On Thursday, 24 geoscientists officially announced that we’ve entered a new geologic era. Why? Because humans are “altering the planet, including long-term global geologic processes, at an increasing rate.” This means the end of the Holocene geologic epoch and the birth of the “Anthropocene.” Naomi Read more
We’ve all thought about it: What was dinosaur sex like? Was there foreplay? Did they talk dirty to each other? Did they cuddle afterwards, immediately fall asleep, or go on some murderous rampage in triumph? While we can’t be sure of most of these questions, a recent fossil discovery appears to give Read more
Are you a time traveller or a vampire who committed a terrible crime in the 14th-century and got away with it? Stop feeling smug. Researchers at the University of Lincoln in the United Kingdom have found an innovative way to document medieval fingerprints. Side note: This warning only applies if you Read more
When it comes to inventors born before their time, it’s hard to beat Hero (or Heron) of Alexandria. The Greek mathematician and inventor, who lived and worked in the Egyptian city of Alexandria in the first century CE, used his intuitive understanding of physics, and in particular of air pressure, t Read more
This 17th-century engraving has a lot of moving parts: there’s a magical man-eating oven, a tiny floating monkey holding a walking stick, and a gang of jesters falling into a bedpan. These evocative images raise a host of troubling questions, such as: Is this man about to be BAKED ALIVE? Long story Read more
There was a moment in history when the greatest minds of the day came together to meet once a month on the Monday closest to the full moon in order to do nothing more than eat, drink, and discuss the most interesting intellectual and scientific developments of the time. This nerd’s paradise called t Read more
Over on The New Republic, check out the fascinating tale of Andrew Crosse, a.k.a. the “Wizard of the Quantocks” and “the thunder and lightning man”—and, perhaps, the real-life inspiration for one of history’s maddest scientists: “Crosse’s revelations on the power of electricity challenged orthodox c Read more
Feeling like you packed on a few pounds over the holiday season? No big deal: you’ll be back in fighting shape after eating healthy for a bit. But what exactly does “eating healthy” mean? The answer has changed a lot since the middle of the 20th century, as the video below, from The New Yor Read more
In 1956, the space race was in full swing. World War II was a turbulent memory that the world was still trying to forget as Soviet and US leaders whipped their respective countries into an amphetamine-fueled Cold War. The Soviets were cut out of the development of the atomic bomb by the US and its o Read more
Have you caught the #FolkloreThursday bug yet? We definitely have, and we’re not alone. Every Thursday, thousands of scholars and amateur folklorists around the world tweet out images and links to texts about the world’s most fascinating legends, myths, and folk beliefs. Of course, a cultural obsess Read more
We’ve read our share of weird fiction, but recently we came across one of the oddest stories we’ve ever seen—and we really need to talk about it. Essentially a Thomas Edison fanfiction set in space, Edison’s Conquest of Mars was written by astronomer Garrett P. Serviss and was serialized in the New Read more
In the 1980s, a series of previously unknown letters written by Albert Einstein came to light for the first time. Among the genius’s words of wisdom was a mention of his previously unknown daughter, Lieserl. His two sons by his first wife, Eduard and Hans Albert, were well-known, but historians had Read more
Albert Einstein took his last breath at 1:15 a.m. on April 18th, 1955. The legendary physicist was cremated later that day in Trenton, New Jersey. His brain didn’t go with him. The following day, a front-page article in The New York Times reported that “the brain that worked out the theory of relati Read more
In recent years, and especially since the release of Blackfish, many people have begun to reconsider the morality of keeping aquatic animals in tanks for entertainment. But when, and why, was the aquarium invented in the first place? Over at Aeon, Bernd Brunner walks us through the surprisingly long Read more
In Chemical Heritage Magazine, Mark Michalovic takes a look at what he calls “Not-So-Great Moments in Chemical Safety“—a bit of an understatement. In the days before tough transparent plastics made eye protection cheap and practical, however, eye injuries were just part of the job. Take Joseph-Louis Read more
In an 1895 Century magazine article detailing Serbian-American inventor Nikola Tesla’s experiments in alternating currents, a surprising face appears in some of the photographs: gamely demonstrating Tesla’s discoveries is none other than famous American author Mark Twain. In the above photo, taken Read more