The world is so full of a number of things...
Proof by elephants
How Aristotle demonstrated that the world was round.
The oddities of misheard lyrics.
Shooting for the moon
Spending money on inspiration.
Epictetus believed that it's important to learn to act and react appropriately.
Mustard gas and chemotherapy
How chemotherapy came to be.
How a chemist defeated thousands of poisoners.
Ebenezer Cobham Brewer
It didn't matter how useless the knowledge might be.
Without their help, we wouldn't be here.
How a small English town believed itself at war with Russia for a hundred years.
The Nine Worthies
In the Middle Ages, a fair amount of thought went into the list: who was an example of virtue and valour; whose chivalry was worth emulating?
When he was an old man, Gladstone decided to found a library.
Harry Beck's big idea for redesigning the tube map changed the world.
Paul Grice codified rules of co-operation in conversations.
Edmund Clerihew Bentley / mused when he should have studied intently.
Yan tan tethera
How to count sheep.
The sewers of London are triumphs of planning and hard work.
The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis
An Englishman living in Africa a hundred years ago could not find a good cup of tea.
The Hoover Dam
They made the dam not just a useful artefact, not just an inspiration, but also a thing of beauty.
What was the last piece of undiscovered land on Earth?
A cross between shorthand and typewriting.
In ancient times, when a queen or a king died, their people would raise a hill over their grave.
What *is* indigo, anyway?
The Fermi paradox
Where are all the aliens?