With stories in the news lately about hackers from China breaking into corporate computers and stealing proprietary software and information (for example, this 60 Minutes’ feature: The Great Brain Robbery), here’s a little historical gem about Robert Fortune (1812-1880) who accomplished the reverse. The low-tech version. From 1845-1848, this Scottish botanist managed to acquire¬†China’s closely-guarded…

   
Tomorrow night’s State of the Union address will be President Barack Obama’s last, during an election year already rife with divisive and derisive rhetoric. So, how about we have some fun instead? Below is a post from 2015 that surveyed social media responses to that year’s SOTU. It reaffirms my faith in mankind’s intrinsic smart-a$$ery,…

   
Hi everyone! I’ve decided to start off 2016 with something fun and interactive. You all read my stories (thank you!); now I’d love the chance to read yours. As you may know, much of my primary research comes from the 19th century newspaper archive,¬†Chronicling America. I often stumble upon fun little gems that I didn’t…

   
The more ad-weary among us have wondered if the spirit of Christmas is shopping, but after a few cleansing breaths we can see that it’s really about stepping outside ourselves to serve others in some way. Whether it’s a bottle of Aunt Gertie’s favorite perfume, donating a turkey dinner, volunteering at a soup kitchen, or…

   
To all of my American friends, Happy Thanksgiving! Here’s a re-post from one I wrote a few years back, about the similar ways in which Thanksgiving was celebrated a hundred years ago. Food, football, helping those in need…notice that Black Friday is conspicuously missing. Enjoy your holiday, Kathy ————————————————- Check out these snippets of late-19th/early-20th…