In the 150 years since Dickens described the horrific death of Krook the rag-dealer in Bleak House, several hundred cases of apparent spontaneous human combustion in humans have been recorded. They typically involve the rapid yet complete incineration of the person, often with no obvious nearby source of heat. But what of any scientific analysis ?
HISTORY RECORDS ACTUAL EVENTS whereas myths spin tales that help explain a culture’s worldview. It’s where history and myth intersect that we find some of the most enduring legends. In this particular article we look at Atlantis.
“How Far Back in Time Could an English Speaker Go and Still Understand the Language ?” In a Nutshell : it would be somewhere between 400 to 500 yrs ago. In order to justify this let’s compare how the speech of ‘English’ speakers sounded in Chaucer’s time, the late 14th Century, with that in the late 16th Century – at the time of Shakespeare.
The oldest (known) words in the English language are, as you might expect, “building block words” – words that reflecting key elements in any developing human society. All of the ones we’ve listed in this article originate on or before 1000AD and 900AD.
The British Parliament is often referred to as the Mother of Parliaments (in fact a misquotation of John Bright, who remarked in 1865 that “England is the Mother of Parliaments”) because the British Parliament has been the model for most other parliamentary systems. In this article we look at 4 other amazing facts about one of our most venerated institutions.
How Was the Christian Bible Put Together ? Who Wrote it All ?
Did you grab a cup of coffee on your way to work this morning, or drop in to a coffee shop with a friend to gossip whilst savouring the bitter sweet nectar of the that king of all beans the coffee berry ? If you’d done this in the 17th Century then you might have been regarded as either a subversive or or a danger to the moral fabric of society.
Do you ever find yourself lost for a reply when someone passes a sarcastic remark or craftily insults you. Well they say “Forewarned is forearmed” so here we list some potential pithy replies to arm yourself with or some canny witticisms you can insert into a conversation.
This is one of those urban myths that refuses to die. The idea that glass is really a viscous liquid, so thick that it takes centuries for it to flow. But what is the truth ?
One of the world’s most chilling ruins is the Ploutonion at Hierapolis, “the Gates to Hell”. Here crowds watched priests lead animal sacrifices down into a cave, where they died mysteriously as if dragged down to the underworld. No one knew how they did it, that is, until very recently.
There is an old saying that America and Britain are “two nations divided by a common language.” No one exactly knows who said this, but it does seem to reflect how we Brits feel about American English. But are American and British English really so divergent, and if so what are the key differences ? 1. Accent The most obvious difference are accents. Whilst Britain has a vast range of different regional accents none are quite...
Reality is sometimes stranger than we’d ever credit. Believe it or not but Scientists are actually saying that they can prove that Adam & Eve, that is a single set of ancestors, are parents to us all!
There is a deep-rooted idea in the Western world that fresh air and sunshine are good for us. Going back to medieval times, the spread of disease was often blamed on bad or malodorous air. The idea that fresh air could cure has been current right up until our recent history. Well, it looks as though all those medics of yesteryear may have been on to something after all.
Another one of those random questions that seem to come out of nowhere as it flits across our minds – Why Exactly are Eggs egg Shaped ?
Eponyms are one of the most fascinating examples of how the English language gains new words. In this article we take a colourful look at the phenomenon that is the eponym gathering together the stories of the people behind the words that have passed into our everyday vocabulary : Caesarian Section, Bikini, Bayonet, Armageddon