Classical Japanese swimming, also known as Nihon Eiho, is composed of several centuries-old aquatic activities, which include writing calligraphy while treading water and swimming in a 40-pound suit of armor. Continue reading The modern Japanese sport of samurai swimming
Both thespians, the Wilkes brothers played drastically different parts off-stage. Continue reading When the brother of John Wilkes Booth saved Lincoln’s son
Link Wray’s 1958 guitar classic riled the polite segments of society while solidifying the sound of hard rock for decades to come. Continue reading Rumble: The story behind the only instrumental banned from the radio
Popular culture has long heralded thermal imaging as the pinnacle of surveillance technology. But now infrared cameras have found — or haven’t found — their kryptonite. Continue reading Infrared cameras can’t see polar bears
The largest library in antiquity did not amass its collection through innocuous means alone. While some of the over half a million manuscripts housed in the library were purchased, many were taken or embezzled. Continue reading The illicit origin of the Library of Alexandria’s books
The superstition of knocking on wood traces its origins back to the ancient Romans and Greeks, who performed the ritual for religious purposes. Continue reading Why do we knock on wood?
Some of the names illustrate the Roman Empire’s legacy on the modern world, while the others were selected by the Anglo-Saxons who invaded Britain from the 5th to the 7th centuries. Continue reading Where did the days of the week get their names?
Unlike today’s retro-themed, Elvis-playing juke joints that rely on novelty and nostalgia, fifty years ago, the old-fashioned American diner was still the culinary standard for motorists looking for a convenient place to belly up to a pie-stocked counter and slurp down a milkshake. Across the country, these small mom-and-pop-owned venues — once called “coffee shops” but resembling nothing like today’s havens for laptop-lugging hipsters — … Continue reading Who killed the classic American diner?
When the CIA and KGB began their decades-long espionage war in the latter half of the 1940s, the Bearing Strait between Alaska and Siberia became a key strategic battleground. Realizing Anchorage was closer in distance to Berlin than it was to Seattle, intelligence analysts predicted that the far north could become the main front in a future ground war between the United States and the … Continue reading Operation Footloose: The Cold War dance-off for Inuit loyalty
Milo of Croton, the most accomplished Olympic wrestler in antiquity, was renowned for his Herculean feats of strength, which included snapping a band tied around his temple just by furrowing his brow as well as single-handedly carrying his own bronze statue to its final resting place. Of course, ancient athletes like Milo in the 6th century B.C. did not have access to cable-weight machines, elastic … Continue reading Grab fitness by the horns: Workout like ancient Olympian Milo of Croton