" Prohibit the taking of omens, and do away with superstitious doubts. Then, until death itself comes, no calamity need be feared. "
Sun Tzu

Back in the day


Thomas Blood Attempts to Steal Crown Jewels of England

Blood was an Irish-born adventurer who served under Oliver Cromwell during the English Civil War. In 1663 he tried to seize the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland from Dublin Castle, and in 1670 he attempted to assassinate the Duke of Ormonde. A year later, Blood and three accomplices made an infamous attempt to steal the Crown Jewels of England. Having befriended the jewel keeper, Blood arranged a private viewing, during which time the men made off with the treasures. Why did the king pardon Blood?




The practice of drilling a hole into the skull to expose the dura mater surrounding the brain is an ancient surgical procedure dating back to prehistoric times. It is the oldest surgical procedure for which evidence (in the form of human remains) has been discovered. Modern physicians continue to perform trepanations, though the medical rationale surrounding the surgery has since evolved. Which artist gained notoriety for performing a self-trepanation and then screening a film of the procedure?

Born on a day like today


J. M. Barrie

Sir James Matthew Barrie was a Scottish novelist and dramatist best known for creating the character Peter Pan, whom he based on his friends, the Llewelyn Davies boys. Educated at Dumfries Academy and Edinburgh University, he became a journalist and, later, a celebrated novelist who counted Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Thomas Hardy amongst his friends and acquaintances. Why was Barrie disappointed with the statue of Peter Pan erected in Kensington Gardens, London?

Last updated on Friday, 9th May 2008

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