In the mid-20th century, Austin Wiggin’s mother predicted that her son would have daughters, and those daughters would form a famous band. He did, and they did, in the most surprising way possible.
Laika, the first space dog, died in orbit. But the next two – Belka and Strelka – survived. One of Strelka’s puppies was gifted to John F. Kennedy… but not before it was fully scanned for secret listening devices.
On December 9, 1968, a team led by computer scientist Douglas Engelbart ran a 90 minute tech demo at a San Francisco conference. This “mother of all demos” introduced the world to the computer mouse, windows, hypertext, and collaborative document editors.
A large enough kite can lift someone off the ground. So, of course, several inventors and aeronauts tried to find a military application for such man-lifting kites.
Every Indian flag in India is made in one small south Indian village.
In the 1960s and 1970s, both the United States and the Soviet Union explored “peaceful” applications of nuclear weapons: excavating earth for lakes and canals, geological research, and extinguishing gas well fires.
Tiny Broadwick was the first person to intentionally jump out of a flying airplane without being tethered to something.
The US state of Nebraska is landlocked; all the states around it are also landlocked; and all the states around them are also landlocked. And yet, the Governor of Nebraska can grant residents the honorary title of Nebraska Admiral.
The Man of the Hole is an indigenous man living alone in the Amazon rainforest. Authorities believe that he is the last survivor of a tribe otherwise wiped out by illegal loggers.
The Rada of the Belarusian Democratic Republic has operated as a government in exile for more than a hundred years.
Beyond the boundaries of the natural elements may lie a whole new form of matter without protons or neutrons: quark matter. [2 of 2]
Nuclear physicists predict an “island of stability” beyond the current end of the periodic table. But there’s another possibility even further out: an exotic “continent of stability.” [1 of 2]
In 1976, twenty-six children riding in a California school bus were kidnapped at gunpoint and hidden inside a truck that was buried in a quarry. Twenty-seven hours later, after sixteen hours underground, they escaped.
When asked why we have no proof of extraterrestrial life, the Hungarian physicist Leo Szilard joked that Martians were already among us… they just called themselves Hungarians.
Disney’s Robin Hood features a song about the “Phony King of England.” That song is based on an old (and very bawdy) English folk ballad about “The Bastard King of England.”
In 1978 a cache of five hundred film reels was discovered under an ice rink in Dawson City, Yukon. These buried reels included the only copy of films that had been lost for decades.