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Peter Norman, The Forgotten

It was 1968, the year usually associated to the French events in May…. A really eventful year, if we consider that, on March 16th, the My Lai massacre was perpetrated by the US military in Vietnam; on April 4th, Martin Luther King was assassinated and, on June 5th, Bob Kennedy too…. We should add the [...]

Why ‘I’ Is Always Capitalised

One of the well-known English grammar rules is that the first-person singular pronoun, I is always capitalised. But why? Where the distinction between upper and lower case comes from The origin of the upper case distinction is not so clear. The uncial script is a majuscule script, a synonym meaning large or capital letter, commonly [...]

The Curious History Of The First Marathon Races

The current marathon distance is 42,195 metres. Most people think that it has always been like that but the story is more complicated…. The link with the ancient Olympic Games The ancient Olympic Games had no footraces longer than a stadium-based race of about three miles. So, when Pierre de Coubertin and his team decided [...]

Bankruptcy Is Part Of The Game

The recent events in Greece and the previous Global Financial Crisis (GFC) might have given the impression that default and bankruptcy are the fruit of some kind of misconduct or malfunction. A tightening in Regulations also suggests that this view is shared by Authorities and Regulators. Excessive salaries and bonuses to top management executives and [...]

How America Got Its Name

The short answer is: we don’t know for sure but we think we got a reasonably good answer. The long story is that what we have all been taught at school – i.e. that America was named after Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci, travelling on behalf of King Manuel I of Portugal – is very likely to [...]

Why do we call ‘&’ ampersand?

We all know that “&” means “and”. But why is it so and why we call it “ampersand”? It all started when Romans began to combine the letters “e” and “t” into a similar symbol, representing the word “et”, Latin for “and”. Graphical evolution of the ampersand Evolution of the AmpersandFrom WikimediaMore than any explanation, [...]

The Remaining Issues From World War I

Exactly a hundred years ago – July 28th 1914 – World War I started. Austria-Hungary reckoned that it could be a short war against Serbia. In reality, it finished on November 11th 1918 and the world would never be the same after that: the whole XX century and most of the situations we are still [...]

Concealed truth about 9/11

Try this one: ask any of your friends how many Manhattan towers collapsed on September 11th 2001; what answer do you think you will get? Two. Obviously: all of us have been impressed by the planes crashing against the Twin Towers. If two is also your answer to the question, well: the truth is that [...]

Romans in China

Children are generally taught that the first European to arrive in China was Marco Polo, in the second half of the XIII century. In reality, Polo is only one of many European merchants to take either sea or land routes via the Silk Road…. Roman cartographers were definitely aware about China but the geographical position [...]

Life and death in lightnings!

How likely would it be to get struck by lightning during a thunderstorm? Most people would say: unlikely. And they would be right: statistics show that, assuming a lifetime of eighty years, one in ten thousands people are struck by lightning. Lightnings(from Pixabay) It goes without saying that being struck twice in a lifetime (assuming [...]