Once a waste product of the automobile industry, fordite—which is pretty much a fancy name for hardened car paint slag—is now a treasured material among jewelry makers and lapidary artists. It’s just too beautiful not to be.
If you’ve ever watched the movie Interstellar, that final scene, at Cooper Station, happens in an O’Neill cylinder. First envisioned by a Princeton professor and his undergraduate students in 1974, it was recently popularized as our preferred way to colonize space. Jeff Bezos fully endorses that statement.
In 1974, British theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking predicted that, owing to quantum effects, black holes must constantly emit a small amount of radiation, which should eventually cause them to evaporate—entirely! It turns out he was right.
In Icelandic folklore, Jólakötturinn, or the Yule Cat, is a giant, monstrous cat said to prowl through the villages at Christmas, on the lookout for misbehaving children to eat for dinner—lest they have some new clothes!
For hundreds of years, just before they are visited by Santa, children in the Alpine regions of Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic and Slovenia have to ride out the coming of his dark companion—a long-tongued goat-like demon from Hell known as Krampus.
The main difference between Santa Claus and La Befana—Italy’s two most beloved gift-givers—is that the latter one visits children on the night before Epiphany, rather than on Christmas Eve. She’s also, well, a witch.
What do you get when you cross Celtic Halloween traditions, French cream puffs, traditional carol singing, piñata-like sweets-filled barrels, and large, large amounts of food? The answer is three Icelandic holidays, celebrated in the days leading up to Lent: Bolludagur, Sprengidagur and Öskudagur.
Nowadays a popular Christmas ornament, the Yule Goat was once a Scandinavian version of Santa and, for centuries before that, he was a dying-and-rising deity bringing good luck and fertility to those who celebrated it. Join us as we try to trace back his origins—and resurrect his fascinating history!
Traditional nativity scenes show the Three Wise Men visiting the infant Jesus on the night of his birth in an animal-filled manger. Catalan nativity scenes are somewhat different: they also include a red-hatted farmer, squatting, with his pants around his knees and his bare buttocks exposed. Meet the Caganer, a saintly defecator!
In 1942, a now-classic image of a young woman in a red-and-white polka dot bandana appeared on a U.S. government-issued war poster. And thus Rosie the Riveter was born, an icon of the American can-do spirit and a persevering symbol of feminism, representing the millions of women who took on jobs typically held by men while the men were off fighting the war.
Originally, handfasting was a humble engagement ritual. A few centuries—and scholarly misunderstandings—later, it became an elaborate Wiccan alternative to white Christian marriages.
A pagan wedding is commonly known as handfasting, but the handfasting is only a part of it. They also include circle closings and Claddagh rings, elemental invocations and off-the-wall vows. Oh, yes, broom-jumpings too!
Despite his footballing achievements, Alexandre Villaplane is best remembered for his traitorous behavior during World War II. This article tells the story of one of France’s most infamous athletes.
Elephant Rock in Iceland is one of the most unique rock formations on the planet. Learn about the unexpected way it got its shape and how you can visit.
The Habsburg jaw, well known, little understood—until a team of researchers detailed the inbreeding behind the royal smile.