Panama stamp

How a Postage Stamp May Have Helped Create the Panama Canal

The decision to build a Panama Canal came about because of two lobbyists, one of whom thought a stamp would make a telling point.
Aerial view of Riyadh downtown

Are Reforms Part of Saudi Arabia’s PR Campaign?

In September, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia announced to the world that it would begin licensing women to drive in 2018. Is it all part of a PR campaign?
Topkapi Gate of Felicity

The Secret Sign Language of the Ottoman Court

Deaf servants were favored companions of the Ottoman sultan, and their facility in nonverbal communication made them indispensable to the court.
Sugar cane trade Portugal

Madeira, The Island That Helped Invent Capitalism

Madeira is famous for its wine and scenery today, but in the 15th century it boomed and then busted as the sugar capital of the world.
Young Winston Churchill

Winston Churchill’s Love-Hungry Childhood

Winston Churchill started life as a love-starved child whose lonely childhood set the stage for his almost fanatical need for influence and power.
Punch bowl

Punch vs. Tea in the 18th Century

In the 18th century, whether a person drank punch or tea revealed a lot about gender, stereotypes, sociability, and domesticity.
Afghanistan colourful mountains

War Has Made Afghanistan’s $1 Trillion in Minerals Worthless

Developing rare earth mining in Afghanistan has been a potential objective since the USGS estimated the country had $1 trillion in mineral ore deposits.
Dracula in a 1931 movie poster

The Real Vampires of Europe

In general, a vampire is a malicious spirit or soul of the deceased who is not confined to the grave. Where did the idea come from?
Soldiers paying respect to Kim Il-sung

The Dilemma of Sanctions on North Korea

Recent diplomatic tension between America and North Korea seems bewildering, and not just because of the boasts and paranoia of Trump and Kim Jong Un.
Portrait of Sir Thomas Browne

Sir Thomas Browne’s Vulgar Errors

If you're suffering from exhaustion, hallucination, or a coma, then you have Sir Thomas Browne, dead 335 years now, to thank.