The world of Westeros in Game of Thrones is so impressively detailed, and the history of its characters is so well crafted, that it’s amazing George R.R. Martin could even come up with something so imaginative on his own. Of course, as we know, that’s not the case. Game of Thrones is heavily influenced by real life…
Salt. It shows up in our idioms about as often as our food. Even the word salary is derived from salarium, the term for a Roman soldier’s earned ration of salt. But one of the most ridiculous lies perpetuated about this humble mineral is that in ye olden days, salt was more valuable than gold due to its function in…
Nuclear experts say this famous photo of an apparent mushroom cloud rising above the city of Hiroshima is not what it appears to be. The towering plume is actually billowing smoke rising up from the raging firestorms that followed the explosion.
Step aside with your claims to long legacies, craft breweries! This reconstructed beer recipe is over 5,000 years old. It’s the earliest beer recipe—and the earliest known use of barley—in China.
During World War I, ships were painted in zebra stripes to deceive the enemy. The effectiveness of this “dazzle” camouflage was never quite clear, but a new study suggests that these zigzag patterns can be quite deceptive when they move.
Immigration is a hot topic in the United States right now, thanks in part to a rather blustery presidential candidate. But as this animated map created by Metrocosm reminds us, migrants have been a defining aspect of the U.S. for centuries.
Guy Gavriel Kay has carved out a unique niche, writing fantasy novels that take real-life historical settings and transforming them into something new and different. His latest novel, Children of Earth and Sky, takes place in a version of 16th century Europe that’s under threat from a version of the Ottoman Empire,…
An ancient song repertory lost since the 11th century has been reconstructed by researchers from the University of Cambridge.
Without the pendulum clock, the Industrial Revolution doesn’t happen. Without the quartz clock, the technology in the digital revolution doesn’t happen. It’s time, weirdly enough, that advanced our world. How?
Marine archaeologists working off the coast of Holland have recovered a remarkable trove of well-preserved artifacts from a ship that sank nearly 400 years ago. Among the items is a beautiful silken gown that likely belonged to royalty.
The story of how zero came to be and the history of math is actually quite fascinating! They should have taught us that instead of actual math in high school, if you ask me. Thankfully, Hannah Fry tells us in the animation story below all we need to know. There’s fascinating bits about how the number system (and zero)…
Forty years ago, an incredibly powerful collection of horror movies filled American theaters, including The Omen and Carrie. But 1976 was also a time of political turmoil and a great deal of cultural unease. These seemingly disparate facts are likely far more connected that you realize.
Archaeologists working at the Pocklington burial site in Yorkshire have discovered the 2,500-year-old skeletal remains of a high ranking warrior who was buried alongside his sword—and who had a half-dozen spears thrust into him in ritualistic fashion.
The 17th century manuscript, which was handwritten by Isaac Newton, describes a procedure for making mercury—a substance that alchemists thought could turn lead into gold.
IF Magazine was a monthly science fiction magazine that was first published in 1952, and ran through 1974, before it was merged into its sister publication, Galaxy Science Fiction. Now, you can read the entire run online over on Internet Archive.
The post-antibiotic future sounds terrifying, but here’s one upside you didn’t imagine: swilling Viking crunk juice to stay alive. New research suggests that mead, the vitality drink of gods and berserkers alike, was a potent medicine in ancient times. And with science, we can make it even better.
This is so cool: National Geographic has put together a neat video composed entirely of paper that gives you a brief primer of London’s history, starting 40,000 years ago.
On January 28, 1986, America watched on television as the space shuttle Challenger—carrying six astronauts and one schoolteacher—disappeared in a twisting cloud of smoke, nine miles above the launch pad it had just left. To a stunned nation, it appeared that seven lives had instantly been lost.
More than a thousand years before the first telescopes, Babylonian astronomers tracked the motion of planets across the night sky using simple arithmetic. But a newly translated text reveals that these ancient stargazers also used a far more advanced method, one that foreshadows the development of calculus over a…
People in the past were as interested in how the world worked as we are. Authors and illustrated produced works to cater to that interest—including an incredibly bizarre “flap book” that shows what human insides look like. Now you can look at the whole thing online.