Made by humans on Earth. Since 2003.
Winchester Mystery House

Winchester Mystery House

The building project of a lifetime

Something drove Sarah Winchester to keep adding to and remodeling a large house in San Jose, California, keeping it continuously under construction for 38 years. The result is mysterious indeed.
Ceyx and Alcyone sculpture

Halcyon Days

Why tranquility is for the birds

Yet another December holiday deserves shelf space at the greeting card store. According to legend, the two-week period on either side of the winter solstice is a time of smooth sailing.
Chemical structure of D-sorbitol

Sugar Alcohols

The quest for healthier sweeteners

Neither sugars nor alcohols, the substances known as sugar alcohols are natural sweeteners that may be great for diabetics or bad for people on low-carb diets.
Person meditating silently

Silent Retreats

A different way of listening

If you like the idea of a quiet getaway to escape the chaos of modern life, you might consider taking it a step further. Give up speaking for a day or a week, and you could be surprised at what you hear.
Two buildings in Bodie, California

Bodie, California

The liveliest ghost town in the West

In the Sierra Nevada mountains of eastern California lies the remains Bodie, once the state's second-largest city. A bustling mining town in its heyday, it's now lovingly preserved in a state of arrested decay.
Entrance to the Mechanics' Institute Library in San Francisco

Membership Libraries

Exclusive playgrounds for book lovers

Rare yet marvelous institutions, membership libraries are open only to those who have paid their annual dues. In exchange you get access to a place where books are taken as seriously as they should be.
Jules Léotard

The Trapeze

How Jules Léotard revolutionized the circus

It's hard to imagine a circus performance that didn't include a trapeze act. This apparatus, which has been around for nearly 160 years, was invented by the same guy (yes, a guy) who created the leotard.
A (non-hikaru) dorodango

Hikaru Dorodango

Mud balls as art

Mud isn't generally considered a very useful or beautiful substance, but one of the latest trends in art (especially popular among young Japanese children) is making elegant, shiny balls out of ordinary mud.
The Conservatoire des Arts et Métiers

The Conservatoire des Arts et Métiers

How a Paris abbey became a science museum

An 11th-century Parisian abbey later became the home of a fantastic museum of arts and trades, which is to say, mostly inventions. But the exhibits aren't the only interesting things about the building.
Elizabeth Tower

The Great Clock of Westminster

Big Ben and beyond

The clock tower that rises from the British Houses of Parliament is often mistakenly called Big Ben, but that's actually the nickname of one of the bells inside. That's just one of several surprising facts about this well-known clock.
A handshake

The Handshake

Coming to grips with gestures of greeting

Of all the ways we might have chosen to greet each other, we decided upon handshakes as the norm. This gesture has an uncertain history, and getting it just right may be harder than you think.
Esperanto symbol

Esperanto

Artificial language for the masses

In the late 1800s, a Russian ophthalmologist invented an artificial language that was intended to be culturally neutral and thereby help to unite the world. Its success should be self-evident.
Vitruvian Man Measurements

Body-Based Units of Measurement

Size matters in more ways than one

Many units of measurement (both historical and modern) derive from the typical size of body parts such as hands, feet, and arms.
A corner of a Voodoo temple in New OrleansA corner of a Voodoo temple in New OrleansA corner of a Voodoo temple in New OrleansA corner of a Voodoo temple in New OrleansA corner of a Voodoo temple in New OrleansA corner of a Voodoo temple in New OrleansA corner of a Voodoo temple in New Orleans

Voodoo

The spirit(s) of a misunderstood religion

Never mind the sensationalized stories you see in movies. This major religion may seem unfamiliar to practitioners of religions that began in the Middle East, but it's not as wacky as you may think.
Diagram of the DART (Deep-ocean Assessment and Reporting of Tsunamis) system

Tsunami Warning Systems

Looking for the next big wave

Scientists understand what causes tsunamis, but detecting them, figuring out where they're headed, and warning the affected areas in time turns out to be massively complicated.

Today is…

National Cat Herders Day

A herd of cats
Some days—most days—I feel like I'm herding cats. On this day, I get to feel good about that effort.

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Two buildings in Bodie, California

Bodie, California

Entrance to the Mechanics' Institute Library in San Francisco

Membership Libraries

Person meditating silently

Silent Retreats

Jules Léotard

The Trapeze