Category Archives: History

That Time an Oregon Free-Love Cult Launched the Largest Bioterror Attack in US History

On September 18, 2001, one week after the 9/11 attacks, mysterious envelopes began appearing at the offices of major American news outlets including ABC, CBS, and NBC, as well as Democratic Senators Tom Daschle and Patrick Leahy. The envelopes contained a strange brown powder, which quickly caused those who came into contact with it to fall seriously ill. That powder […]

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‘Kaputnik’: America’s Disastrous First Attempt to Launch a Satellite

On July 20, 1969, astronaut Neil Armstrong stepped onto the lunar surface and uttered the immortal words “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” While five more Apollo crews would land on the moon over the next three years, for many that moment marked the triumphant end of the Space Race, which over the previous twelve […]

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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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That Time a Farmer was Given Ultimate Power Twice and Changed the World Forever By Walking Away Both Times

The subject of what a political leader in a democracy does after his term has ended and the merits of gracefully resigning from power has been on the news recently. Enter the subject of today’s story which takes place in ancient Rome, at the dawn of the Republic Era. The person in question was Cincinnatus, whose actions in terms of […]

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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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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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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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That Time a Russian General Invented Clear Coca-Cola, and Pepsi had One of the World’s Largest Navies

1945 was a good year to be Georgy Zhukov. In May of that year the Soviet General lead the 1st Byelorussian Front to victory in the climactic Battle of Berlin, bringing the Second World War in Europe to a close. In recognition of his service, Zhukov was promoted to Field Marshall, personally accepted the Nazi Government’s instruments of surrender, and […]

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