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The Radical Reference Librarians Who Use Info to Challenge Authority
story
activism

The Radical Reference Librarians Who Use Info to Challenge Authority

An unshushable social movement is afoot.
October 03, 2017
The 19th-Century Freakout Over Steam-Powered Buses
story
victorian

The 19th-Century Freakout Over Steam-Powered Buses

A new vehicle on the streets of London caused quite the commotion—and some light sabotage.
August 30, 2017
'Total Eclipse of the Heart' Was Almost a Meat Loaf Song
story
eclipse

'Total Eclipse of the Heart' Was Almost a Meat Loaf Song

Things could have been oh so different at karaoke.
August 16, 2017
The Devilish Sexploitation Films That Combined Satan and Sensuality
story
satanic worship

The Devilish Sexploitation Films That Combined Satan and Sensuality

Who needs a coherent plot when you have nudity and pitchforks?
July 28, 2017
The Worst Freelance Gig in History Was Being the Village Sin Eater
story
sin week

The Worst Freelance Gig in History Was Being the Village Sin Eater

Sin eaters risked their souls to soak up the misdeeds of the dead.
July 14, 2017
How a Secret Criminal Language Emerged From the Underworld
story
linguistics

How a Secret Criminal Language Emerged From the Underworld

Dictionaries made Thieves' Cant accessible for the masses in the 16th through 19th centuries.
June 28, 2017
Some Versions of 'The Tortoise and the Hare' Messed With the Moral
story
children's literature week

Some Versions of 'The Tortoise and the Hare' Messed With the Moral

Slow and steady doesn't always win the race.
June 15, 2017
Growing Mutant Peanuts With the Radioactive Gardening Society
story
nuclear

Growing Mutant Peanuts With the Radioactive Gardening Society

In the 1960s, some experimental horticulturalists went nuclear.
June 08, 2017
The Wartime Spies Who Used Knitting as an Espionage Tool
story
knitting

The Wartime Spies Who Used Knitting as an Espionage Tool

Grandma was just making a sweater. Or was she?
June 01, 2017
Bessie Stringfield, the Bad-Ass Black Motorcycle Queen of the 1930s
story
motorcycles

Bessie Stringfield, the Bad-Ass Black Motorcycle Queen of the 1930s

She owned 27 Harleys and rode them all over the United States.
May 18, 2017
The 17​th​-Century Moon Mission That Never Got Off the Ground
story
space exploration

The 17​th​-Century Moon Mission That Never Got Off the Ground

Dr. John Wilkins' lunar ambitions were a little too lofty.
May 03, 2017
When Squirrels Were One of America's Most Popular Pets
story
squirrel

When Squirrels Were One of America's Most Popular Pets

Benjamin Franklin even wrote an ode to a fallen one.
April 28, 2017
A Painting of a Crying Boy Was Blamed for a Series of Fires in the '80s
story
luck week

A Painting of a Crying Boy Was Blamed for a Series of Fires in the '80s

The artwork, said U.K. tabloids of the time, was haunted.
April 21, 2017
Argentina's Ex-President Appears to Be Cursed
story
luck week

Argentina's Ex-President Appears to Be Cursed

By his own acknowledgment, Carlos Menem brings bad luck.
April 19, 2017
It Was Once Someone's Job to Chat With the King While He Used the Toilet
story
bathrooms

It Was Once Someone's Job to Chat With the King While He Used the Toilet

"Groom of the Stool" could be a crappy role, but it came with great benefits.
April 06, 2017
The Forged 'Ancient' Statues That Fooled the Met's Art Experts for Decades
story
scandal week

The Forged 'Ancient' Statues That Fooled the Met's Art Experts for Decades

The fakes were on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art for 28 years.
March 16, 2017
Meet Bessie Coleman, the First Black Woman to Get a Pilot's License
story
black history

Meet Bessie Coleman, the First Black Woman to Get a Pilot's License

The fearless aviator was determined to fly.
March 01, 2017
The Rude, Cruel, and Insulting 'Vinegar Valentines' of the Victorian Era
story
valentine's day

The Rude, Cruel, and Insulting 'Vinegar Valentines' of the Victorian Era

Nothing like getting surprise hate mail from a would-be lover on February 14.
February 08, 2017
The Awkward 17th-Century Dating Practice That Saw Teens Get Bundled Into Bags
story
love

The Awkward 17th-Century Dating Practice That Saw Teens Get Bundled Into Bags

And a wooden board separating the lovers in bed.
January 26, 2017
The Best Kitchen Gadget of the 1600s Was a Small, Short-Legged Dog
story
animals

The Best Kitchen Gadget of the 1600s Was a Small, Short-Legged Dog

Turnspit dogs ran in a wheel to keep the spit meat spinning.
January 11, 2017
The Totally Jinxed Map of Global Superstitions
story
interactive

The Totally Jinxed Map of Global Superstitions

We mapped 150 superstitions around the world.
December 15, 2016
Queen Elizabeth I’s Vast Spy Network Was The First Surveillance State
story
spies

Queen Elizabeth I’s Vast Spy Network Was The First Surveillance State

One of her spies signed his reports with a familiar moniker: "007."
December 07, 2016
Why Americans Consider Celebrities for Political Office
story
celebrity

Why Americans Consider Celebrities for Political Office

Trump’s celebrity past may have been his biggest political advantage.
November 10, 2016
How the Hidden Sounds of Horror Movie Soundtracks Freak You Out
story
sounds

How the Hidden Sounds of Horror Movie Soundtracks Freak You Out

From altered voices to "infrasound," these audio tricks spook and unsettle.
October 31, 2016