" The founders of a new colony, whatever Utopia of human virtue and happiness they might originally project, have invariably recognized it among their earliest practical necessities to allot a portion of the virgin soil as a cemetery, and another portion as the site of a prison. "
Nathaniel Hawthorne

Back in the day


Modern, Skimpy Bikini Debuted at Paris Pool Fashion Show

Although women have worn bikini-like two-piece garments for centuries—mosaics from the 4th century depict women in such garb—the modern bikini was only introduced in 1946. Anticipating that his revealing swimwear design would have an explosive effect on fashion, French engineer Louis Réard named his skimpy suit after the Bikini atoll in the central Pacific, where US nuclear testing had just begun. However, he struggled to find a model to debut his G-string bikini. Who finally agreed to wear it?



Airline Meals

Food service on commercial flights became the norm after 1936, when United Airlines installed the first onboard kitchen. Typically reheated on board, in-flight meals are often the butt of jokes due to their reputedly poor taste—though the food may not be to blame, as some studies suggest that high altitude and cabin pressure interfere with taste buds. In recent years, many airlines have cut back on meal service in order to cut costs. How much did one airline save by eliminating free pretzels?

Born on a day like today


P. T. Barnum

Barnum may be best known for the circus he formed with James Bailey in 1881, but this took place late in his life and was neither his first, nor sole, line of work. The splashy showman was also an author and, oddly enough, a politician. Yes, the man who may have said "There's a sucker born every minute" was elected to office—more than once. Apparently fond of seeing his name in print, Barnum published his autobiography in 1855 and even got a newspaper to oblige him in what way before his death?

Last updated on Friday, 5th July 2013

More sponsors