James Buchanan was born in 1791. He was the 15th president of the United States, and his two immediate predecessors were both born after 1800 (13th president Millard Fillmore in 1800, 14th president Franklin Pierce in 1804). Buchanan is the only US president whose century-of-birth preceded that of the president before him.
The United States flag started out with 13 stars, and 13 stripes, for the 13 original states. The flag slowly accumulated stars as new states were added to the Union. In 1959 it reached its present form of 50 stars, with the addition of Hawai’i. For obvious patriotic reasons, it was decided in 1818 that
after a new state had been confirmed by Congress, that state’s star would be officially added to the flag on the next 4th of July.
This led to a fun historical oddity: even though Wyoming and Idaho became states within a week of each other in 1890, their stars were put on a year apart. How did this happen? Well, Idaho became a state on July 3rd, 1890 and Wyoming became a state on July 10th, 1890. Because Wyoming just missed the July 4th deadline, its star was added 1 year later, in 1891.
The mummy was held by the American university, Michigan State. This is the first time a mummy from the Incan period has been repatriated to Bolivia, and it may be the most significant repatriation to South America yet, due to the time period when she lived, and her amazing state of preservation.
Her nickname, Ñusta (Princess) reflects the rich grave goods she was buried with. Her original burial tomb was filled with worldly objects like pouches, feathers, a clay jar, sandals, and some plants, including maize and coca. Perhaps she was high-status when alive. Although another interpretation is that she was a child sacrifice and that is the reason for the high-status grave goods. Analyses suggest she was about eight years old when she died, and radiocarbon dating estimates that Ñusta died in the second half of the 1400s, before the arrival of the Spanish. But she is very well-preserved for being dead for 600 years! Ñusta’s hair is still in braids, and her dress, made from llama or alpaca, is intact.
Quetzalcoatlus, the largest known flying animal ever, was as tall as a giraffe. It flew over North America during the Late Cretaceous, about 100.5–66 million years ago. The name comes from the Mesoamerican feathered serpent god Quetzalcoatl.
Duct tape was initially used during World War II for a very specific military purpose: keeping ammunition boxes sealed. It quickly became clear that it was useful for many other things, as well. And its incredibly adhesive qualities as well as inherent waterproofing led to soldiers calling it “duck tape,” referring to a duck’s wicking feathers.
After the war, former American soldiers who went to work in construction spread the word about the amazing new tape. It ended up being used for all sorts of HVAC applications, but mostly for holding ductwork together, so “duck tape” became “duct tape.“
During a 1968 visit with the Pope, William D. Borders, bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Orlando, Florida, observed that arguably he was now bishop of the moon. According to the 1917 Code of Canon Law, which was in force at the time, any newly discovered territory fell under the jurisdiction of the diocese from which the discovering expedition had left.
And Bishop Borders’ diocese included Brevard County. Which is the home of Cape Canaveral, where the Apollo missions to the moon took off.
Want to know an interesting thing about one of America’s founding fathers, Paul Revere, who was a silversmith and engraver? We still have some of his work. Actually, quite a lot of his work. Here is a silver pitcher he made between 1800 and 1805.
Courtesy of the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields.