Brief history of the wristwatch

The ladies' fashion novelty became popular among British soldiers during the Boer War, recounts Uri Friedmen, a practice that spread during World War I. Read the rest

Are you a member of The Oregon Trail Generation, the last before mainstream social media?

maxresdefault (1)
You have died of Snapchat.

Got a 3D printer? Help make a giant bust of Poe!

Todd writes, "We the Builders just started our third crowdsourced 3D printing project -- anyone with access to a 3D printer can download their piece from the website, print it out, mail it to us in Baltimore, and then we'll glue it together to form a giant sculpture." Read the rest

Photo celebrates unsung NASA software engineer Margaret Hamilton


Female accomplishments are too often overlooked in our history books, but this photo looks to change that by celebrating one of history's coolest ladies. Read the rest

The crazy shapes of 17th-century pies


Why were pies in the 1600s baked in such improbable shapes? Over at HiLobrow, Tom Nealon investigates, and Deb Chachra drops some science on the question.

Read the rest

Was the world's oldest deck of cards any fun?


The oldest complete deck of cards in the world is from the distinctly-unhappy 15th century, and lives at the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Cloisters location. The oblong cards are nifty-looking—but what would people play with them? Read the rest

Obituary for an amazing history teacher

Katie sez, "This is an article by a friend of mine about a teacher who passed this week from our high school in Ontario, Canada. This history teacher had the students dig trenches, sleep in cold, wet tents, march and "mow down" other students all in an awesome example of teaching. I had already graduated after the first class did this, but it made headlines every year." Read the rest

VISUALIZE: Daily routines of accomplished creative people

This chart summarizes data from Daily Rituals: How Artists Work, providing that rarest of treasures: an infographic that actually improves the legibility of information. Read the rest

Helen Keller, feminist, radical socialist, anti-racist activist and civil libertarian

Helen Keller's activism on behalf of people with disabilities was rooted in her radical socialism, which held that the problems of the most vulnerable in society were the fault of capitalism, not genetics or industrial accidents. Read the rest

Annotated "Eyes on the Prize"

Glen Chiacchieri's produced a heavily annotated version of Eyes on the Prize, the brilliant video documentary series on the history of the Civil Rights movement that was rescued from copyright oblivion by a civil disobedience campaign. Read the rest

Blocked Italian toilet leads to thousands of years of buried history

A restaurateur in Lecce, Italy dug up the plumbing for his perennially blocked toilets and discovered thousands of years' worth of tunnels beneath the building, including a Messapian tomb. Read the rest

Kickstarting a CC-licensed recording/video of Chopin performed on a pleyel

Robert writes, "Chopin's piano music is the stuff that makes the heart flutter and the blood boil, and many people list him as their favorite composer for the instrument. Yet Chopin never heard a modern Steinway grand, and most of us have never heard his favorite piano, the Pleyel." Read the rest

NASA's techno-archaeologists

On a recent O'Reilly Solid podcast (MP3), the convenors of this year's O'Reilly Internet of Things conference (where I'll be a speaker) speak to Dennis Wingo, founder of the McMoon's "techno archaeology" project (previously). Read the rest

Exploding the Phone: the untold, epic story of the phone phreaks

Phil Lapsley's Exploding the Phone does for the phone phreaks what Steven Levy's Hackers did for computer pioneers, capturing the anarchic move-fast-break-stuff pioneers who went to war against Ma Bell.

Lee Harvey Oswald's car on Ebay

You snooze, you lose. You have just missed the chance to bid on, and possibly own, the last car driven by Lee Harvey Oswald, which just sold on ebay. Read the rest

In fantasy worlds, historical accuracy is a lie

The mythical realms of Dragon Age grow beautifully with the telling, including their representation of Earthly minorities. Even so, something's missing...

J. Edgar Hoover palled around with a suspected commie spy

Michael from Muckrock sez, "Few American officials could even come close to the legendary paranoia of J. Edgar Hoover, but that didn't stop the notorious FBI chief from striking up a close friendship with Samuel Dickstein, House Committee on Un-American Activities founder, Supreme Court Justice -- and suspected Russian spy." Read the rest

More posts