For the several of the first modern Olympic Games you could win a gold medal in sculpture, painting, music, literature, or architecture.
In 1947 the English author Dennis Wheatley wrote a letter to the dystopian future he thought was coming and buried it. Twenty-two years later the letter was uncovered. It had not aged well.
In southern and south-eastern Asia and the Pacific, teeth were blackened or lacquered to keep them intact and healthy.
Marc-André Hamelin’s piano piece Circus Galop cannot be played by a human. It was not written with humans in mind.
The P vs. NP problem is perhaps the biggest unsolved question in computer science – but an answer would have profound implications for mathematics, cryptography, cancer research, nurse roster scheduling, and sudoku. [2 of 2]
The P vs. NP problem is perhaps the biggest unsolved question in computer science – but an answer would have profound implications for mathematics, cryptography, cancer research, nurse roster scheduling, and sudoku. [1 of 2]
Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings books have a long history in the Soviet Union and Russia, from illegal translations in the 1960s to a film in the 1980s to an unauthorised retelling sympathetic to the orcs in the 1990s.
When a location is abandoned by humans, nature returns. Sci-fi author Bruce Sterling calls these feral landscapes involuntary parks.
The heart symbol may have originated with an ancient Roman form of birth control, a plant that is probably now extinct.
In 1983 a Boeing 767 with 61 passengers ran out of fuel while twelve thousand metres off the ground. The metric system was to blame.
In 1725 Professor Beringer of the University of Würzburg dug up some extraordinary fossils: they contained the name of God written in Hebrew. A book, a court case, and the ruining of several careers ensued.
The legendary voice actor Mel Blanc appeared in only two Disney films in his entire career, and in one of them he was mute.
Shengguan Tu is a board game from a millennium ago that charts players’ rise through the many layers of Chinese bureaucracy.
Every species named by science has a “type” attached to it: an individual specimen that serves as the definitive example of that species. And yes, that includes humans: the type human was born in 1707.
In 1953 No Kum-Sok defected from North Korea. He brought a MiG-15 Soviet jet fighter with him.