How Border Drones Were Born During the Vietnam War

From 1968 until 1973, the US military spent about $1 billion a year on a new computer-powered initiative intended to end the war in Vietnam. It went by many names over the years — including Practice Nine, Muscle Shoals, Illinois City and Dye Marker. But today it’s most commonly known as Operation Igloo White. »9/23/15 7:20pm9/23/15 7:20pm

How NASA Created a Flight Simulator for the First Astronauts Landing on the Moon

December 5, 1961. A man at the controls of a module gazes at the lunar surface from close up. Is this an astronaut, approaching the Moon nearly eight years before Apollo 11? Nope—it’s a pilot testing Project LOLA, a massive network of hand-painted mosaics and tracked cameras that trained astronauts for the moon… »9/04/15 11:22am9/04/15 11:22am

Learn How A Titan Missile Is Fired In This Video 

At the height of the Cold War, the United States and Soviet Union had thousands of Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles trained on one another. In this video, we get a tour of a Titan missile silo, and learn exactly what would happen when the order came down to launch an attack. http://io9.com/watch-lord-kel... »8/01/15 12:32pm8/01/15 12:32pm

100 Years Ago, This Man Was The Original Patent Troll

The term “patent troll” wasn’t coined until the late 20th century, used to describe someone who filed a patent in order not to manufacture products, but to collect licensing fees. But more than 100 years ago, a patent attorney was a proto-patent troll, exploiting the system to profit off of the burgeoning auto… »5/06/15 2:15pm5/06/15 2:15pm

The Real Story Behind the 1914 Christmas Truce in World War I

It was 100 years ago this very night that something miraculous happened along the Western Front. After months of bitter fighting, soldiers on both sides gathered in no-man's-land in a spontaneous show of peace and goodwill. Here's what happened on that historic day — and why it marked the end of an era. »12/24/14 9:21pm12/24/14 9:21pm

The Zeppelin Train, The Aerotrain And Other Classic Streamlined Trains

Long before there were bullet trains and high-speed light rail systems, people experimented with creating super-streamlined trains that could whisk people across the country in Googie splendor. In some alternate universe, these streamlined trains of the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s are still in service. »4/19/14 3:30pm4/19/14 3:30pm

Lockheed's Senior Peg: The Forgotten Stealth Bomber

Perhaps because it was built in secret and designed to be invisible, the stealth bomber is unforgettable the moment you see it. What few remember, though, is that the iconic silhouette almost looked like this. Here's the story of how Senior Peg came to be, why we didn't get it, and why we might want it back. »3/01/14 6:04pm3/01/14 6:04pm

Ghana's coffin art lets people bury their loved ones in style

In European cultures, we cremate our dead or bury them in a simple pine box. But coffins are a lot fancier in Ghana, where the Ga people believe that life continues in another world after death, and they want it to carry on in style. Here are some stunning examples of Ghana's famous coffin art. »1/08/14 7:40am1/08/14 7:40am

A map of 19th Century shipping routes and nothing else

Nautical trade routes stretch like so many lengths of string in this arresting visualization of intercontinental commerce in the 1800s. The map that emerges highlights not only several continents and their busiest ports, but the various trade winds that cycle through the lower reaches of Earth's atmosphere. »1/05/14 3:29pm1/05/14 3:29pm

The Strange and Wonderful History of Diving Suits, From 1715 to Today

Long before we had spacesuits, we had diving suits. The ocean was the first hostile environment that we sent people into, completely covered with protective gear. And the suits that people created with late-18th century or 19th century technology are astonighing to behold. See for yourself! »9/07/13 11:30am9/07/13 11:30am