Author Archives: Gilles Messier

A Deep Dive Into The Bullet Proof Vest and How They Work in Reality vs Hollywood Depictions

Bulletproof vests are one of Hollywood’s favourite action movie plot devices. Easily concealable and seemingly impervious to all weapons, they provide writers with a handy eleventh-hour means of saving their characters from certain death. But how can such a relatively thin and flimsy piece of fabric stop a speeding bullet, and are real-life bulletproof vests really as impenetrable as in […]

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Making the World’s Navies Obsolete: Oppenheimer and Half Naked Women

Ah, the Bikini! What event more definitively announces that summer has arrived than the appearance of this classic swimsuit at beaches and poolsides across the world? An icon of women’s fashion, the bikini has permeated pop culture like few articles of clothing, giving us such lexical gems as bikini season, bikini bottom, and bikini wax. But while ubiquitous today, when […]

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Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is Up With the NATO Phonetic Alphabet?

Alfa, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Echo, Foxtrot, Golf, Hotel, India, Juliett, Kilo, Lima, Mike, November, Oscar, Papa, Quebec, Romeo, Sierra, Tango, Uniform, Victor, Whiskey, X-Ray, Yankee, Zulu. If you have ever served in the armed forces or worked in the aviation industry, these words are most likely permanently seared into your brain. And even if you haven’t, you have probably heard […]

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Who Invented Night Vision and How Does It Work?

When the air campaign of Operation Desert Storm began on January 17, 1991, television viewers across the world were presented with some of the most awe-inspiring images of modern, high-tech warfare ever broadcast: stealth bombers dropping precision “smart bombs” on Iraqi command posts, helicopters and ground attack aircraft picking off swathes of enemy vehicles, and tanks duking it out in […]

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Who Invented Soft Drinks?

Coca Cola. Pepsi Cola. 7-Up. Sprite. Orange Crush. Mountain Dew. Fanta. Irn-Bru. Fresca. Whether they are called pop, soda, soft drinks, or something else entirely, these sugary, fizzy drinks are absolutely everywhere, ranking fifth among the world’s most popular beverages after water, tea, fruit juice, and coffee. In the United States alone, some 45 billion litres of soda are consumed […]

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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, […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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A Cure for the Living Dead

If ever there was a living embodiment of the Roaring 20s, it was Eben Byers. The scion of a New York steelmaking fortune, Byers indulged in every hobby and luxury his wealth and social status allowed. He kept luxury homes across the United States, collected fine art, owned stables of racehorses, held titles in trap shooting, and even won the […]

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“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!” […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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