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.
If you want a job as a programmer, you need to know how to fizz buzz.
A plot point in the 1986 film Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home features the fictional material transparent aluminium. Around the same time, actual transparent aluminium was patented.
When did we start wearing clothes? We don’t know for sure, but the genetics of lice, prehistoric needles, and ivory carvings give us some clues.
If you want to build a Geiger counter you need to first find a shipwreck from before 1945.
In 1953 the sci-fi author Hugo Gernsback proposed provisional patents for sci-fi writers’ hypothetical inventions. 42 years earlier, he had predicted radar, television, remote controls, solar power, synthetic cloth, and videophones.
The world water speed record has stood for more than forty years, ever since an Australian build a boat out of wood in his backyard and strapped a jet engine on its back.