Monthly Archive: November 2014

Parrots Aren’t The Only Animals Attempting Human Speech

When you think of animals that can speak like humans, parrots and similar birds are the first to come to mind. Elephants are slowly revealing that they, too, are capable of human speech—with some creative positioning of their trunks. They’ve also been found to be able to mimic sounds common to their environments, like the drone of traffic. And still other animals are showing signs of trying to speak—a beluga whale was recorded attempting human speech patterns.

The Different Types Of Shipwreck Material

Most people have heard of flotsam and jetsam when it comes to debris that’s floating in the ocean, but there’s also derelict and lagan. Jetsam is material that’s thrown off a ship intentionally, usually with the hope of making the vessel lighter. Flotsam refers to materials that are still floating in the ocean that came off a ship that sank. Derelict property is that which has been abandoned by its owners, while lagan has also been abandoned but precautions—such as buoying—have been taken in the hopes that the owners will be able to come back and reclaim their goods.

When 11 Days Were Erased From Time (In The British Empire)

In 1752, Britain and all its colonies adopted the Gregorian calendar, which was already widely used across most of Western Europe. To get its dates in alignment with neighboring countries, Britain had to remove 11 days, September 3–13, from both its calendar and history. These are now ghost days that forever haunt historians and genealogists as they deal with the confusion of “Old” and “New” dates.

The Bizarre Nazi Jazz Band

The Nazis weren’t exactly what you would call hepcats. During the 1930s and ’40s, they did their best to outlaw jazz music across the Third Reich . . . well, with exception of Charlie and His Orchestra. This English-speaking band covered popular jazz tunes of the day, only they turned hit songs into anti-Semitic, pro-Nazi propaganda meant to demoralize Allied troops.

When Marie Antoinette Pretended To Be A Milkmaid

Marie Antoinette was little more than a girl when she found herself a queen; it wasn’t long before the boredom and the social pressures became too much. She spent an exorbitant amount of money building what she believed was the ideal, picturesque French farm, where she and a select few of her companions would spend entire days dressing as milkmaids and shepherdesses, pretending they were simple peasant girls. Perhaps it wasn’t the wisest choice of pastime when the real starving peasants were rallying the troops.

The Man Who Made Perfect Lincoln Forgeries And Died Penniless

Own any 18th- or 19th-century autographs? Perhaps a letter written by Abraham Lincoln or Benjamin Franklin? Well, you might want to let a professional check those out. They just might be counterfeits courtesy of Joseph Cosey, one of the most notorious (and talented) forgers in American history. But he wasn’t in it for the money, despite his skill. He just liked tricking people.