Menu Home

Atomic gardening


In the 1950s, as part of the nuclear energy craze, gardeners exposed seeds or seedlings to gamma radiation in order to induce beneficial mutations. In the UK, seeds were mailed out to enthusiasts to grow. Many of the plants died, or got weird growths, as you would expect. Some, however, thrived.

Obsolete feet


Prior to standardization, the measurement of length designated “the foot” was a different size depending on which country or region you were in. Notable variants included the Prussian foot, the Rijnland foot (which became the Cape foot used in South Africa), and the Chinese mathematician’s foot.

Crop mimics

Rye crop

Farmers remove weeds from their crops. But they miss the weeds that look like crops. Over time, these weeds come to mimic the crops around them. And in some cases, they become crops themselves.

The Twelve Battles of the Isonzo

The Battles of the Isonzo

In World War I, the major front for the Italians – in alliance with the Allied powers – was the Isonzo River, between Italy and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Over the course of three years they fought twelve major battles for control of this area, now known as the First through Twelfth Battles of the Isonzo. Half of the Italians that died in the war died here.

Pizza farms


How do you grow a pizza? On a pizza farm. It’s shaped like a pizza, and grows all the ingredients of a pizza – a different ingredient in each “slice” (wedge) of land. Wheat, tomatoes, pigs, cows… It’s educational, and also delicious.

The Dead Sea treasure map

The Copper Scroll

One of the Dead Sea Scrolls was written on copper rather than papyrus or parchment – and it’s a treasure map. None of the treasure has been found, but given that the scroll probably dates back a couple of thousand years it is unlikely to ever be found.

Sole survivor

The Amazon Rainforest

In 1971 a plane was hit by lightning and crashed into the Amazon rainforest. Ninety-one people died, but one survived: Juliane Koepcke. She trekked through the forest for eleven days and made it out alive and well.

The second-greatest wall

The Great Wall of Gorgan

The Great Wall of Gorgan in Iran is 195km long, making it the second-longest wall in history behind the Great Wall of China. Built by the Sasanian Empire in the 5th or 6th Century to keep out (probably) the White Huns, medieval tradition also connects it with Alexander the Great and his legendary Caspian Gates.