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Archive

If you prefer to read our archives from the comfort of an e-reader, and/or if audiobooks are your cup of tea, we can help one another.

☆ = Greatest Hits
Title Type Author Words Published
Of Meteors and Men
In the early 1960s, General Electric proposed a system whereby an astronaut in a space emergency might abandon ship and return to the Earth. The system w...
Nugget Alan Bellows 348 2017-08-21
Of Earwax and Ethnicity
One way of determining a person’s likely ethnicity is looking inside their ears. Simply put, there are two kinds of earwax: dry and white, or wet and b...
Nugget Christine Ro 93 2017-08-14
National Treasure
Inside America's Mount Rushmore National Monument there is a "secret" chamber known as the Hidden Hall of Records. Therein, under a 1,200 pound granite c...
Nugget Alan Bellows 241 2017-08-02
Ghoulish Acts & Dastardly Deeds
In the 1950s, an anonymous terrorist planted a pipe bomb in a New York City public space. Then another. And another.
Article Alan Bellows 7374 2017-07-31
No Country For Ye Olde Men
Britain’s practice of transporting convicts to American colonies was a fearsome punishment, but not for the chronic criminal James Dalton.
Article Christine Ro 1710 2017-07-19
Well-Rounded
The most perfectly spherical object ever observed by mankind is the electron. In a series of experiments led by physicist Jony Hudson at Imperial College...
Nugget Alan Bellows 149 2017-07-13
The Making of the Archetypal Englishman
Jonas Hanway (1712–1786) may be the most contradictory character ever involved in the formation of British culture. On the one hand, he was likely the ...
Nugget J. A. Macfarlane 260 2017-07-06
Emphasis Mine
Many people have experienced the odd psychological sensation that results from repeating a word until it no longer seems to have any meaning. This is a r...
Nugget Marisa Brook 105 2017-06-30
Fire and Dice
The story of a tragic hotel fire of Rube Goldberg proportions.
Article Jennifer Noonan 3424 2017-06-13
The Reconstruction of Ulysses S. Grant
As a civilian, the beloved American Civil War general and two-term president failed at every attempt to make money. Except for one.
Article Michael Durbin 3963 2017-04-11
Short of Giants
In the 17th Century there was a shortage of giants in Europe, and only one man was to blame. The giant-greedy Frederick the First of Prussia. The king...
Nugget Brendan Mackie 218 2017-03-30
The Lonely Tower
A single apartment sits at the top of an ancient tower in the middle of the Jordanian desert. The tower at Um er-Rasas stands 46-feet-tall with no door, ...
Nugget Jennifer Colton-Jones 230 2017-03-17
The Greatest Baroque Composer Never Known
A 300-year-old hunt for the unsung hero of Salzburg.
Article Jennifer Noonan 2432 2017-03-07
Fluid Identity
When a caterpillar enters the chrysalis stage, it is not merely sprouting wings to become a moth or butterfly. Enzymes inside the chrysalis completely di...
Nugget Alan Bellows 173 2017-02-23
Tastes on a Plane
Consumption of tomato juice is unusually popular on commercial airline flights. For example, German airline Lufthansa estimates they serve about 53,000 g...
Nugget Monica Traphagan 252 2017-01-12
Foreign Exchange(s)
He made a name for himself organizing the world’s most important economic conference, only to have it tarnished by an outrageous accusation.
Article Michael Durbin 4593 2016-12-29
Starving for Answers
During WWII, 36 American conscientious objectors volunteered as subjects in a brutal science experiment to measure the body's response to starvation.
Article Erika Nesvold 2063 2016-12-01
Do Not Go Lulled Into That Good Night
While today’s vision of the conductor is that of the be-tuxedoed individual standing in front of an orchestra holding a thin strip of wood, the baton i...
Nugget J. A. Macfarlane 305 2016-11-17
Poor Execution
Jack Ketch was a man in need of a career change. As the official executioner during King Charles II’s 17th-century reign, Ketch handled a number of pol...
Nugget Christine Ro 192 2016-11-08
The Voyager Golden Record Experience
Announcing our online audiovisual interactive version of the Voyager golden records.
Announcement Alan Bellows 859 2016-10-31
Double Life
Billy Tipton was a jazz musician and bandleader who gained a following in the Pacific Northwest during the 1940s and 1950s. He retired from music and ado...
Nugget Monica Traphagan 208 2016-10-14
Ten Minutes in Lituya Bay
A remote bay in Alaska is home to an odd and occasionally catastrophic geology. In 1958, a handful of people experienced this firsthand.
Article Alan Bellows 3367 2016-09-30
A Googol by Any Other Name
When inventing a name for an imaginary and/or ridiculous object or concept, the best resource is often a child. A clear example of this arrived in the la...
Nugget Erika Nesvold 325 2016-09-22
Titan the Bolts
On 18 September 1980, an Air Force airman was conducting routine maintenance high in the missile silo at a Titan II nuclear launch complex in Arkansas. I...
Nugget Alan Bellows 229 2016-09-13
No Touching
On 31 May 1880, 19-year-old Sunandha Kumariratana, queen of Thailand, was aboard a boat en route to the Bang Pa-In Royal Palace when her vessel suddenly ...
Nugget Monica Traphagan 134 2016-09-12
The Sack of Champagne
It is a cliché that Shakespeare ranks among the great inventors of the English language, a commonly-believed fallacy that his vocabulary was larger than...
Nugget J. A. Macfarlane 380 2016-09-01
Going Under
Among other things, former president Lyndon Baines Johnson was known for his collection of unique automobiles, which he referred to as his "presidential ...
Nugget Monica Traphagan 139 2016-08-24
Internationally Adored
Merriam-Webster may be one of the most respected names in the dictionary business, but the giant isn't always perfect. In 1934, the company released an e...
Nugget Jennifer Colton-Jones 177 2016-08-11
The King's Letters
The 15th-century scholar who upset the Korean aristocracy by creating a native script for the Korean language, and thus wean it off Chinese characters.
Article Marisa Brook & Christine Ro 2739 2016-08-08
Victory in Death
Frank Hayes must have been excited as he climbed into the saddle on 04 June 1923. While the 35-year-old horse trainer and stableman had plenty of experie...
Nugget Erika Nesvold 265 2016-08-04
Mind-warping Knowledge
Before London taxi drivers are allowed to convey paying customers in their renowned black cabs, they must be ‘of good character’, in a reasonable sta...
Nugget Matt Castle 259 2016-07-06
The Cantaloupe Peril
Serving your melon with a layer of prosciutto around it may simply seem like one of the many lovely contributions of Italian cuisine to the summer menu, ...
Nugget J. A. Macfarlane 242 2016-07-01
Unpresidented Situation
The framers of the United States Constitution explicitly forbade the United States from granting titles of nobility in Article I, Section 9, Clause 8, al...
Nugget Alan Bellows 232 2016-06-27
The (Very Brief) Republic of Rose Island
In the late 1960s, an Italian engineer named Giorgio Rosa oversaw the construction of an artificial platform in the Adriatic Sea about 4,500 square-feet ...
Nugget Marisa Brook 179 2016-06-24
Mobilis In Mobili
A 1930s effort to reach the Earth's northernmost point via antiquated submarine.
Article Gustaf Hildebrand 3406 2016-06-14
Law Suit
In 1993, in an effort to avoid bad press, a zoo in Toluca, Mexico sought to quickly and quietly replace a gorilla that had died under their care. A group...
Nugget Alan Bellows 181 2016-06-10
All Together Now
In 1964, The Beatles traveled across the pond for a series of tour dates that would be their first in North America. Among those dates was a show on 11 S...
Nugget Monica Traphagan 140 2016-06-08
Vicary-ous
Market researcher James Vicary became well-known for a 1957 study attesting to the efficacy of subliminal advertising. His description of his experiment ...
Nugget Marisa Brook 151 2016-06-03
The Prince of Icebergs
In October 1977, the city of Ames, Iowa hosted the International Conference on Iceberg Utilization. The conference was sponsored by the Saudi prince Moha...
Nugget Christine Ro 144 2016-06-01
Cut It Out
Inés Ramírez Pérez of Rio Talea, Mexico, is known for being one of the only confirmed people to have successfully completed a Caesarian section on herself.
Nugget Marisa Brook 461 2016-05-30
Poster Child
In 1935, Sonne ins Haus (The Sun in the Home) was one of the few magazines allowed to circulate in Nazi Germany.
Nugget Alan Bellows 164 2016-05-29
Into the Bewilderness
Charles Waterton was a pioneer of conservation. He was also extremely nutty, in ways that suggest he may have over-identified with his animal subjects.
Article Christine Ro 2536 2016-05-13
Colonels of Truth
The tumultuous true story of the life of a fast food icon.
Article Alan Bellows 7754 2016-03-15
89, 263, 201, 500, 337, 480
A set of three encrypted notes from the nineteenth century purportedly describe the location of hidden treasure in Virginia.
Article Marisa Brook 2174 2015-12-17
The Japanese Art of Self-Preservation
On the ancient Japanese Buddhist practice of self-mummification.
Article Erika Nesvold 1467 2015-11-30
Faxes From the Far Side
The 1950s-era Soviet mission to first photograph the far side of the moon.
Audio Alan Bellows 2651 2015-10-23
The Petticoat Rebellion of 1916
When women in a poorly administered Oregon town hacked an election in order to repair the town's problems.
Article Jennifer Colton-Jones 1618 2015-10-12
The First Ten Years
We pause to observe the tenth anniversary of our site's founding.
Audio Alan Bellows 3055 2015-09-10
Up in the Air
Two families come up with an ambitious and dangerous plan to escape from authoritarian East Germany in the 1970s.
Article Marisa Brook 3972 2015-08-03
Updated: A Special Note to the Writers at The Dollop
Dear The Dollop podcast: Please stop plagiarizing our content. Sincerely, the unwilling authors of some of your episodes.
Announcement Alan Bellows 3567 2015-07-09
The Zero-Armed Bandit
The story of a treacherous contraption that appeared mysteriously in a Lake Tahoe casino.
Article Alan Bellows 8585 2015-06-16
The Derelict
A series of accidents and errors amass into disaster at sea. But that's not the end of the story.
Article Alan Bellows 7914 2015-01-13
Surface Tension
In 1953 a storm of extreme severity struck the North Sea coasts of Britain and the Netherlands, subjecting communities to a ferocious watery onslaught.
Article Matt Castle 2918 2014-09-04
Welcome to the Jungle
An 18th-century Peruvian woman encounters a staggering amount of bad luck as she attempts to reunite with the husband she hasn't seen in twenty years.
Article Marisa Brook 4574 2014-07-07
May Have Settled
It was early in the morning on the 1st of May 1832 in New York City. The ordinarily gentle horse-drawn traffic of the up-and-coming metropolis seemed a b...
Announcement Alan Bellows 345 2014-06-27
The Clockmaker
A patient German inventor in Nazi Germany takes matters into his own hands.
Audio Alan Bellows 3468 2014-05-29
White Death
A lone Finnish sniper repels enough invading Russians in WW2 to earn the nickname "White Death".
Article Jason Bellows 1504 2014-05-04
Cry Havoc, and Let Slip the Spuds of War
How a pharmacist tricked the French people into adopting the potato to forestall famine.
Article J. A. Macfarlane 2052 2014-04-10
Absolute Zero is 0K
Victorian scientists struggle to reach and understand the vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly cold universe at Absolute Zero.
Article Alan Bellows 4625 2014-03-20
It Came from Beneath the Sea
A new island appears in the Mediterranean, and nearby countries quarrel over who should control it.
Article Marisa Brook 1169 2014-03-03
The Damn Interesting Article Accelerator
We here at Damn Interesting don't manage to post new articles quite as often as we'd like. We relish researching and writing, but until recently there we...
Announcement Alan Bellows 332 2014-02-26
The Supernatural Bunnymother of Surrey
The story of an 18th century Englishwoman and her apparent tendency to give birth to rabbits.
Article Brendan Mackie 2734 2014-02-09
Three Thrown Over the Cuckoo's Nest
An unlikely and unethical psychological experiment is undertaken at Michigan's Ypsilanti State Hospital in 1959.
Article Alan Bellows 4611 2013-11-22
The City Under Ice
A 1950s-era experimental US military base under the Greenland ice turns out to be more than it seems.
Audio Alan Bellows 2503 2013-09-27
Otokichi’s Long Trip Home
A 19th-century Japanese boat adrift in the North Pacific ends up in what is now Washington State. For one of the crewmen, that's just the beginning.
Article Marisa Brook 1902 2013-08-08
The Conductor
The tragic story of the holder of a very unfortunate world record.
Audio Alan Bellows 1088 2013-07-12
Andrée and the Aeronauts' Voyage to the Top of the World
The story of three adventurers who tried to reach the North Pole via hydrogen balloon in 1897.
Article Alan Bellows 6956 2013-06-24
The Mole Rat Prophecies
The quirky biology of naked mole rats, and how their true nature was "predicted" before its eventual discovery.
Article Matt Castle 2522 2013-04-21
The Spy Who Loved Nothing
The story of an American who was dead-set on spying for the KGB.
Article Gustaf Hildebrand 3027 2013-02-18
The Isle of Doctor Seaborg
On the hypothetical "Island of Stability" which might allow for long-lived atoms of never-before-seen elements.
Article Alan Bellows 2367 2013-01-28
The Arizona Dragonslayer
The story of one of America's lesser-known WW1 flying aces.
Article Kiona Smith-Strickland 2447 2012-12-06
The Science of Mental Fitness
Intensive imagining can have measurable effects on the physical body.
Article Marisa Brook 1566 2012-11-13
Nineteen Seventy Three
Chile's audacious 1970s-era plan to network and automate the country's entire economy, hindered by political upheaval and CIA maneuvering.
Article Alan Bellows 3730 2012-10-19
Pushed to the Limit
The story of an unlikely and dangerous mid-air rescue during the Korean War.
Article Jason Bellows 1335 2012-09-11
Night Takes Rook
The rise and fall of a life-saving lighthouse built on a scrap of rock by a determined yet under-qualified builder.
Article J. A. Macfarlane 2023 2012-09-04
The Enlightenment Guide To Winning The Lottery
How two 18th century Frenchmen outsmarted the state lottery.
Article Brendan Mackie 1207 2012-08-14
Better Call Sol
The history and science of coronal mass ejections, and their effects on humans and technology.
Article Alan Bellows 2106 2012-08-07
The Tyrant of Clipperton Island
A remote island colony abruptly falls into peril as the last remaining adult man becomes psychotic and undertakes a reign of terror.
Article Marisa Brook 2567 2012-06-25
Meddle, Metal, and Mettle
The story of the disturbed man who stalked and ultimately shot US president James Garfield.
Article Alan Bellows 3661 2012-06-14
Too Close for Comfort
Biological family members reunited relatively late in life sometimes have to contend with unexpected and powerful feelings of attraction.
Article Marisa Brook 1400 2012-05-29
The Power of Positive Lightning
When a glider abruptly explodes under clear blue sky, investigators suspect an unusual and powerful meteorological phenomenon.
Article Matt Castle 1019 2012-05-17
Can I Borrow a Feeling?
In 1973, a trio of psychologists convened in a preschool classroom to perform a diabolical experiment upon unsuspecting children. Lepper, Greene, and Nis...
Announcement Alan Bellows 342 2012-04-30
Apocalypse on the Set
We are pleased to announce that Damn Interesting contributor Ben Taylor has just published a shiny new book that is sure to be the first in what we hope ...
Announcement Alan Bellows 82 2012-02-02
Aches on a Plane
The story of a troubled FedEx flight engineer who boarded a flight unannounced and attempted to carry out a terrifying plan.
Article Alan Bellows 3341 2012-01-05
Bound By Tradition
The ancient and strange Chinese practice of foot binding.
Article Alan Bellows 1189 2011-11-23
The Ice Worm Cometh
On the curious, tiny organisms that make their homes inside glaciers. 
Article Alan Bellows 538 2011-11-16
Writer on the Storm
As you may have noticed, until about a week ago the Damn Interesting web server was about as sturdy as a pair of paper pajamas. A sustained orgy of traff...
Announcement Alan Bellows 284 2011-11-16
Rider on the Storm
The story of an unplanned and prolonged skydive through a thunderstorm.
Article Alan Bellows 1523 2011-10-06
Who Wants To Be a Thousandaire?
Michael Larson had a lot of time and TVs on his hands, and he used them to hack one of his favorite game shows.
Article Alan Bellows 3060 2011-09-12
It's About Damn Time
(This post's content expired, but its husk remains here as a historical curiosity)....
Announcement Alan Bellows 13 2011-08-25
The Unfortunate Sex Life of the Banana
How the banana's sweet taste and cheerful appearance obscure a potentially calamitous sexual inadequacy.
Article Matt Castle 1500 2009-08-24
The Wrath of the Killdozer
Marvin Heemeyer of Granby, Colorado was a profoundly frustrated muffler repair man. In 2004 he took drastic measures.
Article Jason Bellows 1843 2009-07-29
Steely-Eyed Hydronauts of the Mariana
The story of humanity's first visit the ocean's deepest point.
Article Alan Bellows 2193 2009-07-21
Something's Afoot at Damn Interesting
We at Damn Interesting are happy to announce that we have officially returned from our spontaneous hiatus. One might describe the sensation as "delighte...
Announcement Alan Bellows 302 2009-07-15
A Series of Unfortunate Hacks
For the past several weeks, Damn Interesting has been repeatedly violated by a gaggle of Russian hackers. Their strange probes sought out all unprotecte...
Announcement Alan Bellows 141 2008-11-21
In Soviet Russia, Lake Contaminates You
The story of one of the polluted radioactive places in the world.
Article Alan Bellows 2006 2008-10-17
Mediterranean be Dammed
A plan to build a dam near the narrowest point of the Straight of Gibraltar, resulting in an eighteen-mile-long structure from Morocco to Spain.
Article Jason Bellows 1230 2008-09-25
Doctor Watson's Phobia Factory
The story of a series of chilling psychological experiments on an infant in 1920.
Article Alan Bellows 1506 2008-09-18
Damn Deadlines
As the manuscript-delivery deadline approaches for our Damn Interesting book, we must take drastic action to avoid being sucked into a temporal vortex of...
Announcement Alan Bellows 173 2008-07-17
The Pit of Life and Death
Just outside Butte, Montana lies a pit of greenish poison a mile and a half wide and over a third of a mile deep.
Article Richard Solensky 1333 2008-07-01
The American Gustation Crisis of 1985
The story of the curiously outsized reaction to the 1985 reformulation of a popular soft drink.
Article Alan Bellows 2429 2008-06-19
The Heroes of SARS
How humanity dodged the speeding bullet of the 2003 SARS epidemic, and the crucial role of a few key individuals.
Article Matt Castle 2136 2008-05-23
Eugenics and You
The troubling history and surprising origins of the eugenics movement in the early 20th century.
Article Alan Bellows 2387 2008-05-14
A Large-Hearted Gentleman
A cool breeze blew over the lush Indian forest. Jim Corbett was being hunted. The tigress that stalked him was already credited with at least sixty-fou...
Article Jason Bellows 1941 2008-04-29
Operation Pastorius
The little-known story of Nazi spies in America sent to sabotage the war effort.
Article Christopher S. Putnam 3150 2008-04-20
The Martian Express
A hypothetical vehicle that would facilitate frequent, relatively inexpensive transit between Earth and Mars.
Article Alan Bellows 1465 2008-04-10
The Extraordinary Astrologer Isaac Bickerstaff
Teetering between its medieval past and the “Age of Reason,” early 18th-century London was an environment in which the ancient practice of astrology ...
Article Christopher S. Putnam 1359 2008-04-01
Some Damn Interesting News
On 25 January 2007, the Damn Interesting authors boldly-- some might say prematurely-- announced our intentions to expand our project into the medium of ...
Announcement Alan Bellows 597 2008-03-24
The Sheep Incident
In 1968, thousands of sheep died mysteriously in the Skull Valley, Utah.
Article Scott Cianciosi 1738 2008-03-17
The Confederacy's Special Agent
In late 1863, the ongoing War Between the States was not going well for either the Union or the Confederacy. Two years of armed hostility had led to a st...
Article Richard Solensky 2070 2008-03-10
The Remarkable Pneumatic People-Mover
An experimental pneumatic subway built in secret in the late 19th century.
Article Alan Bellows 3368 2008-02-29
Life Without the Moon
Life is a tenuous thing. Earth is just within Sol's habitable zone, and constantly pelted with solar radiation and cosmic rays. Rocky scraps of cosmic ...
Article Jason Bellows 1272 2008-02-19
The Third Reich's Diabolical Orbiting Superweapon
An audacious Nazi plan for an orbiting space mirror to concentrate sunlight on enemy targets.
Article Alan Bellows 1484 2008-02-09
The Plane That Flew Too Soon
The story of the Bristol Brabazon, a gargantuan airliner that was years ahead of its time.
Article Matt Castle 1611 2008-02-01
Mutant Killer Seaweed of Doom
Back in the early 1980’s, the Wilhelmina Zoo in Stuttgart was looking into various types of seaweed for use in their aquarium displays. They settled on...
Article Richard Solensky 1150 2008-01-25
The Unburdened Mind
“I don’t think I feel things the same way you do.” The man sits at the table in the well-fitted attire of success—charming, witty, and instant...
Article Christopher S. Putnam 2321 2008-01-20
Humoring the Gelotologists
Science's best current explanations for why humans react so strangely to 'humorous' words and situations.
Article Alan Bellows 2857 2008-01-14
The Origami Resolution
Since childhood Dr. Robert Lang has practiced origami. It was the convergence of his intensely creative mind and this ancient Japanese tradition that ga...
Article Ben Taylor 1262 2008-01-04
Sergei’s Litter
From the 1920's through the 1950's, a Soviet scientist by the name of Sergei S. Bryukhonenko spent countless hours slaving away in his laboratory. In hi...
Article Scott Cianciosi 1597 2007-12-20
Transforming the Earth
Humanity's home is far from factory-fresh these days. Frankly, the Earth has received its share of scratches and dents, including large asteroid impacts,...
Article Matt Castle 1549 2007-12-13
The Ethyl-Poisoned Earth
Chronically catastrophic chemist Thomas Midgley accidentally poisons the world with a neurotoxin, and Clair Patterson tries to stop him.
Article Alan Bellows 2748 2007-12-08
Space Radio: More Static, Less Talk
Owing to radio's aptitude in transporting information, our planet is endlessly peppered by man-made low-frequency radiation. Phone conversations, compute...
Article Alan Bellows 1516 2007-11-30
The Sound of the Aurora
If you happen to be reasonably close to one of the Earth's magnetic poles, the next time there’s a particularly intense aurora, go outside. Get as far ...
Article Richard Solensky 903 2007-11-16
The Gimli Glider
"Holy shit." Inside the cockpit of the cruising airliner, Captain Bob Pearson was understandably alarmed at the out-of-the-ordinary beeps that were ch...
Article Alan Bellows 2887 2007-11-12
Guppy Love
It has long been observed-- though not scientifically-- that women seem to show a vague preference for men who are already spoken for. This observation i...
Article Jason Bellows 971 2007-11-05
The Remains of Doctor Bass
Under normal circumstances, one would expect a wandering throng of students to demonstrate animated displeasure upon encountering a human corpse in the w...
Article Alan Bellows 1892 2007-10-29
The Crabs of Christmas
Every year around the end of the October, the red crabs of Christmas Island begin their march. Up to 100 million individuals leave their burrows in the f...
Article Matt Castle 1614 2007-10-26
The Apocalypses That Might Have Been
In the early dawn hours of November 9th, 1979, just a month and a half after the inexplicable Vela Incident, crews manning the underground missile silos ...
Article Dan Gillis 1390 2007-10-22
The Solitude of Alexander Selkirk
It’s a small spot on the map. Below the thirty-fourth degree south latitude, the island of Juan Fernandez casts a modest shadow in the vast eastern Pa...
Article Ben Taylor 1718 2007-10-19
The Vela Incident
On 22 September 1979, sometime around 3:00am local time, a US Atomic Energy Detection System satellite recorded a pattern of intense flashes in a remote ...
Article Alan Bellows 1898 2007-10-16
The Mechanical Battery
In a world where everything from our automobiles to our underwear may soon run on electricity, more efficient portable power is a major concern. After a ...
Article Christopher S. Putnam 2051 2007-10-12
Amoebic Morality
Once food had been plentiful, but no longer. In the early days of the colony, the amoebas had feasted on a rich supply of bacteria. But as the generati...
Article Carol Otte 1382 2007-10-09
Fortress of the Assassins
The nobleman awoke on a sunny spring morning. Feeling uncomfortable, he shifted himself, only to notice an extra weight on his pillow. Groggily, he ope...
Article Scott Cianciosi 2099 2007-10-03
The Forgotten Fire
On October 8th, 1871, the small Wisconsin logging town of Peshtigo was consumed by one of the most severe and woefully under-reported fires in human hist...
Article Dan Gillis 1436 2007-09-20
The Revenge of the Fighting Quaker
In the early 1930s, a secret collection of prosperous men are said to have assembled in New York City to discuss the dissolution of America's democracy. ...
Article Alan Bellows 2452 2007-09-14
Building the BAM
The Soviet engineers gazed into the abandoned tunnel with dismay. It was 1974 and work was scheduled to resume on the construction of the Baikal-Amur Mag...
Article Matt Castle 1879 2007-09-07
Spies on the Roof of the World
In the closing weeks of 1964, the US Central Intelligence Agency was gripped by anxiety in the wake of troubling news. On October 16th, a great mushroom...
Article Alan Bellows 1632 2007-08-28
One Small Step For Mail
There are few who would call postal delivery exciting. The reasons for this attitude are difficult to pin down, but it seems there is something inherent ...
Article Christopher S. Putnam 1462 2007-08-20
Damn Write (Reloaded)
Once again, we here at Damn Interesting are in search of proficient purveyors of intriguing information. But as a bit of a departure from our previous w...
Announcement Alan Bellows 92 2007-08-18
This Looks Like a Job for Vermin!
The common rat is hideous thing to behold. Two species make up what we call the true rat: the black rat Rattus rattus, and the wharf rat Rattus norvegicu...
Article Jason Bellows 786 2007-08-13
Raiders of the Lost Lake
In the early 1990s, a Russian drilling rig encountered something peculiar two miles beneath the coldest and most desolate place on Earth. For decades, th...
Article Alan Bellows 1202 2007-08-06
The Star Dust Mystery
The passenger manifest for British South American Airlines (BSAA) flight CS-59 might have made a perfect character list for a murder-mystery. Aboard were...
Article Matt Castle 1762 2007-07-30
The Thugs of India
On a well-worn road through central India, Lieutenant Subhani of the Bengal Native Infantry and his three traveling companions were nearing the final leg...
Article Christopher S. Putnam 2173 2007-07-23
The Intrepid Pigeoneers
In October 1918, World War I was gradually drawing to a close in the Argonne Forest in northeastern France. Inch by inch, more than one million Allied f...
Article Alan Bellows 1391 2007-07-18
Coley’s Cancer-Killing Concoction
On October 1st 1890, William B. Coley, a young bone surgeon barely two years out of medical school, saw one of his first patients in private practice at ...
Article Matt Castle 1901 2007-07-13
Tesla's Tower of Power
In 1905, a team of construction workers in the small village of Shoreham, New York labored to erect a truly extraordinary structure. Over a period of sev...
Article Alan Bellows 1890 2007-07-10
On the Origin of Circuits
In a unique laboratory in Sussex, England, a computer carefully scrutinized every member of large and diverse set of candidates. Each was evaluated disp...
Article Alan Bellows 1586 2007-06-27
Reanimated Rodents and The Meaning of Life
One afternoon in the early 1950s, a young biochemist left his suburban lab bench at Britain’s Mill Hill National Institute of Medical Research and boar...
Article Matt Castle 1590 2007-06-22
Heavy Water and the Norwegians
On 19 November 1942, a pair of Royal Air Force Halifax bombers shouldered their way through thick winter clouds over Norway with troop-carrying assault ...
Article Alan Bellows 2226 2007-06-19
The Total Perspective Vortex
Most people think of the "mentally disordered" as a delusional lot, holding bizarre and irrational ideas about themselves and the world around them. Isn...
Article Christopher S. Putnam 829 2007-06-14
Beware the Dangers of Oxygen
There's a caustic substance common to our environment whose very presence turns iron into brittle rust, dramatically increases the risk of fire and explo...
Article Jason Bellows 1012 2007-06-11
Living in the Moment
"I don't remember things," Henry explained to the unfamiliar female interviewer. She seemed very curious about how he spends a typical day, and about wh...
Article Alan Bellows 1601 2007-06-06
Half Science and Hafnium Bombs
In the latter half of 1998, a small clutch of researchers and students at the University of Texas embarked upon a groundbreaking experiment. Within a la...
Article Alan Bellows 1488 2007-05-31
A Walk in the Valley of the Uncanny
In June 2006 at the ATR Intelligent Robotics and Communication Laboratories in Keihanna, Japan, reporters and scientists gathered for the unveiling of a ...
Article Marisa Brook 1470 2007-05-24
The Birth Control of Yesteryear
Approximately 2,600 years ago-- around 630 BCE-- the Greek island of Thera was plagued by drought and overpopulation. According to legend, an assortment...
Article Alan Bellows 1148 2007-05-21
Terror on Wall Street
On 16 September 1920, throngs of brokers, clerks, and office workers poured from the buildings lining New York City's Wall Street as a nearby church bell...
Article Alan Bellows 1998 2007-05-14
Staying Abreast of Human Sexuality
There are 1.75 million animal species that have been noted and named by our scientific classification system. Of them, there are 5,800 types of mammal. ...
Article Jason Bellows 1286 2007-05-10
The Windscale Disaster
In the wake of World War 2 the United States government enacted legislation which prohibited any other nations from receiving the scientific bounty deriv...
Article Gerry Matlack 2106 2007-05-07
Bad Blood in Tuskegee
Early in the twentieth century, the medical community was practically helpless in its battle against syphilis. The crippling affliction was spreading at...
Article Alan Bellows 1975 2007-04-30
Sympathy for the Devil
There are few things as thrilling as the story of a dramatic escape, especially one with a happy ending. It is understandable, therefore, that the public...
Article Marisa Brook 1873 2007-04-26
Project Alpha and the Spoon Benders
In the late 1960s, a young Israeli man named Uri Geller gained a substantial amount of attention and fame following a collection of remarkable demonstrat...
Article Alan Bellows 2619 2007-04-16
Damn Radio Activity
If you live in the Miami area and you own one of those fancy new AM radio receiver sets, you're in luck. I'll be doing a short interview on Sports Talk ...
Announcement Alan Bellows 110 2007-04-13
Silent Lucidity
There was a time that I could fly. I jutted my right fist into the air, and launched into the sky. My stomach dropped with the sensation of breaking gra...
Article Jason Bellows 1365 2007-04-12
Submersible Aircraft Carriers
On 09 September 1942, at about 6:00am Pacific War Time, a lookout on the US Oregon coast spotted a single incoming aircraft. The small, unmarked biplane ...
Article Alan Bellows 1666 2007-04-09
Spring Break, Damnit
The Damn Interesting writing staff is presently indulging in a much-needed holiday. We will return in one week-- on 09 April 2007-- with more pasteurize...
Announcement Alan Bellows 105 2007-04-02
The Fall of the Eastland
At a pier on the Chicago River on 24 July 1915, as the passenger steamer SS Eastland prepared to embark across lake Michigan, chief engineer Joseph Erick...
Article Alan Bellows 2494 2007-03-29
The Farewell Dossier
In 1982, operatives from the USSR's Committee for State Security-- known internationally as the KGB-- celebrated the procurement of a very elusive bit of...
Article Alan Bellows 1507 2007-03-26
A Fluke of Nature
As the sun rises over a grassy pasture, and the morning light glints from the countless clinging drops of dew, a single snail resolutely inches toward a ...
Article Alan Bellows 774 2007-03-22
Damn Schedule
Yes, we here at Damn Interesting acknowledge that we've not been squeezing out articles without our once-vigorous regularity. Following some recent auth...
Announcement Alan Bellows 189 2007-03-21
The Flying Saucers of North America
Under the cover of darkness on 07 October 1959, a convoy of military vehicles escorted a flatbed truck through the abandoned streets of Malton, Canada ju...
Article Alan Bellows 1816 2007-03-17
Damn Distractions
In the North American fur-trading days, many trappers came to rely on a high-calorie, long-endurance foodstuff known as pemmican, a recipe which was borr...
Announcement Alan Bellows 219 2007-03-09
Chuck Bonnet and the Hallucinations
An article discussing Charles Bonnet Syndrome, a common but not commonly known hallucination disorder.
Article Alan Bellows 2112 2007-03-06
Misbehaving Pituitaries
At the base of the human brain there lies a tiny organ called the pituitary gland. About the size of a pea, this demure little gland produces and secret...
Article Cynthia Wood 1070 2007-03-01
The Alcatraz Redemption
Officially, there were never any successful escape attempts from California's notorious Alcatraz Prison. Nicknamed 'The Rock', Alcatraz is located on the...
Article Marisa Brook 1494 2007-02-25
Damn Downtime
Apologies for the nasty patches of downtime recently... our hosting provider seems to have experienced some heavy technical difficulties at their data ce...
Announcement Alan Bellows 132 2007-02-25
Davy Crockett: King of the Atomic Frontier
On 17 July 1962, a caravan of scientists, military men, and dignitaries crossed the remote desert of southern Nevada to witness an historic event. Among...
Article Alan Bellows 1359 2007-02-21
John Frum and the Cargo Cults
Every year on February 15th, natives of Tanna Island in the Republic of Vanuatu hold a grand celebration in honor of an imaginary man named John Frum. V...
Article Gerry Matlack 1602 2007-02-19
The Wilhelm Scream
In the 1951 movie Distant Drums starring Gary Cooper, a small band of soldiers were crossing a swamp in pursuit of Seminole Indians. While wading through...
Article Greg Bjerg 931 2007-02-11
The PEPCON Disaster
Just before lunchtime on May 4th, 1988, at a facility near Henderson, Nevada, a panicked maintenance crew could be seen dashing away from the site of the...
Article Alan Bellows 1531 2007-02-07
An Impostor in the Family
Imagine, if you will, that one by one your friends and family-- the people closest to you-- are being removed and replaced with exact duplicates. Althou...
Article Gerry Matlack 990 2007-02-05
Clever Hans the Math Horse
In the late 1800s, a German high school mathematics instructor named Wilhelm Von Osten was pushing a few scientific envelopes from his home in Berlin. A...
Article Alan Bellows 1246 2007-02-02
The Terrifying Toothpick Fish
The vast freshwater ecosystem of the Amazon River is home to abundant animal life, and many of its species thrive by virtue of their ferocity. If one we...
Article Alan Bellows 979 2007-01-30
Dead Trees and G-Strings
The history of Damn Interesting is a rich tapestry of events. In September 2005, the site sprang into existence. Then we wrote a bunch of stuff. Now, som...
Announcement Alan Bellows 469 2007-01-25
The Association of the Dead
In 1976, a farmer in northern India became alarmed when he was informed of his own death. Lal Bihari was in the process of applying for a loan when the b...
Article Gerry Matlack 721 2007-01-23
The Lonely Tree of Ténéré
Because trees are so abundant, it is rare for a single one to become well-known. Some trees become distinguished due to their historical significance. Th...
Article Marisa Brook 662 2007-01-17
The Woman with a Limp
In the early 1940s, German secret police agents in Nazi-occupied France were on the lookout for a woman with a wooden leg. She was known only as "the wom...
Article Jason Bellows 847 2007-01-14
Remember, Remember the 22nd of November
The story of the Max Headroom pirating incident, one of the few successful television intrusions in history, and still unsolved.
Article Alan Bellows 1081 2007-01-09
The Fall of Galloping Gertie
In early 1940, engineers and construction workers put the finishing touches on what was to be the the longest man-made span in the US, and the third-long...
Article Alan Bellows 1793 2007-01-04
Undark and the Radium Girls
In 1922, a bank teller named Grace Fryer became concerned when her teeth began to loosen and fall out for no discernible reason. Her troubles were compo...
Article Alan Bellows 1930 2006-12-28
The Other Mystery of Easter Island
Easter Island is branded into popular consciousness as the home of the mysterious and towering moai statues, but these are not the only curiosity the Sou...
Article Stephanie Benson 1092 2006-12-26
Damn Write
If you are a writer looking for a bucket you can wring your excess brain-juices into, please expose your fancy so we may attempt to tickle it. We're pre...
Announcement Alan Bellows 68 2006-12-21
The Skyhook
During the Cold War, the US and the Soviets had an ongoing game of tag taking place under the Arctic Ice Cap. Among the better-known technologies employ...
Article Jason Bellows 1001 2006-12-17
Damn Additions
Due to popular demand (mostly from Misfit (he's very popular (this sentence narrowly averted collapsing into a black parentheses hole, from which no poin...
Announcement Alan Bellows 117 2006-12-15
The Daedalus Starship
In the winter of 1973, the men and women of the British Interplanetary Society convened in London to engage in some lively interstellar discourse. The me...
Article Alan Bellows 1209 2006-12-14
Parenthetical Apology
(Sorry for the delay everyone... only two days ago I made a change of employment which resulted in a dramatic modification of my schedule. The abrupt sh...
Announcement Alan Bellows 64 2006-12-13
The Norwegian Puffin Dog
In order to run down and kill wolves, the people of Ireland bred the powerful and long-legged Irish Wolfhound. When they needed something to chase ill-te...
Article Cynthia Wood 1258 2006-12-07
The Seizing of the Pueblo
In January 1968, the US Navy electronic surveillance ship USS Pueblo was quietly lurking off the east coast of North Korea, its assorted antennae pricked...
Article Alan Bellows 1961 2006-12-04
Incident on Niihau Island
When the Empire of Nippon launched its massive attack on Pearl Harbor on the morning of 7 December 1941, Airman 1st Class Shigenori Nishikaichi was among...
Article Jason Bellows 1188 2006-12-01
Outer Space Exposure
In scores of science fiction stories, hapless adventurers find themselves unwittingly introduced to the vacuum of space without proper protection. There ...
Article Alan Bellows 1240 2006-11-27
Damn Interesting: Back From Holiday
We took a few days off for the US Thanksgiving holiday, but now we're back. We'll be splitting the lickety to get a new article published, and within th...
Announcement Alan Bellows 48 2006-11-25
Giant Carnivorous Centipedes
The world has many moist, warm, and dark cavities where phobia-inspiring organisms quietly lurk. The tropical climate of South America's Amazon jungle h...
Nugget Alan Bellows 546 2006-11-21
Damn Interesting Additions
I just wanted to pop in and mention that we've made a few subtle additions to the site over the past few days. We created a Flickr photostream as an alt...
Announcement Alan Bellows 141 2006-11-18
The Relics of Mu
It seems that most every culture has a legend of a great society, ripe with wealth and wisdom, which is lost to the sea. To westerners these are the sto...
Article Jason Bellows 572 2006-11-17
Hovering in History
During the 1950s and 1960s the United States Army spent considerable energy developing one- and two-man flying machines to carry its soldiers into battle...
Article Greg Bjerg 1178 2006-11-15
Half-Brothers in the Womb
In 1993, Wilma Stuart gave birth to two baby boys. They were fraternal twins, so some dissimilarity was to be expected. However, only one of the boys see...
Article Anthony Kendall 687 2006-11-13
The Timber Terror
In the late 1930s, the dark cloud of war was lurking on the horizon in Europe. Even as the United Kingdom and France employed diplomats to appease Hitler...
Article Alan Bellows 1659 2006-11-11
High-Rise Syndrome
As most people know, when a cat is able to see, it will usually land on its feet. It's a neat knack they've had to evolve over eons of climbing trees to ...
Article Jason Bellows 769 2006-11-08
The Rise and Fall of William J. Sidis
In the waning years of the nineteenth century, boatloads of Russian Jewish immigrants were arriving in New York harbor as they fled from the religious an...
Article Alan Bellows 1788 2006-11-07
Database Problems
Sorry for the delay everybody, but our database server has been experiencing problems due to a Distributed Denial of Service attack on our ISP. Hopefully...
Announcement Alan Bellows 38 2006-11-06
The Birth of a Language
Languages are thoroughly organic entities. Each one is complex and versatile, constantly shifting according to the needs of those who use it. When social...
Article Marisa Brook 1010 2006-11-03
The Man Who Started the War
In August of 1939, German forces were amassing along the Polish border in preparation to invade. Europe was still haunted by memories of the brutality of...
Article Alan Bellows 1324 2006-11-01
Monster Rogue Waves
For centuries sailors have been telling stories of encountering monstrous ocean waves which tower over one hundred feet in the air and toss ships about l...
Article Greg Bjerg 837 2006-10-28
The Last Great Steam Car
When primitive automobiles first began to appear in the 1800s, their engines were based on steam power, the same power source which had motivated the Ind...
Article Alan Bellows 1894 2006-10-24
King Arthur's Grave
The legend of King Arthur is an enduring one, so popular that it has been shared for centuries. The earliest accounts are simple: A heroic king rescues h...
Article Stephanie Benson 847 2006-10-23
The Coherent Light Infantry
In 1960, when scientists first developed Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation, skeptical scientists and engineers joked that this new ...
Article Anthony Kendall 1032 2006-10-20
The Tragedy of the Love Canal
William T. Love came to 1890s Niagara Falls, New York, with hugely ambitious plans. The landowner and entrepreneur envisioned the creation of an enormous...
Article Marisa Brook 1403 2006-10-18
The Gravity Express
About four hundred years ago--sometime in the latter half of the 17th century--Isaac Newton received a letter from the brilliant British scientist and in...
Article Alan Bellows 984 2006-10-15
Low Frequency
Several members of our staff have been briefly commandeered-- myself included-- so DamnInteresting.com is operating at a reduced capacity for a short tim...
Announcement Alan Bellows 68 2006-10-02
Poland's Biological Defensive
Biological warfare is nothing new to the human race. Attempts to use disease to bring down enemies date as far back as we have detailed histories of ...
Article Cynthia Wood 625 2006-09-25
The Battle of Los Angeles
In early 1942 the United States was still reeling from the Attack on Pearl Harbor. They'd declared war upon the Empire of Japan, but had thus far fought ...
Article Jason Bellows 784 2006-09-24
How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Atomic Spaceship
The year was 1957. The power of the atom had been unleashed upon the world. Technology--along with just about everything else--was booming. Safe, plentif...
Article Anthony Kendall 1523 2006-09-21
The Seventh Sense
From childhood, we are taught that the human body has five senses. I'm sure we can all recite them: sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell. This list ha...
Article Zack Jordan 1137 2006-09-16
Bacteriapocalypse
About two and one-half billion years ago, life on Earth was still in its infancy. Complex organisms such as plants and animals had not yet appeared, but ...
Article Alan Bellows 1031 2006-09-08
Happy Damn Birthday
One year ago today, the first Damn Interesting article was published. We had hoped to use this milestone occasion to announce some our super-spiffy near-...
Announcement Alan Bellows 104 2006-09-06
An Island Is Born
Off the coast of Iceland on the morning of 14 November 1963, the crew of a lone fishing trawler spotted an alarming sight. Off to the southwest of the Í...
Article Marisa Brook 836 2006-09-02
The Atomic Automobile
During the 1950s, much of the world was quivering with anticipation over the exciting prospects of nuclear power. Atomic energy promised to churn out cle...
Article Alan Bellows 825 2006-08-27
The Bridle on the Neck of the Sea
In the grand old year of 1492, Christopher Columbus set out from Spain with a fleet of three tiny ships. His journey began in August of that year, but it...
Article Zack Jordan 1082 2006-08-25
The Dark Tale of Colliding Superclusters
For all that mankind has learned through science, the Universe has so far managed to keep most of its secrets. For instance, we don't know where the Univ...
Article Anthony Kendall 799 2006-08-24
Operation Acoustic Kitty
At the height of the Cold War, the US Central Intelligence Agency was willing to try just about anything to gain an advantage over the dreaded Communists...
Nugget Greg Bjerg 487 2006-08-22
Evolving Universes
To many it seems unlikely that a universe could spring into being from chaos, and achieve a level of organization advanced enough to allow for life—let...
Article Jason Bellows 675 2006-08-19
Barnstorming
Today, the term 'flying circus' most often brings to mind dead parrots, cheese shops, and the Knights Who Say 'Ni'. Before the Python guys came along, ho...
Article Marisa Brook 1095 2006-08-14
The Tragic Birth of FM Radio
In 1934, much of the world was in the grip of the Great Depression. Unemployment was an epidemic, and many businesses struggled desperately to survive. O...
Article Greg Bjerg 1223 2006-08-10
Seizure Dogs
There are about fifty-million people worldwide who have epilepsy. Sometimes the condition is severe, but many lead mostly normal lives, suffering only oc...
Article Jason Bellows 635 2006-08-06
The Ruins of Fordlândia
In the early 20th century, a cartel of Dutch and English rubber barons had a stranglehold on the vast majority of the world's supply of rubber. At that t...
Article Alan Bellows 1638 2006-08-03
Recent Downtime
Due to absurd high temperatures, our web hosting provider in California has been experiencing some power outages, generator fires, and other electrical m...
Announcement Alan Bellows 80 2006-07-28
The Sleepy Sickness
Beginning as early as 1916, and continuing well into the 1920s, an unusual and disturbing illness devastated millions of people throughout the world. It ...
Article Alan Bellows 811 2006-07-23
The Stinkbird Enigma
In South America, in the swamps of the Amazon and Orinoco rivers, lives a very unusual bird. The hoatzin is a pheasant-sized enigma. The official nati...
Article Cynthia Wood 632 2006-07-17
Damn Interesting: Reminder
If your fancy is tickled by the thought of writing for Damn Interesting, you've got a few hours yet to seize upon the opportunity. Thanks to those who h...
Announcement Alan Bellows 62 2006-07-15
Unbalanced Drive Shaft
They’re really just a simple casing with an unbalanced drive shaft and a motor, but for such an unassuming device, the vibrator has some tremendous tab...
Article Jason Bellows 784 2006-07-14
Tesla
Being born at precisely midnight on the night of 9 July/morning of 10 July 1856 during a fierce lightning storm proved to be a portent of what the future...
Article Jason Bellows 1040 2006-07-09
Damn Interesting: Join Us
As you may have noticed, we here at Damn Interesting are not producing content at the brisk pace we once enjoyed. The weather is warm, coaxing us out-of-...
Announcement Alan Bellows 107 2006-07-07
Not Your Average Summer Camp
In the summer of 1954, twenty-two fifth-grade boys were taken out to a campground at Robbers Cave State Park, Oklahoma. Admittance had been quite selecti...
Article Marisa Brook 1205 2006-07-03
Damn Interesting Problems
Due to a glitch of unknown origin which resulted in some data loss, there will be a slight delay before the next Damn Interesting article appears. We ut...
Announcement Alan Bellows 72 2006-06-30
Extinction of the Passenger Pigeons
Passenger Pigeons (Ectopistes Migratorius) were once so numerous that by some estimates they outnumbered all the rest of the birds in North America combi...
Article Anthony Kendall 1473 2006-06-28
Bad Rye and the Salem Witches
In the late 1600s, the Puritan settlement of Salem in Massachusetts toppled into chaos when accusations of witchcraft began to appear. Two young girls, a...
Article Alan Bellows 870 2006-06-27
The Confederados
Immediately following the American Civil War, some Confederate southerners were unwilling to live under the rule of the triumphant Union. Reconstruction ...
Article Greg Bjerg 737 2006-06-24
The Winchester Mystery House
So far, life had been very good for Sarah Winchester. Born in the late 1830s in New Haven, Connecticut, she had been raised by a well-off family and was ...
Article Marisa Brook 769 2006-06-21
The Deepest Hole
Over forty years ago, researchers in the Soviet Union began an ambitious drilling project whose goal was to penetrate the Earth's upper crust and sample ...
Article Alan Bellows 1116 2006-06-20
Can You Hear the View?
Cybernetic senses have been the subject of science fiction for decades. The idea of using sophisticated technology to repair damaged bodies, or even to e...
Article Cynthia Wood 1041 2006-06-15
Son of Krakatoa
Krakatoa may just be the most famous volcano of all time. More devastating than Mt. St. Helens, closer in time than Vesuvius; the volcano that destroyed ...
Article Cynthia Wood 664 2006-06-08
Number Stations
Short wave radio enthusiasts worldwide have heard of the strange and elusive Numbers Channels. It is a name that refers to any one of several of unusual ...
Nugget Jason Bellows 593 2006-06-04
Two Eggs - Hold the Sperm
One of the favorite topics of speculative fiction is a society composed entirely of women. From the Greek legends of the Amazons, to the modern novels of...
Article Cynthia Wood 799 2006-05-31
Spring Heeled Jack
Sometimes "Spring Heeled Jack" pops up in literature–sometimes as a villain, sometimes as a hero–perhaps even an early ancestor of modern superheroes...
Article Jason Bellows 813 2006-05-29
The Hobo Code
During times of economic hardship, people turn to the road to see if they can make their luck somewhere else. As such, back in the days of the Great Depr...
Nugget Daniel Lew 443 2006-05-27
Project Babylon: Gerald Bull's Downfall
Gerald Bull is a prime example of a man who created his own luck--unfortunately for him most of it was bad. A brilliant and distinguished artillery engin...
Article Anthony Kendall 1192 2006-05-26
Does Your Handwriting Express Your Personality?
It is a technique used all over the world, and training in it is widely offered. Many employers, especially in France, rely on it heavily to evaluate con...
Article Marisa Brook 900 2006-05-25
Damn Interesting: A Busy Week Ahead
We here at Damn Interesting are preparing to move the site to its new home on a dedicated server, which should help improve both the site's performance a...
Announcement Alan Bellows 91 2006-05-23
Flying Rams
During World War 2, large bombers and flying fortresses were considered critical for victory by both the Allied and Axis forces. In order to meet the thr...
Article Greg Bjerg 762 2006-05-22
Exhuming the Glacier Girl
In the early days of the Second World War, Allied forces began Operation Bolero, a daring and risky effort to bring American planes to the European theat...
Article Alan Bellows 1675 2006-05-21
Another World
Try to imagine a world without numbers. No more addition or subtraction, algebra nor calculus. No more high school geometry. It would be pretty hard to g...
Article Daniel Lew 857 2006-05-19
This Place is Not a Place of Honor
If you look at it just right, the universal radiation warning symbol looks a bit like an angel. The circle in the middle could indicate the head, the low...
Article Alan Bellows 1421 2006-05-17
Feral Children
"Monkey boys," "wolf girls," "gazelle boys," and even an "ostrich boy;" they are all part of the lore of the feral children. Also known as "wild children...
Article Greg Bjerg 1559 2006-05-15
Hyperbolic Discounting
"Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we may die." It's an appealing philosophy to some, but for an average person in the modern world, on any given day...
Article Alan Bellows 946 2006-05-13
The Reporter Who Out-Spied a Spy
Summer 1878: With the end of the two-year Russo-Turkish War, the countries of Europe gathered at the Congress of Berlin to discuss and resolve outstandin...
Article Marisa Brook 769 2006-05-12
In the Heat of the Moment
In the U.S., violent crime rates are consistently higher in the South than in any other part of the country. It's just a fact. When one tries to figure o...
Nugget Daniel Lew 557 2006-05-11
Mincemeat and the Imaginary Man
Early in the morning on the 1st of May 1943, a fisherman on a beach in Spain discovered a waterlogged corpse which had washed ashore during the night. Th...
Article Alan Bellows 1559 2006-05-09
Calorie Reduction for Longer Life
Would you be willing to semi-starve in order to live longer? More to the point, would you be willing to semi-starve simply for the chance that you might ...
Article Cynthia Wood 932 2006-05-07
Any Officer Who Goes Into Action Without His Sword is Improperly Dressed
In 1940, some of the German commanders who were overseeing the push into France began to receive seemingly random reports of soldiers having been killed ...
Article Jason Bellows 859 2006-05-06
Eyewitnesses to Hiroshima and Nagasaki
On 6 August 1945, a number of eyes in the Japanese city of Hiroshima turned skyward at the drone of a US B-29 bomber flying across the cloudless sky, acc...
Article Alan Bellows 2441 2006-05-03
Earth's Artificial Ring: Project West Ford
At the height of the Cold War in the late 1950s, all international communications were either sent through undersea cables or bounced off of the natural ...
Article Anthony Kendall 856 2006-05-02
Baseball and the Physicists
Without a doubt baseball has had more serious study behind it than any other major sport. It's hard to say why this is, but we don’t see academic studi...
Article Greg Bjerg 1002 2006-04-29
Before the Big Bang
The Big Bang theory is a major marvel of science. It is a conclusion drawn from the collusion of several scientists’ work and observation that all fit ...
Nugget Jason Bellows 523 2006-04-28
Ground Effect Vehicles
A concept aircraft currently under development at Boeing’s Phantom Works Research and Development unit might be the largest airplane to ever fly, but i...
Article Greg Bjerg 740 2006-04-27
Pathological Laughing and Weeping
Dr. Schiffer’s patient was thirty-seven when he laughed his way through his best friend’s funeral. At that time he had been confined to a wheelchair ...
Article Cynthia Wood 707 2006-04-26
The Artificial Prison of the Human Mind
In 1963 1971, a study about prisons was funded by the U.S. Navy to try to better understand problems in the Marine Corps.' prisons. The study was run by ...
Article Daniel Lew 1323 2006-04-21
The Balance of Risk
Let’s suppose your child wants to take a martial arts class. Being a conscientious parent, you check out the local dojos and find two good places. Both...
Article Cynthia Wood 871 2006-04-20
Musical Torment
When the human ear encounters music, a number of brain systems are engaged by the incoming sound. The music signal is first directed to the thalamus, whi...
Article Alan Bellows 720 2006-04-19
America's Discarded Superconducting Supercollider
Deep beneath the plains of central Texas lies a catacomb of tunnels once meant to house the most expensive physics experiment ever devised. That experime...
Article Anthony Kendall 842 2006-04-18
Warm-Blooded Plants
If you live in the Northeastern US, and you walk in the woods on spring mornings, you're likely to see a skunk cabbage. Indeed, you might see a skunk cab...
Article Cynthia Wood 729 2006-04-15
America's Secret Plan to Invade Canada
At a length of 5,522 miles (8,891 kilometers), Canada and the United States share the longest non-militarized border in the world. Today we think of the ...
Article Greg Bjerg 984 2006-04-14
The Peculiar Phenomenon of Megacryometeors
Hail, in and of itself, is not an unusual weather phenomenon. The frozen precipitation occurs inside storm clouds when water droplets are cooled below fr...
Article Alan Bellows 869 2006-04-13
A Potentially Disastrous Design Error
With its distinctive forty-five degree diagonal crown, the Citicorp building is one of the most recognizable skyscrapers on the New York City skyline. At...
Article Alan Bellows 1303 2006-04-12
Let Slip the Dogs of War
The Nazi Blitzkrieg was a revolution in warfare that forced the rest of the world into a wild scramble to figure out how to dam the onslaught. The German...
Article Jason Bellows 684 2006-04-11
Forget Yourself For Just a Bit
Amnesia is a fascinating condition, and as such it comes up commonly in popular culture. It's such a wonderful (and by wonderful, I mean wonderfully over...
Nugget Daniel Lew 480 2006-04-09
DamnInteresting.com Makes Yahoo! Picks
We've been so busy that we hadn't even noticed, but it turns out that DamnInteresting.com was featured as the Yahoo! Pick for April 6th, 2006. In the few...
Announcement Alan Bellows 64 2006-04-09
Lucid Decapitation
For thousands of years, the forceful removal of the human head has been used as a form of capital punishment. In fact, the word "capital" in the context ...
Article Alan Bellows 1107 2006-04-08
The Remains of Lady Be Good
In early November, 1958, a British oil exploration team was flying over North Africa's harsh Libyan Desert when they stumbled across something unexpected...
Article Alan Bellows 1691 2006-04-04
You Make Your Own Luck
Some individuals seem to have an inexplicable abundance of good fortune. They are successful in matters of love, in their careers, in their finances, and...
Article Alan Bellows 892 2006-04-03
Can You Hear Me Now?
When the Big Bad Wolf donned grandmothery garb so as to surprise Little Red Riding Hood, he assured her that the big ears were "all the better to hear yo...
Nugget Greg Bjerg 591 2006-04-01
The Final Total Eclipse
If there truly is some extraterrestrial Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy it would undoubtedly list a total solar eclipse as one of the sights to see whil...
Article Anthony Kendall 703 2006-03-30
The Smoldering Ruins of Centralia
There is a small town in Pennsylvania called Ashland where Route 61's northbound traffic is temporarily branched onto a short detour. Exactly what the de...
Article Alan Bellows 847 2006-03-29
The Troubled History of Beards
Thanks to my parents' genes, I simply do not grow facial hair. I never have, unless you count microscopic stubble in the same ranks as a full beard. It c...
Article Daniel Lew 758 2006-03-28
Taking Control of Candy Jones
Jessica Wilcox was born into a humble family on New Year’s Eve of 1925. Her father left them when she was three; her mother was critical and cold to he...
Article Jason Bellows 1173 2006-03-27
The Man Who Changed Comic Books Forever
There was a time when comic books were just that - comic - with the likes of Mutt and Jeff and Mickey Mouse. But by the mid-1930’s new comics with char...
Article Greg Bjerg 1163 2006-03-26
Unskilled and Unaware of It
When asked, most individuals will describe themselves as better-than-average in areas such as leadership, social skills, written expression, or just abou...
Article Alan Bellows 988 2006-03-25
Professor Edgerton's Atomic Camera
During the early days of atomic bomb experiments in the 1940s, nuclear weapons scientists had some difficulty studying the growth of nuclear fireballs in...
Article Alan Bellows 622 2006-03-23
England's Armed Iceberg of War
During World War II the Allies actively recruited the inception and development of new and unique weapons. They knew that innovation and creativity would...
Nugget Jason Bellows 574 2006-03-22
A Life More Colorful
Human beings normally see in color. We are natural trichromats-- we have three different color receptors that permit us to see a range of colors far broa...
Article Cynthia Wood 936 2006-03-21
Decisions, Decisions
Recently I decided to buy a new home and a new printer for my computer. Guess which decision took the most effort? If you guessed the printer, you guesse...
Article Greg Bjerg 702 2006-03-20
The Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon
You may have heard about Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon before. In fact, you probably learned about it for the first time quite recently. If not, then you jus...
Article Alan Bellows 762 2006-03-19
Computer Dating
Every year, millions of people use services like eHarmony and Match.com hoping to find romance by answering a questionnaire and spending a little cash. I...
Article Greg Bjerg 648 2006-03-17
The Dutch Tulip Bubble of 1637
The later part of the 20th century saw its share of odd financial bubbles. There was the real-estate bubble, the stock market bubbles, and the dot com bu...
Nugget Cynthia Wood 551 2006-03-16
China's Sorrow
Natural disasters are tragedies that usually strike randomly and infrequently - unless you happen to live in the Huang He River (colonially referred to a...
Article Anthony Kendall 832 2006-03-15
Volcanic Winter
In France, on 6 April 1815, Napoleon surrendered his throne in favor of his sons. The coalition that opposed him were still in the midst of sorting out a...
Nugget Jason Bellows 351 2006-03-14
Shortness of Dark
Depending on who you ask, the first practical light bulb was invented by Joseph Wilson Swan of Britain in 1878, or Thomas Alva Edison of the U.S. in 1879...
Article Alan Bellows 674 2006-03-13
Do You See What I Hear?
Human beings are very metaphoric creatures. We love to juxtapose the experience of one sense with another. Whether it’s taste with touch – a sharp ch...
Article Cynthia Wood 643 2006-03-12
The Jumping Frenchman of Maine Disorder
In a nutshell, evolution describes the fact that in a given set of organisms, those which manage to survive are the same ones that do most of the breedin...
Article Alan Bellows 830 2006-03-09
A Big Footprint on the Steppe
The Y-chromosome is one that geneticists love to study. Because it is passed on from father to son with no matching chromosome to confuse the issue it’...
Article Cynthia Wood 750 2006-03-05
The Only Nazi Aircraft Carrier
In no naval action of World War 2 will you find a German aircraft carrier taking part. All the major navies in the war used them extensively, except for ...
Article Greg Bjerg 759 2006-03-04
Watch the Skies in the Year 52,007 A.D.
Fifty thousand years from now-- if all goes according to plan-- a bright streak will smudge the sky as a man-made meteor plunges into the Earth's atmosph...
Article Alan Bellows 709 2006-03-03
A Big, Big Hole in the Ground
Yellowstone National Park is a wonder of the natural world. Its geysers, hot springs, and bubbling mud pools are some of the most impressive examples of ...
Article Anthony Kendall 834 2006-03-02
The Falkirk Wheel
Near Falkirk in Scotland, the Forth & Clyde Canal meets with the Union Canal, however at their meeting point the two differ in height by approximatel...
Nugget Alan Bellows 353 2006-03-01
The Rosetta Project
Do you speak Votian? Votian is the language spoken by the Votes. Votes are the people of Ingria, an area of Russia just Southwest of St. Petersburg cl...
Article Greg Bjerg 918 2006-02-27
Dial-a-Yield Nukes: Regular or Extra-Crispy
In regards to nuclear weaponry, a kiloton is equivalent to the explosive destructive power 1,000 metric tons of TNT. Most tactical nuclear weapons in ope...
Nugget Alan Bellows 585 2006-02-25
Harvesting Toxins
If you talk to employees at one of the US Governments nuclear facilities long enough, you’re likely to hear a lot of interesting stories about the earl...
Article Cynthia Wood 634 2006-02-24
It Came From Above
Animals have often been used in battle throughout history, mostly as a means of transportation. But what happens when you use them as transportation for ...
Article Daniel Lew 769 2006-02-23
Sordid History of the Salton Sea
An accident spawned a lake. The lake fed water to millions of acres of farmland, and was a booming tourist trap that whithered and died to leave a ghost...
Article Jason Bellows 657 2006-02-22
Songs of the Deep
Few species on Earth communicate as frequently and effectively as human beings, and none so majestically or ubiquitously as whales. Immersed in an enviro...
Article Anthony Kendall 1130 2006-02-21
Story of Vaseline
Robert Peary took it to the North Pole. There’s a song in its honor. It makes smiles sparkle. It’s used to coat the feet of vending machines to keep ...
Nugget Jason Bellows 545 2006-02-20
The Doctors' Mob Riot
A young boy peered into the dissection room at New York Hospital in post-colonial Manhattan only to see medical student John Hicks, Jr. pick up a corpse'...
Article Greg Bjerg 620 2006-02-18
The Crypt of Civilization
In the basement of Phoebe Hearst Hall at Oglethorpe University in Georgia, there is a stainless steel vault door which was welded shut over sixty-five ye...
Article Alan Bellows 1530 2006-02-17
The Not-So-Legendary Chimera
Imagine if you discovered one day that two of your three children were genetically not yours. Recriminations, marital troubles, perhaps a divorce, right?...
Article Cynthia Wood 628 2006-02-15
It's a Plane! It's a Tank! It's Both!
Sergei Anokin must have been one of the bravest men in the Soviet army of World War 2. He is the only pilot to ever fly, or drive, the Antonov KT-40 Flyi...
Nugget Greg Bjerg 307 2006-02-10
The Birthday Paradox
I have never had a very good relationship with Mathematics. I used to think it was me... I thought that perhaps I was just a bit put off by Math's confid...
Article Alan Bellows 915 2006-02-09
Parasites on the Brain
Toxoplasma gondii may be the most prevalent human parasite. As many as 50% of humans worldwide, and up to 80% in urban areas, have been infected with it ...
Nugget Cynthia Wood 580 2006-02-08
The Hole Story on Trepanation
Hippocrates endorsed its use and it’s the world’s second oldest surgical procedure following circumcision. It’s called trepanation and it literall...
Article Greg Bjerg 770 2006-02-07
The World's Tiniest Gold Prospectors, Architects, and Cows
Humans (myself included) like to think of ourselves as the most important species on our planet, but we are sorely wrong. If we all ceased to be, the wor...
Article Anthony Kendall 908 2006-02-06
The Halifax Disaster
On the morning of December 6, 1917, two passenger trains en route to the port city of Halifax, Nova Scotia were stopped in response to a brief, cryptic t...
Article Alan Bellows 1463 2006-02-04
Great Advances in Smoking Safety
Smoking tobacco has been around practically forever, but cigarettes as a commercial product are actually a fairly recent invention. Before the Crimean Wa...
Nugget Cynthia Wood 476 2006-02-03
Head of the Class
We seem to be getting swelled heads. Or at least bigger ones. A study published in the British Dental Journal ran a comparative study between the skul...
Nugget Cynthia Wood 591 2006-02-01
The Death of Grigory Rasputin
If the popular (but wildly inaccurate) children's film Anastasia, the based-on-a-real-person character Grigory Rasputin finally dies of drowning when the...
Article Josh Harding 1126 2006-01-29
Cancer Assassins
In the USA and other developed countries, cancer is presently responsible for about 25% of all deaths. The human immune system employs a network of micro...
Article Alan Bellows 987 2006-01-28
Skipping Bombs Like Stones
During World War II, German hydroelectric dams were lucrative targets for the Allies. Not only would busting one cut off a major source of power for Germ...
Article Daniel Lew 649 2006-01-23
Liver-Eating Johnson
From the cloudy reservoir of history it is often difficult to separate legend from reality, and such is the case with the story of the infamous American ...
Article Alan Bellows 1026 2006-01-22
Urine For a Treat
A type of mushroom called Amanita muscaria grows in some parts of Siberia, and it contains a cocktail of hallucinogenic chemicals. One who consumes the s...
Article Alan Bellows 971 2006-01-21
Unintentional, Unwitting Heroine
Most cells in the human body can only multiply a certain number of times, then they inevitably die. This limit is named the Hayflick Limit, for the man w...
Nugget Jason Bellows 568 2006-01-20
Smoke Detectors and a Radioactive Boyscout
David Hahn was an Eagle Scout who had a merit badge in atomic energy; as everyone should know, that is ample education to build and maintain a nuclear br...
Article Jason Bellows 737 2006-01-19
The Singing Scourge
Early in the 1200’s, Genghis Khan and the Mongol army he commanded were well on their way to becoming the most feared army in history. While many Khans...
Nugget Cynthia Wood 551 2006-01-17
Phineas Gage's Brain Injury
In 1848, a twenty-five-year-old construction foreman named Phineas Gage won nationwide fame by way of a hole in his head. While working on a railroad pro...
Article Alan Bellows 950 2006-01-16
The Most Powerful Bomb Ever Constructed
On October 30, 1961, the most powerful weapon ever constructed by mankind was exploded over the island of Novaya Zemlya in the Arctic Sea. The device was...
Article Alan Bellows 802 2006-01-13
The Hazards of Eating Bats
Bats, along with spiders and snakes, are one of the most frequently feared animals. Ask any bat lover, and they will tell you that these creatures are ha...
Article Bryan Lowder 739 2006-01-13
Hole-y Cow
Animals can live a surprising amount of time with a permanent hole to their stomach, especially if it is a surgically made fistula. Humans have had fistu...
Nugget Daniel Lew 357 2006-01-12
Prepare for Ludicrous Speed
In 1957, German theoretical physicist Burkhard Heim publicly outlined a new idea for spacecraft propulsion. It was based on his new theory of physics whi...
Article Alan Bellows 955 2006-01-11
A Coffee For When You Feel Like Crap
Coffee connoisseurs are known to be willing to shell out large sums of money for a high-quality bean. The high-end beans, such as Kona or Blue Mountain, ...
Nugget Cynthia Wood 329 2006-01-11
Nuclear Landmines
In 1950s-era Germany, the British forces which had been stationed there after World War 2 were understandably nervous about an invasion from the Soviet U...
Nugget Alan Bellows 405 2006-01-10
When They Became Him
If someone used their political position to alter English grammar, would it work? If that sentence bothered you, then the answer is yes. You see, f...
Nugget Cynthia Wood 503 2006-01-09
Amputation Fetishism
In the early 20th century, there was a sharp increase in the number of people openly seeking to have one or more of their healthy limbs surgically remove...
Article Alan Bellows 684 2006-01-08
More Than Just a Tune
For some people, whistling is more than just a way to hail a cab. The language of “Silbo Gomero,” found on the Canary Islands, is whistled instead o...
Nugget Daniel Lew 354 2006-01-07
The Physics of Quicksand
Next time you're traipsing around in a wet, sandy, unfamiliar area, you had best be on your guard for the exotic material known as quicksand. If you're n...
Article Alan Bellows 807 2006-01-05
The "Wow!" Signal
It's no rare occurrence in science fiction: The introverted researcher working the graveyard shift at a SETI radio observatory jumps out of his seat in s...
Article Alan Bellows 702 2006-01-03
The Hindenburg and Humanity
On May 6, 1937, just minutes before 7:30pm, a German zeppelin called Hindenburg was approaching a mooring mast at Lakehurst Naval Air Station in New Jers...
Article Alan Bellows 1653 2006-01-01
Technology and the Pursuit of Happiness
The United States' Declaration of Independence asserts that all individuals have an unalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. In t...
Article Alan Bellows 1677 2005-12-26
The (Almost) Impenetrable Defenses of France
After World War I, the French were understandably worried about another invasion. They had suffered many losses in the first world war and wanted to pre...
Nugget Daniel Lew 504 2005-12-23
The Truth About Truth Serum
Popular culture makes gratuitous use of powerful lie-repelling agents known as Truth Serums. They are usually depicted as injected drugs which strongly i...
Nugget Alan Bellows 425 2005-12-22
Nothing is Wrong
Suppose your friend has suffered a stroke--a major one, which causes hemiplegia in which half of his body paralyzed. Despite being unable to move the lef...
Nugget Daniel Lew 554 2005-12-19
You Can Pick Your Doctor, and You Can Pick Your Nose...
In the scientific and medical communities, the technical name for using one's finger to extract boogers is rhinotillexis, and doing so compulsively is te...
Nugget Alan Bellows 541 2005-12-17
School Violence
School violence is not merely the province of modern times. In fact, one of the greatest attacks on American soil can be attributed to violence at school...
Article Jason Bellows 623 2005-12-15
The Mad Gasser of Mattoon
On September 2, 1944, as the Second World War was in progress in Europe and the Pacific, some strange happenings were reported in the small town of Matto...
Article Alan Bellows 798 2005-12-14
Miniature Guide Horses for the Blind
By using selective breeding programs over many generations, horse breeds have been produced which are little more than a couple dozen inches tall. These ...
Nugget Alan Bellows 546 2005-12-12
Anomalous Pioneers
On 02 March 1973, the NASA probe Pioneer 10 was launched into space on the top of an Atlas/Centaur/TE364-4 launch vehicle that pushed it away from Earth ...
Nugget Jason Bellows 441 2005-12-12
Jockey Tragically Killed Thursday, Wins the Title Friday
On May 8th, 1936, a horse jockey named Ralph Neves was riding in the third race of the day at Bay Meadows Racecourse near San Francisco, California. At s...
Nugget Alan Bellows 523 2005-12-09
The Soldier Who Wouldn't Quit
On December 17, 1944, the Japanese army sent a twenty-three year old soldier named Hiroo Onoda to the Philippines to join the Sugi Brigade. He was statio...
Article Alan Bellows 1282 2005-12-07
The Longest-Standing Math Problem
Ever had a puzzle that looked easy but tortured you incessantly until you found a solution? Would you work on it obsessively for seven years in isolation...
Article Daniel Lew 908 2005-12-06
The Christmas Truce of 1914
The Great War was joined in fervor. It had only been a few months, but by December 1914, soldiers of the Central Powers could see the war wasn't going t...
Article Jason Bellows 612 2005-12-05
The Birth of the Bermuda Triangle
On December 5, 1945 at 4:00pm Eastern Time, a fragment of a radio transmission was heard from a training flight of five TBM Avenger Torpedo Bombers that ...
Article Alan Bellows 615 2005-12-05
Color Photos From the World War I Era
Color film was non-existent in 1909 Russia, yet in that year a photographer named Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii embarked on a photographic survey ...
Article Alan Bellows 600 2005-12-04
History's Youngest Mother
In 1939, a man from a small village in the Andes mountains carried his five-year-old daughter Lina into a hospital in the town of Pisco, Peru. He indicat...
Nugget Alan Bellows 543 2005-12-03
Always Watch Out for Number One
If you ever plan to cheat on your taxes, here's something to consider (besides prison): Make sure that most of the numbers you fabricate start with the d...
Article Alan Bellows 672 2005-12-02
The Man Who Was a Dwarf and a Giant
Very few details are known about the life of Adam Rainer, but in a way, he represents an extraordinary piece of medical history. He was born in Graz, Aus...
Nugget Alan Bellows 390 2005-12-01
Brain Fingerprinting
There is a new, non-invasive technology being developed which is able to peer into your brain to discover whether you are familiar with a given phrase, s...
Article Alan Bellows 741 2005-11-30
And You Thought Houdini Was Good
One of my favorite films is ‘The Great Escape” with its spectacular cast and haunting conclusion. If you are unfamiliar with the film, it is based up...
Article Josh Harding 1539 2005-11-30
The Gay-Detecting Fruit Machine
During the 1950s and 1960s, some otherwise freedom-loving governments waged secret wars against suspected homosexuals within their borders. During those ...
Nugget Alan Bellows 378 2005-11-28
The Boat Designed to Capsize
The US Navy has a nifty oceangoing research ship which performs a controlled capsize in order to perform scientific tests. It's called the FLoating Instr...
Nugget Alan Bellows 274 2005-11-28
Lie Detectors
Law enforcement officers, secret agents, and counter-espionage personnel have most interesting toolboxes. Their occupations center around discovering "th...
Article Alan Bellows 826 2005-11-27
Quantum Mechanics and Immortality
Quantum Mechanics is a curious area of study which began in the early 20th century when scientists began to discover that the theories of electromagnetis...
Article Alan Bellows 743 2005-11-26
Professional Farters
Joseph Pujol, a man of singular talent, was born in Marseilles, France in 1857. In his early youth it became clear that he was a natural entertainer, sin...
Article Alan Bellows 1091 2005-11-26
Atomic Annie and Her Nuclear Projectile
In 1953, the United States Department of Defense was conducting a series of nuclear weapons tests called Operation Upshot-Knothole. During this operation...
Nugget Alan Bellows 400 2005-11-24
Let's Make a Deal
There is a classic mathematical nuisance known as the Monty Hall problem which can be hard to wrap the mind around. It is named after the classic game sh...
Article Alan Bellows 750 2005-11-22
The Whereabouts of Dr. Einstein's Brain
Dr. Albert Einstein died on April 18, 1955 at Princeton Hospital in Trenton, New Jersey. In accordance with his wishes, he was cremated without ceremony ...
Article Alan Bellows 607 2005-11-21
Alien Hand Syndrome
In 1908, the German neurologist and psychiatrist Dr Kurt Goldstein was bewildered by the strange behaviors manifest in one of his patients. The fifty-sev...
Article Alan Bellows 1383 2005-11-19
The History of Sealand
The Principality of Sealand is a unique little micronation with a colorful history. Located six miles off the eastern shores of Britain, it is one of fou...
Article Alan Bellows 1312 2005-11-13
Superfluous Brain
It really happened. On 10 September 1945, Mike (who wasn't named "Mike" at the time) was going to be dinner. Such is occasionally the fate of roosters li...
Nugget Jason Bellows 308 2005-11-13
Runaway Breakdown
It has long been thought that the run-of-the mill thunderhead lacked sufficient energy to create the stupefying amount of power found in the lightning th...
Nugget Jason Bellows 503 2005-11-12
Leonardo The Inventor
Many of us are familiar with Leonardo Da Vinci the artist. His contributions to the culture are seemingly endless. The Last Supper and Mona Lisa are so...
Article Josh Harding 1129 2005-11-12
The Killer Lakes of Cameroon
On the night of 15 August 1984, a truck sagging with the weight of a dozen passengers trundled along a misty road in Cameroon, Africa. Although there ha...
Article Alan Bellows 1777 2005-11-11
Tin Foil Hats Proven Ineffective
A study by researchers at MIT produced alarming results which throw the security of every paranoid person's thoughts into question. It seems that the "ti...
Nugget Alan Bellows 238 2005-11-10
In Heavy Fog
On a Saturday morning in July of 1945, Army Air Corps bomber pilot Lt. Colonel William Smith was trying to fly his B-25 bomber through a steadily increas...
Article Alan Bellows 1067 2005-11-10
Chernobyl
Part One On April 26th, 1986, the world was shaken by an explosion. The worst-case peacetime scenario had occurred--thermonuclear meltdown. Some 110...
Article Josh Harding 3313 2005-11-08
NASA's Messages to the Great Unknown
In the thirty-three years since it was launched, NASA's Pioneer 10 space probe has traveled over thirteen billion miles, and is now hurtling through a re...
Article Alan Bellows 1256 2005-11-07
The Phantom Time Hypothesis
When Dr. Hans-Ulrich Niemitz introduces his paper on the "phantom time hypothesis," he kindly asks his readers to be patient, benevolent, and open to rad...
Article Alan Bellows 700 2005-11-04
The Extraordinary Dymaxion Automobile
Imagine a car that seats eleven passengers, turns on a dime, has excellent fuel efficiency, and cruises happily at 120 miles per hour. A man named Buckmi...
Nugget Alan Bellows 443 2005-11-03
The Razzle Dazzle Camo of World War I
The Brits called it "Dazzle Painting," and the Yanks called it "Razzle Dazzle." It transformed ships of war from plain gray hulls into brightly colored, ...
Nugget Alan Bellows 254 2005-11-02
Express Elevator to Space, Going Up
Only a handful of decades ago, a group of very smart scientists figured that if they crammed a giant metal barrel full of explosive chemicals and bolted ...
Article Alan Bellows 866 2005-10-30
The Consequences of Excessive Wakefulness
Every day, humans experience the irresistible compulsion to pass out, and then remain unconscious for hours upon hours. We simply accept this involuntary...
Article Alan Bellows 876 2005-10-28
1600 Years Before the Steam Engine There Was the Steam Engine
Mankind doesn't really evolve. Not as a people. We copy, mimic, and integrate, all standing on the shoulders of the great men that came before. It's an i...
Nugget Jason Bellows 231 2005-10-27
The Great Rose Bowl Prank of 1961
The Rose Bowl is arguably the most famous annual college football game there is, often referred to as "The Granddaddy of Them All." Every year, it is att...
Article Alan Bellows 920 2005-10-26
Rainmakers and Cloudbusters
In the first few days of 1916, Charles Hatfield and his brother Joel finished construction of a twenty-eight foot tower beside Morena Dam reservoir, abou...
Article Alan Bellows 806 2005-10-25
Japan's Secret Biological Weapons Program
In 1945, just after Japan surrendered to the United States to end the second world war, a Japanese I-400 class submarine--the likes of which Americans ha...
Nugget Alan Bellows 408 2005-10-23
The Fiery Balls of Naga
Supernatural phenomena always seem to be met by photographers who possess a supernatural ability to botch a simple photograph, and the Naga Fireballs phe...
Nugget Alan Bellows 347 2005-10-22
The Price of the Nobel Prize
Sometimes the requirement of giving out a prize annually causes the prize committee to deal the accolades out on someone whose effects aren't as intense ...
Nugget Jason Bellows 108 2005-10-18
Bitten by the Nuclear Dragon
After World War 2, a few of the Manhattan Project scientists remained on duty at Los Alamos to further explore the behaviors and potential of nuclear tec...
Article Alan Bellows 821 2005-10-13
Nature's Nuclear Reactors
In the early- to mid-1950s, Dr. Paul Kuroda from the University of Arkansas described the possibility of naturally occurring nuclear reactors lurking in ...
Nugget Alan Bellows 544 2005-10-11
Alicia Jurman
There are many, many stories the world over detailing parts and pieces of WWII. The world ‘round, the name Anne Frank is known for her courage, her ki...
Article Josh Harding 3590 2005-10-11
It Rains More on Weekends
Fair weather always seems to play hard-to-get on weekends. During the work week, we toil under life-sucking fluorescent tubes, teased by the orgy of gorg...
Nugget Alan Bellows 201 2005-10-06
Don't Catch a Fat
There's been a lot of research findings about obesity lately, but this seems to be the weirdest yet. As reported in the August 2005 ASM News (from the Am...
Nugget Bryan Lowder 327 2005-10-06
The Emotional Bankruptcy of Alexithymia
Few people are familiar with the condition known as alexithymia, yet it is not so rare a thing. Alexithymia is condition where a person seems devoid of e...
Nugget Alan Bellows 312 2005-10-04
It Were Aliens! I Seen 'em!
In a far off region of Siberia, known as Tungunska, an event occurred early in the last century that has caused much debate and quite of bit of conjectur...
Nugget Josh Harding 566 2005-10-04
Dreamhost Site of the Month
We here at DamnInteresting.com are collectively vibrating with titillation at winning the Dreamhost Site of the Month contest for September 2005. Thanks ...
Announcement Alan Bellows 41 2005-10-03
A Hairsbreadth From Utter Destruction
September 26th, 1983 doesn't stick out in the annals of history as a day to remember. It wasn't the day of a great discovery. It wasn't the beginning of ...
Article Josh Harding 759 2005-09-28
Beer Flood Claims Nine Souls
In the late 1700s, the Industrial Revolution brought about considerable advances in agriculture, manufacturing, and transportation throughout Europe. St...
Article Alan Bellows 815 2005-09-28
Liquid Telescopes
Ask any astronomer if she’d like a perfectly parabolic six-meter-diameter mirror at one-fiftieth the price, and she’ll be unable to answer for all th...
Nugget Bryan Lowder 529 2005-09-27
Body-Snatching Barnacles and Zombie Crabs
There is no small number of unsettling parasites crawling, flying, and swimming about the Earth, the lucky ones hitching rides on hapless host organisms....
Nugget Alan Bellows 249 2005-09-27
The Mysterious Toynbee Tiles
In 1992, a chap in Philadelphia by the name of Bill O'Neill starting noticing strange tiles randomly embedded in local roads. They were generally about t...
Article Alan Bellows 1044 2005-09-25
Invasion of the Tongue Snatchers!
Get your gag reflex ready, you're going to need it. The Spotted Rose Snapper Fish, which lives off the coast of California, is plagued by what must be...
Nugget Alan Bellows 112 2005-09-25
Operation Stormfury
Cloud seeding is a fairly common practice in most of the world; the aim is to introduce a nucleus into a cloudbank around which supercooled water in the...
Nugget Jason Bellows 264 2005-09-24
The Molasses Disaster
On 15 January 1919 the ground near 529 Commercial Street in Boston, Massachusetts began to tremble. At the nearby Purity Distilling Company, a six-story...
Article Alan Bellows 609 2005-09-23
The Fax Machines of the 1800s
Although the fax machine did not begin to see wide acceptance until the late 1970s, the device's invention predated its popularity by almost 130 years. T...
Nugget Alan Bellows 487 2005-09-20
The Truth About Tourette's
Tourette Syndrome is a highly misunderstood neurological disorder. It is depicted throughout movies, television, and writing as an uncontrollable urge to...
Nugget Alan Bellows 297 2005-09-20
The Inexplicable Voynich Manuscript
Yale University's Beinecke Rare Book Library is in possession of many fascinating historic texts, but perhaps its most perplexing item is a 600 year old,...
Nugget Alan Bellows 367 2005-09-10
WW2: Britain's Giant Concrete Ears
Early in World War 2, before the invention of radar, the British isles had an interesting system devised to detect incoming enemy aircraft. They construc...
Nugget Alan Bellows 127 2005-09-09
Starfish Prime
On the night of 9 July 1962 a number of beach front hotels in Honolulu, Hawaii were throwing “rainbow bomb” parties; gathering sky gazers to the roof...
Nugget Jason Bellows 435 2005-09-08
Vesna's Fall
On January 26, 1972, a 22-year-old flight attendant named Vesna Vulovic was not where she was supposed to be. She was cruising at 33,330 feet above Czech...
Article Alan Bellows 754 2005-09-08
Mind-Controlling Wasps and Zombie Spiders
In the forests of Costa Rica, there lurks a sinister variety of wasp, bent on hijacking the minds of hapless spiders for its own ends. Left unmolested, a...
Nugget Alan Bellows 468 2005-09-07
Japan's Balloon Bombs
One of World War 2's best-kept secrets was that of the Japanese balloon bombs. Lacking a practical means to attack the US mainland during the war, the Ja...
Nugget Alan Bellows 201 2005-09-07
Lake Peigneur: The Swirling Vortex of Doom
Early in the morning on November 21, 1980, twelve men decided to abandon their oil drilling rig on the suspicion that it was beginning to collapse beneat...
Article Alan Bellows 953 2005-09-06
Damn Interesting
Science tells us that the laws of physics are not subject to change, and that these laws determine the interaction of all matter and energy in existence....
Announcement Alan Bellows 306 2005-09-06
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