Where Ignorance Is Bliss

In the early days of automobiles, no one drove their cars during the winter because of the unreliability of  the machines. It was normal for car engines to stop working at low temperature. Moreover, the lack of roads was also an issue. So, cars were put up on jacks, and dealers shut down their businesses […]

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A Short Letter to the Editor

On November 22, 1950, The Providence Journal, a daily newspaper serving Providence, Rhode Island, may have printed the shortest letter on its Letters to the Editor column ever. The letter was introduced with, “The following letter is printed in its entirety.” Here’s the letter: Editor: I am so damn mad I forgot what I was […]

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An Ingenious Marble Adding Machine

From time to time, I would find something truly remarkable on the web and the following is a good example: Matthias Wandel was able to contruct a wooden adding machine that adds binary numbers. However, the most curious thing about it is that it is operated by marbles. Just watch the video to see its […]

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Quotable #89: Abstraction

“What, then, is truth? A mobile army of metaphors, metonyms, and anthropomorphisms – in short, a sum of human relations, which have been enhanced, transposed, and embellished poetically and rhetorically, and which after long use seem firm, canonical, and obligatory to a people: truths are illusions about which one has forgotten that this is what […]

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Possible Origins of “God Is Always on the Side of the Heaviest Battalion”

The quotation “God is always on the side of the heaviest battalion” has mainly been attributed to Napoleon (1769 – 1821). Another form of the same quotation you may recognize is “Providence is always on the side of the big battalions”. Nonetheless, this saying has been around long before the time of Napoleon. One of […]

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Gleanings from the Past #88

Fortune Fortune, they say, doth give too much to many; But yet she never gave enough to any. — John Harington, 1600, quoted in The London Quarterly Review, January 1865 Behind every successful fortune there is a crime. — Mario Puzo, The Godfather, 1969 Writing Novels A man who is not born with the novel-writing […]

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An Einstein Legend

Legend has it that an apple falling from a tree and then subsequently hitting Isaac Newton on the head is said to have provided Newton the idea of the gravitational force. This is a well-known and often told legend in physics. There is a lesser-known legend that explains Einstein’s discovery of his theory of the […]

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Quotable #88: Free Will

“Man, what are you talking about? Me in chains? You may fetter my leg but my will, not even Zeus himself can overpower.”  — Epictetus, The Discourses of Epictetus, with the Encheridion and Fragments (1877 edition), tr. by George Long, c. 2nd century “A horse that is hitched with others to a wagon is not free not […]

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6 Health Myths Debunked

This is a guest post by John Hannen. Throughout time there has many myths and old wives’ tales. In childhood, we were often led to believe that we wouldn’t get curly hair if we didn’t eat our bread crusts or walking under a ladder would give us bad luck. However, many myths revolved around our […]

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Advice to Book Borrowers (Book Inscriptions)

The following are some book inscriptions found on old books warning book borrowers to return the books that they borrow: Neither blemish this book, or the leaves double down, Nor lend it to each idle friend in the town; Return it when read; or, if lost, please supply Another as good to the mind and […]

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