" People who love downy peaches are apt not to think of the stone, and sometimes jar their teeth terribly against it. "
George Eliot

Back in the day


Canter & Siegel Post the First Commercial Mass Usenet Spam

Spam is now a ubiquitous part of the Internet, but that was not always the case. Early in the Internet age, two enterprising immigration lawyers—Laurence Canter and Martha Siegel—opened the floodgates of unwanted online commercial solicitation when they posted an ad for their services on thousands of Usenet newsgroups. Though not the first Usenet spam, the "Green Card Lottery" notice was the first to be commercial in nature and ushered in the modern era of Internet spam. What became of the duo?



Terra Nullius

Sandwiched between Egypt and Sudan is a sparsely inhabited parcel of desert claimed by neither country. Known as Bir Tawil, it is one of the few examples of terra nullius—land that legally belongs to no one. Historically, much land has been taken from indigenous peoples under the pretense of declaring it terra nullius, as happened in Australia. Today, almost all land is recognized as being under the jurisdiction of someone, except for Bir Tawil and what other place?

Born on a day like today


Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford

A brilliantly gifted linguist and one of the most dashing figures of his time, Oxford was also reckless, hot-tempered, and disastrously spendthrift. He was the patron of an acting company and wrote highly praised poems and plays in his earlier years, though none of the plays are known to have survived. He is considered by some to be the true author of Shakespeare's plays, since his own literary output apparently ceased just before Shakespeare's began. Which of his writings have survived?

Last updated on Friday, 12th April 2013

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