Ah, history—my first true love, right next to fantasy fiction. There really is nothing like opening up an expertly written, emotionally-riveting history book on a rainy evening with the flames merrily crackling in the fireplace and the wind howling outside your windows.
Right among the top history lovers on Planet Earth lies Andrew Rader, a polymath who’s as skilled as his interests are varied. Andrew is the man and the legend behind the incredibly successful Weird History Twitter page that’s chock full of fascinating, intriguing, and even hilarious, well you guessed it, facts about history. It’s enough to make a history buff like me squeal with joy.
Go brew yourself a mug of tea or a cup of coffee, scroll on, and upvote your fave bizarre facts about history! When you’re done, you’ll find our delightful post about the Weird History page that the Bored Panda team put together previously right over here.
Since founding the Weird History page on Twitter way back in 2011, Andrew’s amassed a following of nearly 159k followers. Since our previous post about the page back in August 2020, the number of fans has grown by nearly 14k people.
And it’s all because of the awesome posts that Andrew makes that entertain and educate us at the same time.
Andrew’s incredibly passionate about a variety of different subjects and you can feel that passion in his Twitter posts. Currently, he’s a Mission Manager at SpaceX. He’s more than qualified for this position, seeing as he’s got a PhD in Aerospace Engineering from MIT specializing in long-duration spaceflight.
He’s someone you could easily look up to if you’re in need of some motivation.
What’s more, Andrew won the Discovery Channel’s 2013 competitive TV series, Canada’s Greatest Know-It-All. So there’s no doubt that he’s smart and knows his stuff. Basically, the complete opposite of the people that the r/IAmVerySmart subreddit pokes fun at.
Andrew’s also a published author, having written ‘Beyond the Known’ about the history of exploration: from the very beginning of humanity all the way into our spacefaring future. What’s more, he’s written plenty of other books, including the ‘Epic Space Adventure’ series and the ‘Rocket Science’ book for kids.
But that’s far from everything, the founder of the ‘Weird Science’ account is also a game designer, occasionally dabbles in YouTube videos, and even co-hosts a weekly podcast called Spellbound. The podcast is about a variety of topics ranging from science and history to economics and psychology. The Canadian who was born in Ottawa is now based in Los Angeles and considers himself “an avid trivia player, space enthusiast, science nerd, and history buff,” according to his website.
The line between a good and a bad historian can be blurred sometimes because, well, history is a pretty blurry subject. There are so many perspectives and interpretations to consider, alongside the validity of historical sources, fact-checking (and double-checking, and triple-checking), and considering the overall historical narrative of any single event.
And don’t forget about all of the sources that end up being destroyed or being locked up in archives! Dabbling in history can be either a nightmare or an adventure (or both…), depending on your point of view and how invested you are.
Even though what makes a historian good is similar to what makes us look up to any high-quality scientist, the fact is, history just isn’t as straightforward as history is. Sure, you have objective things like dates and the names of the people who participated in events, but you also have intangible, immeasurable things like motivations and aspirations.
In essence, history deals with emotions, perspectives, and delves deep into the brilliant, scary, and bewildering things that make us human: the good, the bad, the ugly, and the weird. So it’s a constant battle to be cold and objective while analyzing the fiery depths of human emotions. Neither one approach is enough (being too detached means you’ll miss out on the real reasons behind events while being too emotionally invested will lead to biases), but balancing both and using them in tandem is where real quality lies.
Like a detective, a historian constantly evaluates how valid and trustworthy sources are while offering a fresh perspective on facts and figures that might be taken for granted by their other colleagues. At its core, history is the search for Truth (yes, with a capital ‘T’) while knowing that it’ll always be just out of reach. It’s a good thing we have ‘Weird History’ to fall back on when we’re tired from serious analyses and need a fun and interesting pick-me-up.