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 Thursday 10:26am

Watch How American Cities Grew Through Thousands of Historic Maps

Good thing it's almost the holiday weekend and you don't need to be productive because the USGS just launched a heck of a time-wasting website. Now you can explore cities through beautiful old maps, some dating all the way back to 1884. But here's the best part: You can mix and match many maps to tell your own… » 7/02/14 6:00pm 7/02/14 6:00pm

The Aloof Blackjack Player Who Created Our Digital World

Every digital device you use operates on a string of ones and zeroes, the binary "yes/no" decision at the foundation of modern computing. It's a concept so fundamental to our modern day that we rarely stop to wonder where it came from. But it's all the work of one man: Claude Shannon, whose fascinating story you've… » 6/28/14 8:00pm 6/28/14 8:00pm

If Einstein Had Never Been Born, Would We Still Have Nuclear Weapons?

Albert Einstein and his equation E=mc² are famously connected to the modern atomic age. But as nuclear historian Alex Wellerstein writes in this counterfactual account of history, the great physicist mattered less than you'd think in the invention of the nuclear bomb. » 6/28/14 9:00am 6/28/14 9:00am

How WWI Bombs Shattered Bedrock and Changed the Geology of France

Every once in a while, we're reminded of World War I's awful legacy: Trenches that run like gashes through the French countryside, craters in farmland, the iron harvest. These scars are even deeper than we might imagine. Bombs actually shattered bedrock and created the bizarre, dimpled landscape of modern day Verdun. » 6/13/14 4:40pm 6/13/14 4:40pm

How Two Women Made Your Watch Glow in the Dark

On December 21, 1898, Marie and Pierre Curie discovered the radioactive element radium (in the form of radium chloride), extracting it from uraninite. They first removed the uranium from the uraninite sample and then found that the remaining matter was still radioactive, so investigated further. Along with the barium… » 6/13/14 5:15am 6/13/14 5:15am

Unlock the Past: How a 19th Century Lock Pick Changed Security Forever

In April 1851, Alfred C. Hobbs boarded the steamship Washington bound for Southampton, England. His official duty was to sell the New York City-based company Day and Newell's newest product – the parautopic lock – at a trade show – London's Great Exhibition. But Hobbs had something a bit more nefarious up his sleeve,… » 6/10/14 6:20am 6/10/14 6:20am

Yep, Harvard Really Does Have a Book Bound in Human Skin

This past April brought disappointing (but relieving?) news that a book long suspected to be bound in human skin in Harvard's library was, in fact, bound in sheepskin. Nothing here, move along, right? But no! Now Harvard has confirmed, for the first time ever, one of its other books is indeed sheathed in human skin. » 6/04/14 7:20pm 6/04/14 7:20pm

Iron Man Exosuit Will Look for 2000-Year-Old Computer Underwater

Remember that nutso Exosuit—basically a wearable submarine—we showed you back in February? The Exosuit is about to embark on its first real mission: the hunt for one of the world's oldest computers in the Aegean Sea. It's a quest that has paralyzed and, in one case, even killed divers in the past, but the Exosuit will… » 6/04/14 4:20pm 6/04/14 4:20pm

From 1914 to 2014, here's what a hundred year difference looks like

Some things change, some things stay shockingly the same. It's funny how a hundred years can be such a long time in some places but be just like yesterday in others. This "time lapse" shows how much (and how little) the world of Antwerp has changed from the beginnings of World War I until now. » 6/04/14 12:41am 6/04/14 12:41am

Watch teenagers get hilariously confused about the internet in the 90s

"Kids these days", every person who ever grew up said about the people younger than them who hadn't grown up yet. Kids just don't know how we had it. They don't know what it's like. They don't know that the Internet was a confusing place that was mind numbingly slow and that it wasn't everywhere. Seriously, teenagers… » 6/03/14 2:38am 6/03/14 2:38am

Here's How a 1984 Macintosh Tutorial Taught People to Use a Mouse

A generation of us grew up interacting with computers through a mouse—but that has not always case and will not always be the case. (Hi there toddlers on iPads!) When the Macintosh 128K debuted in 1984, it had to teach users how to point, click, and drag with a charming, game-filled mouse tutorial. » 5/29/14 6:00pm 5/29/14 6:00pm

How Forty Acres of Desert Appeared in the Middle of Maine

Maine has miles and miles of coastline, but its most spectacular sand dunes are nowhere near water. For that, you'd have to head inland, toward the vast, sandy expanse known as the "Desert of Maine." There, thanks to hapless farmers and some unusual geology, you'll find rolling dunes in the land of lobster and pine… » 5/28/14 3:00pm 5/28/14 3:00pm

Dive into This Digital USS Arizona in the Name of Conservation

For nearly three quarters of a century, the USS Arizona has rested practically untouched in the waters of Pearl Harbor, acting as both the final resting place of and enduring tribute to the 1100 marines and sailors that lost their lives aboard it. Today, the National Park Service and Autodesk unveiled the results of… » 5/26/14 5:30pm 5/26/14 5:30pm

Learn How They Laid the Transatlantic Cable Back in 1959

In this hyper-modern, satellite-powered wireless age, it's easy to forget how not too long ago our main connection to Europe was a single cable: the TAT-1. This, the first submarine transatlantic telephone cable was finally completed in 1956, just in time for operators to realize they needed a second. Guess what they… » 5/25/14 6:00pm 5/25/14 6:00pm