Drunk driving combines two of America’s favorite pastimes: getting absolutely hammered and driving an automobile. But before the invention of the modern breathalyzer in the 1950s, determining if someone was too intoxicated to operate a motor vehicle was incredibly subjective. It took decades for law enforcement…
In 1979, two artists covered a Southern California building with futuristic murals. They painted moon motorcycles, high-tech highways, and spaceships that would look right at home in Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey. But as delightfully retro-futuristic as the building is on the outside, what happens inside may…
The term "techno-utopian" is helpful for referring to people who believe technology alone can solve the world's problems. The term is rarely used literally. But if the financial services company Morgan Stanley is to be believed, driverless cars will literally bring about a utopian society in just over a decade.
Tired of sitting in traffic? Just take the completely automated, high-speed safety lane! At least that's what the singing, time-traveling family of the 1950s did in this amazing film from General Motors.
Back in the 1950s and 60s, self-driving cars represented the fantastic life of luxury that was supposed to be just around the corner. But here in the 21st century we can't even pretend that our driverless cars of the future will be filled with board games and light reading. No, our self-driving car of tomorrow will be…
In the 1970s, personal rapid transit (PRT) was supposed to be America's great transportation savior.
Did Nikola Tesla actually work as a swimming instructor? What's the deal with that famous photo of Albert Einstein and his therapist? Did they actually make radiation-aged bourbon back in the 1960s? Nope!
Today we largely take international air travel for granted. Every major city in the world is little more than a hop, skip, and jump away. But what was it actually like to fly halfway around the world in the 1930s, when the very concept was still novel? Pretty incredible, as it turns out—provided you could afford it.
Remember the last time you got pulled over for speeding? The cop slowly walked up behind your car, gave you a lecture about how the rules keep us all safe, and then handed you a ticket for a gajillion dollars.
The next time you're frantically rushing to plug your parking meter, you can curse Carl C. Magee. Because it was on this day in 1935 that Magee's parking meters made their world debut, much to the chagrin of future drivers everywhere.
It may not be a Tesla, but this electric car was the height of cool when it graced newspaper comics pages around the world in 1959.
Our mass transit future looked much cooler in the mid-20th century, with these slick bus designs. Just imagine taking to the roads in these retrofuturistic buses.
Charles Dellschau was a butcher, but after his retirement in 1899, he became an artist, laboring over intricate collages and illustrations of flying machines. He filled notebooks with gorgeous, multicolored airship designs and mysterious, coded records of the "Sonora Aero Club."
New technologies can offer fantastic opportunities for humanity. They can help us become more mobile, more connected, and more safe from life's everyday dangers. But along with all of the benefits, technology often also provides new, more accessible ways for us to off ourselves. And in the 1920s, the automobile…
Americans were promised one thing during World War II: life was going to be amazing in the "world of tomorrow." But when the war ended many companies, along with the U.S. government, turned back on that promise as quickly as they could.
Driverless cars are nearly here, at least if Google has its way. But what happens when we're all zipping around, hands-and-feet free, nary a care in the world, and BAM! we're in a terrible accident?
Rocket Flight to the Moon, a film also known as Spaceship Number I Starts (Weltraumschiff I Startet), was made in 1938 by the Bavaria Film-Kunst. Since the Germans cancelled most of their science fiction films once the war began, the film that remains is only a short, 23-minute remnant, edited from scenes already…