Peter Taylor was doing research at the UK's Imperial War Museums when he stumbled across the story of parachuting pigeons. In 1914, the British were seeking intelligence about German troop numbers and movement in Belgium. So they parachuted homing pigeons into the region from balloons and planes. Attached to the pigeons were instructions for civilians to write down what they had seen and then to allow the birds to fly back to base. Inspired, Taylor went on to collect unusual war stories and compiled them into two books, Weird War One: Intriguing Items and Fascinating Feats from the First World War and its sequel Weird War Two: Intriguing Items and Surprising Stuff from the Second World War.
“It was a mixture of proper research—talking to curators, reading books, trawling through the archives—and suitably strange research: for example, (mis)using the museum’s database by typing in odd words for hours to see what came up (‘Socks,’ ‘Disguise,’ ‘Secret,’ ‘Insect’)," Taylor told Air & Space. "It’s hard to have a completely sensible plan for finding strange and surprising things.”
Below, an illustration of a propaganda idea involving flying machines shaped like sharks.
Adam Rutherford's amazing book A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived is on shelves in the USA now; debunking the absurd claims made by genetics testing companies -- claims about your distant relationship to ancient kings or the percentage of your genes that came from Vikings.
Hank Green (previously) is one half of the famous and much-loved Vlog Brothers; while his brother John Green (previously) is well-known for his novels, Hank hasn't ventured into fiction -- until now. His debut novel, An Absolutely Remarkable Thing is a deceptively romp-y novel about mysterious samurai alien robot statues appearing all at once, everywhere that has hidden and absolutely remarkable depths.
During its 1970s heyday, the Concorde, the commercial supersonic plane that did NYC to London in under three hours, wasn’t just a revolution in aerospace engineering; it was an icon of industrial design, set the bar in luxury travel, and, quite literally, embodied the jet-set lifestyle. Now, my friend qnd colleague Lawrence Azerrad, the creative […]
Whether you’re heading for a career as a web developer or designer, the road is wide open. Careers in tech won’t be slowing down anytime soon, but it’s important that you keep up. Enter the Complete Learn to Code Masterclass Bundle. An invaluable resource for beginners or budding pros, the bundle teaches must-know development and […]
Sipping on whiskey is already a sophisticated experience, but that doesn’t mean you can’t kick it up a notch. A perfect addition to your desk or home bar, the Eravino Whiskey Globe Decanter features a beautifully etched map on the surface and an eye-catching glass ship inside, bringing an entirely new level of class to […]
Gone are the days when you needed to pore over a 400-page physics textbook to learn about weight ratios, aerodynamics, and all of those other STEM concepts that let us take to the skies. Thanks to Force Flyers’ DIY Building Block Drones, you can foster your STEM knowledge as you build and fly your own functional […]