The First Person Who Ever Saw Sperm Cells Collected Them From His Wife

It’s a bright day in 1677, in the city of Delft, and Antonie van Leeuwenhoek is making love to his wife. But moments after he shudders with orgasm, he hurries out of bed to grab his microscope. After all, he’s not just spending time with his wife: he’s running an important scientific experiment at the request of the… » 6/01/15 3:13pm Monday 3:13pm

When the FAA Blasted Oklahoma City with Sonic Booms For 6 Months

Have you ever experienced a sonic boom? A sonic boom so forceful that your dishes fell from the cupboards, your photos fell off the walls, and maybe your ceiling even started to crack? This was the reality that residents of Oklahoma City endured for six months in 1964 — eight times per day. » 4/28/15 3:11pm 4/28/15 3:11pm

How Lord Byron's Scandals Led Ada Lovelace To Become A Mathematician

Ada Lovelace is now most famously known as the mother of computer science, but during her lifetime, she was also well known on account of her famous father: Lord Byron. Although Ada never met her father, his scandalous behavior had a profound effect on how she was raised — on a strict diet of mathematics. » 4/17/15 11:35am 4/17/15 11:35am

Some Of The Strangest Flying Machines Ever Built

It’s been just over a century and change since the first airplane flight. And an amazing amount of innovation has happened to aviation since then. Along with quite a bit of weird experiments, that didn’t entirely pan out. Here are fascinating videos of some of the strangest flying machines ever invented! » 4/02/15 8:05pm 4/02/15 8:05pm

Hilarious TV Ads From The Dawn Of The Home Computer Era

The computer revolution didn't come into people's homes overnight. There was a long period when the public was still discovering all the things they could do if they owned a computer — and this led to some truly outrageous TV ads. Check out the most hilarious and creative classic home computer ads ever made. » 3/27/15 12:05am 3/27/15 12:05am

7 Ways That People Died Trying To Become Immortal

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Would you risk your life if you thought it might mean extending it? Would you die now if you thought you could be revived at some point in the future? Here are cases of people who went to extremes for immortality or their very own fountains of youth — and killed themselves in the process. » 3/17/15 2:19pm 3/17/15 2:19pm

These Scientific Names Were Chosen Purely To Insult Certain People

What is the best way to make sure your insult lasts a really, really long time? Well, if you're a scientist who has the pleasure of naming a newly described genus or species, you might be able to get away with inserting your insult into biological nomenclature. After the rise of modern taxonomy, a few people did… » 3/13/15 5:06pm 3/13/15 5:06pm

The "Harvard Sentences" Secretly Shaped the Development of Audio Tech

During World War II, the boiler room under Harvard's Memorial Hall was turned into a secretive wartime research lab. Here, volunteers were subjected to hours of noise as scientists tested military communications systems. Out of this came the Harvard sentences, a set of standardized phrases still widely used to test… » 3/09/15 1:45pm 3/09/15 1:45pm

All the Tech We've Used to Intercept Every Kind Of Communication

Spy cameras are probably the most axiomatic gadgets when we talk about intelligence-gathering techniques. But intercepting and decoding messages is just as important as taking pictures. Here's a look at all the devices spies have used to tap into voice, mail, phone, radio, morse, electronic messages, and other signals. » 2/13/15 3:00pm 2/13/15 3:00pm

How "Clean" Was Sold to America with Fake Science

The average American's daily hygiene ritual would seem unusual—nay, obsessive—to our forebears a hundred years ago. From mouthwash to deodorant, most of our hygiene products were invented in the past century. To sell them, the advertising industry had to create pseudoscientific maladies like "bad breath" and "body… » 2/12/15 12:22pm 2/12/15 12:22pm