Stendhal Syndrome: Illness Caused By Intense Beauty

Stendhal syndrome is a psychosomatic illness that causes rapid heartbeat, dizziness, confusion and hallucinations when an individual is exposed to art that is particularly beautiful or a large amount of art in a single place. The term can also be used to describe a similar reaction when a person is affected from beauty in the […]


Legends: Pied Piper Originally Led Children Away Not Rats

The original story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin is a legend about the departure or death of a great many children from the town of Hamelin, Germany, in the Middle Ages (1284). The earliest references describe a piper, dressed in pied (multicolored) clothing, leading the children away from the town never to return. In […]


Bioluminescence: The Science Behind Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer

Most people know the story of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer – the most famous of Santa’s team. But does anyone know just how one reindeer’s nose could create a beam of light strong enough to lead­ a sleigh through darkness and severe weather? And why exactly is his nose red to being with? TLC’s […]


The Smurfs Are Originally From Belgium

 The popular cartoon “The Smurfs” made its first appearance on October 23, 1958 as a Belgian comic strip series created by cartoonist Pierre Culliford (aka Peyo). The name “Smurf” and the accompanying language came during a meal Peyo was having with his colleague and friend André Franquin. Having momentarily forgotten the word “salt”, Peyo asked […]


Urban Legends: Blue Star Acid

Urban Legend: a story that appears mysteriously and spreads spontaneously in various forms and is usually false.   The “Blue Star Acid” story warned of a form of LSD soaked tattoo that was being sold to school children.  The designs on the sheets were said to be the size of a pencil eraser and included […]


Salvador Dali’s Persistence of Memory

Salvador Dali claims to have painted “The Persistence of Memory” in 1931 after seeing some Camembert cheese melting in the heat on a hot summer day. Later that night, he dreamt of clocks melting on a landscape.  This is mentioned by Dali himself in his book  Diary of a Genius. However,  Dali was known to […]



Politics: Gerrymandering

Gerrymandering is a political term that refers to the practice of setting electoral districts to establish an advantage for a particular party or group by manipulating geographic boundaries to create partisan, incumbent-protected districts.  The process may be used to achieve desired electoral results for a particular party, or may be used to help or hinder […]


Origins: Green Eggs and Ham was Written on a Bet

Bennett Cerf, Dr. Seuss‘ editor, bet him that he couldn’t write a book using 50 words or less. “The Cat in the Hat” was simple and it used only 225 words. Enjoying a challenge, the author  created “Green Eggs and Ham” which uses exactly 50 words. The 50 words are: a, am, and, anywhere, are, […]


Weird Words: Omphaloskepsis (Navel Gazing)

Omphaloskepsis (aka navel-gazing) is contemplation of one’s navel as an aid to meditation. From the Greek omphalos (navel) + skepsis (act of looking, examination).  The practice in relation to contemplation of the cosmos and human nature can be found in Indian yoga and in the Eastern Orthodox Church.   Today, the term “navel-gazing” is  most […]