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Men Danced the Tango First

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Tango originated in the lower class neighborhoods of Buenos Aires in the early 1900s where there were many more immigrant men than women, making competition for a wife fierce. Men would practice dancing with one another in preparation for finally dancing with, and hopefully impressing, a lady as part of an elaborate courting process.

Aristocrats wore wigs for hundreds of year because of the fashion of balding King Louis XIII.

The French king introduced male wigs in the early 1600s, a practice that had been outlawed by the Church and generally out of style since Antiquity. As Louis aged he adopted large white-powdered wigs and others followed suit, associating the color with wisdom. Wigs went viral across Europe, spurring industry-specific styles and indicating “bigwig” status. They were eventually cast aside, like many other French traditions, with the Revolution.

We stopped making the paint color ‘Mummy Brown’ when we ran out of mummies to grind up for the pigment.

Mummy Brown was a rich brown pigment made primarily from the flesh of Egyptian mummies. European painters used it extensively since the 1600s, a time when mummies were processed into many different medicinal products. One London color-maker admitted in 1964 that it had run out of its stock of mummies and could not make any more paint – but by then the grisly origins had destroyed most demand for it.

Canada and Denmark have been engaged in a dispute over who owns an island for almost 100 years.

The cold, uninhabited, treeless Hans Island is located in the middle of the Kennedy Channel, which separates Greenland (owned by Denmark) from Canada. The countries have disputed ownership since the 1930s in court, and have traded stunts of erecting and dismantling flag poles on the island. While the dispute is serious, the visits are friendly: since the 1980s the landing parties leave behind presents and humorous signs for their foes: “Welcome to Canada.”