Margaret Cavendish, The Duchess of Newcastle was a poet, philosopher, writer of prose romances, essayist, and playwright who published under her own name at a time when most women writers published anonymously. Her writing addressed a number of topics, including gender, power, manners, scientific method, and animal protection. Her romance, The Blazing World, is one of the earliest examples of science fiction.

She became the second wife of William Cavendish, 1st Duke of Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 1645. Wiliam Cavendish had been a good friend of King Charles I and Henrietta Maria, and had been chosen to take charge of their son and heir Charles (later Charles II) from the age of eight, in his education. Cavendish would prove to be a stong influence upon Charles throughout his life, particually regarding his attitude towards women, whom he taught to always treat with great civility and respect.

William was very encouraging of his wifes talents. Letters and poems of praise written by him were included in several of Margaret Cavendish’s published works.

Margaret wrote critiques of Descartes, Hobbes and Hooke. Her proposed visit to the Royal Society in 1667 caused much debate among Fellows as to whether a woman’s presence would damage the Society’s reputation. Her elevated social status won the day and she became the first woman to attend a Society demonstration. Pepys records that she was ‘all admiration’ for Boyle’s air-pump.

Despite her many accomplishments and high social status, Margaret described herself as naturally shy and reserved, and wrote an essay on what she called her “extreme bashfulness”. Margaret wrote that her husband liked her bashfulness. She also states that he was the only man she was ever in love with, loving him not for title, wealth or power, but for merit, justice, gratitude, duty and fidelity.


HISTORY MEME - six women: bessie coleman [4/6]

Bessie Coleman was an American civil aviator, the first female pilot of African American descent, and the first person of African American descent to have an international pilot license. She was born in 1892 in Texas, the tenth of thirteen children, and in school showed herself to be a lover of reading and mathematics. She enrolled in what is now Langston College in Oklahoma, but was forced to return home due to lack of funds. At 23, she moved to Chicago, where she heard stories from returning World War I pilots about flying during the war. Due to her race and gender, however, despite herr interest in aviation, no American flight school or aviator would train her. Determined to become an aviator, Bessie went to France in 1920 and, a year later, earned her aviation license from the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale, becoming the first American of any gender to receive a license from that organization. She trained as a “barnstorming” stunt flier in order to make a living. Known as “Queen Bess,” she was well-known for her daredevil maneuvers, though her flamboyant style was often criticized by the press. Though offered a role in a film, when she learned that her first scene would show her in tattered clothes with a walking stick and pack, she walked off set  rather than perpetuate the derogatory image of African Americans. In 1926, in preparation for an air show, her plane failed to pull out of a dive and began to spin, causing Bessie to be thrown from the plane, 2,000 miles above the ground, killing her instantly. She was 34 years old. (x)

In Norse mythology, the dwarves created a magical chain to shackle the wolf Fenrir. It was made of: the sound of a cat’s footfall, the beard of a woman, the roots of a mountain, bear’s sinews, fish’s breath and bird’s spittle. It is said that this creation is the reason why none of these exist.


Dennis Wilson was the only member of the Beach Boys who actually knew how to surf

The salute comes from Medieval times, when knights would raise their visors to reveal their identity

Nail polish was invented in 3000 B.C in China, and was made from egg whites, beeswax, gum, and colored powder.


Avocados, bananas, pumpkins, and watermelons are all berries


Silly Putty Eats Magnet.

The YouTube description does a good job explaining what’s going on. The short version is that this is a 1.5 hour time lapse of a rare earth magnet being sucked into a blob of Silly Putty that has been mixed with a fine iron powder.

The putty wants to evenly distribute the magnetic field through itself and the only way it can do that given its starting condition is to absorb the magnet. Cool!

History Fact of the Day:


During the latter half of the 19th century, after the emergence of the popularity of the bustle, the average woman (mostly in England, but in the Americas as well) wore about 37 pounds of clothing during the average day.  This is comparable to what a soldier now (and even at the time) would have to carry whilst marching during war.

- Judith Flanders, Inside the Victorian Home: A Portrait of Domestic Life in Victorian England.