Atlas Obscura: The Muddled Origins of the Word ‘Viking’
Kiwi Hellenist: The camel, the rope, and the needle's eye
Wired: The Greatest OS That (N)ever Was (1997)
Linux was started six years ago as a typical programming lark: written to run on a PC with 4 Mbytes of RAM as a free version of the costly commercial Unix operating system. Today, Linux has an installed base conservatively estimated at around 3 million users. And they're not just spotty adolescents playing in their bedrooms: Linux vendors say that most of the top companies in the US have bought the OS - but that few will readily admit to running their multimillion-dollar corporations on code put together by a band of software idealists.
Untapped New York: The Pneumatic Tube Mail System in New York City
The Public Domain Review: Charles H. Bennett’s Shadows (ca. 1856)
RealClear Science: The Smartest Person Who Ever Lived
Nobody doubts that Isaac Newton was an intelligent man, but he also exhibited in spades the two other characteristics outlined above: knowledge and creativity.
Sadly, despite his fame, Isaac Newton led a very lonely life. His incomparable brilliance came at a hefty cost; his reclusive and anti-social nature strongly suggest that he was autistic, and his obsessive and disagreeable nature suggest mental illness, perhaps obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Creatures of Thought: America’s Steam Empire
While British commercial and imperial power derived from its command of the oceans, America drew strength from the continental scale of its dominions.
Wikipedia: Billy (slave)
COSMOS: Language was born in the hands
MIT: The Tao of Programming (1987)
Grammarphobia: Is this ‘which’ dead?
“For uræ Drihten on larspelle þuss cweþ, Gestrynaþ eow sylfum mid ælmesdædum madme hord on heofonan and wunnunge mid ænglum. For hwilcæ neodlicum þingan icc cyþe eow eallum þæt icc ann mid fulre unne þæt þa ilce gyfe þæt Leofric eorl 7 Godgyfu habbað gegiuen Criste.”
Smithsonian Magazine: Why the Tomato Was Feared in Europe for More Than 200 Years
A nickname for the fruit was the “poison apple” because it was thought that aristocrats got sick and died after eating them, but the truth of the matter was that wealthy Europeans used pewter plates, which were high in lead content. Because tomatoes are so high in acidity, when placed on this particular tableware, the fruit would leach lead from the plate, resulting in many deaths from lead poisoning. No one made this connection between plate and poison at the time; the tomato was picked as the culprit.
National Women's History Museum: Hedy Lamarr