space
That Time Humans Considered Building Cities in Space

Forget the flying cars and robot maids, we're just a few precious generations away from ditching this hunk of space rock called Earth and living among the stars. The dream of off-world living is thanks, in large part, to a single Princeton physics professor who not only envisioned a new path for humanity but nearly convinced the US Congress to go along with it. Piers Biznoy explains just how close we came to building orbital habitats in the 1980s in his new book New Space Frontiers. Read More >>

science
Humans’ Inherent Curiosity Stems From a Long, Protracted Childhood

Curiosity is one of our most basic traits and we have a lot to thank for it. Without the primal urge to always want to see what lies over the next hill, or the other the ocean, or beyond the confines of our atmosphere, humans would still be living—quite literally—in the stone age. In Curious: The Desire to Know and Why Your Future Depends On It, author Ian Leslie (@mrianleslie) explains how and why our need to discover really is second nature. The following is an excerpt from the book. Read More >>

monster machines
How Historians Recovered the Only Surviving Nazi “Flying Pencil”

Many good sea tales begin with a fisherman snagging his net on an underwater object, and this tale is no different. Read More >>

how to
How to Build a Moat to Keep Out the Mongol Horde (and Your Neighbours)

Goddamn Mongolians keep knocking down your city walls? The fix is easy: build a moat. Just follow the instructions from William Gurstelle's new DIY home security manual, Defending Your Castle and you'll have your very own perimeter defence/neighbourhood water hazard filling in no time. Read More >>

movies
How Steve Jobs’s Passion Shaped Pixar Into an Oscar-Winning Studio

While Apple was Steve Jobs's first professional love, the Pixar animation studio that he helped foster was far more than a mere pet project. As Pixar President Ed Catmull explains in his upcoming book, Creativity Inc, Jobs's involvement with the studio proved a revolutionary experience for both parties. Here's a brief look at the Steve Jobs most people never got to see. Read More >>

space
Being a Celebrity Astronaut is Tougher Than it Sounds

For a brief period in the American saga, the astronaut was the man of the moment. No profession commanded as much awe and admiration. Widely regarded as the personification of all that was best in the country, the first astronauts were blanketed with the adulation usually accorded star quarterbacks, war heroes, and charismatic movie stars. Yet this was never part of NASA's agenda. Read More >>

monster machines
The Experimental Hypersonic Rocket Plane That Ushered in the Space Age

Chuck Yeager's historic supersonic flight in 1947 set off a firestorm of research into flight beyond the speed of sound. The most ambitious of these projects was the X-15 program, a top secret USAF program that aimed to test the limits of Mach 7. In X-15: The World's Fastest Rocket Plane and the Pilots Who Ushered in the Space Age, John Anderson and Richard Passman recount the death-defying flights of a steel-nerved team of test pilots at the controls of the world's first rocket plane. Read More >>

airplanes
The Most Badass Plane Ever Had An Equally Awesome Flight Suit

At the height of the Cold War, if you wanted a peek behind the Iron Curtain, it had to be a birds's eye view from 63,000 feet—above the reach of Soviet SAM batteries. And to fly that high, America's elite SR-71 pilots had to wear the most advanced flight suits this side of the Apollo program. Read More >>