history

Here Are 40,000 Photos Of Old New York Plotted On A City Map

Over 40,000 vintage photos of New York City from the New York Public Library archives have been geotagged to a Google Map, letting you click right through history on every street corner.


Ancient Cannibals Smothered Their Meals In Bone-Staining Spices

We know that, over history, humans have eaten each other. But we now know more about how ancient cannibals liked to dine: They spent lots of time prepping elaborate feasts with actual recipes calling for exotic ingredients.


There Was No Viagra In 1918. But There Was This Penis Splint.

Nearly 100 years ago, there was no drug to help with erectile dysfunction, but Bernard Scheinkman came up with an alternative. It’s not clear whether this nightmarish penile splint was ever manufactured — but you have to love the baroque logic of combining a cock ring, an open condom and a shelf.


How The Atomic Age Gave Us Robot Surgeons

Your next surgery may be performed by a robot. It will be controlled by a doctor in the room, or perhaps by one across the country. What’s truly extraordinary, though, is where these surgery robots came from. Their origin stories stretch back to the radioactive labs of the atomic age.


Stunningly Restored Colour Footage Of Germany In 1945 Right After WWII

It’s hard to imagine what the world was like during World War II. Of course, we’ve read it all in history books and and we’ve seen movies and TV shows showing what life was like, but it’s just far enough back in time and just painful and shocking enough that it’s hard to fully understand how life worked back then.


Scientists Are Brewing Medieval Potions To Fight Hospital Superbugs

Last month, a microbiology lab in Nottingham, England made international headlines when it unearthed a substance that kills methicillin-resistant staph, one of the deadliest superbugs of modern times. The most astounding part about the find? It was a 1000-year-old Viking potion.


Rebuilding Cambridge University's First Computer

In 1946, scientists at Cambridge University built the institution’s first ever computer — the Electronic Delay Storage Automatic Calculator. One of the first to be used to solve real scientific problems, it was scrapped to make way for its successor. Now, it’s being rebuilt.


When The FAA Blasted Oklahoma City With Sonic Booms For 6 Months

Have you ever experienced a sonic boom? A sonic boom so forceful that your dishes fell from the cupboards, your photos fell off the walls, and maybe your ceiling even started to crack? This was the reality that residents of Oklahoma City endured for six months in 1964 — eight times per day.


Why Is It Called 'Rebooting'?

You hear the phrase all the time when you’re working with computers, especially on customer service calls: “Please reboot your computer.” Why do we use the word reboot to mean “turn it off and on again”? It all goes back to tech history — and to one of the most revolutionary aspects of these computing machines.


What It Was Like To Work At The Birthplace Of Mobile Phones And Lasers

A semi-rural New Jersey community about 72km outside of New York City seems like an unlikely home for the most important breakthroughs in telecommunications of the 20th century. But that’s exactly what happened at Bell Labs’ Holmdel facility in the 1960s.