Author Archives: Gilles Messier

How Dynamite Gave Us Viagra

It is one of the best-selling drugs in history. Since its introduction in 1998, it has swiftly become the flagship product for pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, ringing in sales of up to $2 billion every year. The United States, Mexico, and Canada spend more than $1.4 billion on it every year, while the U.S. military alone shells out an astonishing $41.6 […]

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Are All Snowflakes Actually Unique?

If you’ve ever spent any amount of time discussing snowflakes with almost literally anyone, you’ve probably at one point or other heard that snowflakes are all unique. But… are they? Like many widely-believed notions such as the “fact” that sugar makes children hyper (it doesn’t at all, though in controlled studies where parents are told their kids have been given […]

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Cultivator No.6 Winston Churchill’s Trench-Digging White Elephant

Generals, it is said, are always ready to fight the last war. Never has this adage been more true than in the years 1939-1941, when the Nazi blitzkrieg swept its way across Europe. German divisions, spearheaded by tanks and supported by ground-attack aircraft, either steamrollered over or bypassed entirely the French Maginot Line and other fortifications built to keep them […]

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Briefcase of Armageddon (And How a U.S. Nuclear Barrage Would Be Carried Out)

By nearly every measure, the Office of President of the United States is the most powerful position in the world,  its holder presiding over not only the world’s largest economy but also its third-largest military and largest arsenal of nuclear weapons. The United States Nuclear Stockpile currently stands at 3,800 warheads, distributed among the three branches of the “nuclear triad”: […]

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How a Couple of British School Girls Fooled the Creator of Sherlock Holmes Into Publicly Declaring Fairies Exist

“How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?” These are the immortal words of fictional detective Sherlock Holmes, first spoken in the 1890 novel The Sign of Four. But while the great sleuth of Baker Street is the apotheosis of logic and deductive reasoning, his creator, […]

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That Time a Teenager Built a Nuclear Reactor in His Backyard

June 26, 1995 is a day the residents of Golf Manor, Michigan will never forget. On that day, hazmat-suited agents of the Environmental Protection Agency descended upon the quiet suburb and began systematically dismantling the garden potting shed of one Patty Hahn. When interviewed about the incident, most residents believed there had been some kind of chemical spill. But the […]

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Is Genuine Multiple Personality Disorder as Depicted in Movies Actually a Thing or a Hollywood Invention?

Looking back at the long and storied history of literature, film, and other narrative art forms, one trend becomes abundantly clear: writers love mental illness. From depression to bipolar disorder to schizophrenia, psychiatric disorders have been used by artists for hundreds of years to heighten drama, make heroes more heroic, villains more villainous, and allow actors to flex their acting […]

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