Here are the top ten articles for the Today in History Site! These rankings are live and get reset at the beginning of each month, so check back often to see what your fellow visitors are most interested in!
1. May the 4th is the Start of Star Wars Days
Jedi fans celebrate Star Wars Day this week because the pun is irresistible: “May the 4th be with you.” And it’s a trilogy, of course, as Vader devotees continue to geek out for the two days after that. Join me, and together we’ll find out how it all started.
2. The Samuel Applegate Alarm Clock
Heavy sleepers could have thanked Samuel S. Applegate for his invention, which was patented on April 11, 1882. Too bad it was just too weird to be constructed!
3. 16 Things We Love about Shakespeare
The greatest playwright in history shuffled off his mortal coil on his 52nd birthday: April 23, 1616. Exactly 400 years on, this eventful day still arouses excitement in all corners of the world. What merit lived in Shakespeare that we should love after his death?
4. The Bizarre Belly Flop of Devon Loch
You’ve heard of Seabiscuit and Secretariat, and maybe even Red Rum and Black Caviar. But do you know what happened to Devon Loch? On March 24, 1956, this racehorse also made history, but not as a winner.
5. Einstein Publishes General Theory of Relativity
On March 20, 1916, Einstein said Newton was wrong: there is no such thing as gravity. Then why do apples fall to the ground? And what does the sound of black holes colliding in a galaxy far away have to do with it?
6. First Day of George Orwell’s 1984
Published in 1949, George Orwell’s most famous novel starts on April 4, 1984. Thankfully, the postwar world did not coalesce into totalitarian superstates, and thoughtcrime is mostly fictional. Yet why is Nineteen Eighty-Four still relevant today? What Orwellian future do we still fear?
7. Alexander Graham Bell - Grandfather of the iPhone
On March 10, 1876, Alexander Graham Bell said to his assistant: “Mr. Watson – Come here – I want to see you.” These were the first words ever spoken into a telephone, and Watson heard him, clear as a ... well, bell.
8. The Story of the Peace Symbol
On February 21, 1958, Gerald Holtom drew a circle and three lines. How did such an abstract symbol come to represent peace? Why did Holtom regret his design years later?
9. February Ends on a Leap Day
So rare that maybe it should be a national holiday, February 29 leaps out when we glance at the calendar this year. But did you know there were once too many leap days?
10. The Discovery of Dord
“Dord” was discovered by a lexicographer on February 28, 1939. This was back when a dictionary was a 3,000-page tome, not a search engine with a hidden word list. You’ve never heard of “dord”? Don’t worry – there is a valid reason.
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