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Did Van Gogh Cut Off His Own Ear?

Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear (1889) is one of Vincent van Gogh’s most recognizable paintings The bandaged right side of his face has fascinated art historians for decades—some believe he only sliced the earlobe, while others wonder if the wound was not self­inflicted at all. (This article was first published in Who Knew?) An Earful of […]

That Country’s Real Name Is…

Many countries around the world have an informal or “short form” name by which its commonly referred, and an official “long form” name. Here are some countries whose actual names you may not have known. Oriental Republic of Uruguay About the only place where it’s culturally acceptable to use the word “oriental” is when referring […]

State of Confusion

U.S. states have split up a few times in history—Kentucky and West Virginia broke away from Virginia, and Maine was once part of Massachusetts, for example. In the 200-plus years of American history, nearly every state has faced a similar “partition request,” or areas of the state that tried (and failed) to form a new […]

Happy Birthday, Little Hobbit!

Hobbits might be small, but The Hobbit is not. The widely read children’s fantasy book about a hobbit Bilbo Baggins on his journey to help dwarves reclaim their homeland was J.R.R. Tolkien’s first deep dive into Middle Earth. It was first published 80 years this week. The Book that Started it All The Hobbit is […]