The Song Dynasty

The first government in history to issue paper money, the Song dynasty was the ruling dynasty in China between 960 and 1279. A culturally rich period for the arts, philosophy, and social life, the dynasty also bolstered naval strength and developed revolutionary new military technology—augmented by the use of gunpowder—to repel invaders. Nevertheless, the Song dynasty was conquered in 1279 by the Mongol ruler Kublai Khan. What nautical tool was invented during the era?

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The Mad Baron

Known as both the "Mad" and "Bloody" Baron, Baron Roman Ungern von Sternberg was a military commander who became an independent warlord after the Russian Civil War. A mystic who believed he was the reincarnation of Genghis Khan, he aimed to unite the Far-Eastern nations under one monarch. In 1921, he achieved this goal, becoming dictator of Mongolia before being captured by his own troops and executed by the Red Army. How did he trick the Chinese into abandoning Mongolia's capital city, Urga?

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Ibogaine

Ibogaine, a psychoactive compound derived from plants, is used by some African peoples for medicinal and ritual purposes. Identified in the early 1960s as having anti-addictive properties, it has been shown to cause sudden and complete interruption of heroin addiction—without withdrawal—in a matter of hours. Research suggests that it may also be useful in treating addiction to alcohol, methamphetamine, cocaine, and nicotine. Why is it banned in many countries?

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