Author Archives: Gilles Messier

Scamming Pan Am

Being an early adopter can be a risky proposition, especially for a large company. On the one hand, no company wants to fall behind as its competitors take full advantage of a new game-changing technology. On the other hand, many seemingly revolutionary developments ultimately turn out to be nothing but overhyped fads, leaving early adopters saddled with expensive white elephants. […]

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The Curious Case of the Cat that was Turned Into a Living Telephone FOR SCIENCE!!!

The domestication of Felis catus, AKA the common house cat, began around 10,000 years ago, when their skill at hunting rats, mice, and other vermin was seemingly first taken heed to. Since then cats have enjoyed a rather comfortable relationship with humanity, even being revered by the Ancient Egyptians as representatives of the goddess Bastet. But history hasn’t all been […]

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How WWII Made Everybody Think Carrots Were Good for Eyes and Why It Didn’t Really Have to Do With Tricking the Germans

“Carrots help you see in the dark.” Most of us were taught this fact from an early age, presumably in a vain attempt to convince us to eat our vegetables. And on the surface, this makes sense: after all, carrots are rich in beta-carotene and Vitamin A, essential to maintaining the health of our retinas and corneas. But while carrots […]

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The Real Life Ocean’s Eleven Heist and How the Mastermind Behind It Road His Way to Freedom After Being Caught

The morning of July 19th, 1976  started out like any other in the French city of Nice, its citizens having just enjoyed a relaxing three-day weekend for the national holiday of Bastille Day. But for customers of the Société Générale bank on Avenue Jean Médecin, it was quickly becoming clear that something was very wrong. All weekend the ATM outside […]

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Where Did the NASA Expression Steely-Eyed Missile Man Come From?

In the 2011 novel The Martian and its 2015 film adaptation, orbital dynamics expert Rich Purnell devises a maneuver to get NASA’s Hermes spacecraft back to Mars and rescue marooned astronaut Mark Watney. Upon carrying out the maneuver, the crew of the Hermes sends a signal back to Mission Control, stating: “Houston, be advised: Rich Purnell is a steely-eyed missile […]

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The Surprisingly Plausible Theory that the Pyramids were Poured from Ancient Concrete

The Egyptian pyramids at Giza are among the most famous and storied monuments in the world. The oldest  of the seven wonders of the ancient world – and the only ones still standing – they have awed and inspired travellers, scholars, poets, and artists for thousand  of years. Yet despite this timeless fascination, relatively little is known about who built […]

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The Forgotten Plague During Prohibition

In February of 1930, Dr. W.H. Miles, Health Officer for Oklahoma City, began hearing of an alarming number of patients presenting to hospitals with unusual symptoms. The muscles in their lower legs had become paralyzed, making them unable to straighten their feet and causing them to walk with a bizarre slapping gait. At first doctors suspected Polio or Guillain-Barre syndrome, […]

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That Time the French Intentionally Bombed a Civilian Ship

France detonated its first atomic bomb, codenamed Blue Jerboa, on February 13, 1960, becoming the fourth nation to do so after the United States, the Soviet Union, and Great Britain. At first the French tested their nuclear weapons in their then-colony of Algeria, but after the country gained its independence in 1962 testing moved to French Polynesia. These tests heavily […]

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Winning the Battle of Britain with Miss Shilling’s Orifice

In the pantheon of iconic aircraft, perhaps none is more revered than the Supermarine Spitfire. Considered one of the most beautiful fighters ever designed, along with its stablemate the Hawker Hurricane the Spitfire has become emblematic of  Britain’s determined resistance against Nazi Germany in the early days of the Second World War. Yet despite its legendary reputation, the Spitfire was […]

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