Pente Grammai (“five lines”) is a board game that was played in ancient Greece.Continue reading The Ancient Greek Game of Pente Grammai
For over two decades during the Cold War, the CIA attempted to spy on the Soviet Union using psychics, clairvoyants, and “remote viewing”.Continue reading Project Stargate–the CIA’s Psychic Spies
Before the first American astronauts went into space, they were preceded by a pair of chimpanzees.
Continue reading NASA’s Space Chimps
Elvis may be everywhere, but he lived in Memphis TN.
Continue reading Elvis Presley’s Graceland
The most famous Japanese aircraft of the Pacific War was the Mitsubishi A6M Zero. But the Zero was only used by the Imperial Navy, mostly as a carrier-based fighter. The Imperial Japanese Army had its own series of fighter planes during WW2, which were ground-based. Today, they have been almost entirely forgotten.Continue reading Japanese Imperial Army Fighters of WW2
A very simple and ancient game with minimal equipment.
Continue reading The Game of Nine Men’s Morris
“Vulcan” is best-known as the fictional homeworld of Mr Spock from “Star Trek”. But for a time, Vulcan was thought to be a real planet that existed within our own solar system.Continue reading The Planet Vulcan (No, Not THAT One …)
In 1964, the Pentagon carried out its only nuclear tests in the eastern US, detonating two underground nuclear devices in a rural area of Mississippi.
Continue reading When the US Nuked Mississippi
In 1839, the state of Missouri and the territory of Iowa almost came to blows over a border conflict that involved a dispute over honeybee trees.
Continue reading The Missouri/Iowa Honey War of 1839
When the Spanish encountered Native Americans in Florida in the 16th century, they found them making a “Black Drink” that was used both as a daily hot beverage and as a ceremonial emetic for ritual religious cleansing.Continue reading Florida’s “Black Drink”
I think I would have liked Thomas Jefferson. He had a passionate interest in science and natural history. I also would have enjoyed discussing political theory and religion with him, though I suspect we would have disagreed vehemently about some things. And there is no denying that Jefferson was one of our most historically significant Presidents. So for me, visiting Jefferson’s estate at Monticello was almost like a pilgrimage (though he and I would both have rejected the very idea of a religious pilgrimage).Continue reading Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello
At 5am on November 11, 1918, the French, British, American and German representatives signed the armistice treaty that formally ended hostilities in the First World War. Under the terms of the Armistice, the war would officially end at 11am that day. All the troops in the trenches had to do was sit tight for the next 6 hours, and everyone would, after four years of the bloodiest stalemate in European history, get to go home intact. Instead, allied forces launched a series of attacks, producing over 10,000 casualties on the last morning of a war that was already over.
Continue reading The Last Day of World War One
(NOTE: I re-run this diary every November 11 both to remind us why this is “Veteran’s Day “and what a useless slaughter “war” is.)
The P-38 was tough, heavily-armed, and had exceptional range. Many of the highest-scoring American aces of the war won their victories in Lightnings.Continue reading Icons of Aviation History: Lockheed P-38 Lightning
In 1917, at the height of the First World War, a copper workers strike in Arizona came to a head when thousands of people were illegally rounded up and “deported” into the desert.Continue reading The 1917 Bisbee “Deportations”
Shortly after attaining statehood in 1912, Arizona had one of the closest elections ever in the US—which led to a crisis.Continue reading When Arizona Had Two Governors