A last-minute injunction blocked the live stream and recordings of the same-sex marriage court case Perry v. Schwarzenegger. So Dustin Lance Black took the trial transcripts and made a play reenacting the whole case.
In World War I, phenol was a key ingredient in aspirin, explosives, and phonograph records. German agents secretly redirected Thomas Edison’s excess phenol supply to prevent it being used for British bombs.
In 1943 a new volcano arose in Hokkaido. The Japanese government managed to keep it a secret for several years.
The oldest known postcard was sent by a practical joker to himself to embarrass the postal service.
In 1968 a North Korean black ops assassination team got within 100 metres of the South Korean president’s house. South Korea formed a team of petty criminals and teenagers to return the favour, but after three years of training they mutinied.
Sputnik 1 orbited the Earth for three months; Sputnik 2 for nearly six months. Explorer 1 stayed in orbit for twelve years, but the fourth artificial satellite, Vanguard 1, is still flying today.
At the start of this year the largest free trade agreement in the world came into effect, with the goal of connecting the entire African continent.
Underneath Beijing is a vast network of tunnels built during the Cold War to shelter three million people during a nuclear attack.
In 1987 the army of Chad won a war against a more powerful Libyan force. The Libyans had tanks and aircraft; Chad had a fleet of Toyota pickup trucks.
In 1962 the United States detonated a nuclear bomb in outer space over Hawai’i. It caused an artificial aurora in the sky over Honolulu – and another one over Samoa, more than four thousand kilometres away.
Coins bearing a picture of the devil with the inscription “Civitas Diaboli” have been found in churches and museums in Denmark, Norway, and England – products of a hoax that began in 1973.
A passenger in the the 1957 Zündapp Janus sits with their back to the driver. The Janus has two doors: the front of the car and the rear of the car.
Earl Muntz was an American businessperson who made a fortune chopping unnecessary bits out of TV sets. He may have also coined the term “TV” and certainly named his daughter “Tee Vee” too.
In 1806 the French artist Jean-Gabriel Charvet premiered one of the first multi-panel artistic wallpapers: it depicted a romanticised and colonial panorama of explorations in the South Pacific.
April 26, 1920, two astronomers publicly debated the structure of the cosmos. Is the Milky Way everything there is, or is it just one of many “island” universes?