Anno Distillers: world’s strongest Gin that comes with a beaker and very specific mixing instructions

UK-based Anno Distillers recently launched what it calls the “world’s strongest gin”, a spirit so strong that it comes with a small beaker for precise dosing, as well as clear mixing instructions. With a 95% ABV, it is definitely not meant to be enjoyed straight up, not unless you want to feel what it’s like to set your mouth on fire. Instead, its creators recommend it served as a “light G&T,” using only 5ml of spirit, tonic water and a slice of grapefruit as garnish. To help you with those…

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#TodayInHistory – January 31

January 31 – Some important events on this day 314 👉🏼 St Silvester I begins his reign as Catholic Pope 1747 👉🏼 The first venereal diseases clinic opens at London Lock Hospital, London 1865 👉🏼 Congress passes the 13th Amendment, abolishing slavery in America (passes 121-24) 1865 👉🏼 General Robert E. Lee named Commander-in-Chief of Confederate Armies during US Civil War 1928 👉🏼 Scotch tape 1st marketed by 3-M Company 1943 👉🏼 Field Marshal Friedrich Paulus surrenders to Soviet troops at Stalingrad. The Battle of Stalingrad was a turning-point during…

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Februalia: a time of purification

The ancient Romans had a festival for nearly everything and, if you were a god, you got your own holiday. February was dedicated to Februus, for whom the month is named, and it was the time in which Rome was purified by making offerings and sacrifices to the gods of the dead. The Februalia (January 30–February 2) was a month-long period of sacrifice and atonement, involving offerings to the gods, prayer, and sacrifices. In short, If you were a wealthy Roman who didn’t have to go out and work, you…

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Archduke Rudolf, the lovesick prince and his suicide pact

Archduke Rudolf, Crown Prince of Austria, wrote a tragic note to his wife in the early hours of this day, January 30, 1889, that read: “I am going calmly to my death which alone can save my good name.” He then put a pistol to the head of his beautiful 17-year-old mistress who was lying in bed beside him and shot her dead. He did the same to himself shortly after. Or so, apparently. Rudolf, heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, was the only son of Kaiser Franz Joseph I…

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#TodayInHistory – January 30

January 30 – Some important events on this day 1647 👉🏼 After nine months of negotiations, Scottish Presbyterians sell captured Charles I to English Parliament for around £100,000 1661 👉🏼 Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England is ritually executed after having been dead for two years 1790 👉🏼 Lifeboat 1st tested at sea, by Mr Greathead, the inventor 1815 👉🏼 Burned US Library of Congress re-established with Thomas Jefferson’s 6,500 volumes 1841 👉🏼 A fire destroys two-thirds of Mayagüez, Puerto Rico. 1847 👉🏼 Yerba Buena renamed San…

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Would you eat these unbelievably cute fish-shaped dumplings?

Dumplings come in all shapes and sizes, but have you ever seen any dumplings cuter than those made by Taipei-based self-taught cook Minmin Chang? The Taiwanese woman took social media by storm recently after posting photos of her adorable fish-shaped dumplings, along with detailed instructions on how to make your own. Filled with a mixture of minced pork, shrimp, water chestnut, garlic and cilantro, these realistic-looking dumplings are made by hand using simple tools like a straw, a chopstick, and a pair of scissors. But first, the food artist prepares…

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#TodayInHistory – January 29

January 29 – Some important events on this day 661 👉🏼 Rashidun Caliphate, then the largest empire in history, ends with the death of its leader, Ali. Succeeded by the Umayyad Caliphate. 1595 👉🏼 William Shakespeare’s play “Romeo and Juliet” is thought to have been first performed. Officially published early 1597. 1840 👉🏼 First Governor of New Zealand and co-author of the Treaty of Waitangi Captain William Hobson arrives in the Bay of Islands, NZ. Designed to share sovereignty between the British Crown and Māori chiefs the Treaty of Waitangi…

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Wolf Moon: the first Full Moon of the year

In ancient times, it was common to track the changing seasons by following the lunar month rather than the solar year, which the 12 months in our modern calendar are based on. For millennia, people across Europe, as well as Native American tribes, named in fact the months after features they associated with the Northern Hemisphere seasons, and still today we use many of these ancient month names as Full Moon names. A common explanation is that Colonial Americans adopted many of the Native American names and incorporated them into…

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Indlovu, the premium Gin made from distilled elephant dung

It’s hard to believe that elephant dung could be the main ingredient of a booze, but that’s absolutely true: South African gin Indlovu is made with botanicals harvested from the pachyderm poop. Paula and Les Ansley, both former professors in different fields of biology, decided to moved from the UK to South Africa after retiring, and they found a way to contribute to conservation efforts in the region to support the local community. Neither of them had any idea that elephant dung would play such a big part in their…

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#TodayInHistory – January 28

January 28 – Some important events on this day 1077 👉🏼 German King Henry IV is absolved by Holy Roman Emperor Pope Gregory VII and invited back to the Church after his penitent Walk to Canossa 1393 👉🏼 Fire during Royal Ball in Paris, 4 die (Ball of the Ardents) 1521 👉🏼 Emperor Charles V opens the Diet of Worms in Worms, Germany which lasts until May 25th. Produced the “Edict of Worms” which dennouced Martin Luther 1671 👉🏼 British pirate Henry Morgan captures Panama City from its Spanish defenders…

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Neidhart Frescoes: a glimpse into the festive and private lives of medieval Europe

In 1979, during restoration works in an apartment near the center of Vienna, at Tuchlauben 19, a sensational find was uncovered: after removing plaster from the walls, a set of ancient frescoes were revealed. These works of art were ordered by Michel Menschein, a wealthy cloth merchant who wanted them as decorations for a private dance and banquet hall in 1407. The paintings depict songs by legendary bard Neidhart von Reuenthal (ca. 1180-1240) and tell stories of feasts, joy, and emotions experienced centuries ago. They tell of love and feasts…

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#TodayInHistory – January 27

January 27 – Some important events on this day 98 👉🏼 Trajan becomes Roman Emperor after the death of Nerva. 1591 👉🏼 Scottish schoolmaster Dr. John Fian burned for witchcraft at Castle Hill, Edinburgh by order King James VI. Part of the Berwick witch trials. 1820 👉🏼 Russian Antarctic Expedition led by Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen and Mikhail Lazarev discover the continent of Antarctica. The first Russian Antarctic Expedition 1819-1821 by led by Baltic German Fabian Gottieb von Bellingshausen, a Russian naval officer who captained the ship Vostok with his…

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Diósgyőr Castle | Hungary

We are in the historical town of Diósgyőr which is now part of the Hungarian city Miskolc. Diósgyőr castle is a window into the traditions and history of this often-forgotten section of Northern Hungary and, in fact, It’s unlikely that you will find many tourists in this part of country. Its walls were likely constructed around the 13th-century upon a rock hill elevating from the valley of the Szinva stream, and the castle itself has a complicated history, as it was destroyed not long after its construction during a Mongol…

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#TodayInHistory – January 26

January 26 – Some important events on this day 1482 👉🏼 “Pentateuch” the Jewish Bible is 1st printed as a book in Bologna, Italy 1531 👉🏼 Lisbon hit by Earthquake; about 30,000 die 1564 👉🏼 The Council of Trent issued its conclusions in the Tridentinum, establishing a distinction between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism 1700 👉🏼 The magnitude 8.7-9.2 Cascadia earthquake took place off the west coast of the North America, as evidenced by Japanese records 1788 👉🏼 Captain Arthur Phillip and British colonists hoist the Union Flag at Sydney Cove,…

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Waterbuurt – Amsterdam’s Floating Neighborhood

Waterbuurt, Dutch for “water quarter”, is a state of the art residential development in Amsterdam, which consists of nearly 100 individual floating homes moored on Lake Eimer, in Ijburg district. The floating homes are no ordinary houseboats, but real floating houses, that float adjacent to jetties and are moored to steel pilons and they only move vertically with the changing tide. Designed by Dutch architect Marlies Rohmer, the houses have a “no-nonsense, basic design” but are comfortable at the same time. They were built at a shipyard about 65 km…

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#TodayInHistory – January 25

January 25 – Some important events on this day 41 👉🏼 After a night of negotiation, Claudius is accepted as Roman Emperor by the Senate 1348 👉🏼 Friuli Earthquake in |European southern Alps measuring approximately 6.9, largely destroys Villach, killing 5,000 1554 👉🏼 Founding of the city of São Paulo in Brazil 1565 👉🏼 Battle at Talikota India: Deccan sultanate destroy Vijayanagar’s army and the last Hindu kingdom of Southern India 1755 👉🏼 Moscow University is established by Elizabeth of Russia and founded by Mikhail Lomonosov on Tatiana Day 1817…

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January 24 – Paganalia: ancient Rome’s “Earth Day”

In ancient Rome, late January marked the beginning of the agricultural calendar because this literally was the time that the farmers prepared to plant their crops for the new year. This important stage consisted of a multi-day purification period dedicated to Tellus, the goddess of Mother Earth, and to Ceres, the goddess of agriculture. In the city of Rome itself, this feast day was known as the Sementivae, or “the Festival of Seed Sowing” while, in the rural farm-covered countryside, the same festival was known as the Paganalia, literally “the…

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#TodayInHistory – January 24

January 24 – Some important events on this day 41 👉🏼 Claudius succeeds his nephew Caligula as Roman Emperor after the later’s assassination by officers of the Praetorian Guard 1848 👉🏼 James Marshall finds gold in Sutter’s Mill in Coloma, California 1857 👉🏼 University of Calcutta founded as the first full-fledged university in South Asia 1899 👉🏼 Rubber heel for boots or shoes patented by American Humphrey O’Sullivan 1908 👉🏼 Lieutenant General Robert Baden-Powell publishes “Scouting for Boys” as a manual for self-instruction in outdoor skills and self-improvement. The book…

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Kauai, the Hawaiian Island home to thousands of feral chicken

The island of Kauai, in the Hawaiian archipelago, is home to thousands of feral chicken that have developed a real relationship with the island’s human inhabitants. From the pristine beaches of Lumbahai, to airports, gas stations, even urban parking lots, they are everywhere on the Island. They roam freely, and have adapted to lead a a variety of lifestyles in their Hawaiian paradise, from eating garbage and cat food, to depending on tourists for food, or foraging on native arthropods. It’s because of this lifestyle variety that the chickens relationship…

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#TodayInHistory – January 23

January 23 – Some important events on this day 971 👉🏼 War elephant corps of the Southern Han defeated at Shao by crossbow fire from Song Dynasty troops; Southern Han state forced to submit to the Song Dynasty. 1st regular war elephant corps in Chinese army 1368 👉🏼 In a coronation ceremony, Zhu Yuanzhang ascends to the throne of China as the Hongwu Emperor, initiating Ming Dynasty rule over China that would last for three centuries. 1556 👉🏼 Shaanxi Earthquake, the deadliest ever recorded, kills 830,000 in Shaanxi Province, China…

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Chả rươi: Vietnam’s popular worm omelette

Chả rươi, or simply “sand worm omelet”, is a seasonal Vietnamese dish made with (unsightly) sea worms that some say give the dish a caviar-like taste. Every year, in late fall, street food stalls in northern Vietnam, particularly in Hanoi, serve a very special dish that looks very ordinary at first glance, but that actually contains a very peculiar ingredient… Actually, Chả rươi looks like a well-done egg dish mixed with various herbs, but owes its meaty texture and seafood taste to the ingredient that gives the delicatecy its name:…

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#TodayInHistory – January 22

January 22 – Some important events on this day 1371 👉🏼 King Robert II of Scotland (1371-90) is crowned, becoming the first monarch of the House of Stewart 1506 👉🏼 The first contingent of 150 Swiss Guards arrive at the Vatican 1510 👉🏼 Jews are expelled from Colmar, Alsace 1584 👉🏼 Parts of Switzerland adopt Gregorian calendar (& parts in 1812) 1689 👉🏼 Prince William of Orange (future King William III of Britain), summons Convention Parliament to discuss ruling jointly with his wife Mary (daughter of exiled King James II)…

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The Broomway – Britain’s deadliest footpath that has claimed over 100 lives

It is rumored that the Broomway, a 600-year-old footpath connecting the coast of Essex to Foulness Island, in the UK, have claimed over 100 lives over the centuries, which has earned it the reputation of Britain’s deadliest path and the eerie nickname “The Doomway”. It begins as a rickety causeway at Wakering Stairs and, at high tide, abruptly disappears into the sea. When the tide is out, the path descends into an impossibly sticky tidal mud. Known locally as the Black Grounds, it is the sort you really don’t want…

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#TodayInHistory – January 21

January 21 – Some important events on this day 1525 👉🏼 The Swiss Anabaptist Movement is born when Conrad Grebel, Felix Manz, George Blaurock, and a dozen others baptize each other in the home of Manz’s mother in Zürich, breaking a thousand-year tradition of church-state union 1789 👉🏼 1st American novel, WH Brown’s “Power of Sympathy” is published 1793 👉🏼 Louis XVI of France is executed by the guillotine in Paris, following his conviction for high treason 1813 👉🏼 First reference to pineapple cultivation in Hawaii in diary entry by…

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Shadows From the Walls of Death – the book that can (literally) kill you

When people speak of “potentially-deadly books”, they usually refer to the radical or controversial ideas they contain, but in thw case of “Shadows from the Walls of Death: Facts and Inferences Prefacing a Book of Specimens of Arsenical Wall Papers”, the potential for lethalness is quite literal. The “lethal” book was published in 1874 by Dr. Robert M. Kedzie, a Union surgeon during the American Civil War and later professor of chemistry at Michigan State Agricultural college (now MSU). Of its 100 or so pages, 86 are “just” samples of…

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#TodayInHistory – January 20

January 20 – Some important events on this day 1156 👉🏼 According to the legend, freeholder Lalli slays English crusader Bishop Henry with an axe on the ice of Lake Köyliönjärvi in Finland 1265 👉🏼 First English Parliament summoned other than by royal command (in this instance by Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester) mets in Westminster Hall 1841 👉🏼 China cedes Hong Kong to the British during the 1st Opium War 1921 👉🏼 Republic of Turkey declared out of remnants of Ottoman Empire 1942 👉🏼 Nazi officials hold notorious…

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Galley Head Lighthouse | Ireland

Galley Head Lighthouse rises an imposing 53m above the roaring Atlantic ocean outside of Rosscarbery, County Cork, on the south coast of Ireland. It is a charming white lighthouse that sits at the southernmost point of a picturesque headland known as Dundeady Island and is close to the charming market town of Clonakilty, home of the famous black pudding. The headland is cut off from the mainland by the ancient walls of the old Norman stronghold of Dun Deidi, an important fortress of the local O’Cowhig Clan. Despite Galley Head…

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#TodayInHistory – January 19

January 19 – Some important events on this day 379 👉🏼 Theodosius installed as co-emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire 1419 👉🏼 French city of Rouen surrenders to Henry V in Hundred Years’ War 1808 👉🏼 Louis Napoleon signs 1st Dutch aviation law 1812 👉🏼 Peninsular War: After a ten day siege, Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, orders British soldiers of the Light and third divisions to storm Ciudad Rodrigo 1853 👉🏼 Giuseppe Verdi’s opera “Il Trovatore” premieres in Rome 1883 👉🏼 The first electric lighting system employing overhead…

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The tomb of Jules Verne: “Vers l’immortalité et l’éternelle Jeunesse”

The world-famous writer Jules Verne died of diabetes at the age of 77 on March 24, 1905, in Amiens, France, where he was buried in the Cimetière de la Madeleine. Two years after his death, a sculpture entitled “Vers l ‘Immortalité et l’ Eternelle Jeunesse” (Towards immortality and eternal youth) was named after him, positioned on top of his tomb. Designed and built by sculptor Albert Roze using the writer’s actual death mask, the statue shows the figure of Jules Verne breaking the tomb lid and gloriously emerging from his…

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#TodayInHistory – January 18

January 18 – Some important events on this day 350 👉🏼 Roman Emperor Constans is deposed by General Magnentius who proclaims himself the new Emperor 532 👉🏼 Nika uprising against Emperor Justinian I in Constantinople fails, 30,000 killed by troops loyal to the Emperor in the Hippodrome 1535 👉🏼 Francisco Pizarro founds the city of Lima in Peru 1591 👉🏼 King Naresuan of Siam kills Crown Prince Minchit Sra of Burma in single combat, date is now observed as Royal Thai Armed Forces day 1644 👉🏼 Perplexed Pilgrims in Boston…

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