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No, Da Vinci Wasn't The First Inventor to Dream About Human Flight

Leonardo DaVinci’s wing and glider designs have inspired literature, art, and cinema over the centuries. But plenty of other people have schemed to take to the air, long before the Wright Brothers. Here are just some of the inventors who devised methods of unpowered human flight...with mixed success.
» 8/25/15 11:48pm Tuesday 11:48pm

These Previously Unseen Photos Bear Witness to the Carnage of World War II

History website Argunners has published a series of previously unseen photos recently uncovered from the archives of an American four-star general who served in Europe during the Second World War. The images show a war-torn Europe as American forces move towards Berlin.
» 8/19/15 11:55am 8/19/15 11:55am

Can You Help Decode The Unknown Language On This 750-Year-Old Sword?

In 1825, a three-foot-long sword was uncovered from a river on the eastern cost of England. “If struck with sufficient force, it could easily have sliced a man’s head in two,” writes the British Library’s Julian Harrison. Though its potential uses might be obvious, the gold inscription on its face is not. » 8/10/15 5:20pm 8/10/15 5:20pm

Learn How A Titan Missile Is Fired In This Video 

At the height of the Cold War, the United States and Soviet Union had thousands of Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles trained on one another. In this video, we get a tour of a Titan missile silo, and learn exactly what would happen when the order came down to launch an attack. http://io9.com/watch-lord-kel... » 8/01/15 1:31pm 8/01/15 1:31pm

6 Treatments for Erectile Dysfunction We’re Glad No One Uses Anymore

Erectile dysfunction isn’t a new problem, but there weren’t any effective treatments for the condition until the middle of the 20th century. Before then, desperate people turned to sympathetic magic, patent medicines, fad treatments, and convincing frauds to try to get it up. » 7/28/15 11:47am 7/28/15 11:47am

We Get the Best Space Images When Scientists Pull All-Nighters

Fifty years ago today, the Mariner 4 mission sent home the first images of Mars. Today, the New Horizons probe sent home gloriously detailed photos of Pluto. Despite the intervening decades, the vibrant excitement of the mission scientists staying up all night to see that first image is exactly the same. » 7/15/15 9:24am 7/15/15 9:24am

When We Discovered Pluto, It Changed How We Saw The Solar System

On the 23rd and 24th of January, 1930, a young astronomer working in Flagstaff, Arizona, scanned a small patch of the night sky. He was taking pictures of star positions, looking for anomalies that would signal movement somewhere at the edge of the solar system. He took the pictures then set them aside, not realizing… » 7/12/15 4:25pm 7/12/15 4:25pm

Why Birth Control Dispensers Look the Way They Do

The first working model of the now-iconic birth control pill dispenser is in the Smithsonian’s history collection. It’s built out of clear plastic, paper, and double-sided tape, held together by a snap from a child’s toy, with slices of wooden dowel standing in for pills. It was created to solve a vexing problem. » 7/01/15 3:00pm 7/01/15 3:00pm

This Book Got The Author Sentenced to Three Months Hard Labor

Charles Knowlton didn’t think much of the laws of Massachusetts, at least when they interfered with his medical practice. By the time he opened a practice in the town of Ashfield, he had already been arrested in Amherst, MA for selling “infidel” books and had spent two months in the Worcester County Jail for grave… » 6/19/15 9:33am 6/19/15 9:33am

The Ancestor Of The Menstrual Cup Was More Like A Menstrual Canteen

The first modern-style menstrual cup was patented in 1932, but that wasn’t the first time inventors turned their skills to the problem of keeping bloody goo off women’s clothes. Take, for example, this little gem from 1884. It’s a menstrual cup, attached to a reservoir big enough to last for days. » 6/12/15 1:02am 6/12/15 1:02am

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 6/01/15 3:13pm