In the 1950s and 60s, foreign music was censored in the Soviet Union. So bootleggers made illegal records out of old X-ray film: the jazz on bones.
There’s an island fort in Manila Bay that’s shaped just like a battleship – a remnant of the American colonisation of the Philippines.
The first 360-degree film was recorded for the 1900 Paris Exposition. It recreated the experience of rising in a hot air balloon, but the film probably never played for a real audience because of technical difficulties.
We all know that chocolate chip cookies are the best thing since sliced bread. But what is older than sliced bread? Well, the list is long: Betty White. Sidney Poitier. The ex-pope.
In World War II, it was standard practice to add nonsense phrases to coded messages in transit, in order to thwart decryption efforts. One of those phrases accidentally changed the course of the largest naval battle in history.
World War II saw the first widespread use of inflatable tanks. The whole point of a tank is protective armour. Why would you want to make an inflatable one?
August 29, 1911: a man walked out of the hills near Lassen Peak and introduced himself as the last survivor of the Native American Yahi people. Contemporaries branded him “the last wild Indian,” but we will never know his true name.
In Lebanon, political leadership and representation are officially divided up according to religious affiliation. This system, confessionalism, is supposed to encourage peace and cooperation between disparate faiths.
January 25, 1979: the day that the robot uprising began. Well, not precisely, but that day saw the first human fatality caused by a robot. It would not be the last.
Horse-drawn canal boats made up the early British Industrial Revolution’s transportation network. But they presented a tough problem: how to get a horse from one bank of a canal to another, without disconnecting the rope?