STRESSED spelled backward is DESSERTS.
Statues aren’t the only mystery on Easter Island. Tablets found on the island bear a mysterious script, known as rongorongo, that has never been successfully deciphered.
Some scholars have pointed out similarities between the strange characters and the prehistoric script of the Indus Valley in India, 6,000 miles away, but others dispute this.
The islanders themselves give eager and varying accounts to archaeologists and historians, and perhaps they themselves don’t know. Some say that rongorongo means peace-peace, and that the documents record treaties, perhaps with visitors to the island.
So far, none of the attempts at translation have withstood peer review.
adj. having great ability in archery
German arithmetician Zacharias Dase (1824-1861) once multiplied two 100-digit numbers in his head. It took him 8 hours 45 minutes.
Karl Gauss estimated that even a skilled mathematician, using pencil and paper, would require fully half that time.
Wander too far away from the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 and you might disappear forever.
Herman Mudgett, an enterprising serial killer, built a row of three-story buildings near the Chicago fair and opened it as a hotel. Guests discovered — too late — that it was a maze of more than 100 windowless rooms, where Mudgett would trap them, torture them in a soundproof chamber, and then asphyxiate them with a custom-fitted gas line.
Then he’d send the bodies by chute to the basement, where he’d cremate them or sell them to a medical school.
This went on for three years, until a fire broke out and police and firemen discovered the trap. No one knows how many people Mudgett killed; he confessed to 27, but estimates go as high as 230.
He was hanged in Philadelphia in 1896.
Americans think of the song “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee” as a patriotic anthem — which is ironic, because everyone else does, too. We stole the tune from the British, who know it as “God Save the Queen,” and the same melody has served as the national anthem of Denmark, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, Norway, and Liechtenstein.
When England met Liechtenstein in a Euro 2004 qualifying football match, they had to play the same music twice.
“Stock prices have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau.” — Yale economist Irving Fisher, Oct. 16, 1929
Curious how a new book was selling, Victor Hugo wired his publisher:
He got this reply:
In 1963, Peter Reyn-Bardt killed his wife and buried her in a peat bog in Cheshire County, England. Twenty years later, when a body was discovered, he assumed he’d been caught and turned himself in.
He should have waited. An investigation showed that the body was not his wife’s, but that of an Iron Age man who had died two thousand years earlier and been eerily preserved in the cold acid bog.
They convicted Reyn-Bardt anyway.
Vatican City has the highest per capita crime rate of any nation on earth.