Vintage Public Health Posters Show Just How Creepy The 20th Century Was

Last week, we marveled at the unnerving Chinese health posters from 1933 that showed the human body as a kind of bizarre factory. But those aren't the only weird and somewhat horrifying health posters out there. Here are a dozen or so more vintage public health posters. » 4/16/14 3:30pm 55 minutes ago

Is This Smiley Face From 1648 The Very First Emoticon?

Depending on who you're talking to, emoticons have been adding drama to our typefaces since 1982, possibly even as early as the late 1960s. But was the emoticon actually invented 300 years earlier by an English poet? » 4/14/14 10:27am Monday 10:27am

When Ships Used To Be Painted In Zebra Stripes, For Stealth

Take a look at this WWI-era, 58,000-ton cruiser painted with magic-eye style black-and-white stripes! Doesn't it just blend right into the background? Well, no. No it doesn't. But there was a time when military scientists thought that it might. » 4/01/14 4:20pm 4/01/14 4:20pm

How We Won the War on Dungeons & Dragons

Thirty years ago, a war raged between the dorks who played Dungeons & Dragons, and the conservative parent groups who believed that gaming was debauched at best and Satanic at worst. Lives were ruined. People died. And now that war is over. I still can't believe we won. » 3/26/14 2:51pm 3/26/14 2:51pm

That Time Penis Bravado Caused NASA to Change its Condom Sizes

After the jump you'll find a video, the first 33 seconds of which contain the best statement ever: The early astronaut urination system used condoms, sized small, medium, and large. But sizes were renamed "large, gigantic, and humongous" when the men would all grab the larges, regardless of their true size. Magical. » 3/23/14 8:00am 3/23/14 8:00am

The Most Grotesque Humanoid Monsters of the Early Modern Age

As the human race emerged from the Middle Ages into the start of modernity, we learned more about the world around us. We also took some wild flights of fancy, however. The humanoid creatures we imagined living around us were bizarre, and in some cases horrifying. See the most disturbing creatures of the early modern… » 3/19/14 3:12pm 3/19/14 3:12pm

How Elephant Armies Built the Ancient World

Without elephants, the ancient Library of Alexandria might not have existed. Every war has, as a byproduct, cultural and technological innovation: in our world, the US Civil War led to medical advancements and the Cold War put us in space. In the classical era, it was the race to build elephant armies that changed the… » 3/18/14 12:49am 3/18/14 12:49am