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Two Apollo 15 crew members, riding a Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV) simulator, participate in geology training at the Cinder Lake crater field in Arizona. Before the Apollo astronauts set foot on the moon, they underwent a routine of rigorous training in order to prepare themselves for the mission. While much of the training took place inside classrooms, simulators and at testing facilities, NASA a Read More »
Two thousand years ago, the debauched Roman emperor Caligula ordered the construction of two large floating pleasure barges on the relatively small Lake Nemi so that he could indulge in many of the depravities attributed to him. Lake Nemi is a small, shallow crater lake in the Alban Hills, approximately 30 km southeast of Rome, that has long been a vacation getaway for Romans, and now Italians, f Read More »
One of the most perilous positions in the crew of a German Zeppelin during the First World War was that of the aerial lookout, whose job was to observe the ground for enemy position and bombing targets while dangling at the end of a long tether suspended from the belly of the aircraft. The lookout sat in an observation car called the spy gondola or spy basket that was lowered from the zeppelin th Read More »
Less than two months ago, the renowned British travel agency Thomas Cook laid off more than 21,000 employees the world over and liquidated its assets, bringing to an end an era that lasted 178 years. At the time they folded, the company was pulling in more than £9.5 billion in revenue per year and making a profit of £163 million—a hardly partly sum. In the past few years, we have seen many corpor Read More »
In the summer of 1978, the World Health Organization stood on the brink of a remarkable achievement—smallpox, the disease that terrorized people for three thousand years and killed millions, had been eradicated through a rigorous mass vaccination program lasting 10 years. The last reported case of smallpox was in October the previous year, ten months ago. A 23-year-old cook named Ali Maow Maalin, Read More »
The St John and All Saints Church in the town of Easingwold, in North Yorkshire, England, dates to the 13th century, or perhaps even earlier. It’s a typical mediaeval-era English parish church with stone walls and slate roof and large Gothic three-light pointed windows. Inside the church is a 17th century communion table with 'gouty' legs and a curious addition—a coffin. The oak coffin in Read More »
Nearly two centuries ago, a small hamlet lying between Liverpool and Manchester became host to one of the strangest competitions ever held. The Liverpool and Manchester Railway had just completed laying the rails but they were unsure whether to use a self-propelled steam locomotive or a static winding engine to pull passenger wagons by cables. In the end they decided to hold a competition to find Read More »
For a country as technological advanced as Great Britain, it sounds almost implausible when you say that the British do not have a space program. But fifty years ago, they almost did only to have the parliament throw it away, becoming the first, and so far, the only nation to develop satellite launch capability and then abandon it. © Amusing Planet, 2019. Read More »
Following the end of World War 2, Germany was broken up and divided among the Allies as one divides war booty. The western half was occupied by the United States, the United Kingdom and France, while the eastern half went to the Soviets. Berlin itself was divided into four zones, but it was completely surrounded by the Soviet-controlled Eastern Bloc. This allowed the Soviets to act as gatekeeper Read More »
For much of human history, privacy during bedtime was an alien concept. Many poor families lived in small houses, where there was only one or two rooms, the larger of which functioned as bedroom and living room both shared by every occupant of the house, including any guests. Even in large houses and palaces, it was not uncommon for servants to sleep in the same room as the master’s. When King He Read More »
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The Wild Horses of Namib Desert
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