What’s the fastest object ever made by humans? In 1957 a 900kg steel plate may have been launched into space by a nuclear explosion, but it has since been eclipsed by far faster things.
In 1953 No Kum-Sok defected from North Korea. He brought a MiG-15 Soviet jet fighter with him.
Honey takes on the chemical properties of nectar gathered by bees. This fact turns out to be quite useful if you’re fighting the ancient Romans.
When the British colonise your country and exile your king, what do you do? If you’re a queen mother of the Ashanti Empire, you start a war.
The US Navy loves their abbreviations: JAG, SEAL, NCIS, SECNAV, USLANTFLT… but the best has to be ADCOMSUBORDCOMPHIBSPAC. The Soviets also loved their abbreviations: НИИОМТПЛАБОПАРМБЕТЖЕЛБЕТРАБСБОМОНИМОНКОНОТДТЕХСТРОМОНТ!
The USS Johnston was sunk in the Battle off Samar in World War II. Its wreck descended into the Philippine Trench, the third deepest trench in the world, and we know of no deeper wrecks.
In World War II, New Zealand wanted a tank, but none of their allies had any to spare. So they made their own, with a tractor, corrugated iron, a mattress, and a postcard.
As part of Argentina’s Dirty War, hundreds of children were taken from their parents and adopted into military families. The Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo are trying to get them back.
Princess Anne and Prince Ludwig of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Freudenberg liked flying and spying, respectively. Both disappeared under mysterious and separate circumstances.
King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden really wanted a big ship so he could dominate the Baltic. The Vasa was one of the most heavily armed ships in the world when it launched in 1628. But the same day it launched, it sank.
Sometimes the image says it all; in the 1990s the United States military experimented with skateboards for urban warfare.
In World War I millions of troops sat in trenches for more than three and a half years. It was by turns terrifying and boring. To ignore one feeling and allay the other, they made art.
If you wanted to build a castle in medieval England, you needed permission from the king. They’re supposed to be for the defence of the realm, but sometimes you just want to fake out the neighbours.
Around 1200 BCE, almost every civilisation in the Eastern Mediterranean collapsed, or just barely survived. One possible culprit were invaders from across the sea: the Sea Peoples. No-one knows precisely who they were.
In 1976, North Korea, South Korea, and the United States almost went to war over a single tree.