Sometimes the image says it all; in the 1990s the United States military experimented with skateboards for urban warfare.
An eponym is a word named after a person. Some, like algebra, are well-known. But these words are also eponyms: boysenberry, cardigan, diesel, guy, Kiribati, neanderthal, orrery, and pamphlet.
Almost all of China uses only one time zone. In the extreme west of China, the Xinjiang region uses two time zones at the same time. This is very confusing.
The creator of LSD, Albert Hofmann, first purposefully took a dose on April 19, 1943. Unfortunately, he took twelve times too much and then went for a bicycle ride.
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.
In 1959, a block of glacier ice was carried – without refrigeration – from the Arctic Circle, through Europe, across the Sahara, and all the way to the Equator. It was perhaps the greatest publicity stunt in history.
Parasites live off – and often on – other animals. But what live on the parasites?
Water freezes into ice. This is not new information to you (I hope). But which kind? Because there are eighteen different phases of ice, including electric viral space ice.
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.
Mathematical proofs can be established by various means, including induction, contradiction, construction, and exhaustion. My favourite is proof by intimidation.
Deep in the vaults of the Bank of England are banknotes, legal tender, for 100 million pounds each. These may be the most valuable banknotes in the world.
The eruption of Mount Vesuvius, which destroyed the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum, also killed the famous author of one of the earliest encyclopedias.
Underneath many large cities lie buried and lost rivers. Sometimes, they return to the surface world.
It’s no surprise that one of the ways we’ll fight climate change is to plant a lot of trees. Across the entirety of northern Africa, millions of trees are being planted to help, and also to hold back the spread of the Sahara.
Lord Byron, the Romantic poet and infamous libertine, wrote a book of memoirs that may have set 19th century England aflame with scandal – if they hadn’t been deliberately destroyed within a month of his death.