" No man is offended by another man's admiration of the woman he loves; it is the woman only who can make it a torment. "
Jane Austen

Back in the day


Circus Acrobat Otto Witte Crowned King of Albania…or Not

Witte was a German citizen and circus acrobat who claimed to have impersonated his way into being crowned King of Albania in 1913—by some accounts, on August 13. According to Witte, he enjoyed the royal harem and reigned for several days before being discovered as an impostor. Though he was likely lying, his story was picked up by several publications, including Time magazine. What novel may have given Witte the idea for his story, and what other novel was then based on Witte?




A caltrop is a metal device with four projecting spikes arranged so that when any three spikes are on the ground, the fourth points upward. It can be used to damage feet, hooves, and—more commonly nowadays—tires. The earliest recorded use of caltrops was in the 331 BCE Battle of Gaugamela. Even in the 20th century, when mechanized warfare became the norm and horses were replaced with wheeled vehicles, caltrops retained their usefulness on the battlefield. How have they been used outside of war?

Born on a day like today


Lucy Stone

In 1847, Stone became the first Massachusetts woman to graduate college. Not long after, she began speaking on women's rights. An effective orator, she is said to have swayed antagonistic audiences and inspired Susan B. Anthony to join the cause. She kept her own name after marriage as a protest against the unequal laws applied to married women, and others who did the same called themselves "Lucy Stoners." She caused an uproar by wearing "bloomers." What were they, and why were they so named?

Last updated on Monday, 13th August 2012

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