During the latter stages of the American Civil War, the H.L. Hunley made history by becoming the first combat submarine to sink an enemy ship. The Confederate crew never returned from its mission, sparking a mystery that’s lasted for over 130 years. An exhaustive new analysis suggests these pioneering submariners…
A re-evaluation of JFK’s health history and medical records paints a portrait a man who had to endure a surprising amount of physical discomfort throughout his short life. As president, he did his best to hide his misery from the public—no small miracle, given just how much pain he was forced to endure.
Investigators in Chile have released thousands of declassified documents dating back to the Second World War, revealing the extent to which Nazi spies had infiltrated the country. Among the more shocking revelations is the discovery of a Nazi plot to destroy the Panama Canal—an act that would have changed “the history…
In recent years, Australia has been embroiled in an effort to cull kangaroos—this year alone, it’s expected to kill over a million of them in an effort to protect endangered species in its grasslands. While the mass culling has sparked outrage among animals rights activists, waging war on its fauna is nothing new for…
In the ’30s and ’40s, the mayor of New York City was the very dramatic reformer Fiorello La Guardia. And while he’s famous for a number of things, his relationship with comics represents one of the very best intersections of political and pop culture history.
On October 18th, 1963, the Centre national d’études in France was set to send a small cat named Félix into space. After lagging behind its Soviet and American competitors, France was eager to stake its claim in the space race—with cats, for some reason. But on launch day, the mischievous little beast went missing—and…
It’s not just paper. From the first notes issued by the Continental Congress to the latest star-spangled bills released by the Federal Reserve, the history of money in America is laced with rebellion, propaganda, and—of course—lots and lots of wealth. It’s awkwardly beautiful.
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory has a long and colorful history in rocketry and space exploration, from early missiles and rockets, to landing on the moon and remotely navigating rovers on Mars. Behind all the prominent men who spearheaded the programs was a group of unsung women.
The 17th century manuscript, which was handwritten by Isaac Newton, describes a procedure for making mercury—a substance that alchemists thought could turn lead into gold.
This is amazing. One of our favorite musicians, Janelle Monae (whom we interviewed here) is co-starring in a movie about the African American women who helped launch America into space, alongside Person of Interest’s Taraji P. Henson.
In 1992, Bob Newhart was a comedy god. He’d starred in two mega-popular sitcoms, The Bob Newhart Show and Newhart, and then he decided to star in a show about a superhero comics artist. The resulting show, BOB!, was a bizarre, high-concept romp about how superheroes were changing in the post-Frank Miller…
The Silence of the Lambs turns 25 this month. All this time, you thought it was merely a story about FBI trainee Clarice Starling’s hunt for a brutal serial killer named Buffalo Bill—with help from Hannibal “The Cannibal” Lecter. But the Best Picture winner has a secret: everything in the film is actually part of a…
Back in 1953, Galaxy Science Fiction and Simon & Schuster launched a huge contest to find a great new science fiction novel. The prize was $6,500 (a lot of money in those days). The winner? A brand new writer named Edson McCann. Except for one thing: Edson McCann did not exist.
Thirty years ago, the space shuttle Challenger exploded. The tragedy shocked a nation caught in launch fever, and reshaped how NASA thought about risk.
Today was supposed to mark a step forward in human flights for the Apollo program. Instead, flames exploded inside the capsule during a pre-flight test. The fatal accident changed the nature of America’s space program.
How do you grow more food? One answer that makes sense is with bigger farms and more farmers. But if you look at the last half century-or-so worth of data, that’s not at all what’s been happening.
This week was full of lessons. Lesson One: Never trust an astronaut. Lesson Two: Everyone loves flowers. Lesson Three: We’ve grown a lot of plants in space.
On December 14, 1972, astronaut Eugene Cernan stepped up onto the lunar module, shook the moon dust off these boots, and ended an era of human exploration of the Moon.
On December 11, 1972, Apollo 17 touched down on the Moon. This was not only our final Moon landing, but the last time we left low Earth orbit. With the successful launch of the Orion capsule, NASA is finally poised to go further again. So it’s important to remember how we got to the Moon — and why we stopped going.