The Forgotten Story Of Pure Hell, America’s First Black Punk Band
When it comes to the history of punk music, there are few bands who have been as overlooked as Pure Hell. The four-piece lived with the New York Dolls and played with Sid Vicious, but they’ve been largely written out of cultural history.
The Jewish Racing Driver Who Beat The Nazis
In the 1930s, Adolf Hitler funded the most powerful racing program in the world. An American heiress, a Jewish driver, and a struggling French automaker banded together to defeat them on the racetrack.
What Fruits And Vegetables Looked Like Before Humans Intervened
The fruits and vegetables we know and love are a lot more complicated than you’d think. They didn’t always look like they do. In fact, it took decades of human intervention to transform them into the delicious, nutrient-rich morsels they are today.
Death In The Alps
Two planes from the same airline crashed in the same spot in the Alps, 16 years apart. Now the glaciers of Chamonix are melting. And as the ice turns to water, it is releasing secrets that have stayed frozen for the past 60 years.
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 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 Ancient Tombs Kept Under Lock And Key
A sense of mystery surrounds the keyhole-shaped kofun tombs in Japan. Although the iconic Mozu Tombs in Sakai city, Osaka have recently been awarded UNESCO World Heritage status, surprisingly little is actually known about these intriguing monuments, kept under lock and key by the Japanese government.
The Death Of The Hippies
Professional photographer Joe Samberg remembers how drugs destroyed Berkeley’s Telegraph Avenue scene. Still, the hippies did end up having a lasting impact on American culture—even if it wasn’t quite the one they’d intended.
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.
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 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.
Remembering The Nucleon, Ford’s 1958 Nuclear-powered Concept Car That Never Was
Nearly 30 years before the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, engineers at Ford designed and made a 3/8 scale model of a car, which it said would be powered by a nuclear reactor in the trunk.
Old Tech’s New Wave, Or Why We Still Love Faxes, Pagers And Cassettes
Once seen as cutting edge, many of yesterday’s gadgets are – surprisingly – still in use or are making a comeback. But why is it that we are turning to retro solutions more frequently?
Into The Unknown
It was December 14, 1912. Thirty years old, already a seasoned explorer, Douglas Mawson was the leader of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition (AAE), a 31-man team pursuing the most ambitious exploration yet of the southern continent. What followed was one of the most terrifying survival stories of all time.
The Fall Of The Berlin Wall In Pictures
East Berliners get helping hands from West Berliners as they climb the Berlin Wall, which had divided the city since the end of World War II, near the Brandenburg Gate, early morning, Nov. 10, 1989. Germans celebrated the opening order that was announced by the East German Communist government hours before.
How We’ll Forget John Lennon
The report, “The universal decay of collective memory and attention,” concludes that people and things are kept alive through “oral communication” from about five to 30 years. They then pass into written and online records, where they experience a slower, longer decline.
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.
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.
The True Story Of Erroll Garner, The First Artist To Sue A Major Label And Win
You have to dial back to 1960 to find the major precedent: when star jazz pianist Erroll Garner sued Columbia Records for breaking his contract — and won after a nearly three-year battle in a New York Supreme Court decision. It was a landmark case that has been largely forgotten.
The Girl In The Box: The Mysterious Crime That Shocked Germany
After class on Tuesday 15 September 1981, the first day of the new school year, a 10-year-old girl named Ursula Herrmann returned to her house in Eching. She never arrived. So began one of Germany’s most notorious postwar criminal cases, which remains contentious to this day.
In 1933, Two Rebellious Women Bought A Home In Virginia’s Woods. Then The CIA Moved In.
The year was 1933, and Northern Virginia was still the countryside, even with Washington just across the Potomac. So it was the ideal retreat for Florence Thorne and Margaret Scattergood, two pioneers of the American labor movement who defied the gender expectations of their time.