Battle for Birdland

Trivia question: Name the town on American soil that the Japanese occupied for almost a year during World War II. Yeah, I'd never heard of this one, either. The answer is Attu, Alaska, the western-most point of America, so far off the mainland that it's hard to believe it's really part of America. They have to seriously bend the... Continue Reading →

Braving the Canyon

All world explorers have great stories to tell - of braving the unknown, facing incredible odds, possibly never to return. Even the preparation for these journeys amazes me; I simply can't fathom how you even begin to pack for a trip that doesn't allow for stopping at a Wal-Mart when you realize you've forgotten something... Continue Reading →

Pretty, sexy, and smart

One misstep of modern feminism is that we keep trying to make women choose between being smart and being pretty; we've all but stopped acknowledging that someone can be both. I'd like to present a new role model for today's young ladies: Hedy Lamarr. If you're under 50, you've probably never heard of her, but... Continue Reading →

Leap Months

Tonight we're getting a leap second, though nobody will much notice it. Leap days are boring. But once upon a time there was a leap month ... England clung to the Julian calendar until 1752, when George II finally realized it made no sense to be on a completely different time scheme than all its... Continue Reading →

Gangstas of the 16th Century

In the contest for "Most Baller Astronomer," I present for your consideration: Tycho Brahe. Man, this cat was the Charlie Sheen of The Renaissance! You've never heard of him? That's not surprising. Most people know Johannes Kepler, who proved via mathematics that the sun was at the center of our galaxy, rather than everything revolving... Continue Reading →

The Darkest Ages

My third grade social studies book went out of its way to explain that, "Contrary to its name, the Dark Ages were no darker than what we see today." Even as a 10-year-old, this seemed like a stupid thing to tell a kid. Who would ever have gotten in to their heads that the world... Continue Reading →

The Lost Colony of Roanoke

When I was young, the legend of Roanoke captured my imagination. They spoke about it in school, in kids' history books, on shows like "Ripley's Believe It or Not." And there was such an air of mystery! If you need a refresher, Roanoke was Sir Walter Raleigh's first attempt to colonize the New World, and... Continue Reading →

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