Benjamin Franklin

12 Stories

Name That President? Americans Have Weird Answers

71% of those surveyed think we were once led by President Alexander Hamilton

(Newser) - Alexander Hamilton was many things—a bastard from the Caribbean, the founder of the Bank of New York, the father of the US Coast Guard, and the first Secretary of the Treasury, to name a few. But the man who died in a duel against Aaron Burr at the age... More »

Here Are the 10 Most Popular Americans

Johnny Depp manages to make the list

(Newser) - MIT researchers recently released Pantheon , which analyzes data (including Wikipedia page views, among other things) in order to determine the "global popularity of historical characters." From that, the San Francisco Chronicle compiled the study's top 25 Americans. Here are the top 10, though Pantheon warns that data... More »

What It's Like to Live by Ben Franklin’s Schedule

Tim Goessling says it changed his life

(Newser) - Everyone loves "life hacks" these days, and Tim Goessling decided to try a 222-year-old one: He followed Benjamin Franklin's daily schedule, as Franklin recorded it in his 1791 autobiography, and he writes on theKnow that the experience changed his life. A breakdown of the routine and Goessling's... More »

$3 Estate Sale Find Gives Up a Treasure Trove

...but New Jersey stakes claim on rare documents

(Newser) - A Toronto woman spotted a $3 box of documents at a Buffalo estate sale; at the time, "I had no sense of their history or value," she says. Turns out they were worth a heck of a lot more: One was signed by Benjamin Franklin's illegitimate son,... More »

Ben Franklin Tried to Change Our Alphabet

His phonetic approach never took off

(Newser) - If Benjamin Franklin were alive today, he'd probably be a dynamite texter. As Smithsonian explains, Franklin once designed a phonetic alphabet for the nation because he thought the one in place was too unwieldy. Alas, it never caught on. Some highlights of his "A Reformed Mode of Spelling,... More »

10 Weird Thanksgiving Facts

It was supposed to be a day for fasting...

(Newser) - Thanksgiving feasts and TV dinners may seem like polar opposites, but in fact, the holiday gave birth to the prepackaged meals. Swanson bought way too much turkey in 1953—an extra 260 tons of it—so a salesman suggested packing the leftovers into 5,000 aluminum trays, accompanied by sweet... More »

An Old Disease Rises Again in America

Gout afflicts more Americans than ever

(Newser) - It's the condition that tormented Alexander the Great, Charlemagne, King Henry VIII, and Benjamin Franklin, and today increasingly afflicts regular Americans: gout. The painful inflammatory condition, caused by elevated levels of uric acid in the blood, may seem retro, but thanks to fructose-sweetened soft drinks, purine-rich foods, and general... More »

'Trailblazing' Science Papers Posted Online

Ben Franklin's famous kite-key experiment galvanizes the Web

(Newser) - Britain's Royal Society is posting some of the key scientific moments in human history on the Web. Handwritten accounts include reports by Sir Isaac Newton and Benjamin Franklin, who details his 1752 experiment with a key, a kite and lightning. One of the posted studies, to determine if 8-year-old Wolfgang... More »

London Library Yields Lost Ben Franklin Letters

Missives document his attempt to help Brits fight the French

(Newser) - More than two centuries after his death, Benjamin Franklin has more stories to tell, CNN reports. An American professor conducting research in London unearthed facsimiles of 47 letters the Founding Father wrote and received when he lived there 250 years ago. “I just about shot through the ceiling I... More »

Turn Clocks Ahead Tonight

Some doubt that daylight saving time conserves energy

(Newser) - Time flies when you’re trying to save energy: Americans will have to spring their clocks forward by an hour tonight—technically at 2am— for daylight saving time. The sleep-reducing tradition is happening a month earlier than usual in a government effort to cut down on electricity use and take... More »

HS Kids Take Color-Blind View of History

Women, blacks dominate students' list of famous Americans

(Newser) - Martin Luther King Jr. is the most famous American in history, according to 2,000 high school students asked to name the top 10, reports USA Today. In a dramatic break from the "dead white male" paradigm, African Americans, women, and Arfican-American women dominated the list, with Rosa Parks... More »

Best Memoirs About Money

Get the inside scoop on finance from those who live (and lived) it

(Newser) - Some earn money; some write about it. Some do both. CNN Money recommends these six memoirs about money: getting it, managing it, spending it, and not having enough of it:
  1. The Age of Turbulence by Alan Greenspan
  2. Reminiscences of a Stock Operator by Edwin Lefevre
  3. American Sucker by David Denby
... More »

12 Stories