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The story of Laocoön, the Trojan priest who was attacked and killed along with his two sons by giant serpents for attempting to expose the ruse of the Trojan Horse, is well-known in Greek mythology. Laocoön’s tragic tale has been retold by numerous Greek poets such as Apollodorus and Quintus Smyrnaeus. The latter gave a detailed description of Laocoön's grisly fate in his epic poem Posthomeri Read More »
The city of Saint Petersburg is one of the most beautiful cities in Russia and in eastern Europe, with a great ensemble of historic buildings, gilded palaces, and baroque bridges and churches. Founded by Peter the Great as a “window to Europe” Saint Petersburg’s has a very cosmopolitan character, unique among Russian cities, but behind all the gilt and glory lurks a darker past, going back by les Read More »
In 1926, a 2,000-ton steel-hulled schooner named Buckau made an extraordinary crossing across the Atlantic. Although the Buckau was technically a sailing ship, it had no sails—at least, not conventional ones. Rather than thin masts and billowing sheets of white, the Buckau had two huge cylinders that rose from its deck and spun. By a physical phenomenon called the Magnus Effect, the spinning pol Read More »
What’s in a wall but a simple structure to keep intruders out, you might say. But a surprising amount of thought goes behind the construction of some. One example is the crinkle-crankle wall, popular in the county of Suffolk, in east England. The alternating curves of the crinkle-crankle wall prevents the wall from toppling over without the need for buttressing. Another unusual wall is the quirki Read More »
Hat-making in the 18th and 19th centuries was a hazardous business, because it involved the use of many chemicals, one of which was the toxic substance mercury. Working in poorly ventilated rooms, hat-makers breathed in so much mercury fumes that a good number of them were driven out of their wits by mercury-induced brain damage. Mercury poisoning among hat-makers is widely believed to be the ori Read More »
Johann Josef Loschmidt is a name that might not ring many bells, yet everyone who took chemistry in junior college had surely come across Loschmidt’s groundbreaking contribution to science. Loschmidt calculated the exact number of elementary units (atoms or molecules) that one mole of a substance contains—a number that bears the name of an Italian scientist, which is unfortunate, because even thi Read More »
Londoners are no stranger to the cold, but on the morning of December 5, 1952, the sting of winter was felt worse than ever. The cold had the British capital on a grip for weeks, and that morning a temperature inversion had caused the chilled and stagnant air to get trapped close to the ground, causing temperature to drop even further. As the city began to wake up, coal fireplaces were lighted Read More »
Hitler’s megalomaniac plans for Germany included a monumental new railway. This railway was supposed to connect the most important cities in Greater Germany with trains 7 meters high, carrying up to 4,000 passengers, at speeds of 200 kilometers per hour. Breitspurbahn, or broad-gauge railway in German, was typical of every project the small-mustached sociopath had ever dreamed of—massive in scop Read More »
In the days before automobiles, when streets were meant for horses and their carts mostly, walking through mud and excrement was an unavoidable part of life in the cities. However, what was unacceptable then, and is still now, is treading into homes with muddy boots. But a simple doormat was not enough to get rid of the filth that stuck to ones shoes. What was needed was a shoe scraper. These wer Read More »
The Ruhr valley in North Rhine-Westphalia was once Germany’s industrial heartland producing coal and steel, the two very essential raw materials of industrialization itself. Coal was mined here for at least four hundred years, usually from shallow drift mines along the Ruhr river. But with the start of the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century, the demand for coal and steel increased and the Read More »
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High Speed Photos of Bullets Through Water Drops
High Speed Photos of Bullets Through Water Drops
Highbury Square: A 93-Year-Old Football Stadium Converted Into Apartments
Highbury Square: A 93-Year-Old Football Stadium Converted Into Apartments
Hiljainen Kansa: The Silent People of Suomussalmi, Finland
Hiljainen Kansa: The Silent People of Suomussalmi, Finland
Hill of the Buddha
Hill of the Buddha
Historian Discovers 800 Year Old Doodles in Old Books
Historian Discovers 800 Year Old Doodles in Old Books
Historic Black and White Photos Restored in Color
Historic Black and White Photos Restored in Color
Historic Dollhouses Capture 300 Years of British Domestic Life
Historic Dollhouses Capture 300 Years of British Domestic Life
Historic Panoramic Paintings And Cycloramas
Historic Panoramic Paintings And Cycloramas