Ghosts are implied but not actually filmed in this spectacularly eerie tour of a massive asylum, closed for 20 years. Elegant editing and camerawork, including some graceful aerial footage, capture graffiti-covered abandonment as well as what the narrator terms “a presence, as if something was still there.” »
You may have heard tales of the highwaymen who, long ago, roved the old British highways in search of gold and silver coins to steal. But, it turns out, that there was also another treasure they sought: wigs.
When we think of historical duels, we may tend to imagine two men handsomely dressed wielding pistols or swords over some offense to one party’s honor. One particular duel, however, presents a very different picture of honor battles. Not only was it between two women; it was between two women fighting topless.
A visitor from 100 years ago would be confused by our selfies and our strange toys — but they would understand the need to show off. Throughout history, people have had status symbols. Sometimes, these things have been gold and jewels. But sometimes, they’re a bit weirder. Here are 10 bizarre status symbols from the… »
When you play a game of billiards, you’re usually hoping to hear the satisfying clack of the balls. You’re probably not hoping to hear a sound like gunfire as your cue ball connects with the eight ball. But if you got your hands on some of the earliest plastic billiard balls, that was a chance you took. »
As much as I’m looking forward to Jurassic Park, I will never quite forgive dinosaurs for the sin of being birdlike. How can I fear something that I eat in nugget form? Now prehistoric mammals — that’s where the action is. Here are the top 10 mammals that ruled more than any dinosaur ever. »
Here’s a great Charles Darwin story you may not have heard before: In 1862, the famed naturalist foretold the discovery of an unusual animal, based on his observations of a species of orchid endemic to Madagascar. The creature was ultimately discovered in 1903—some 20 years after Darwin’s death. »
The jetpack is so closely associated with the dream of a thrilling future, you only have to ask “Where’s my jetpack?” and everybody knows what you mean. Jetpacks appeared in thousands of science fiction stories, but in the 1960s they made the leap to reality. Here are some videos of real-life in jetpacks in action,… »
Detroit is known for many things: its once-bustling auto industry, its repurposing of empty factories, its musical history. But public transport wonks know it for something else, an unusual historical fact about its road system. »
Isaac Newton assured his place in scientific history by shaping our understanding of gravity. But even geniuses have bills to pay. And for quite some time, this was how Newton paid his. »
The term “patent troll” wasn’t coined until the late 20th century, used to describe someone who filed a patent in order not to manufacture products, but to collect licensing fees. But more than 100 years ago, a patent attorney was a proto-patent troll, exploiting the system to profit off of the burgeoning auto… »
It’s almost impossible to imagine the original Star Wars with anyone but Harrison Ford as Han Solo, or Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker. But long, long ago, these roles were up for grabs — and Kurt Russell could have shot first. Check out the revealing audition tapes for the Original Trilogy! »
At Slate, Ben Lillie reflects on the ongoing battle between those who would build a colossal, $1.5-billion telescope atop Hawaii’s Mauna Kea and the native Hawaiians who regard the dormant volcano as a sacred place. The conflict, says Lillie, is emblematic of a larger, and largely unspoken, truth about science: that… »
When we see science fiction stories set during the Victorian and Edwardian eras, the inventor Nikola Tesla tends to show up an awful lot. But the Victorian era and the early 20th century are filled with inventors who led fascinating lives, lives that just don’t tend to turn up in fiction. »
The shape of Missouri mostly makes sense: It’s bounded by straight lines and river routes, except for one deviation, where suddenly the state’s shape juts out randomly. It’s called Missouri’s bootheel — and it owes its creation to just one guy. »
Have you ever experienced a sonic boom? A sonic boom so forceful that your dishes fell from the cupboards, your photos fell off the walls, and maybe your ceiling even started to crack? This was the reality that residents of Oklahoma City endured for six months in 1964 — eight times per day. »
At a tiny shop in the old downtown of Tokyo, you can see an art form that almost died out—and eat it, too. The craftspeople at Amezaiku Yoshihara make intricate candy creatures by hand as you watch, forming sugary starch into delicate legs, wings, and ears in just the couple of minutes before the candy hardens.
Ada Lovelace is now most famously known as the mother of computer science, but during her lifetime, she was also well known on account of her famous father: Lord Byron. Although Ada never met her father, his scandalous behavior had a profound effect on how she was raised — on a strict diet of mathematics. »