The Complete History Of Ceres, The Planet (?) Between Mars And Jupiter

Over the last couple of weeks, the Dawn Spacecraft has been beaming back spectacular pictures of Ceres – a world, discovered more than a century before Pluto, about which we know very little. This is the story of its discovery, and humanity's impending visit to one of the last unexplored planetary bodies in the… » 2/23/15 11:00am 2/23/15 11:00am

The Computer Simulation That Almost Started World War III

Remember the 1983 movie WarGames? The film is about a computer "game" with the potential to start thermonuclear war. But strangely this scenario is more truth than fiction. Because in 1979 programmers at NORAD almost started World War III when they accidentally ran a computer simulation of a Soviet attack. » 2/17/15 12:18pm 2/17/15 12:18pm

10 Real-Life Female Spies Who Deserve Their Own Movie Franchises

You may be familiar with the espionage efforts of female spies like Josephine Baker and Mata Hari, whose lives have been committed time and time again to film. But there are numerous female spies who — even if we don't agree with all their politics — led fascinating lives, ones that could fill entire movie franchises. » 2/10/15 11:07am 2/10/15 11:07am

The 10 Biggest Blunders in The History Of Espionage

In movies and books, spies are always debonair and brilliant, pulling off the most complex schemes without getting caught (too badly.) But in real life, espionage is a messy, complicated business, and sometimes people screw up. Here are the 10 most jaw-dropping screwups in the history of real-life spies. » 2/09/15 10:18am 2/09/15 10:18am

The Hyperviolent Trading Cards That Inspired Tim Burton's Mars Attacks!

In 1962, Topps released a controversial trading card series that depicted the gruesome annihilation of "much of Earth's population" by Martian forces. The set was called "Mars Attacks." Many parents, unsurprisingly, hated it. Some three decades later, it inspired the Tim Burton film of the same name. » 2/08/15 2:00pm 2/08/15 2:00pm

How A Group Of Brits Changed The World By Changing Science In The 1970s

There's a smell in Battersea, south-west London something to do with local coffee roasters. But in the early 1970s, the area was very different economically, and the stink wasn't nearly so pleasant. Described at the time as "like dead bodies," it was known as "The Battersea Smell." » 2/08/15 12:45pm 2/08/15 12:45pm

Did You Know Soviet Cosmonauts Carried A Bear-Killing Shotgun To Space?

Anything can happen during a launch or landing of a crewed spacecraft, and just in case the crew would end up stranded in a remote area of the world, astronauts and cosmonauts undergo survival training and carry survival kits. The kits contain items such as food rations, water, extra clothing, items for making a… » 2/08/15 7:30am 2/08/15 7:30am

8 Mysterious Disappearances (And The Clues That Keep People Guessing)

What makes a mysterious disappearance even more intriguing? When baffling clues are left behind — or even more tantalizingly, when they surface again, months or years after the fact. Here are eight head-scratchingly compelling tales of people who vanished... and the weirdest theories they spawned. » 2/04/15 10:32am 2/04/15 10:32am

The Tobacco Smoke Enema: A Dubious 18C Method For Reviving The Drowned

Via "A new method of relieving such persons as are thought to be suffocated, or drowned," a hopefully titled document published in 1748 by French physician Jean-Jacques Bruhier, comes what today seems a pretty hopeless method of relieving such persons as are thought to be suffocated, or drowned, namely: the tobacco… » 1/31/15 4:00pm 1/31/15 4:00pm