These Richly Detailed Maps Give the Modern World a Victorian Twist

Wouldn't we all love to live in a city where floating dirigibles shared the horizon alongside the glass towers of our modern skylines? Such is the wild world featured in the highly complex, geographically accurate illustrations of Icelandic artist Kristjana S. Williams, whose maps are part of an exhibition for the… » 9/15/14 5:00pm Yesterday 5:00pm

America's Real WWII Flying Fortress Was The Massive Douglas XB-19

During the mid 1930s, the Army Air Corps wanted to push the technological envelope when it came to building a very long range bomber. Code named 'Project D,' this top-secret initiative would lead to the largest American bomber concept flown during World War II, the massive yet elegant Douglas XB-19. » 9/11/14 1:49pm Thursday 1:49pm

America's first roller coaster began as a railway for transporting coal

If you're wondering how people first decided plummeting downhill inside a rickety box on wheels seemed like a good time, look no further than the Mauch Chunk Switchback Railway in Pennsylvania. What began as a railway for shooting coal down the mountain turned into a destination for thousands of tourists in the late… » 9/04/14 6:15pm 9/04/14 6:15pm

Get Lost in This Map of 170,000 Photos From Depression-Era America

Some of the most haunting images of the U.S. were captured from 1935 to 1945, as the country emerged from the depths of the Great Depression and rallied for World War II. A team from Yale has collaborated on one of the most visually stunning interpretations of the era, called Photogrammar: 170,000 photos from the… » 9/03/14 1:43pm 9/03/14 1:43pm

Egypt's Oldest Pyramid Is Being Destroyed By the Company Hired to Fix It

Saqqara, in Egypt, is the oldest stone complex ever built by humans—and within it sits the oldest pyramid in Egypt. It's a piece of irreplaceable history that's been crumbling for 4,600 years. But according to one local report, it's currently being destroyed by the company hired to "restore" it. » 9/03/14 10:37am 9/03/14 10:37am

The Bizarre History of X-Ray Records and Early Music Piracy

Thanks to the internet's amazing capacity for self-recycling, articles about Soviet pirate recordings made of X-rays pop up frequently in my feeds. These popular, widely-shared posts explain how, in the 1950s and 60s, music fans in the Soviet Union fabricated bootlegged recordings of banned western music—and they used… » 8/19/14 3:35pm 8/19/14 3:35pm

These GIFs From The Smithsonian Archives Make History Come To Life

The charm of a perfect looping image cannot be denied. Old timey illustrations are delightful nostalgia inducers. Pair 'em together and hot damn: That is a recipe for sure-fire internet love. Drawing from seemingly endless stores of digitized archives, the Smithsonian Libraries have been posting original gifs on their » 8/14/14 8:20pm 8/14/14 8:20pm

A Forgotten Einstein Model of the Universe Describes the Big Crunch

Way back in 1931, Albert Einstein visited the U.S. for three months. Inspired by meetings with Edwin Hubble, he began thinking about the Universe differently, writing a paper in four days to get down his thoughts—and now, those first scribblings have been translated into English for the first time. » 8/14/14 5:30am 8/14/14 5:30am

The Palestine conflict history explained in one absurd animation

This animated short by Nina Paley—in the tradition of the best Monty Python music skits—might not be an orthodox history lesson, but it's an accurate depiction of the horrible 6,000-year bloodshed in the region of Palestine, with dozens of tribes and nations fighting each other to claim ownership of that land. » 8/07/14 8:17pm 8/07/14 8:17pm

I Prefer Watching These Heavily Slurred Versions of American History

Drunk History is in many ways the best show on television at the moment. You get the LOLs of absurdist sketch comedy while arming yourself with enough History Channel-quality Fun Facts™ to make you sound smart the next day. At the same time, it feels like hosting a party in your living room—one that inevitably ends… » 8/04/14 8:00pm 8/04/14 8:00pm

Marie Curie's century-old radioactive notebook still requires lead box

Marie Curie made some of the most significant contributions to science in the 20th century. And as most people already know, she did so at a great cost to her own health. What most people probably don't know, however, is that the radiation levels she was exposed to were so powerful that her notebooks must now be kept… » 8/04/14 2:52pm 8/04/14 2:52pm

Scientists reveal the secrets of mysterious ship found under 9/11 ruins

Scientists have found the secrets of the old ship unearthed in 2010 under the ruins of the Twin Towers. First, the large vessel—buried under 22 feet (6.7 meters) of soil and wreckage—was built around the same time the Declaration of Independence was signed. There's more—but there's also one big mystery left unsolved. » 7/29/14 6:09pm 7/29/14 6:09pm

There's an Actual Piece of the Wright Flyer Inside Bremont's New Watch

Starting in 2010, Bremont has been paying homage to significant moments in the history of technology with a unique line of watches that includes the Codebreaker which celebrated the work of the WWII Enigma machine crackers. Now the watchmaker is honoring the Wright Brothers' achievements with a new timepiece that… » 7/24/14 10:26am 7/24/14 10:26am