A Short Comic About The Time New York Outlawed Pinball

Pinball may seem today like one of the most innocent of pastimes, but in 1942, the game was banned in New York City. Why? And what happened to all those machines? This short comic by Julia Wertz has the answer. » 3/27/15 2:40pm Friday 2:40pm

Listen To Every Single Musical Genre, Ever

If you've ever wanted to hear the difference between traditional funk and Memphis soul, or understand where they fit in the context of more than 1300 musical genres, you might want to clear your schedule. An interactive project called Every Noise at Once is about to devour the rest of your day. » 3/27/15 1:00pm Friday 1:00pm

​The Enduring Myth Of Star Jelly

People have always written about star jelly, a gooey substance that appears after meteor showers or sightings of comets. When people are wandering through the woods, or across their lawns, and see some unidentified goo, they generally think, "Ew. Don't step on that. Someone probably just puked it up." When they see… » 3/27/15 8:40am Friday 8:40am

Hilarious TV Ads From The Dawn Of The Home Computer Era

The computer revolution didn't come into people's homes overnight. There was a long period when the public was still discovering all the things they could do if they owned a computer — and this led to some truly outrageous TV ads. Check out the most hilarious and creative classic home computer ads ever made. » 3/26/15 3:29pm Thursday 3:29pm

Long-Lost Remains Of Richard III Will Be Reinterred This Week

It's been nearly three years since Richard III's remains were discovered beneath a parking lot in Leicester, England ... 500 years after his death in the Battle of Bosworth field. The bones were studied and their identity confirmed; now it's time for the monarch to head to his final resting place. » 3/22/15 8:30am 3/22/15 8:30am

50 Years Ago, The First Spacewalk Nearly Ended In Tragedy

On March 18, 1965, Alexey Leonov stepped outside the thin metal shell of Voskhod-2 to float in the harsh void of space. For 12 minutes and 9 seconds, Leonov opened the doors on an entire new branch of exploration as the first spacewalker. It was nearly a disaster. » 3/18/15 8:20pm 3/18/15 8:20pm

The Scientist Who Wanted To Bring A Death Row Inmate Back From The Dead

Dr. Robert E. Cornish is probably best known for his 1930s revivification experiments with dogs, in which he claimed to bring dogs back from clinical death. He wanted to try a similar procedure on humans — and when a death row inmate volunteered, Cornish petitioned the state of California to let him play re-animator. » 3/18/15 1:00pm 3/18/15 1:00pm

8 Short-Lived Religious Manias That We're Lucky Didn't Stick Around

All kinds of manias have gripped the public mind, from time to time. And that definitely includes religious manias. Luckily, some of the most intense, and intensely scary, religious movements were also some of the most short-lived. Here are eight religious movements that were flashes in the pan. » 3/18/15 9:35am 3/18/15 9:35am

How The Great French Wine Blight Changed Grapes Forever

One hundred fifty years ago, the Great French Wine Blight nearly wiped out an industry that today produces some 40 billion bottles of wine a year. The only solution was a radical fusion of species that remains essential to the success of the wine market. Here's the story of how humanity hacked the wine grape. » 3/17/15 11:39am 3/17/15 11:39am

7 Ways That People Died Trying To Become Immortal

Would you risk your life if you thought it might mean extending it? Would you die now if you thought you could be revived at some point in the future? Here are cases of people who went to extremes for immortality or their very own fountains of youth — and killed themselves in the process. » 3/17/15 10:17am 3/17/15 10:17am

How Arthur Conan Doyle's Brutal Scifi Story Became A Horrific Reality

In 1912, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote a short story about how a small but warlike nation would conquer Britain. It would do so using a new technology in a new and brutal way. It shocked the nation and, three years later, it became a reality. » 3/16/15 1:13pm 3/16/15 1:13pm

These Scientific Names Were Chosen Purely To Insult Certain People

What is the best way to make sure your insult lasts a really, really long time? Well, if you're a scientist who has the pleasure of naming a newly described genus or species, you might be able to get away with inserting your insult into biological nomenclature. After the rise of modern taxonomy, a few people did… » 3/13/15 1:30pm 3/13/15 1:30pm

9 Historical Mysteries Solved By Astronomy

History is filled with mysteries that can be answered by the position of the moon, the nature of the tides, and the time of year when an event occurred. Here are mysteries of battles, art, and literature, that were solved thanks to astronomical detectives. » 3/10/15 10:13am 3/10/15 10:13am

The "Harvard Sentences" Secretly Shaped the Development of Audio Tech

During World War II, the boiler room under Harvard's Memorial Hall was turned into a secretive wartime research lab. Here, volunteers were subjected to hours of noise as scientists tested military communications systems. Out of this came the Harvard sentences, a set of standardized phrases still widely used to test… » 3/09/15 1:45pm 3/09/15 1:45pm

In 1923, Daylight Saving Time Was Actually Illegal In Some States

Americans in most states (but not all) will "spring forward" their clocks tonight. Most people know that Daylight Saving Time caught on as part of energy-saving efforts during World War I. But did you know clock-changing actually became illegal in some places once the war concluded? » 3/07/15 11:40am 3/07/15 11:40am

1970, The Year We Accidentally Bombed Mexico (Again)

The United States hasn't always had a great relationship with Mexico, but in 1970 things were pretty congenial. Then, in July, an Athena rocket went off course with vials of radioactive material. Some say the resulting impact created the "Mapimi Silent Zone." » 3/06/15 6:00pm 3/06/15 6:00pm

A Map Of The First Proposed U.S. Highway Network

Looking for good schools, good health, good morals, and good times? Well, then you'd need to find good roads first, according to the National Highway Association. Which is why the NHA drew up the first proposed highway plan in 1913. » 3/06/15 9:00am 3/06/15 9:00am

The Time That Charles Babbage Tried To Summon The Devil

Charles Babbage was one of the fathers of computing, but in addition to his fascination with mathematics and engineering, he had a curiosity with the occult. Starting from an early age, Babbage wondered if the existence of God and paranormal phenomena could be proven scientifically — and he started by trying to… » 3/05/15 11:00am 3/05/15 11:00am

10 Famous Scientists Who Held Surprising Supernatural Beliefs

While we typically hold up scientists, especially those who have made important discoveries, as paragons of rationality, numerous scientists have had fascinations with cryptids, psychic phenomena, and other aspects of the occult. And what some of these particular people believed may surprise you. » 3/04/15 10:15am 3/04/15 10:15am

A New J.K. Rowling Bibliography Unearths Harry Potter Secrets

It's not a biography, it's a bibliography, but a new book about J.K. Rowling is so detailed the author herself calls it "slavishly thorough and somewhat mind-boggling." The reference volume aims to be the definitive publishing history of the Harry Potter series. » 2/28/15 2:00pm 2/28/15 2:00pm