Source:  Turahanoğlu Ömer Bey
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turahano%C4%9Flu_%C3%96mer_Bey
"In 1461/1462 Ömer served with distinction in the wars against Vlad III Dracula, Prince of Wallachia:  he wiped out a force of 6,000 Wallachians and deposited 2,000 of their  heads at the feet of Mehmed II. As a reward, he was reinstated in his  old gubernatorial post in Thessaly.”
WHY ON EARTH DID DRACULA END UP INSPIRING ONE OF THE MOST ENDURING CHARACTERS OF GOTHIC HORROR AND NOT THIS GUY.  I mean, Dracula was a badass, but this guy KILLED ALL OF HIS SOLDIERS and provided a few thousand severed heads as a fucking job application.  If Dracula can turn into a bat, this guy must be able to turn into a fucking velociraptor with lasers coming out of its fucking eyes.
Caption:  Map of the Ottoman Empire and its neighbouring states in 1464.  All of which trembled in fear at the mention of the name Turahanoglu.

Source:  Turahanoğlu Ömer Bey

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turahano%C4%9Flu_%C3%96mer_Bey

"In 1461/1462 Ömer served with distinction in the wars against Vlad III Dracula, Prince of Wallachia: he wiped out a force of 6,000 Wallachians and deposited 2,000 of their heads at the feet of Mehmed II. As a reward, he was reinstated in his old gubernatorial post in Thessaly.”

WHY ON EARTH DID DRACULA END UP INSPIRING ONE OF THE MOST ENDURING CHARACTERS OF GOTHIC HORROR AND NOT THIS GUY.  I mean, Dracula was a badass, but this guy KILLED ALL OF HIS SOLDIERS and provided a few thousand severed heads as a fucking job application.  If Dracula can turn into a bat, this guy must be able to turn into a fucking velociraptor with lasers coming out of its fucking eyes.

Caption:  Map of the Ottoman Empire and its neighbouring states in 1464.  All of which trembled in fear at the mention of the name Turahanoglu.

Source:  Codpiece
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Codpiece
"A codpiece (from Middle English: cod, meaning “scrotum”) is a covering flap or pouch that attaches to the front of the crotch of men’s trousers and usually accentuates the genital area. It was held closed by string ties, buttons, or other methods. It was an important item of European clothing  in the 15th and 16th centuries, and is still worn in the modern era in  performance costumes for rock music and metal musicians and in the leather subculture.”
Everyone take a look at that codpiece up on the right and then tell me if having a guy’s face on the end of your dong is awesome or creepy as fuck.  Is it less or more creepy if it’s your face?  Discuss.
Caption:  Metal cod-pieces, 16th century.  I’m going to go with creepy as fuck, and more creepy if it’s someone else’s face.

Source:  Codpiece

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Codpiece

"A codpiece (from Middle English: cod, meaning “scrotum”) is a covering flap or pouch that attaches to the front of the crotch of men’s trousers and usually accentuates the genital area. It was held closed by string ties, buttons, or other methods. It was an important item of European clothing in the 15th and 16th centuries, and is still worn in the modern era in performance costumes for rock music and metal musicians and in the leather subculture.”

Everyone take a look at that codpiece up on the right and then tell me if having a guy’s face on the end of your dong is awesome or creepy as fuck.  Is it less or more creepy if it’s your face?  Discuss.

Caption:  Metal cod-pieces, 16th century.  I’m going to go with creepy as fuck, and more creepy if it’s someone else’s face.

Source:  Empire State Building
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empire_state_building
"The building’s distinctive Art Deco spire was originally designed to be a mooring mast and depot for dirigibles. The 102nd floor was originally a landing platform with a dirigible gangplank. A particular elevator, traveling between the 86th and 102nd floors, was  supposed to transport passengers after they checked in at the  observation deck on the 86th floor. However, the idea proved to be impractical and dangerous after a few  attempts with airships, due to the powerful updrafts caused by the size  of the building itself, as well as the lack of mooring lines tying the other end of the craft to the ground.”
OH MY GOD THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN SO AWESOME.  Also, you would have been right downtown, which is so convenient.  Unfortunately, it would have been after an incredibly inconvenient 12+-hour blimp ride.
Caption:  Empire State Building:  Closer to where you’re going than LaGuardia

Source:  Empire State Building

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empire_state_building

"The building’s distinctive Art Deco spire was originally designed to be a mooring mast and depot for dirigibles. The 102nd floor was originally a landing platform with a dirigible gangplank. A particular elevator, traveling between the 86th and 102nd floors, was supposed to transport passengers after they checked in at the observation deck on the 86th floor. However, the idea proved to be impractical and dangerous after a few attempts with airships, due to the powerful updrafts caused by the size of the building itself, as well as the lack of mooring lines tying the other end of the craft to the ground.

OH MY GOD THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN SO AWESOME.  Also, you would have been right downtown, which is so convenient.  Unfortunately, it would have been after an incredibly inconvenient 12+-hour blimp ride.

Caption:  Empire State Building:  Closer to where you’re going than LaGuardia

Source: Agatha of Sicily
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agatha_of_Sicily
"Saint Agatha of Sicily (died traditionally 251) is a Christian saint. … She is one of seven women,  excluding the Blessed Virgin Mary,  commemorated by name in the Canon of the Mass.”
How badass of her.
"Among other things, she is … the  patron of martyrs, wet nurses, fire, earthquakes, and eruptions of Mount  Etna.
Huh.  I wonder why she’s the patron of fire, earthquakes and wet nurses.  That seems like an odd combo.
"Among the tortures she underwent was the cutting off of her breasts."
Oh.  Um, ok.  I guess that explains the wet nurse connection, in a weird, gross way.
"Saint Agatha is often depicted iconographically carrying her excised  breasts on a platter, as by Bernardino Luini’s Saint Agatha (1510–15) in the  Galleria Borghese, Rome, in which Agatha sweetly contemplates the  breasts on a standing salver held in her hand.”
Wow, this keeps getting grosser.
"The shape of her amputated  breasts, especially as depicted in artistic renderings, gave rise to her  attribution as the patron saint of bell-founders and as the patron saint of bakers … “
Jesus, really?  I didn’t realize there was a patron saint of all things boobular. What about the fires and earthquakes though?
"[H]er scorned admirer eventually sentenced her to death by being rolled  naked on a bed of live coals, ‘and anon the ground where the holy virgin  was rolled on, began to tremble like an earthquake, and a part of the  wall fell down upon [her tormentors].’"
Ah.  Now I can see why she is the patroness of fire, earthquakes, and things that happen to be shaped like her amputated breasts.  I can’t decide if this is sexual objectification or a bizarre medieval form of proto-feminism.  They are celebrating a strong woman and the female form, but somehow I get the feeling that they did this mostly to get their rocks off while looking at bells and loaves of bread.
Caption:  The Martyrdom of Saint Agatha, by Sebastiano del Piombo, 1519 (Palazzo Pitti).  Yeah…methinks paintings like this is what they used for porn back then.

Source: Agatha of Sicily

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agatha_of_Sicily

"Saint Agatha of Sicily (died traditionally 251) is a Christian saint. … She is one of seven women, excluding the Blessed Virgin Mary, commemorated by name in the Canon of the Mass.”

How badass of her.

"Among other things, she is … the patron of martyrs, wet nurses, fire, earthquakes, and eruptions of Mount Etna.

Huh.  I wonder why she’s the patron of fire, earthquakes and wet nurses.  That seems like an odd combo.

"Among the tortures she underwent was the cutting off of her breasts."

Oh.  Um, ok.  I guess that explains the wet nurse connection, in a weird, gross way.

"Saint Agatha is often depicted iconographically carrying her excised breasts on a platter, as by Bernardino Luini’s Saint Agatha (1510–15) in the Galleria Borghese, Rome, in which Agatha sweetly contemplates the breasts on a standing salver held in her hand.”

Wow, this keeps getting grosser.

"The shape of her amputated breasts, especially as depicted in artistic renderings, gave rise to her attribution as the patron saint of bell-founders and as the patron saint of bakers … “

Jesus, really?  I didn’t realize there was a patron saint of all things boobular. What about the fires and earthquakes though?

"[H]er scorned admirer eventually sentenced her to death by being rolled naked on a bed of live coals, ‘and anon the ground where the holy virgin was rolled on, began to tremble like an earthquake, and a part of the wall fell down upon [her tormentors].’"

Ah.  Now I can see why she is the patroness of fire, earthquakes, and things that happen to be shaped like her amputated breasts.  I can’t decide if this is sexual objectification or a bizarre medieval form of proto-feminism.  They are celebrating a strong woman and the female form, but somehow I get the feeling that they did this mostly to get their rocks off while looking at bells and loaves of bread.

Caption:  The Martyrdom of Saint Agatha, by Sebastiano del Piombo, 1519 (Palazzo Pitti).  Yeah…methinks paintings like this is what they used for porn back then.

Source:  Flat Earth
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flat_earth
"The Earth’s circumference was first determined around 240 BC by Eratosthenes. Eratosthenes knew that in Syene, in Egypt, the Sun was directly overhead at the summer solstice,  while he estimated that the angle formed by a shadow cast by the Sun at  Alexandria was 1/50th of a circle. He estimated the distance from Syene  to Alexandria as 5,000 stades, and estimated the Earth’s circumference was 250,000 stades. Subsequently, ignorance of the size of a stade caused problems both to the Arabs and to Christopher Columbus.”
D’oh. 
Caption:  12th century T and O map representing the inhabitated [sic] world as described by Isidore of Seville in his Etymologiae. (chapter 14, de terra et partibus).  Please note the massive amount of work that must have gone into drawing such a detailed map, what with its part labeled “Asia,” and its other parts with labels.  Also there’s no oceans.  Or geographic features of any kind.

Source:  Flat Earth

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flat_earth

"The Earth’s circumference was first determined around 240 BC by Eratosthenes. Eratosthenes knew that in Syene, in Egypt, the Sun was directly overhead at the summer solstice, while he estimated that the angle formed by a shadow cast by the Sun at Alexandria was 1/50th of a circle. He estimated the distance from Syene to Alexandria as 5,000 stades, and estimated the Earth’s circumference was 250,000 stades. Subsequently, ignorance of the size of a stade caused problems both to the Arabs and to Christopher Columbus.”

D’oh. 

Caption:  12th century T and O map representing the inhabitated [sic] world as described by Isidore of Seville in his Etymologiae. (chapter 14, de terra et partibus).  Please note the massive amount of work that must have gone into drawing such a detailed map, what with its part labeled “Asia,” and its other parts with labels.  Also there’s no oceans.  Or geographic features of any kind.

Source: Sawing off of Manhattan Island

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sawing_off_of_Manhattan_Island

"The sawing off of Manhattan Island is an old New York City story that is largely unverified.”

Yes, and it’s on Wikipedia.  So…

"According to the story, in the 1820s a rumor began circulating among city merchants that southern Manhattan Island was sinking near the Battery due to the weight of the urban district. It was believed that by cutting the island, towing it out, rotating it 180 degrees, and putting it back in place that Manhattan would be stabilized, and that the thin part of the island could be condemned. Surprisingly the main concern was not the futility of the idea but of Long Island being in the way.”

Long Island always gets in the way.  Ugh.

"[The hoaxer] finally assembled a large workforce and logistical support. At a massive groundbreaking ceremony, [he] did not show up but hid in Brooklyn and did not return for months.

"The story did not appear in any known newspapers (although the press supposedly did not report on such pranks in that era) and no records have been found to confirm the existence of the individuals involved. This has led to speculation that the incident never occurred and that the original report of the hoax was itself a hoax."

Wait, so the hoax was a hoax?  Someone started a hoax about a hoax?  How meta.  This guy must have been the hipster of his day.  Which explains why he was hiding in Brooklyn for so long.

Source:  Tetris
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tetris
"[The word "tetris" is] derived … from the Greek  numerical prefix tetra- (all of the game’s  pieces, known as Tetrominoes, contain four segments) and tennis, [the inventor’s] favorite sport.”
Um, yeah…Tetris totally reminds me of tennis (no). 
"The Tetris game is a popular use of tetrominoes,  the four element special case of polyominoes.  Polyominoes have been used in popular puzzles since at least 1907, and  the name was given by the mathematician Solomon W. Golomb in 1953. However, even the enumeration of  pentominoes is dated to antiquity.”
You heard it here first, folks.  Tetris is simply a culmination of the last few thousand years of -omino development.
Caption:  The box of the Nintendo version of Tetris for the NES.  I’m sure the “From Russia with fun!” tagline went over really well in Cold War America.

Source:  Tetris

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tetris

"[The word "tetris" is] derived … from the Greek numerical prefix tetra- (all of the game’s pieces, known as Tetrominoes, contain four segments) and tennis, [the inventor’s] favorite sport.”

Um, yeah…Tetris totally reminds me of tennis (no). 

"The Tetris game is a popular use of tetrominoes, the four element special case of polyominoes. Polyominoes have been used in popular puzzles since at least 1907, and the name was given by the mathematician Solomon W. Golomb in 1953. However, even the enumeration of pentominoes is dated to antiquity.”

You heard it here first, folks.  Tetris is simply a culmination of the last few thousand years of -omino development.

Caption:  The box of the Nintendo version of Tetris for the NES.  I’m sure the “From Russia with fun!” tagline went over really well in Cold War America.

Source:  Female hysteria
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Female_hysteria
"Female hysteria was a once-common medical diagnosis, made exclusively in women, which is today no longer recognized by modern medical authorities as a medical disorder. … [T]he term hysteria  … stems from the Greek cognate of uterus, hystera (ὑστέρα).
"[W]omen considered to be suffering from hysteria would sometimes undergo ‘pelvic massage’ — manual stimulation of the genitals by the doctor until the patient experienced ‘hysterical paroxysm’ (orgasm). … By 1870, a clockwork-driven vibrator was available for physicians.
"By the 20th century, the spread of home electricity brought the  vibrator to the consumer market. The appeal of cheaper treatment in the  privacy of one’s own home understandably made the vibrator a popular  early home appliance. In fact, the electric home vibrator was on the  market before many other home appliance ’essentials’: nine years before  the electric vacuum cleaner and 10 years before the electric iron. A page from a Sears catalog of home electrical appliances from 1918 includes a portable vibrator  with attachments, billed as ‘Very useful and satisfactory for home  service.’
"Other cures for female hysteria included bed rest, bland food,  seclusion, refraining from mentally taxing tasks (for example, reading)  and sensory deprivation."
Yes folks, horniness in women used to be considered a disease brought on by thinking too much (readin’ is hard, y’all!!).  However, it was a disease with a happy, happy cure.  Until 1962 when the female orgasm was proven mythical.
Caption:  Water massages as a treatment for hysteria c. 1860.  Women the world over use certain shower head settings for this purpose to this very day.

Source:  Female hysteria

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Female_hysteria

"Female hysteria was a once-common medical diagnosis, made exclusively in women, which is today no longer recognized by modern medical authorities as a medical disorder. … [T]he term hysteria  … stems from the Greek cognate of uterus, hystera (ὑστέρα).

"[W]omen considered to be suffering from hysteria would sometimes undergo ‘pelvic massage’ — manual stimulation of the genitals by the doctor until the patient experienced ‘hysterical paroxysm’ (orgasm). … By 1870, a clockwork-driven vibrator was available for physicians.

"By the 20th century, the spread of home electricity brought the vibrator to the consumer market. The appeal of cheaper treatment in the privacy of one’s own home understandably made the vibrator a popular early home appliance. In fact, the electric home vibrator was on the market before many other home appliance ’essentials’: nine years before the electric vacuum cleaner and 10 years before the electric iron. A page from a Sears catalog of home electrical appliances from 1918 includes a portable vibrator with attachments, billed as ‘Very useful and satisfactory for home service.’

"Other cures for female hysteria included bed rest, bland food, seclusion, refraining from mentally taxing tasks (for example, reading) and sensory deprivation."

Yes folks, horniness in women used to be considered a disease brought on by thinking too much (readin’ is hard, y’all!!).  However, it was a disease with a happy, happy cure.  Until 1962 when the female orgasm was proven mythical.

Caption:  Water massages as a treatment for hysteria c. 1860.  Women the world over use certain shower head settings for this purpose to this very day.

Source:  H. L. Hunley (submarine)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civil_War_submarine
“H.L. Hunley was a submarine of the Confederate States of America that played a small part in the American Civil War, but a large role in the history of naval warfare.”
Wow, it changed the course of naval warfare!  This must have been a really formidable ship!
“H. L. Hunley, nearly 40 feet (12 m) long, was … launched in July 1863. … Hunley (then called Fish Boat)  sank on August 29, 1863, during a training exercise, killing five  members of her crew.”
Oh, she sank a month after she was launched?  What bad luck; I’m sure it was a fluke though.
"She sank again on October 15, 1863, killing all  eight of her second crew, including H. L. Hunley himself, who was aboard  at the time … "
Wow, um…that’s a mighty string of bad luck there.
"Both times the Hunley was raised and returned to service. On February 17, 1864, Hunley attacked and sank the … USS Housatonic … Soon after, Hunley sank for unknown reasons, killing all eight of her third crew. This time, the innovative ship was lost.”
Was it lost, or did they decide that a cursed ghost ship mayhaps shouldn’t be raised again?  Jesus.  An “innovative ship,” huh?  What was the innovation?  Someone finally designed a ship able to murder its crew every time it sails?  Yeah, after the first two times you’d think they would have left well enough alone.
Caption:  Inboard profile and plan drawings, after sketches by W.A. Alexander (1863), who probably also died one of the times the Hunley sank, considering that that seemed to be the fate of everyone with any connection to this ship, including the guy it was named after.

Source:  H. L. Hunley (submarine)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civil_War_submarine

H.L. Hunley was a submarine of the Confederate States of America that played a small part in the American Civil War, but a large role in the history of naval warfare.”

Wow, it changed the course of naval warfare!  This must have been a really formidable ship!

H. L. Hunley, nearly 40 feet (12 m) long, was … launched in July 1863. … Hunley (then called Fish Boat) sank on August 29, 1863, during a training exercise, killing five members of her crew.”

Oh, she sank a month after she was launched?  What bad luck; I’m sure it was a fluke though.

"She sank again on October 15, 1863, killing all eight of her second crew, including H. L. Hunley himself, who was aboard at the time … "

Wow, um…that’s a mighty string of bad luck there.

"Both times the Hunley was raised and returned to service. On February 17, 1864, Hunley attacked and sank the … USS Housatonic … Soon after, Hunley sank for unknown reasons, killing all eight of her third crew. This time, the innovative ship was lost.”

Was it lost, or did they decide that a cursed ghost ship mayhaps shouldn’t be raised again?  Jesus.  An “innovative ship,” huh?  What was the innovation?  Someone finally designed a ship able to murder its crew every time it sails?  Yeah, after the first two times you’d think they would have left well enough alone.

Caption:  Inboard profile and plan drawings, after sketches by W.A. Alexander (1863), who probably also died one of the times the Hunley sank, considering that that seemed to be the fate of everyone with any connection to this ship, including the guy it was named after.

Source:  Benjamin Franklin
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_franklin
"While living in London in 1768, [Benjamin Franklin] developed a phonetic alphabet in A  Scheme for a new Alphabet and a Reformed Mode of Spelling. This  reformed alphabet discarded six letters Franklin regarded as redundant  (c, j, q, w, x, and y), and substituted six new letters for sounds he  felt lacked letters of their own. His new alphabet, however, never  caught on … “
bεndʒəmIn fræŋklIn Iz ʌ kəmplit fʌkiŋ bædæs.  I wish I could have gotten drunk and shared a hooker with this guy.
Caption:  Franklin, in his fur  hat, charmed the French with what they saw as rustic new world genius.  Out of the hat, however, he charmed them with his complete and total badassery.

Source: Benjamin Franklin

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_franklin

"While living in London in 1768, [Benjamin Franklin] developed a phonetic alphabet in A Scheme for a new Alphabet and a Reformed Mode of Spelling. This reformed alphabet discarded six letters Franklin regarded as redundant (c, j, q, w, x, and y), and substituted six new letters for sounds he felt lacked letters of their own. His new alphabet, however, never caught on … “

bεndʒəmIn fræŋklIn Iz ʌ kəmplit fʌkiŋ bædæs. I wish I could have gotten drunk and shared a hooker with this guy.

Caption: Franklin, in his fur hat, charmed the French with what they saw as rustic new world genius. Out of the hat, however, he charmed them with his complete and total badassery.