It’s one of those Thanksgiving fun facts I loved repeating when I was a kid: Ben Franklin liked turkeys so much that he wanted them to be our national bird, instead of the bald eagle. It’s a popular fun fact. But I was shattered to learn as an adult that this little nugget of trivia isn’t quite true.
Do you ever lie awake at night wondering what the world will look like in two or three hundred years? Ben Franklin did. And he thought that by the 21st century not only would humanity have some absurdly cool gadgets, men might live to be over 900 years old.
Scientific discovery may require reason, rationality, and a firm handle on the facts, but science history has its share of myths, urban legends, and tall tales. Thought experiments are misinterpreted as real experiments; the scientist with the most interesting story gets the credit for a discovery; misunderstandings…
In 1998, a group called the Friends of Benjamin Franklin House began renovations on Franklin's London residence, No. 36 Craven Street, and discovered a nasty surprise: 1,200 pieces of bone from 10 bodies, six of which were children. And the bodies were buried in the basement around the time Franklin was living in the…
Benjamin Franklin was born on January 17, 1706, making today his 305th birthday. Here is a list of things you may or may not have known sprang from this impossibly talented man's mind.
Many a revolutionary technology has grown beyond its original, intended use; the Internet, the steam engine, and the spiral-cut glazed ham, to name a few. This week's excerpt looks at some of the more...unconventional...uses of the 18th century's newly-developed "balloon."