Made by humans on Earth. Since 2003.
Two people toasting with cocktails

The Toast

Here’s to the ritual of raised glasses

When we raise our glasses to compliment someone or wish them good fortune, what are we really doing? Strange but true: the origin of the ritual has to do with poison.
Grass photographs by Ackroyd & Harvey

Grass Photographs

Photosynthetic art

Artists are now using living grass as a medium for printing gigantic photographs. By carefully controlling the light that falls on various parts of the grass, they let photosynthesis do the work for them.
Pay it Forward artwork

Paying It Forward

Spreading the good deed meme

Instead of expecting someone to repay you for a good deed, you could ask them to do a good deed for someone else (and keep the chain of goodness going). It's a lovely notion, but fraught with problems.
Patent Drawing for J. G. Krichbaum's Device for Indicating Life in Buried Persons

Safety Coffins

The fact and fiction of dead ringers

Worried that you might accidentally be buried alive? Shell out a few extra bucks for a coffin with an alarm system. But don't think that'll make you a dead ringer.


Ghost of a massacred French village

After D-Day, some German troops still occupying France decided to take out their frustrations on a random city by destroying every building and killing all its inhabitants. The shell of the city has been preserved as a memorial to those who died.
Lungs diagram

Breathing Liquid

The frontiers of human respiration

Under some very specific conditions, humans can breathe special liquids. This technique has potential applications in medicine and diving, but it's not without serious problems.
Graph of the equation of time

The Equation of Time

When what you mean is not apparent

Everyone knows that a day has 24 hours, but if you base your measurement on the position of the sun, that figure could vary by as much as 16 minutes over a year. The equation of time compensates for this irregularity.
Extreme Ironing on Rivelin Needle, Sheffield, UK

Extreme Ironing

Pressing your luck

One of the latest extreme sports combines thrills and adventure with garment maintenance. Seriously. Just grab an iron and a parachute, easy on the starch.
Jan de Bray, "Cleopatra puts the pearl in the wine" (1652)

Cleopatra’s Wager

The most expensive meal in history

That fancy restaurant downtown may cost an arm and a leg, but Cleopatra once consumed a meal worth as much as several countries, just to win a bet.
Mitsubishi's experimental Yamato 1 boat

Magnetohydrodynamic Propulsion

Motors without moving parts

You can propel a boat or submarine through the water using an innovative motor that has no moving parts. The same technology might also be used to power spaceships.
Hearst Castle

Hearst Castle

Xanadu in California

William Hearst built a magnificent estate, sometimes called Hearst Castle, in San Simeon, California. Now a tourist attraction, it gives a fascinating glimpse into the lives of the rich and famous.
A traditional preparation of absinthe


The tale of the Green Fairy

This legendary beverage has been praised for producing artistic insights and blamed for causing violence and insanity. After being banned in some countries for more than a century, it's finally making a comeback.
Maree Man geoglyph at Finnis Springs near Maree

The Marree Man

Mystery artwork in the desert

The world's largest piece of artwork is a geoglyph created anonymously in 1998 in the Australian desert. Impressive as it is, it has upset the locals, and will apparently be left to fade into oblivion.
Magellanic penguins

Magellanic Penguins

The colorful features of monochrome birds

What's that burrowing a hole under a shrub in the middle of an arid steppe in Patagonia? A penguin, of course. The most common penguin species doesn't entirely fit the image most of us have.
Thank you word cloud

Performative Verbs

Doing as you say

Some verbs have the peculiar property that you can perform their action just by saying them, enabling you to literally do as you say.

Today is…

Beaujolais Nouveau Day

Beaujolais Nouveau
If you live in France, the significance of the third Thursday of November is as self-evident as that of the fourth Thursday of November in the United States. But in France, no turkeys have to die for the celebration.

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