In A Disaster, Humans Can Behave… Pretty Well, Actually
In his new book, Jon Mooallem tells the story of the Great Alaska Earthquake and Genie Chance, the woman whose voice on the radio held everyone together. It’s a beautiful exploration of how people tell stories on the radio, on stage, in books, and generally to each other.
When Artists, Engineers, And Pepsico Collaborated, Then Clashed At The 1970 World’s Fair
A year and a half in the making, the Pepsi Pavilion drew eager crowds and elicited effusive reviews. Just a month after the opening, the partnership with Experiments in Art and Technology—E.A.T.—collapsed amidst a flurry of recriminating letters and legal threats.
The Great Affordability Crisis Breaking America
In one of the best decades the American economy has ever recorded, families were bled dry by landlords, hospital administrators, university bursars, and child-care centers. For millions, a roaring economy felt precarious or downright terrible.
Inside The Failure Of Google+, A Very Expensive Attempt To Unseat Facebook
Create a social network or risk everything. That was the original pitch for Google’s Facebook rival, Google+, a refrain hammered over and over by the social network’s chief architect, Vic Gundotra, in meetings with the company’s top brass.
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.
“Balloonfest”, The Spectacle That Became A Tragedy
In September 1986, the city of Cleveland attempted to set a special record: the simultaneous launch of 1.5 million balloons. But fate intervened, and the result was both crazier and more tragic than anyone could have imagined.
Who Owns South Africa?
The Glen Grey Act was the first piece of legislation to enshrine in law the residential separation of the races. It was also the basis for the notorious Natives Land Act of 1913, which in its final form allocated a mere thirteen percent of all arable land to the black majority.
The Dark Side Of Charisma
Charisma is a force that can rally people during difficult times, but it can also blind people and lead them to accept unwise actions, policies or conditions. And when it comes to leadership, political and professional, charisma matters more than we’d probably like to admit.
What We Know About Mental Fatigue
A temporary and localized fuel shortage triggers a rise in adenosine levels, which in turn blocks the release of neurotransmitters like dopamine. The result is a rise in perception of effort and a decrease in motivation—in other words, a feeling of mental fatigue.
Escape From The Matrix
The fear of missing out, a spawn of technological advancement and proliferating social information, is the feeling that we’re missing out on something more exciting, more important, or more interesting going on somewhere else. FoMO haunts our social networks and our real lives alike. But there is a way to break free.
100 Years Ago In Photos: A Look Back At 1919
A century ago, the Treaty of Versailles was signed, as much of the world was still recovering from the devastation of World War I. Rebuilding was just beginning, refugees were returning home, orphans were being cared for, and a global influenza outbreak was being battled.
The British Once Built A 1,100-Mile Hedge Through The Middle Of India
There was nothing charming about what the British built. It wasn’t meant to protect anything except imperial revenue. It grew along the Inland Customs Line, a bureaucratic barrier that the British created to impose a high salt tax on the people living on one side of the line—the relatively saltless one.
When The iPhone Nearly Killed A Nation
Nokia dominated the first decade of the cellphone boom, becoming a beloved brand around the world and pumping billions of dollars into the Finnish economy. Then, along came Steve Jobs and his iPhone in 2007 and ruined everything. Tens of thousands of jobs were lost. Nokia sold its phone business to Microsoft. And Finns took a serious hit to their country pride.
The Very Dramatic $3,000,000 Qantas Airlines Heist
Just after midday on May 26th 1971, Australian authorities received a call from a mysterious Mr. Brown claiming that a Qantas flight from Sydney to Hong Kong was carrying a bomb. He then claimed that he would disclose the location of the onboard bomb in return for a hefty sum.
Henry Lee Lucas Was Considered America’s Most Prolific Serial Killer. But He Was Really a Serial Liar.
Henry Lee Lucas provided accounts that closed 197 murder cases, but now, a new five-part Netflix series is exploring the still-mounting evidence that almost all of these confessions were lies—and that hundreds of actual murderers have gone free.
Fifty Years After The ‘Black 14’ Were Banished, Wyoming Football Reckons With The Past
It had been nearly 50 years since the University of Wyoming banished 14 black players from its football team, but the decades-old dispute was all Tom Burman could think about as he guided his car across the grain-colored plains stretching from the Denver airport to campus.
Is An Island Off Cuba The Last Surviving Piece Of East Germany?
The Unification Treaty signed in August 1990 re-Germanied the Germanies, and that West Germany (now known as “Germany”) inherited East Germany’s territories. But there may have been a tiny oversight. Turns out, there could still be a sliver of the Deutsche Demokratische Republik remaining in the Caribbean, just west of Cuba’s Bay of Pigs.
In Search Of Russia’s Lost Gold
Before World War I, Russia possessed the third-largest gold reserve in the world, bested only by the US and France. During the Russian Revolution, the Bolsheviks captured the entirety of Tsar Nicholas II’s family gold reserve – or so they thought.
Who Killed Sweden’s Prime Minister?
Three decades ago, Olof Palme was assassinated on Stockholm’s busiest street. The killer has never been found. Could the discovery of new evidence finally close the case?
How Scientists Imagined And Built An Undersea Utopia For Humans
During the late 1960s many believed revolutionary social and political change was imminent, and Jacques Cousteau was no exception. Soon there would be “undersea parliaments and new nations,” he wrote; “poets, architects, and painters would be needed to give expression” to this “new world.”
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.