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No, Da Vinci Wasn't The First Inventor to Dream About Human Flight

Leonardo DaVinci’s wing and glider designs have inspired literature, art, and cinema over the centuries. But plenty of other people have schemed to take to the air, long before the Wright Brothers. Here are just some of the inventors who devised methods of unpowered human flight...with mixed success.
» 8/25/15 11:48pm Tuesday 11:48pm

Photo Essay: Inside a 120 Year-Old Steam Powered Water Pumping Station

A small village on the left bank of the river Tisza in Hungary hides one of the best-preserved industrial relics I have ever seen. If you wander along the flood prevention dyke near the village, you’ll see an old building with an enormous brick chimney towering above the trees: this is the old Tiszabercel water… » 8/20/15 8:00pm 8/20/15 8:00pm

We're Only Beginning To Understand Why Humans Have a Skewed Sex Ratio

The ratio of newborn boys to girls slightly and consistently leans toward males: around 106 boys are born for every 100 girls. If that seems odd to you, it should: the way sperm form suggests that the ratio of X-sperm to Y-sperm should be exactly 50:50–and scientists are only now beginning to understand why the skew… » 8/20/15 12:20pm 8/20/15 12:20pm

These Previously Unseen Photos Bear Witness to the Carnage of World War II

History website Argunners has published a series of previously unseen photos recently uncovered from the archives of an American four-star general who served in Europe during the Second World War. The images show a war-torn Europe as American forces move towards Berlin.
» 8/19/15 11:55am 8/19/15 11:55am

A Board Game’s Idea Of The Moon Landing, 14 Years Before It Happened

The oldest toy I own is a board game called Careers. It’s set 14 years before Apollo 11 landed on the moon in 1969, yet it includes a moon expedition mission. It’s a curious artifact — a look into a previous generation’s dreams and ambitions, when space exploration was still an unknown intangible. Our dreams, however,… » 8/16/15 5:40pm 8/16/15 5:40pm

The U.S. Embassy in Havana Is a Perfect Metaphor for American Diplomacy

John Kerry watched a soldier hoist the American flag over the United States Embassy in Havana on Friday morning. He’s the first secretary of state to visit the land of Castro, communism, and cigars in 70 years. The embassy itself, an acclaimed example of midcentury modern architecture, has been rotting for just as… » 8/15/15 11:30am 8/15/15 11:30am

Can You Help Decode The Unknown Language On This 750-Year-Old Sword?

In 1825, a three-foot-long sword was uncovered from a river on the eastern cost of England. “If struck with sufficient force, it could easily have sliced a man’s head in two,” writes the British Library’s Julian Harrison. Though its potential uses might be obvious, the gold inscription on its face is not. » 8/10/15 5:20pm 8/10/15 5:20pm

6 Treatments for Erectile Dysfunction We’re Glad No One Uses Anymore

Erectile dysfunction isn’t a new problem, but there weren’t any effective treatments for the condition until the middle of the 20th century. Before then, desperate people turned to sympathetic magic, patent medicines, fad treatments, and convincing frauds to try to get it up. » 7/28/15 11:47am 7/28/15 11:47am

The Life and Untimely Death of Technology's Weirdest Logo

In 1988 Timothy Wilkinson, a British designer at frog design in Silicon Valley, was tasked with creating a logo for the biggest peripheral maker in the world: Logitech. The company kept Wilkinson’s logo around for almost 30 years. And while it long seemed weird to me, it’s also completely brilliant. » 7/24/15 8:00pm 7/24/15 8:00pm

No, This Viral Image Does Not Explain the History of Arabic Numerals

Your cousin’s Facebook friends are probably going nuts over this image that claims to show how the early history of Arabic geometric design informs how we write numerals today. “Each figure contains its own number of corners and angles,” reads the text. That’s half-true of the drawings in the image. The rest is… » 7/21/15 5:28pm 7/21/15 5:28pm