Before there was Facebook, British anthropologist Robin Dunbar proposed a cognitive limit to the number of meaningful social relationships one can have. Through his research on primates and ancient hunter-gatherer societies, he concluded that brain size, specifically the size of the neocortex, dictates the maximum size of one's social group. Primates create intimacy by picking parasites off each other, while humans rely on language. How many social relationships does Dunbar believe one can have?
Jerome K. Jerome
Back in the day
Although no working model of his design was ever built, Ames is credited with patenting the first escalator. His idea for the "revolving stairs" was largely speculative. It was not until the 1890s that the first working escalator—called the "inclined elevator"—was produced, based on another's designs. It was installed among the amusements at New York's Coney Island but did not remain a novelty for long. How did shoppers react when Harrods in London debuted its first escalator in 1898?
Born on a day like today
Australian-born British actress, journalist, and novelist P. L. Travers is best remembered for her series of fictional children's books about the prim, vain, imperious, acerbic, and mysteriously magical nanny Mary Poppins. The books were a great success, and Disney's award-winning 1964 film adaptation made the author even more famous. Travers worked as an adviser on the film, but in the end she was unhappy with it and never allowed anyone related to the production to adapt her work again. Why?