruit and muffins. Bacon, eggs, toast: If you grew up in North America or Europe, you’re probably picturing breakfast. But when you think about it, anything nutritious and filling is enough to get you going in the…

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What If You Drink Bleach?

It’s important to act quickly if you ingest a significant amount of bleach. First, if you came across this article because there’s an unfolding emergency after you or a loved one drank bleach, stop reading and call the American Association of Poison Control Centers at 800-222-1222 or dial 911. Now. With that out of the…

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Is it Possible to Tie A rope to the Moon?

A scientist explains why it is not possible to tie a rope to the Moon  The earth rotates once every 24 hours and moon every 29 days. But there are bigger problems to take care of. The length of the wire at minimum would be 384000 km. now this is a huge length. Let’s assume…

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How the King James Bible Came to Be

Precisely 451 years after the June 19, 1566, birth of King James I of England, one achievement of his reign still stands above the rest: the 1611 English translation of the Old and New Testaments that bears his name. The King James Bible, one of the most printed books ever, transformed the English language, coining everyday phrases like…

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Which Spiders Kill? (Graphic Images Warning)

Black Widow Spider vs. Brown Recluse Spider In the U.S., most spiders you will find are harmless, but the black widow spider and the brown recluse spider are exceptions. Both types of spiders are more common in the southern U.S. and in warm, dry climates. Within these areas they tend to be found in environments…

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Should Black People Wear Sunscreen?

Hendrixx Love, 1, reacted as he got sprayed with sunscreen by his mother, Ashley Love, 23, at Coney Island Beach.CreditChang W. Lee/The New York Times   Does it make sense for blacks, to wear sunscreen? The answer is more complicated than it may seem. Little heralds the arrival of summer like the smell of open…

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10 Diseases Linked to Soda Pop

The number of Americans who consume products that contain sugar-free sweeteners grew from 70 million in 1987 to 160 million in 2000. At the same time, the incidence of obesity in the United States has doubled from 15 percent to 30 percent across all age groups, ethnic groups, and social strata. And the number of…

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What Were The Main Causes Of World War II?

There were a variety of factors leading up to the Second World War, which can be divided into long-term and short-term causes..   World War II was a devastating war that lasted from September 1939 to September 1945. The war was fought between the Axis Powers and their allies, who were led by Germany, Italy, and Japan as well as the…

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What was the most significant cause of World War One? (WW1)

World War one started on the 28th of July 1914 between two sides; triple alliance and the triple entente. It ended on the 11th of November 1918. Difference in policies were to blame, although the immediate cause of World War one was the assassination of Austria’s Archduke Franz Ferdinand. The war started mainly because of…

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The History of Pit Bulls

The history of the Pit Bull can be traced back to the early 1800’s in the United Kingdom. Pit Bulls were originally bred from Old English Bulldogs (these dogs are similar in appearance to today’s American Bulldog) who gained their popularity on the British Isles in a cruel blood sport known as “bull baiting”. One…

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Here’s how many days a person can survive without water

  We can’t live on air and sunshine alone. The human body needs food and water to survive. A human can go for more than three weeks without food — Mahatma Gandhi survived 21 days of complete starvation — but water is a different story. At least 60% of the adult body is made of…

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The 6 Most Earth-like Alien Planets

By Elizabeth Howell August 06, 2015 Search For Life    A picture of Earth and artist’s interpretations of several exoplanets that could be like our own. From left: artist’s impressions of Kepler-22b, Kepler-69c, Kepler-452b, Kepler-62f and Kepler-186f. A picture of Earth is at far right. Discovering the first true “alien Earth” is a long-held dream of astronomers —…

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12 Diseases That Can Kill You in Just 1 Day

As if cancer, stroke, and heart disease weren’t scary enough, there are plenty of other conditions out there that are potentially deadlier. Remember Aimee Copeland? She got a severe cut after falling into a rocky creek during a zip-line ride gone wrong in 2012. And that’s not the end of her story. She contracted a flesh-eating bacteria that…

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The Legacy of Christopher Columbus

Christopher Columbus was an Italian explorer who stumbled upon the Americas and whose journeys marked the beginning of centuries of transatlantic colonization.   The explorer Christopher Columbus made four trips across the Atlantic Ocean from Spain: in 1492, 1493, 1498 and 1502. He was determined to find a direct water route west from Europe to…

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7 Oldest Universities in the U.S.

Not long after coming America, often in the pursuit of religious and political freedom, the first European colonists established the very first institutions of higher learning. Like all early universities, most of these schools were founded to help clergyman (often of Puritan or Presbyterian faith) further their education. Several of the schools on this list…

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What Happens to Old Money?

Everyday, the Federal Reserve puts new money into circulation, and takes old, damaged money out. The bills that look a little too worse-for-wear are deemed “unfit currency” and destroyed. Each year, the Fed recycles $200 billion worth of currency, and 70% of the new cash it ordered to be printed for 2017 is being used to replace…

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William Miller and the 1844 Millerite Movement

William Miller William Miller founded Millerism. Miller, a farmer from New York, claimed to have discovered when Jesus Christ would return to Earth as stated in the Bible. Miller formed this belief in the 1820s but did not begin to share it with other people until the 1830s. By the early 1840s, approximately one million…

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Animals that Kill Snakes

Actually, a whole bunch of different animal species kill snakes, including a ton of birds – owls, hawks, falcons, herons, etc. And many, many snake species eat only other snakes. So mostly, birds and other snakes are the most common predators of snakes. But plenty of mammals get in on the action too. Of course,…

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A Brief History of the Microwave Oven

In 1946, Raytheon unveiled its new Radarange microwave oven, a new use for the company’s magnetron tubes. The prototype shown here was called the Raydarange. As World War II came to an end, so did the market for the magnetron tubes that had been used to generate microwaves for short-range military radar. Magnetron makers like…

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John Harvey Kellogg CEREAL KING!

— On a typical afternoon at the turn of the century, John Harvey Kellogg — physician, cereal visionary and founder of the modern health movement — could be found in his study at the Battle Creek Sanitarium, bending over to administer his fifth enema of the day to himself. It was apparently one of his…

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McDonald’s French Fry Oil Anti-Frothing Agent May Cure Baldness

Dimethylpolysiloxane, a chemical found in french fry oil and products such as caulk and tire cleaner may hold the answer to curing baldness. RALF-FINN HESTOFT/GETTY IMAGES Dimethylpolysiloxane. You quit reading that word after the third letter, didn’t you? True, it’s a dumb-looking word, but it might interest you to know that it’s the name for a…

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What Is the Difference Between a D.O. and an M.D.?

  Doctors of osteopathy (D.O.s) are licensed physicians who practice in all areas of medicine, but are also rooted in a whole-person approach. If you live in the United States, you’re probably used to using the shorthand “M.D.” when referencing a medical doctor. But if you’ve ever browsed a local list of health care providers, you…

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In case a shark attacks, here’s how you can fight back

A Great White Shark opening its mouth

The best way to prepare yourself for a possible shark encounter is to know how to avoid an attack, what to do if you are bitten, and how to help attack victims. How to Avoid An Attack • Stay away from the mouths of rivers after heavy rains, when freshwater fishes and other animals are swept out…

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The Scent That Makes Mice Run Scared

Even if a mouse has never seen a cat before, he’ll turn tail when one is nearby. Researchers suspected that the rodents somehow sniff out their would-be assassins, but exactly what they smelled was unclear. Now scientists have isolated the compound, one of a class of urinary proteins that are secreted by cats, snakes, and…

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The real story behind the assassination of Julius Caesar

On Feb. 15, in the year 44 BC, Julius Caesar, the all-powerful ruler of Rome, visited a soothsayer named Spurinna, who “predicted the future by examining the internal organs of sacrificial animals,” among other omens. Brave Caesar was “unmoved,” but Spurinna said that he feared Caesar’s life “might come to a bad end,” and warned…

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Money was not enough for Crassus, the richest man in Rome

Crassus may have had the most wealth but his greed for military glory destroyed him in the last days of the Roman Republic. In 60 B.C. Marcus Licinius Crassus was one of the most powerful men in Rome. A military commander who crushed a slave rebellion, Crassus had become a respected orator, patron, and politician, serving…

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What to Do When a Dog Attacks

  You may have heard the news about a 63 year-old woman who was mauled to death by four dogs in Palmdale, California, when she was jogging. While most such incidents don’t end as tragically, joggers, runners, bicyclists and others know all too well the problem of suddenly being pursued, snapped at, or bitten by a loose, aggressive dog.…

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What Is Relative Humidity and How Does it Affect How I Feel Outside?

A reading of 100 percent relative humidity means that the air is totally saturated with water vapor and cannot hold any more, creating the possibility of rain. JOSE LUIS RAOTA/GETTY IMAGES If you’ve ever been to southern Arkansas on a hot July day, you’re familiar with incredible mugginess, a borderline hallucinatory experience where you feel like…

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Copperhead Snakes: Not Always Lethal, But Best Left Alone

All Judy Reed wanted to do was wash some clothes. On June 18, 2019, the Pennsylvania woman descended the basement stairs of her house at around 8 a.m. to do the laundry. Suddenly, a copperhead snake, which had been curled up on a shelf near the washing machine, bit her. Copperheads, like rattlesnakes, are venomous, although…

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The Harmless Garter Snake Is Your Garden’s Best Friend

The garter is among the world’s most benign snakes; it’s not harmful and it eats the pests that eats your garden. If you live anywhere in North America, chances are you’ve seen a garter snake slithering past. For many, such a sight might cause a flinch or scream or, for a die hard and curious…

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In Ponzi We Trust! Charles Ponzi The Father of the Ponzi Scheme

Borrowing from Peter to pay Paul is a scheme made famous by Charles Ponzi. Who was this crook whose name graces this scam? John Kenneth Galbraith once observed that “the man who is admired for the ingenuity of his larceny is almost always rediscovering some earlier form of fraud.” Although the details may vary, all…

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How Slavery Became the Economic Engine of the South

Slavery was so profitable, it sprouted more millionaires per capita in the Mississippi River valley than anywhere in the nation. With cash crops of tobacco, cotton and sugar cane, America’s southern states became the economic engine of the burgeoning nation. Their fuel of choice? Human slavery. If the Confederacy had been a separate nation, it would…

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Could You Really Dig a Hole to China?

In theory, yes. In practice, your journey through the planet might be hampered by the planet’s molten core. There’s also the matter of finding a spot for all you’re digging through to make your tunnel. Let’s not rule out the possibility of mole people, dinosaurs and graboids living down there, either. Keep in mind, too,…

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The Path To Hyperinflation: What Happened To Venezuela?

  It’s hard to imagine daily life with an annual inflation rate of 1,000,000%. At that rate, the price of a cup of coffee doubles between your weekly paychecks. That is what the citizens of Venezuela are facing, according to a recent report from the IMF. The story of how the country went from relative…

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What Happens to Your Car at the End of Its Life Cycle?

While environmentally conscious consumers — and automakers — put a lot of emphasis on cars that operate efficiently, just as important is what happens to those cars when they’re done operating. After all, more than 12 million vehicles were scrapped last year alone. If you consider that each vehicle weighs thousands of pounds, you can…

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Top 10 Largest Ponzi Schemes of the 21st Century

Named after the legendary conman, Charles Ponzi, the Ponzi scheme is a staple in financial scams. The scammer promises high return rates to investors and uses other investors to return that money. People nowadays know it as the “pyramid scheme,” with older investors getting paid by newer ones. Believe it or not, this scam is…

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What Did Ancient Romans Do Without Toilet Paper?

  We’ve all been caught unawares by our digestive tract at one time or another. It happened to the Nash family several months ago. We were nearing the end of an extended road trip, driving down a secondary highway through a sparsely populated area of Colorado at night,when one of my 9-year-old twin sons had…

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