Topic: history

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Petrified Forest National Park & how petrified wood is made

Fallen coniferous trees from 211-218 million years ago can be found scattered across the desert of eastern Arizona in the form of petrified wood. Made primarily from quartz, these geological wonders are actually fossi...

The Story of Zero – Getting Something from Nothing

Once upon a time, zero wasn’t really a number. Its journey to the fully fledged number we know and love today was a meandering one. Today, zero is both a placeholder, and tool, within our number system signifying an a...

A Vault of Color: Protecting the World’s Rarest Pigments

In Cambridge, Massachusetts, you can find dragon's blood, mummy, and a very rare ball of dried urine from cows that have been fed nothing but mango leaves (now considered a harmful process for the cows). These things ...

Space Rocks: Comets, asteroids, meteors, & meteorites

This claymation primer on comets, asteroids, meteoroids, meteors, and meteorites helps us learn about Space Rocks in a super adorable way. Made by Beakus for the Royal Observatory Greenwich, the animation is one in a ...

How To Make A Mini da Vinci Catapult

It's true that you can buy da Vinci Catapult kits online, but how cool would it be to build one from scratch? Andy Elliott shares how he made a mini da Vinci Catapult from a wooden folding ruler, screws, and some work...

The Science of Skin Color – TED Ed

When ultraviolet sunlight hits our skin, it affects each of us differently. Depending on skin color, it’ll take only minutes of exposure to turn one person beetroot-pink, while another requires hours to experience the...

Evidence of evolution that you can find on your body

Signs of our evolutionary history can be found in the form of vestigial structures on the human body. Watch this Vox video to help identify the evidence of evolution in yours. Some background via Wikipedia: Vestig...

Motorized Bath on Wheels

Travel back to England in the year 1960 to see how these engineering students from Kingston, Surrey Technical College made a splash with a bath tub... a motorized bath tub, perfect for driving around the center of tow...

Melodious stone instruments called lithophones

An idiophone, the lithophone is a set of rocks -- granite, fossilized coral, petrified wood, and other melodious stones -- that are played by striking them. They've been made in a variety of forms all around the globe...

How does Leap Year work?

What is Leap Year, why do we have it, and how does it work? Vox explains and explores another question: When do leap year babies -- born on the rare date of February 29th -- celebrate their birthdays? This is an ex...

Making charcoal, baskets, & stone hatchets – Primitive Technology

In the modern world, we pick up a bag of charcoal at the market if we want our fires to start easily and get hot quickly. But what did humans from the past do when they wanted their fires to burn hot enough to, say, s...

ALMA, a telescope so powerful it can see into the past

There’s a telescope deep in Chile’s Atacama Desert that takes pictures so massive that it requires a supercomputer as powerful as 16 million PCs to decipher the images. This is the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA...

LIGO & The First Observation of Gravitational Waves – CalTech

On September 14, 2015 at 5:51am ET, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) detected ripples in the fabric of spacetime. One hundred years after Albert Einstein predicted the existence of gravit...

Preparing Pilcher’s Hawk to fly again

According to Wikipedia, The Hawk was the fourth flying machine that British inventor Percy Pilcher built in the 1890s. Following Bat, Beetle, and Gull hang gliders, Pilcher's Hawk broke the world distance record in 18...

40,000 years of London history created with papercraft

Peel back the pavement of a grand old city like London and you can find just about anything, from a first-century Roman fresco to a pair of medieval ice skates—even an elephant’s tooth. As one of Europe’s oldest capit...

Making a cord drill & pump drill from sticks & rocks

How far can you go without using modern technology? As a hobby, YouTuber Primitive Technology explores this question by making simple tools from scratch using no modern tools or materials. In the video above, he craft...

Driving a Ford Model T at the Henry Ford Museum

In 1908, Henry Ford started selling the Model T, nicknamed the Tin Lizzie, as the first affordable car that everyone could drive, but driving the car "that started it all" is quite different than driving today's cars....

The iPhone of Slide Rules – Numberphile

From Numberphile, science and math writer Alex Bellos introduces the slide rule and then shares "the iPhone of Slide Rules" -- the Halden Calculex. On the pocket-sized disk made in Manchester, circa 1906, CollectingMe...

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