The Computer Simulation That Almost Started World War III

Remember the 1983 movie WarGames? The film is about a computer "game" with the potential to start thermonuclear war. But strangely this scenario is more truth than fiction. Because in 1979 programmers at NORAD almost started World War III when they accidentally ran a computer simulation of a Soviet attack. » 2/16/15 6:20pm 2/16/15 6:20pm

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

The 10 Biggest Blunders in The History Of Espionage

In movies and books, spies are always debonair and brilliant, pulling off the most complex schemes without getting caught (too badly.) But in real life, espionage is a messy, complicated business, and sometimes people screw up. Here are the 10 most jaw-dropping screwups in the history of real-life spies. » 2/09/15 1:19pm 2/09/15 1:19pm

Oregon Was Founded As a Racist Utopia

When Oregon was granted statehood in 1859, it was the only state in the Union admitted with a constitution that forbade black people from living, working, or owning property there. It was illegal for black people even to move to the state until 1926. Oregon's founding is part of the forgotten history of racism in the… » 1/21/15 10:00am 1/21/15 10:00am

The Real Story Behind the 1914 Christmas Truce in World War I

It was 100 years ago this very night that something miraculous happened along the Western Front. After months of bitter fighting, soldiers on both sides gathered in no-man's-land in a spontaneous show of peace and goodwill. Here's what happened on that historic day — and why it marked the end of an era. » 12/25/14 8:34am 12/25/14 8:34am

Lockheed's Senior Peg: The Forgotten Stealth Bomber

Perhaps because it was built in secret and designed to be invisible, the stealth bomber is unforgettable the moment you see it. What few remember, though, is that the iconic silhouette almost looked like this. Here's the story of how Senior Peg came to be, why we didn't get it, and why we might want it back. » 3/01/14 5:57pm 3/01/14 5:57pm

The Great Library at Alexandria was destroyed by budget cuts, not fire

One of the great tragedies of ancient history, memorialized in myths and Hollywood film, is the burning of the great library at Alexandria. But the reality of the Library's end was actually a lot less pyrotechnic than that. A major cause of the Library's ruin was government budget cuts. » 10/08/13 9:03pm 10/08/13 9:03pm