concept of changing traffic signals that regulates traffic all over the
world today was created by an African-American inventor, Garrett Augustus
Morgan (1877-1963), who patented the idea in 1923 after witnessing a
collision between a horse-drawn vehicle and an automobile. For good
measure, he invented safety helmets and gas masks for firefighters, as
well as a zigzag attachment for manual sewing machines.
are taller in space than on Earth because of the lack of
gravity to weigh them down.
everyone knows, William Shakespeare was an actor as well as a playwright.
But were you aware which part he played in Hamlet? No? Well, it was
the role of the ghost. (Shakespeare as true “father” of Hamlet?)
all know that “bloody” is called the Great Australian Adjective. But did
you ever suspect that its sound-alike cousin “ruddy” was in such bad odour
in Victorian England that Messrs. Gilbert and Sullivan in 1887 had to
change their opera from Ruddygore to Ruddigore?
mental illness of Wagner’s patron, King Ludwig II of Bavaria, was probably
genetic. His brother Otto used to suffer weeping fits and barked like a
dog. He was eventually locked up as insane. His aunt, Princess Alexandra,
went about asserting that she had swallowed a grand piano made of glass.
Such is the power of music.
to be considered unlucky to put on the left shoe before the right (cf. L.
sinister = “left”), or to put either shoe on the wrong foot. This
latter superstition would have suited the working man, then, because it
wasn’t until the 1800s that separate left/right shoes were even made for
the likes of him.
tallest mountain in our solar system is to be found on Mars. Its name is
Olympus Mons and it is nearly 15 miles high.
the London Underground stations, St. John's Wood is the only one with a
name not to contain any of the letters of the word "mackerel”. Essential