Category Archives: History

Science Fiction Inspires Science IRL

News of scientist Giovanni Aldini’s electric reanimation experiments on corpses in 1803 reached author Mary Shelley before the publication of her  iconic science fiction book Frankenstein. It was an instance of science informing fiction. In turn, Shelley’s masterpiece would eventually … Continue reading

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Resistance Is Not Futile

In response to my post last week on the 10th anniversary of the American publication of Hans Fallada’s heartbreaking novel Every Man Dies Alone, TBTP reader Lincoln S. reminded me about the real life story of brother and sister Hans and Sophie … Continue reading

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Personal Demons

While cataloging a medieval manuscript the Centre for Research Collections at the University of Edinburgh encountered a curious text amid various alchemy recipes and treatises: precise instructions on how to summon a demon called Baron, graph included. Very little is … Continue reading

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Every Man Dies Alone

Until ten years ago Hans Fallada was a forgotten German novelist who had a moderately successful career until the rise of the Nazis. When he died in a sanatorium in 1947, Fallada was struggling with a long term addiction to … Continue reading

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September 1, 1939

September 1, 1939 W.H. Auden I sit in one of the dives On Fifty-second Street Uncertain and afraid As the clever hopes expire Of a low dishonest decade: Waves of anger and fear Circulate over the bright And darkened lands … Continue reading

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The Shape of Our World

The fascinating infographic below explores how the view of our planet has evolved over the last 1,800 years. When most of us picture a world map, we likely still envision some variation of the 16th century Mercator projection even though … Continue reading

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The Original Swiss Trip

Brooklyn-based comic artist Brian Blomerth has released his debut graphic novel titled Bicycle Day. The technicolor confection recounts the infamous day in April 1943 when Swiss chemist Albert Hoffmann dropped the first dose of LSD. After injesting 250 micrograms of lysergic acid … Continue reading

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It’s A Big World After All

In 1587, Italian cartographer Urbano Monte created the largest known map of Earth. His map consists of 60 panels that were designed to be assembled into a single planisphere —a circular map that rotates about a central axis— measuring 10 … Continue reading

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50 Years of Memories

The NY Times has compiled a list of the best memoirs published since 1969. I’m not much of a memoir or autobiography reader, but there are a few compelling books on the list that I actually read. Generally, I only read … Continue reading

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Fear and Loathing

Most thoughtful folks here in North America are approaching the upcoming national election debacle with some degree of fear and loathing. So, it’s quite timely that the Speed Museum in Louisville, Kentucky is launching a special exhibition on their finest … Continue reading

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