Terra Incognita: the 1339 Discovery of America

As The Economist reports, a paper for the academic journal Terrae Incognitae by Paolo Chiesa, a professor of Medieval Latin Literature at Milan University, reveals that an Italian monk referred to America in a book he wrote as early as the starts of the 14th century....

Real-Life Aliens

What might life on another planet look like? What the British Antarctic Survey came across earlier this year (2021) may shed some light. As Wired reports, the Society wanted to study the history of the floating shelf. Instead, they came across strange creatures that...

Past Visions of the Future

How did our grandfathers imaging our present? Robert Langkjær-Bain of Fivemedia has an excellent article with some (often hilarious) illustrations answering that very question. Flying Cars With AirCar completing its first flight on June 28th, 2021, maybe we’re...

Are There Any Celtic Words in English?

Long-time followers of my blog may remember my post on the origins of English. The language tree in that post shows that English is largely derived from Germanic, specifically Anglo-Frisian. So, where are the Celts? Are there no Celtic words in English? As several of...

Space Farts and Crappy Jobs

The wee one’s fascination with bodily functions (as witnessed by her poetry) must be rubbing off on me, as I couldn’t stop browsing Quora to learn more about toilet habits, old and new. Sher Afgan and Silvia Serra have shared a brief illustrated history of...

How Did They Make Iron in the Iron Age?

The Iron Age (800 BC-100 AD) took its name from, well, iron. This kickstarted a number of technological and social changes, with centuries-old Bronze Age (2200-800 BC) civilizations based on copper and tin falling prey to invincible newcomers who wielded formidable...

History of the Cuirass

Cavalier guards, the charge is short, and therefore so sweet. The trumpet sings, the field is open, and somewhere saber ringing is heard. The sound of strings still echoes but the captain’s already on the saddle. Do not promise young maidens eternal love on...

The City that Vanished into the Sea

When people speak of climate change, I often think of Dunwich, a town on the Suffolk coast that has almost entirely vanished into the sea. Dunwich is a pleasant city that consists of just about one street and a museum, a shingle beach, and a nearby forest. As George...

Giannoulis Chalepas, Greece’s Mad Sculptor

Late last year, an article of mine was published by John Maberry’s Eagle Peak Annual on the life of one of Greece’s best-known sculptors, Giannoulis (“Little John”) Chalepas. I’m sharing here with John’s kind permission. Chalepas...