history

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.


Why Is It Called A 'Medicine Ball' Anyway?

Medicine balls, for those of you who haven’t been to a gym or never accidentally kicked one thinking it was like a soccer ball (true story), are heavy weighted balls coming in a variety of sizes and weights (with the biggest we could find ringing in at a whopping 68kg) with a diverse range of fitness applications. But why exactly are they called medicine balls when, at its core, a medicine ball is just a big heavy ball?


Ring-Tab Beer Cans Now Count As Historic Artefacts

Today’s junk can be tomorrow’s history. Now, 50 years after it was first introduced, the ring-tab beer can can already considered an historic artefact.


A 250-Year-Old Clock Claimed A World Record (And Vindicated Its Maker)

Shortly before his death in 1776, eccentric British clock-maker John Harrison claimed to have designed the ‘perfect’ clock, one that would keep time flawlessly. His rivals and peers wrote it off as the boastings of a bitter, 80-year-old failure — but in modern-day light, Harrison has finally been proved right.


Does Preserving The Past Keep Cities From Moving Into The Future?

In the last 50 years, the preservationist movement has become powerful — maybe too powerful in a place like New York City, where a third of the buildings are now protected. But the buildings we think of today as landmarks inevitably replaced older structures, ones we tend to forget were demolished in the path towards progress. This provocative video argues that “saving” so many buildings now will actually do more damage than good.


That Time The US Accidentally Nuked Britain's First Satellite

When it comes to nations with a long and rich history of space travel and exploration, Britain isn’t normally a country that comes to most people’s minds. However, they were the third country in the world to operate a satellite in orbit. It’s just a shame America ended up accidentally killing it just a few months later…