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History

Would Dorothy and the Cowardly Lion have Passed an Emerald City Entrance Drug Test?

20 Mar 2017

Not if it tested for morphine, as long as we let L. Frank Baum get away with a little poetic license. In the 1939 movie classic The Wizard of Oz, the Wicked Witch of the West conjures up a poppy...

The Case of "Saltair Sally"

20 Mar 2017

In October 2000, while walking along the shores of the "Great Salt Lake" near Salt Lake City, two hunters made a gruesome discovery. In a plastic bag, they found a white sock, a shirt, a few bones...

Whales at a party?

20 Mar 2017

An 1861 Vanity Fair cartoon depicted whales celebrating at a party. Celebrating what, you may ask? The discovery of oil in Pennsylvania!

What are smelling salts?

20 Mar 2017

Victorian ladies fainted with alarming frequency. They had been characterized as the weaker sex and had become conditioned to fulfil the role. A little shock, such as a glance at a passage in Lady...

The Curious “Science” of Oscillococcinum

20 Mar 2017

Take the carcass of a duck and place 35 grams of its liver and 15 grams of its heart in a one liter bottle filled with a solution of pancreatic juice and glucose. When after forty days the liver...

What is liquid smoke?

20 Mar 2017

Subjecting various foods to smoke is an age-old method used both for preservation and flavouring. But there are issues. Smoke contains a variety of cancer causing compounds. And in this case, we...

Hype, Hope and Ginseng

20 Mar 2017

Probably what first attracted the Chinese to the odd looking root was its shape. It had a decidedly human appearance and was therefore given the name "ginseng," meaning "man- like." The uncanny...

The Mystery of Maya Blue Finally Solved

20 Mar 2017

Maya Blue, a vibrant light blue colour, characterizes the civilisation that flourished across Mesoamerica between the 3rd and 10th century. The pigment was used to decorate pottery, murals and...

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