"The real McCoy" is an idiom used to mean "the real thing" or "the genuine article," but who—or what—was McCoy? The origins of the phrase are hazy. It may have originated as a corruption of the Scottish phrase "the real MacKay." Alternately, it may have been inspired by the infamous Hatfield and McCoy family feud in the late 19th-century US. Still others trace it back to William McCoy, a Prohibition-era rumrunner who reputedly never watered down his liquor. What are other possible explanations?
Back in the day
Twelve years ago today, members of the al-Qaeda terrorist network hijacked four commercial airplanes and crashed one of them into the Pentagon and two into the twin towers of the World Trade Center, killing about 3,000 people in a matter of hours. The last plane crashed in a rural field in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, after passengers attempted to overpower the hijackers. What is believed to have been that plane's intended target?
Born on a day like today
After earning a degree in medicine, Aldrovandi took up botany and zoology, amassing a spectacular cabinet of curiosities containing thousands of specimens. He is said to have been the first to use the word "geology" in its modern sense. Carolus Linnaeus, the botanist who laid the groundwork for the modern system of naming species, hailed Aldrovandi as the father of natural history. Aldrovandi also founded Bologna's public botanical garden and was its first curator. Why was he arrested in 1549?