Saturday, 27 June 2015

Two finger gesture myth

I hear this myth so often in a museum I think I will scream if I hear it one more time: The two finger gesture was invented because the French threatened to cut 2 fingers off captured English archers. The English archers waved 2 fingers as a symbol of defiance.

Nobody really knows where the two finger gesture comes from but there is no evidence that it has anything to do with Medieval archery. Nor is there any evidence that the French ever threatened to cut the fingers off captured archers or actually did so. The gesture was first recorded in 1901. 

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Uranus and Neptune

As early as 1784 somebody calling himself Mr Vivenair wrote a story about a trip to Uranus in a balloon. However Uranus featured little in science fiction. Neptune appears in few science fiction stories (Perhaps because Neptune is so far from Earth and until recently little was known about it). However in 1930 Olaf Stapleton wrote a book called First and Last Men. At the end of the story the human race migrates to Neptune. 

Saturday, 20 June 2015


 A notorious event in the history of Chicago was the St Valentines Day Massacre of 1929. Al Capone planned to kill his enemy, a man named George 'Bugs' Moran. So at 10.30 am on 14 February, St Valentines Day, a car went to a garage on North Side. The car was the type used by detectives and it had police insignia painted on it. Inside it were two men dressed as policemen. There were also two men in civilian clothes posing as plain clothes detectives in the car. Their car stopped outside the garage and the two men posing as detectives got out. At that moment Bugs Moran and his two bodyguards approached. Seeing the two fake policemen they thought it was a police raid and they walked away. So Bugs Moran survived.
However there were seven men inside the garage and the fake policemen made them line up against a wall and face it. The two men in civilian clothes entered with machine guns and sprayed them with bullets. The fake policemen then produced shotguns and finished off any man who showed signs of life. The killers then left. 

Monday, 15 June 2015

Friday, 12 June 2015


The great Canadian city of Edmonton began as a trading post called Fort Edmonton, built in 1795. It was named after Edmonton in England, which was then a town north of London. However in the late 19th century the settlement began to spread outside the fort. Then in 1892 Edmonton was incorporated as a town and in 1904 it was incorporated as a city. Despite its small size Edmonton was chosen to be the capital of Alberta in 1905.