The First American Rocket Pilot

The Bell X-1 in which Chuck Yeager shattered the sound barrier or the fabulous X-15, perhaps the world’s first spaceship, hardly sprang into being from nothing. They were the products of a long evolution of rocket-propelled aircraft that had its roots as far back as the seventeenth century, when legend tells (in… » 6/15/14 11:43am 6/15/14 11:43am

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 3:30pm 4/19/14 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 6:04pm 3/01/14 6:04pm

Freedom Drop: The 1968 plan to nuke North Korea

When North Korea captured a U.S. Navy electronic surveillance ship, the USS Pueblo, in international waters in 1968, it was perhaps the worst security breach in U.S. history. One of the potential responses to North Korean aggression, drafted and approved by top military officials, was nuclear war. » 1/28/14 11:05am 1/28/14 11:05am

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 7:40am 1/08/14 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 3:29pm 1/05/14 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 11:30am 9/07/13 11:30am