A Polish aristocrat who helped the US in the 1700s was intersex

A Polish aristocrat who helped the US in the 1700s was intersex

From JSTOR Daily: "According to new DNA findings, General Casimir Pulaski, the Polish aristocrat who aided the American Revolution as the Father of the American Cavalry, seems to have been intersex. That is, a person who combines both male and female traits. In Pulaski’s case, the bodily remains include a pelvis and facial structure that are characteristically female, but Pulaski was baptized as a boy, and is usually pictured with facial hair. Exiled from Poland, Pulaski arrived in Massachusetts in July 1777 with a letter of introduction from the Marquis de Lafayette, after hearing the call of the American revolution from afar. That led to a meeting with George Washington. Soon Pulaski was put in charge of the 700 men of the Continental Army’s cavalry, and using European methods of horse-mounted warfare, Pulaski rode into American, and Polish history."

Hans Christian Andersen wrote about climbing Mount Vesuvius while it was erupting

From The Marginalian: "In mid-February of 1834, while touring Europe, 29-year-old Andersen arrived in Naples just as the mighty Mount Vesuvius was in the midst of one of its then-regular and dramatic eruptions, three centuries after the first of them had drowned dozens of Italian villages in hot lava and killed an estimated 3,000 people. In his diary, there is a breathtaking account of his visit to Vesuvius and his crazy quest to climb the mount as it was erupting. "We stood before the mountain itself, whose rounded contours were covered with blocks of lava and ash," he wrote. "We were now ascending a fairly steep grade, sinking up over our knees into ash. With every other step we slid backward by one. Large, loose rocks went sliding downward when we stepped on them. Coal-black smoke swirled upward; then a ball of fire and gigantic, glowing boulders rolled down onto the plain that we had to cross to get to the lava flow."

The Institute of Illegal Images has the world's largest collection of LSD blotter art

LSD blotter art – How illegal drug distribution turned into art -  Trancentral

From The Paris Review: "The Institute of Illegal Images is housed in a dilapidated shotgun Victorian in San Francisco’s Mission District, which also happens to be the home of a gentleman named Mark McCloud. The shades are always drawn; the stairs are rotting; the door is peppered with stickers declaring various subcultural affiliations: “Acid Baby Jesus,” “Haight Street Art Center,” “I’m Still Voting for Zappa.” The first floor parlor has high ceilings, whose walls are packed salon-style with the core holdings of the institute: a few hundred mounted and framed examples of LSD blotter. The III maintains the largest and most extensive collection of such paper products in the world: there are flying saucers, clowns, gryphons, superheroes, cartoon characters, Escher prints, landscapes, op art swirls, magic sigils, Japanese crests, and wallpaper patterns."

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The Belville family sold people in London the correct time for three generations

The Lady Who Sold Time. Ruth Belville: businesswoman who could… | by Esh |  Short History

From the Science Museum: "The pocket watch on show in the Clockmakers’ Museum was originally the property of John Belville, a senior astronomer at the Royal Observatory Greenwich, who used it between 1836 and his death twenty years later to carry accurate Greenwich Time round a network of subscribers across London, each paying an annual fee for a weekly visit from the watch. After his death, many of his subscribers were keen to continue with the technology they knew and trusted, so they petitioned his widow, Maria, to take over his business, and she carried the same watch around London for a further 36 years until 1892, when she retired. Again, the service could have ended there. But many of her subscribers asked her daughter, Ruth, to step into the family business, which she did, carrying the watch for another 48 years."

He didn't want to move for university so he used Air Miles to fly there three days a week

10 Disadvantages of Traveling by Plane - WanderWisdom

From UC Berkeley: "I started planning it in March 2022, after I received my acceptance letter. I tried to book all the cheapest tickets using my miles. When planning the class schedule, I managed to get all my classes on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday so I wouldn’t have to fly to campus on Tuesdays or Thursdays. I had a Friday 8 a.m. class in the fall, and the only way to make that work is to take the 5:30 a.m. flight from LAX to OAK. I set my alarm for 3:30 a.m. The door-to-door round trip takes about nine hours. It’s super long. But I’m only doing it Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I didn’t treat it like a stressful commute, more like a small trip. If I rented in Berkeley, it would’ve cost $20k at least. I spent only $6,000 for my commute, including gas and the tax I paid for the air tickets and BART and parking at LAX."

Newly discovered brain cells have made scientists rethink how the mind works

New Hybrid Cell Discovery Shakes Up Neuroscience - Neuroscience News

From New Scientist: "In September 2023, a scientist at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland and his team described a new type of human brain cell. The cells they discovered seem to be involved in spatial memory, which, for example, allows you to navigate a familiar route. But we are still a long way from fully understanding their role in the brain. The latest discovery is only part of a much bigger picture: In March 2023, researchers at the Allen Institute reported results from studies in which they looked at 4.1 million cells from across the brains of mice. They identified more than 5,200 different types of cell based on their genetic activity, which indicates a cell’s function. But we are still very far from knowing how all these cells connect to each other to create a human mind."

In 1995 wolves were reintroduced into Yellowstone and the results were surprising

Acknowledgements: I find a lot of these links myself, but I also get some from other newsletters that I rely on as "serendipty engines," such as The Morning News from Rosecrans Baldwin and Andrew Womack, Jodi Ettenberg's Curious About Everything, Dan Lewis's Now I Know, Robert Cottrell and Caroline Crampton's The Browser, Clive Thompson's Linkfest, Noah Brier and Colin Nagy's Why Is This Interesting, Maria Popova's The Marginalian, Sheehan Quirke AKA The Cultural Tutor, the Smithsonian magazine, and JSTOR Daily. If you come across something interesting that you think should be included here, please feel free to email me.