In many parts of the world it is traditional to celebrate by firing guns in the air. But what happens to the bullets?
In 1990 a British Airways plane heading to Spain had a windscreen malfunction mid-flight. The captain was sucked out of the gap, but a flight attendant caught his belt and the plane landed safely with the captain stuck halfway outside.
In the 9th century CE, a town in what is now Nigeria produced the most masterful bronze artefacts in the world.
The second mission to land on the Moon had garbage collection duty: they picked up the remains of a probe that had crashed there two years earlier.
The national canal network of Britain powered its Industrial Revolution, then fell into disuse, and then rose again in the late 20th century.
A pendulum clock in Dunedin, New Zealand, has been running for 156 years without being wound.
India prevented people patenting their foods, traditional medicines, and yoga poses by recording them all in an online database: 34 million pages’ worth.
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The Apollo Guidance Computer used core rope memory; the software was literally woven by hand into it.
In 2010 a satirical video “game” called Cow Clicker accidentally became a viral sensation, despite being one of the most deliberately tedious games ever invented.
If you want to decipher an encrypted message, it’s helpful to plant some plaintext seeds.
Around 255 CE, a Chinese inventor named Ma Jun created a chariot that could always point south – without using magnets.
The cellular automaton Langton’s Ant follows just two simple commands, and in doing so moves in turn from symmetry to chaos to implacable order.
423,000 people live in Flevoland, a province of the Netherlands. Before 1957, the entire area did not exist.
120 years ago engineers permanently reversed the flow of Chicago River.