Author Archives: Gilles Messier

But Why Carat and Karat?

So you and your significant other have been dating for a while, and you’ve finally decided to pop the question. Well the first thing you’re going to need is a ring, right? Preferably diamond, and costing the equivalent of three months’ salary? After all it’s traditional, isn’t it? Never mind that this so-called ‘tradition’ is less than 100 years old, […]

Read more

A Deal with the Devil- That Time Britain and Germany Became Partners In the Middle of WWI

On Christmas Day, 1914, the guns of the Western Front suddenly fell silent. All along the line, tens of thousands of soldiers lay down their weapons, climbed out of their trenches, and wandered into no-man’s land. Men who just hours ago had been actively trying to kill each other suddenly began fraternizing like old friends, exchanging food and gifts, recovering […]

Read more

How Did the Ancient Romans Make Concrete So Much Better Than Ours?

In the heart of Rome stands one of the Eternal City’s most famous and well-preserved ancient monuments: the Pantheon. Constructed during the reign of Emperor Hadrian in the Second Century C.E, the building has been in near-continuous use for two millennia, first as a temple dedicated to the Olympian Gods, and then as a Catholic Basilica. Home to exquisitely preserved […]

Read more

Could the Allies Really Have Crushed Germany Right at the Start of WWII?

On the first of September, 1939, nearly 1.5 million troops, 2,750 tanks, and 2,300 aircraft of Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich stormed over the border into Poland. We all know what happened next: despite declaring war in solidarity, Poland’s allies Britain and France stood by and did nothing as Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union overran and occupied the country in […]

Read more

“Up Yours!” “Victory,” Or “Peace, Man” Where did the “Two Finger Salute” REALLY Come From?

Of all the various hand gestures we humans commonly use, few are as complicated and versatile as the “V-sign,” AKA “the forks” or the “two-finger salute”. With just a twist of the wrist, this simple sign can go from a symbol of victory, peace, or Kawaii cuteness to an extremely rude gesture roughly translating to “Up yours!” Or “F**k you!” […]

Read more

The Bizarre Story of the Massive Fake Army That Defeated the Nazis and Helped End WWII

In the early morning hours of June 6, 1944, a massive armada set sail from southeast England and steamed south across the English Channel. Comprising more than 7,000 ships, 11,000 aircraft, and 156,000 troops, it was the largest amphibious invasion force in history. At 6:30 AM, after some 23,000 airborne troops had landed behind enemy lines, the main seaborne force […]

Read more

The Weirdest Substance Known to Science

If ever there was a criminally underrated natural resource, it would have to be Helium. Though most commonly associated with party balloons and making one’s voice sound like a cartoon, Helium’s most important application is in cooling the magnets of Magnetic Resonance Imaging or MRI machines. While the finite and ever-dwindling global supply of this vitally important gas is a […]

Read more

Who Actually Invented the Light Bulb?

Who invented the telephone? How about the airplane? The lightbulb? If you paid attention in high school history class, you’ll probably know the standard answers: Alexander Graham Bell, The Wright Brothers, and Thomas Edison. But if you’ve been watching our channels long enough, you’ll also know that when it comes to the big inventions that have most shaped our modern […]

Read more

The Nazi Hypothermia Experiments Whose Results Are Still Used Today

Among the most horrific facets of the Holocaust were the medical experiments performed by Nazi doctors upon concentration camp inmates. This sadistic practice was epitomized by the work of Josef Mengele, the ‘Angel of Death,’ who between 1943 and 1945 performed hundreds of cruel human experiments at the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp – including on over 1000 pairs of twins, of […]

Read more

Alexander Graham Bell’s Forgotten Greatest Invention

Artists often come to resent their greatest hits, and while inventor Alexander Graham Bell didn’t hate his most famous creation, the telephone, it was far from his only priority and passion. An inveterate tinkerer, throughout his long life Bell pursued hundreds of projects across dozens of fields, inventing early versions of the metal detector and iron lung, improving Thomas Edison’s […]

Read more

“The Thing” the Revolutionary Soviet Spy Gadget That Baffled the West

On August 4, 1945, William Averell Harriman, United States ambassador to the Soviet Union, received a delegation of the Vladimir Lenin All-Union Pioneers, the Soviet equivalent of the Boy Scouts. As a symbol of cooperation between the two Allied nations during the still-raging Second World War, the Young Pioneers presented Harriman with a gift: a hand-carved wooden version of the […]

Read more

What’s Inside the Egyptian Pyramids?

In 1789, French General – and later Emperor – Napoleon Bonaparte led a military expedition to capture Egypt from the Ottoman Empire. According to legend, shortly before leading his troops to victory in the Battle of Embabeh, Napoleon decided to spend a night alone inside the Great Pyramid of Giza. The next morning, the General emerged pale and shaken, refusing […]

Read more
1 2 3 13