history
Here’s What the CIA Thought of Australia’s Anti-Communist Prime Minister, Robert Menzies

Sir Robert Menzies was Australia’s longest serving Prime Minister, first holding office at the beginning of World War II from 1939 until 1941, and then again from 1949 until 1966. And thanks to a recent US Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, we now know a bit about how the CIA viewed this legend of Australian politics. Read More >>

art
Researchers Find Grasshopper Stuck in Classic Van Gogh Painting

A famous work of art has captured more than just Van Gogh’s impressions—it’s preserving a hundred-year-old grasshopper corpse, too. Read More >>

history
350-Year-Old Map of Australia Restored to Its Former Glory

Lost for hundreds of years, a recently recovered map of Australia dating back to the 17th century has finally been restored and put on display at a museum in Canberra. The document chronicles the mapping efforts of explorers a full 100 years before Captain James Cook set sail for the Pacific. Read More >>

history
Rare Photos From Atmospheric Nuclear Tests of the 1960s

The last American nuclear weapons test conducted in the atmosphere was on 4 November 1962. And the website Topic got its hands on some newly declassified photos from that period, which look like exquisitely macabre art. Read More >>

history
FBI Says Remaining JFK Assassination Files Will Be Released (With Redactions) in Coming Weeks

After a couple of false starts, the FBI claims that the remaining JFK assassination files that were scheduled to be released last week will finally be made public. But historians and researchers still might be somewhat disappointed. After further vetting by intelligence agencies, the FBI says that some sensitive names in the files will be withheld. Read More >>

transport
The Cursed History of NYC MetroCards

If you’ve ridden the New York City subway, you know the feeling. You buy a flimsy plastic card that lets you ride the train, and when you try to swipe it at the turnstile, it doesn’t work. You swipe again. The machine asks you to swipe again. You swipe again. The machine asks you to swipe again at the same turnstile. This can go on for hours, until you beg an MTA employee to let you through. That’s the cursed MetroCard experience, and as of last week, its days are numbered. Read More >>

news
Wildfires Burn Down Irreplaceable Documents on Silicon Valley History

2017 has been a brutal year in California, where a series of wildfires have burned through hundreds of thousands of acres of land and left dozens dead or missing. The deadly Tubbs fire in northern California, which is estimated to have burned roughly 5,300 buildings across 36,807 acres and killed at least 22 people, also took out irreplaceable documents which traced the rise of massive PC manufacturer Hewlett-Packard (now two separate companies) and the early years of Silicon Valley earlier this month. Read More >>

history
Here’s What’s Going on With the JFK Assassination Files

On Thursday, the deadline for the US federal government to publicly release all of its files relating to the JFK assassination arrived and, for a moment, it appeared that it would actually happen. But at the last minute, President Trump delayed the release of the most sensitive files. As expected, intelligence agencies insisted further review was necessary. Still, we did get thousands of newly public records, and analysts are pouring over them. Here’s everything that’s going on. Read More >>

movies
What Movie Is This Robot Chorus Line From?

It’s a fascinating picture of robots and dancing women, all performing for a movie. The photo is supposedly from around 1927. And while I love old movies and I love robots, I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what this photo was from when I saw it. Read More >>

history
Historians May Have Been Wrong About This Ancient Roman Vase for Centuries

New research shows that the British Museum’s most famous artefact—the Portland Vase—was manufactured by a different technique than the one traditionally assumed by historians and archaeologists. Read More >>

history
Ancient Skull Fragment Likely Belongs to Oldest Known Tsunami Victim

Back in 1929, Australian geologist Paul Hossfeld uncovered a partial human skull outside the coastal town of Aitape in Papua New Guinea. An international team of scientists recently returned to the site in an effort to find out what might have killed this individual. Their analysis, which now appears in PLOS One, shows that the skull was buried in sediments bearing the distinctive characteristics of an ancient tsunami. “[We] conclude that the skull was laid down in a tsunami deposit and as such may represent the oldest known tsunami victim in the world,” write the researchers in the study. Read More >>

history
Today is Napoleon Hill Day, Named For the Greatest Self-Help Scammer of All Time

Walk into most book shops and you’ll find plenty of titles written by Napoleon Hill in the financial self-help section. He practically invented the genre in the 1930s with his most famous book Think And Grow Rich. And for that, Virginia has declared today Napoleon Hill Day. But many people have no idea that the man was a con artist. Read More >>

design
This 1935 Car of the Future Had Huge Spheres Instead of Wheels

Between flying cars and three-wheeled cars, the period between World War I and World War II had some interesting ideas for the future of automobiles. But this one may have been the weirdest. Who needs wheels when you’ve got gigantic rolling spheres? Read More >>

history
Albert Einstein Proven Right on His Life Advice Being Worth More Than a Cash Tip

Physicist Albert Einstein, one of history’s greatest minds, has been proven right in the long term about a lot of things, like the continued success of his theory of general relativity, to aspects of that theory which eluded detection for decades, like the existence of gravitational waves. Now he’s been proven right on his split decision to jot down some stuff on a piece of paper instead of giving a messenger a tip. Read More >>

archaeology
Experts Cast Doubt On Viking Textile With ‘Allah’ Inscription

Researchers from Sweden made headlines last week after claiming to have found the Arabic characters for “Allah” and “Ali” woven into Viking burial costumes. The discovery suggested a more intimate cultural relationship between the Vikings and the Arab world, but some experts are now questioning key assertions made by the Swedish researchers. Read More >>