Keith R.A. DeCandido (kradical) wrote,
Keith R.A. DeCandido

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Stupid History 17-18 May 2010

Whalebone, used in the nineteenth century for buggy whips, parasol ribs, and corset stays, is not bone at all. It is baleen, a stiff but somewhat elastic substance made of keratin (the same stuff that's in our fingernails, teeth, and hair) found in the upper jaws of baleen whales.

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In 1634, traders in Holland began speculating on tulip bulbs, and soon the price of certain prized tulips skyrocketed--the age of tulipmania had struck. The rare Semper augustus sold for the equivalent of eight pounds of gold. But eventually, the tulip bubble burst, and in February 1637, the price of bulbs hit the dirt. Thousands of people went bankrupt, and investors refused to honor the futures contracts they had signed.

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