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How High/Low Can You Go? – The Explorer Auguste Piccard

How High/Low Can You Go? – The Explorer Auguste Piccard

Scientists and explorers we are, to boldly go where no man has gone before. If there is one scientist, who might serve as the prototype of an bold explorer, then we have to consider Auguste Piccard, a Swiss professor of physics, who tried to explore the deepest depths of the sea as well as the extreme stratosphere of the earth. And he did this not only in theory, but by experiment (always…
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The Opening of the Panama Canal

The Opening of the Panama Canal

On August 15, 1914, the very first ship, the cargo ship SS Ancon passed the newly built Panama Canal. Unfortunately, in the same month, World War I started fighting in Europe and the official opening ceremony had to be postponed until 1920. The Panama Canal is an 82 km long ship canal in Panama that connects the Atlantic Ocean (via the Caribbean Sea) to the Pacific Ocean and therefore also a key…
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The Tragedy of MacBeth

The Tragedy of MacBeth

On August 14, 1040 AD, Mac Bethad mac Findlaích, Mormaer of Moray, today better known as Macbeth, killed the Scottish King Duncan I. to become the new King of Scotland. But, he has to commit further murder to maintain his power. So far the story goes. Most of the rest we know from Shakespeare‘s adaptation of the historical events is merely pure fiction. Macbeth’s life, like that of his predecessor King Duncan…
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The Legend of Elizabeth Báthory, the Blood Countess

The Legend of Elizabeth Báthory, the Blood Countess

Countess Elizabeth Bathory, the Blood Countess (1560-1614) How far would you go to maintain your youth and your beauty? While today most people have become a victim of the cosmetic industry and (fortunately) only a few really dare to undergo cosmetic surgery, eternal youth and beauty is not only a subject of today’s affluent society. No, it’s a prominent topic throughout history dating also back into mythology, such as the story of…
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Veni, Vidi, Vici – according to Julius Caesar

Veni, Vidi, Vici – according to Julius Caesar

On August 2, 47 BC the Roman dictator Gaius Iulius Caesar won the battle of Zela against Pharnaces II. king of Pontus. As the Roman victory was won rather quickly, Caesar wanted to emphasize that very fact by the brevity and conciseness of his report sent to the senate and people of Rome. He only wrote three little words: “Veni, Vidi, Vici.“ I came, I saw, and I won. That’s all. Nobody ever…
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The Last Safari – The Phenomenon Ernest Hemingway

The Last Safari – The Phenomenon Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway on safari, Africa. January, 1934 © Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection He was one of the most successful and best known American authors of the 20th century. He also was a journalist, war reporter, foreign correspondent. Four times he was married, for most of the time of his life he was a heavy drinker, and he had a passion for big game hunting in Africa. For his novell ‘The Old Man…
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Fin de Siècle at its best – The Paris Métro

Fin de Siècle at its best – The Paris Métro

A Paris Métro Sign©Fabio Venni / cc-by-sa Version 2.0 On July 19 1900, Paris, cultural center of the Belle Époche, opened its Métro. The Paris Métro stations with their Fin de Siècle charme and Art Nouveau design have become a timeless icon of the city. Main achievements of the Exposition Universelle in 1900 were the introduction of escalators, talking films, the famous Eiffel Tower, and Ferris wheels. Rudolf Diesel exhibited his engine…
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Cracking the Code – Champollion and the Rosetta Stone

Cracking the Code – Champollion and the Rosetta Stone

On July 15, 1799 in the Egyptian village of Rosetta  Pierre-François Bouchard, Captain of the French expedition army on Napoleon‘s Egyptian Campaign discovered an unimpressive black stone with some written inscriptions on it. But this black stone, later referred to as the Rosetta Stone, should become the central key to deciphering the long lost secret of the Egyptian hieroglyphics. By the end of the 6th century AD, by the time of the fall…
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The Case of the Last Condemned Witch – Anna Göldi

The Case of the Last Condemned Witch – Anna Göldi

Recreated Portrait of Anna Göldi by Patrick Lo Giudice(via http://www.walter-hauser.ch/) On June 13th 1782, the maidservant Anna Göldi from the tiny Swiss canton Glarus was executed by the sword as being one of the very last women in Europe condemned for witchcraft. Concerning her case also for the very first time the term ‘judicial murder’ has been coined. Anna Göldi came from a poor background and for seventeen years, she worked as…
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The Mechanical Telegraph – a French Invention

The Mechanical Telegraph – a French Invention

Claude Chappe’s Optical Telegraph (Museée des Arts et Metiers) On May 23, 1813, the first (modern) optical telegraph line following the mechanical telegraphy system of the French inventor Claude Chappe between Metz and Mainz was established. No, this wasn’t the first of its kind, but it was the first to connect the former already in France established telegraphy system with a (now) German city. Long before the days of Morse Code or…
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