Back in May of 1989, President George H. W. Bush wrote a letter to Donald Trump. Bush’s letter was meant to congratulate Trump for being named “Man of the Year” by the Police Athletic League of New York. It was right in the middle of the Central Park Jogger case, and an early draft of the letter seems to hint at how…
It’s hard to imagine a time when making a single letter appear anywhere required more than a single keystroke but watching former head punchcutter Giuseppe Bracchino of Nebiolo in Torino, Italy carefully carve out the letter G from steel, you start appreciating everything a little more. It’s really interesting to see…
The history of why Q is almost always followed by U is fascinating, and dates back to when the Normans invaded England in 1066. Before that, English didn’t even have a Q; it used “cw” to replicate the sound. After the invasion, though, the spelling of English was changed to match the French ways: “cw” was replaced…
Here’s how channel signs—basically those big signs that hang above stores and restaurants across the world—are made. The Science Channel gives us a sneak of the way things are done and it’s surprising that so much of it still requires the help of a human. It’s not all robots! And it’s actually a lot more work to shape…
A Titanic survivor penned a furious letter to a friend weeks after the infamous sinking, but her outrage was not due to reasons you'd expect. It netted $11,875 in a recent auction, and its contents offer a singular window into the mind of the one percent, 1912 style.
In 1949, a 17-year-old girl named Connie Papurt wanted to buy a dress but needed $25. So she did what a lot of young women in her situation would do: asked a relative if she could borrow the money. The relative? Her aunt, author and economic philosopher Ayn Rand.
Do you like the letter C? Have any particular attachment to the letter X? How about the letter Q? Well, back in the year 1900, some people thought we'd be rid of them by now. And while they haven't actually disappeared, the futurists of 1900 were certainly right about that whole condensing of language thing. I mean,…
Though you might not often need to do it, reading text in binary in surprisingly straightforward. Here's your new nerdy party trick.
The letters of our alphabet seem like a fixed, immutable thing today. But there was a time when the alphabet as we knew it was still in flux — and some of the letters we use today joined later than others. Here's the story of how the letter g came to join our alphabet.
The man who gave us everything from the NYC subway's signage and map to the American Airlines logo, Massimo Vignelli, is currently spending his last days at home—and his son has an unusual request: Would you send him a note?
Charles Darwin's personal letters have a reputation for being quite revealing, and, at times, very entertaining. They're where he weighed the pros and cons of marriage, and berated himself for being "very stupid." Now, more than 1,000 letters between Darwin and botanist Joseph Dalton Hooker have been made available…
In a world of texts and emails, handwritten notes are getting rarer and rare because they require that heinous thing called "effort." Or at least they used to. A new iOS app called Inkly takes almost all the work out of it, except for the actual writing part.
It's easy to forget that our Latin-derived alphabet came from earlier alphabets that used physical objects to represent their letters. Cartoonist Jason Novak reminds us of the Egyptian, Phoenician, and Sumerian origins of our modern alphabet, with the letters incorporated into sketchy, energetic cartoons.
I love these letters sent to the American Museum of Natural History by wannabe space explorers from the 1950s. They are so wonderfully naive and full of hope, some of them really funny, others quite sad in hindsight.
Even the great masters of science fiction paid tribute to the people who influenced them. Today, Letters of Note has a beautiful 1976 letter that Ray Bradbury wrote — by hand — to Robert Heinlein.
Mohamed Osman Mohamud, a Oregon State University student, had planned to set off a car bomb at a 2010 Christmas Tree lighting ceremony in Portland, Oregon before he was caught (in a setup). His friends had no idea. Now, with hindsight, they're writing letters to him.
It's the most wonderful time of the year! Or least, if you're in the parcel delivery business. But who exactly is doing the brunt of the shipping this holiday season? Here's how it breaks down.
After the first pilot for Star Trek was on the verge being rejected by NBC, Gene Roddenberry sent this impassioned letter to his agent on February 12, 1965. It's a fascinating snapshot of Roddenberry with his back against the wall.