The universe is full of cosmic rays, blasted out from neighbouring galaxies, supernovae, and the like. In 2003, they nearly changed the outcome of a local Belgian election.
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.
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?
Is it better for software to be simple or consistent? Richard P. Gabriel suggested that simplicity was the most important aspect of software design, more than consistency, correctness, or completeness. He called it “worse is better.”
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?
What are the practical limits of computation? Hans-Joachim Bremermann theorized a computer the size of the world, as old as the world. It could process 10^93 bits.
Where do old spacecraft go to die? Into a graveyard orbit, or into the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
After years of toil and study, the Seven Wardens call you to attend a sacred ritual. At that ceremony, you swear a secret vow and are awarded a ring of iron. Classical cult? Medieval guild? Nope, you’re now a Canadian engineer.