The Secret Service Wants to Build a Replica White House

The Secret Service hasn't been doing an awesome job guarding the White House lately, so Joseph Clancy, its director, plans to ask the House Appropriations Committee for $8 million so that president's guard can build a replica White House on the Secret Service training grounds in southern Maryland. » 3/17/15 10:10am 3/17/15 10:10am

The Secret Service Is Flying Drones Over DC Late at Night  

Don't worry about the UFOs flying over the nation's capital. At least, don't worry too much. The blinking lights that zipped across DC's skies between 1am and 4am recently were drones flown by the Secret Service. The president's guard is testing these small aircraft to figure out ways to knock them out of the sky. » 3/10/15 10:18am 3/10/15 10:18am

The First Blimp in Washington DC's New Missile Shield Is Aloft

After years of anticipation, the United States Army has finally floated the first of two football field-sized blimps that will serve as a missile shield for Washington DC. The tethered, helium-filled aerostat is equipped with anti-missile and anti-drone radar to protect the capital from attacks. It also looks like a… » 12/30/14 12:43pm 12/30/14 12:43pm

The Smithsonian's Fantastic Plan to Transform the National Mall

There's no better way to get peoples' attention than by calling a national landmark "a completely overblown toilet." That's how the Danish architect Bjarke Ingels put it last year, describing part of the Smithsonian campus at the southern end of the mall. Today, the architect revealed his plan to fix the area. » 11/13/14 11:40am 11/13/14 11:40am

4 Futuristic Designs for DC's Very Own High Line

Not to be outdone by New York City's beloved High Line (the final, most unwieldy phase of which opens this fall), Washington DC is planning its own elevated park, which will sail over the Anacostia River on a former freeway bridge. Four visions for the park have been released as part of a competition. And they're… » 9/12/14 9:00am 9/12/14 9:00am

It's Time to Embrace Congestion Pricing

An ambitious new transportation plan for DC announced last week includes a massive public transit expansion, additional subway line, and beefed up network of bike lanes. But the proposal that's getting the most attention is the introduction of congestion pricing. Yes, DC wants to charge cars to enter its downtown. And… » 6/05/14 1:00pm 6/05/14 1:00pm

How a Slave Had to Build the Freedom Statue in Washington DC

The Statue of Freedom sitting atop the dome of the U.S. Capitol building in Washing D.C. has more alternate names than the obscure half of the Wu Tang Clan. Over the years, the names attributed to it have ranged from things like "Freedom Triumphant in War and Peace" to the far simpler, "Armed Freedom". However, the… » 5/29/14 5:40am 5/29/14 5:40am

Coyote-Wolf Hybrids Have Invaded Washington, DC

Not native to the east coast and with no predators there, coyotes have cross-bred with wolves and spread down the eastern sea board. Now, they even inhabit Washington DC's Rock Creek Park. » 5/26/14 4:00pm 5/26/14 4:00pm

This 80 Second Video Shows a Year of Washington Monument Repairs

A few months ago, we got a glimpse of the amazing restoration work going on at the Washington Monument, which sustained more than 150 structural cracks during a 2011 earthquake. But a new time lapse from EarthCam illustrates the entire project in 80 seconds—and it's awesome. » 5/10/14 9:00am 5/10/14 9:00am

Did A "Field of Human Excrement" By The White House Kill A President?

If you remember President William Henry Harrison from U.S. history class at all, then you probably remember him as the poor fellow who died from pneumonia a month after delivering his inaugural address in freezing rain. Except was it really pneumonia after all? A New York Times article suggests a different theory, and… » 4/02/14 5:40pm 4/02/14 5:40pm

The Plan to Make DC's Central Library a Home for More Than Just Books

Libraries used to be places for doing bookish things. It's not that simple anymore. Washington DC just announced the winning proposal for renovating its historic central library. The winner? An ambitious plan to turn the building into a place where ideas are born—and things actually made. » 2/20/14 11:00am 2/20/14 11:00am

This Giant Mechanical Earthworm Is Fixing D.C.'s Poop Problem

Washington D.C. is overflowing with crap—and not just the sort spewed in Congress. Rather, its ancient sewage system regularly overflows, sending a literal river of poo into the city's waterways. Lady Bird is the name of the giant tunneling machine sent to stop it. » 2/17/14 12:20pm 2/17/14 12:20pm

8 Massive Tunnels Being Built Right Now Under A City Near You

Now that we know it was an eight-inch steel pipe that brought the world's largest-diameter tunneling machine to a halt up in Seattle, we can no longer fantasize about Bertha unearthing a five-story-tall buried locomotive. But we can look at something almost as fascinating: The other giant holes that are currently… » 1/07/14 9:20am 1/07/14 9:20am

Here's What the Tip of the Washington Monument Looks Like Up Close

The 129-year-old Washington Monument is enshrouded in scaffolding this month, as workers repair the structural cracks caused by a 2011 earthquake. But the scaffolds are giving scientists the chance to carry out other work, too: Like measuring the exact height of the aging monument. » 11/12/13 10:40am 11/12/13 10:40am

The Architectural Trickery Used to Disguise D.C. Monument Renovations

Washington D.C. is getting old. To other countries, our nation's capital might seem like a spring chicken, but it's actually aging rapidly—a fact proven by the scaffolding that's draped around some of its most important monuments this year. » 11/08/13 4:19pm 11/08/13 4:19pm

Rich People, Booze, Rats, and Bikes: What's Ruining Our Cities This Week

Crime! Cars! Lululemon! There's always something trying to bring your neighborhood down, right? Each week, we'll round up the stories about what exactly you think is ruining our cities. See a story we missed? Drop it in the comments. » 10/22/13 4:20pm 10/22/13 4:20pm

These Interactive Maps Compare 19th Century American Cities to Today

As mind-blowing as science is these days, it's probably safe to say that we're not going to invent a time machine within the next century. Through the magic of code, though, there is an entertaining alternative in the world of interactive maps. Obviously, The Smithsonian is on it. » 9/02/13 10:00am 9/02/13 10:00am

Travel the World with These Interactive 8-Bit City Maps

Do you ever wish you lived in a video game? But not like a fancy Xbox game or anything like that. Do you ever wish you lived in Legend of Zelda except with all the comforts of home? If yes, then Brett Camper's 8-bit city maps are for you. » 7/25/13 6:16pm 7/25/13 6:16pm

A Fleet of Blimps Will Soon Serve as a Missile Shield Over Washington

A still-chilling consequence of post-9/11 America is that we remain all too aware of the fact that we could be attacked at any moment. And so with worst case scenarios in mind, the military is constantly upgrading our defense systems in increasingly creative ways. Washington DC is next in line. It's getting blimps. » 7/24/13 10:35am 7/24/13 10:35am

Lincoln's Pyramid: Failed Proposals For DC's Most Famous Monuments

Retronostalgia is the air. Last week, we looked six New Yorks that could have been. And this week, National Geographic takes a similar look at D.C., for which there are veritable heaps of unbuilt memorials. Ever wondered what the Lincoln Memorial would look like, had it been built by ancient Egyptians? » 7/08/13 10:04am 7/08/13 10:04am