Monthly Archives: December 2016

The Wise Men of Gotham

According to the 1874 edition of Blount’s Tenures of Land, King John’s messengers “found some of the inhabitants engaged in endeavouring to drown an eel in a pool of water; some were employed in dragging carts upon a large barn, to shade the wood from the sun; others were tumbling their cheeses down a hill, that they might find their way to Nottingham for sale; and some were employed in hedging in a cuckoo which had perched upon an old bush”

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The Glasgow Ice Cream Wars

The Glasgow Ice Cream Wars was a turf war in the East End of Glasgow in Scotland in the 1980s between rival criminal organisations selling drugs and stolen goods from ice cream vans.

The conflicts generated widespread public outrage, and earned the Strathclyde Police the nickname the “serious chimes squad” (a pun on Serious Crime Squad) for its perceived failure to address them.

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Quipu

Quipus, sometimes known as khipus or talking knots, were recording devices historically used in a number of cultures and particularly in the region of Andean South America.

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Incroyables and Merveilleuses

Many public balls were bals des victimes at which young aristocrats who had lost loved ones to the guillotine danced in mourning dress or wore black armbands, greeting one another with violent movements of the head as if in decapitation. A ball held at the Hôtel Thellusson on the rue de Provence in the 9th arrondissement of Paris restricted its guest list to the grown children of the guillotined.

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Groom of the Stool

The Groom of the Stool (formally styled: “Groom of the King’s Close Stool”) was the most intimate of an English monarch’s courtiers, responsible for assisting the king in the performance of the bodily functions of excretion and ablution.

The physical intimacy of the role naturally led to him becoming a man in whom much confidence was placed by his royal master and with whom many royal secrets were shared as a matter of course. This secret information—whilst it would never have been revealed, to the discredit of his honour—in turn led to him becoming feared and respected and therefore powerful within the royal court in his own right.

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Inverted Totalitarianism

In inverted totalitarianism, every natural resource and every living being is commodified and exploited to collapse as the citizenry is lulled and manipulated into surrendering their liberties and their participation in government through excess consumerism and sensationalism.

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The Three Christs of Ypsilanti

Rokeach brought together three men who each claimed to be Jesus Christ and confronted them with one another’s conflicting claims.  While initially the three patients quarreled over who was holier and reached the point of physical altercation, they eventually each explained away the other two as being patients with a mental disability in a hospital, or dead and being operated by machines.

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The Ugly Duchess

The Ugly Duchess (also known as A Grotesque Old Woman) is a satirical portrait painted by the Flemish artist Quentin Matsys around 1513.

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Munchausen by Internet

Munchausen by Internet is a pattern of behavior in which Internet users seek attention by feigning illnesses in online venues such as chat rooms, message boards, and Internet Relay Chat (IRC).

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Sedlec Ossuary

An enormous chandelier of bones, which contains at least one of every bone in the human body, hangs from the center of the nave with garlands of skulls draping the vault.

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The Anti-Flirt Club

The Anti-Flirt Club was an American club active in Washington, D.C., during the early 1920s.

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The Streisand Effect

Copyright (C) 2002 Kenneth & Gabrielle Adelman, California Coastal Records Project, www.californiacoastline.org

The Streisand effect is the phenomenon whereby an attempt to hide, remove, or censor a piece of information has the unintended consequence of publicizing the information more widely, usually facilitated by the Internet.

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Hypatia of Alexandria

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Hypatia of Alexandria was a Greek mathematician, astronomer, and philosopher in Egypt, then a part of the Byzantine Empire.  […]  Her murder was plausibly due to her astronomical observations.

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Mellified Man

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Mellified man, or human mummy confection, was a legendary medicinal substance created by steeping a human cadaver in honey.

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The 300 Club

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The 300 Club is the name given to those who have endured a range of temperature of 300° Fahrenheit (166°C) within a very short time.

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