" If there is one thing worse that the modern weakening of major morals, it is the modern strengthening of minor morals. Thus it is considered more withering to accuse a man of bad taste than of bad ethics. "
Gilbert Chesterton

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History

William Herschel Discovers Uranus

For many years, astronomers mistakenly believed that the planet Uranus, which is sometimes visible to the naked eye, was a star. Herschel, a German-born English astronomer, originally believed that it was a comet. It soon proved to be, indeed, a verifiable planet—the first to be discovered in modern times with the aid of a telescope. The planet was only named Uranus—for the Greek personification of heaven—after the original name of Herschel's choosing proved unpopular. What was it?

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Drapetomania

Today considered to be a glaring example of pseudoscience, drapetomania was a supposed mental illness described by American physician Samuel A. Cartwright in 1851. In a paper prepared for the Medical Association of Louisiana, Cartwright explained that the disorder caused black slaves to run away from their masters. He further speculated that the malady was caused by masters who treated slaves as equals. What did Cartwright prescribe as a preventative measure for drapetomania?

Born on a day like today

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Daniel Lambert

Lambert is famous for having been recognized, in his own time, as the fattest man in England. An active and athletic youth, he began his dramatic weight gain after taking over his father's job as keeper of a prison in Leicester. Though he initially led a quiet life and was well liked by his prisoners, he eventually—and reluctantly—went on tour. By then, he weighed more than 700 pounds (318 kg), and spectators paid a shilling each to see him. What complication arose when he died at Stamford?

Last updated on Wednesday, 13th March 2013

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