The Playboy Serbian Spy Who Inspired James Bond
His name was Popov. Dusko Popov. As a Serbian double agent during the Second World War, Popov was an expert gambler, known womaniser and even crossed paths with James Bond’s creator Ian Fleming. But was he really the inspiration behind 007?
The Deadliest Disaster At Sea Killed Thousands, Yet Its Story Is Little-Known
In the final months of World War II, 75 years ago, German citizens and soldiers fleeing the Soviet army died when the “Wilhelm Gustloff” sank. The death toll from its sinking numbered in the thousands, some put it as high as 9,000.
How The Bauhaus Kept The Nazis at Bay, Until It Couldn’t
There are few symbols of Modernist design and architecture more iconic than the Bauhaus building in Dessau. The art school’s brief run in Germany shows not a simple dichotomy, but rather how, to varying degrees of bravery, individuals tried to survive under tyranny.
The Secret Soviet Radar Hidden In Chernobyl’s Shadow
In a remote forest, a few kilometres from the Chernobyl power plant, the huge Duga-2 radar tower stands as relic of Soviet mismanagement.
That Time We Almost Built 8 Gigawatt-class Floating Nuclear Power Plants
In 1969, at the height of the First Nuclear Era, an engineer at New Jersey’s PSE&G utility company named Richard Eckert wondered, what if huge nuclear plants could be built in serial at a production facility, put on a barge, and floated to sites out at sea?
The Many Lives Of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”
Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” has been covered by more than 300 other artists in virtually every genre. It’s an impressive feat by any standard, but even more so when you consider that “Hallelujah” was originally stuck on side two of an album that Cohen’s record label deemed unfit for release.
The History Of CTRL + ALT + DELETE
In 2013, Bill Gates admitted ctrl+alt+del was a mistake and blamed IBM. With the del key across the keyboard from the other two, it seemed unlikely that all three would be accidentally pressed at the same time. Here’s the story of how the key combination became famous in the first place.
The Love Story That Shocked The World
When Seretse Khama, an African prince, and Ruth Williams, a white middle-class clerk from Lloyd’s underwriters, got married in 1948, it provoked shock in Britain and Africa. Khama was exiled from Great Britain and later became the first president of Botswana when it became an independent country.
Spanish Flu: A Warning From History
Celebrations marking the end of the First World War were cut short by the onslaught of a devastating disease – the 1918-19 influenza pandemic. The University of Cambridge has made a new film exploring what we have learnt about Spanish Flu, the urgent threat posed by influenza today, and how scientists are preparing for future pandemics.
1980s Teenagers And Their Bedroom Walls
Desire, adoration, safety, identity and escape are all there on the teenager’s bedroom walls. In the 1980s, these teenagers were photographed in their bedrooms – the place where they go to dream.
The City Where They Murdered Yugoslavia
The Bosnian War happened because a war criminal in waiting didn’t care where his ideology led him. Ratko Mladic did not believe in Yugoslavia. But he did believe in the unity of his people. And in his attempt to get to that natural dead end, he would destroy the dream of Gavrilo Princip. He would destroy all the work of Tito.
“This Land Is Your Land”, The Story Behind America’s Best-Known Protest Song
On its most basic level, “This Land Is Your Land” is a song about inclusion and equality—the American ideal broken down into simple, eloquent language and set to a melody you memorize on first listen. But there’s more to “This Land Is Your Land” than many people realize.
The Lost Neighborhood Under New York’s Central Park
A story that goes back to the 1820s, when that part of New York was largely open countryside. Among them was a predominantly black community. It became known as Seneca Village. And when Irish and German immigrants moved in, it became a rare example at the time of an integrated neighborhood.
To Defy The United States, Fidel Castro Built The World’s Greatest Ice Cream Parlor
When the United States announced a total embargo in 1962, cutting Cuba off from the American dairy market, Castro found himself the leader of a milk-free island that was too warm for dairy cows. Undaunted, he demanded, in 1966, the construction of the greatest ice cream parlor the world had ever seen. Visitors to Havana can still eat there today.
Work, Protest And Play On The Streets Of Hackney
During the 1970s and first half of the 80s photographer Neil Martinson recorded the lives of those who lived and worked in Hackney, east London. At that time, children still played in the street and on old bomb sites yet to be developed.
Who Invented The Wheel? And How Did They Do It?
The wagon—and the wagon wheel—could not have been put together in stages. Either it works, or it doesn’t. And it enabled humans to spread rapidly into huge parts of the world.
Hiroshima, The Stories Of Six Survivors Of The Atomic Bomb
A hundred thousand people were killed by the atomic bomb, and these six were among the survivors. They still wonder why they lived when so many others died. Each of them counts many small items of chance or volition that spared him.
The Rise And Fall Of Delia’s, The Catalog That Ruled America
For a few years around the millennium, Delia’s and its direct-to-consumer catalogs were the hottest brand in the country. It was a glimpse of things to come. At its peak, 55 million copies were sent out to girls across the country every year.
Revisiting The Infamous, Twisted, Now-Defunct Presidential Fitness Test
Way back in the 1950s, an Austro-Hungarian physical educator named Dr. Hans Kraus developed a 90-second fitness evaluation with his colleague Sonja Weber of the New York Presbyterian Hospital. It involved a series of six different movements which tested for basic strength and flexibility.
A Mysterious 25,000-Year-Old Structure Built Of The Bones Of 60 Mammoths
A jaw-dropping example of Ice Age architecture has been unearthed on Russia’s forest steppe. But exactly why hunter-gatherers enduring the frigid realities of life 25,000 years ago would construct the 40-foot diameter building is a fascinating question.