This Mysterious NYC Castle Was Actually America's First Cancer Hospital

On the southwest corner of Central Park West and 106th Street in New York City, there's an enormous castle. It takes up the whole east end of the block, with its red brick cylindrical turrets topped with gleaming silver cones. The stained glass windows and intricate stonework make the building look like something out… » 9/19/14 5:30pm Friday 5:30pm

How Close Are We to a Real Iron Man Suit?

If we are just talking about an armored suit that augments a human's strength and weaponry, then we're extremely close. But if we're talking about something with all of the primary abilities of Iron Man's character (i.e. flight, clean infinite power, and repulsor beams), that may never become a reality. The current… » 9/19/14 2:03pm Friday 2:03pm

The Evolution of Potty Training Tech

At some point between the terrible twos and terrifying threes, most of us embarked on a pilgrimage to the great ceramic bowl in the sky. It was a long journey, which left in its wake frustrated parents, soiled sheets, and tiny mounds of ill-timed poop. But over time, with practice and patience, we collectively… » 9/17/14 5:15pm Wednesday 5:15pm

Bloodletting and Bone Brushes: The White-Knuckle Days of Early Dentistry

With all those gleaming, stainless-steel tools readied for painful prodding, few people look forward to visiting the dentist. But modern dentistry is a walk in the park compared with archaic methods of treating oral maladies: Be glad you're not seeking treatment for mysterious "tooth worms" or using dentures filled… » 9/10/14 3:00pm 9/10/14 3:00pm

The Stubborn "Nail Houses" That Refuse to Get Demolished

In 1914, the government of New York City took ownership of a Manhattan apartment building belonging to one David Hess. The city used a legal power called eminent domain, allowing governments to seize private property for public use—in this case they wanted to expand the subway system. Hess fought them and lost, and… » 9/05/14 3:34pm 9/05/14 3:34pm

What Would Happen to the Internet if Mankind Disappeared?

Parts of it would die within a couple of days; if your access to it remained operational, some of it might remain partially usable for a year or two. All large complex systems require constant maintenance by huge staffs of intelligent people, and the internet is no exception. Like you've seen in future-dystopian… » 9/05/14 11:00am 9/05/14 11:00am

10 Incredibly Dangerous Banned Toys

They say that it's all fun and games until somebody loses an eye. Technically, the same applies to skull fractures, poisoning, and third-degree burns. Throughout history, toy makers have designed some truly brutal products (lawn darts, anyone?). But with modern-day lawsuits, you'd think we would've curbed that… » 8/27/14 9:00am 8/27/14 9:00am

The Bizarre Story of How the Original Poster For Jaws Went Missing

The first pages of Peter Benchley's 1974 novel, "Jaws," as well as the opening minutes of Steven Spielberg's 1975 blockbuster, begin with the attack of a young, late-night skinny dipper named Chrissie Watkins, who's dragged to her watery doom by a great white shark, feeding in the waters off the seaside vacation town… » 8/14/14 1:53pm 8/14/14 1:53pm

Where Do You Draw the Line Between the Sky and Space?

On his 108-minute flight in 1961, the Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, the first human being in space, reached a peak altitude of 327 kilometres (203 miles), after blasting off the planet atop a mighty Vostok rocket. After launch shook his tiny capsule violently, Gagarin experienced the feeling of weightlessness, and… » 8/12/14 3:45pm 8/12/14 3:45pm

The Rise and Fall of the Fireman’s Pole

Imagine this: it's 3:30 in the morning, and you're deep in some pillowy dreamscape. All is calm; all is serene. Then, a piercing alarm whiplashes your senses: you're awake now, scrambling in the darkness with ten equally frazzled men. In a flurry, boots are pulled on, helmets are snatched off shelves, and you're… » 8/11/14 12:00pm 8/11/14 12:00pm

The Business Behind Fake Hollywood Money

In late 2000, the producers and crew for action flick Rush Hour 2 gathered at the now-defunct Desert Inn in Las Vegas and prepared to blow up a casino. The scene, which pitted policemen and Secret Service agents against a counterfeiter attempting to launder $100 million in superdollars, was to culminate with hundreds… » 7/30/14 3:20pm 7/30/14 3:20pm