The imaginary Polynesian culture
You'd probably recognize a Tiki bar if you walked into one, but what is Tiki exactly? This faux Polynesian culture (along with the fruity drinks) is a pure American invention.
An editorial aside
You can learn a lot by reading books, watching TV, or talking to other people. But there's another kind of knowing you can get only from having an experience yourself.
Polar bear capital of the world
A tiny town in northern Manitoba is accessible only by rail or air, but it still manages to draw more tourists each year than it can handle. The big draw? Polar bears, which you can observe from the comfort of a huge, heated Tundra Buggy.
Taking storytelling to new heights
A French theater group put on a series of traveling shows featuring the world's largest marionettes, which acted amazingly lifelike despite being suspended from cranes by ropes.
Starting your own country
It sounds like a dream come true: starting a tiny country of your own. Quite a few people have tried, but the results have been less than spectacular. The biggest trick: getting other countries to recognize your new nation.
The ubiquitous steel shipping containers that move goods all over the world by ship, rail, and tractor trailer are increasingly being recycled into low-cost yet sturdy housing.
The quest for the perfect tulip
The rise and fall of the market for tulips in the Netherlands in the 17th century is often told as a cautionary tale of greed and misfortune. But there is more to the story than the popular view of the tulip craze as an irrational, frenzied pursuit.
The lazy way to make a perfect cup of coffee
High-end coffee machines do everything with the single press of a button: grind the beans, tamp them down, custom-brew coffee to your specifications, and eject the used grounds into a holding bin. Great coffee, effortlessly, for a price.
The sound and the fury
With an external microphone and processing circuitry and tiny electrodes implanted into the cochlea, some deaf people can regain partial hearing. But is this a cure or an assault on entire culture?
Is there such a thing as an instant of time, a moment so short that it cannot be subdivided any further, or is time continuous? Some scientific theories say yes, some say no, and other say probably, but it doesn't make any practical difference.