Government and military secrets can range from terrifying to amusing to downright absurd, but most are nothing short of intriguing. From a secret U.S. Air Force project to build a supersonic flying saucer, to a now-famous World War II-era research program that produced the first atomic bombs, to a plan to train domesticated cats to spy on the Soviet Union, here are 15 declassified military and CIA secrets.
Categories for History
Violent natural disasters have devastated humanity over the centuries, but because some of them struck long ago, scientists have been unable to estimate a death count. However, the 10 deadliest natural disasters for which historians can provide accurate death tolls for have killed an estimated total of 10 million people. Here are the 10 deadliest natural disasters, from fewest casualties to most, starting with an earthquake that killed more than 200,000 people in Syria.
It is hard to imagine that a word like “awful” once met something closer to “awesome” than “terrible,” but if you think about it and break it down, it kind of makes sense – awe/full or in other words “full of awe.” These are 25 original word meanings that will surprise you!
Some superstitions are so ingrained in modern English-speaking societies that many people tend to succumb to them (or, at least, feel slightly uneasy about not doing so). But why don’t we walk under ladders? Why, after voicing optimism, do we knock on wood? Why do nonreligious people “God bless” a sneeze? While some of these superstition origins come from religious thoughts, some come from a practical place. After all, it’s probably a good idea not to open an umbrella in cramped spaces, whether it’s bad luck or not. From the avoidance of black cats to the fear of the number 666, here are the surprising origins of 21 of the most common superstitions and customs.
“I have a dream.” These timeless words echoed from the mouth of Martin Luther King Jr. and pierced the heart of a nation. Now, on every third Monday of the year, hundreds of millions of people across the United States, Canada, and elsewhere celebrate the fact that the world is a better place because of MLK. And although most people are familiar with those four famous words, we would venture to say that there are at least a few things about King’s life you may not be aware of. So, as we honor one of the greatest civil rights leaders of our time, here are 30 surprising facts about the civil rights leader and 1964 Nobel Peace Prize winner.
Watch out! This Friday is Friday the 13th, known by many as the unluckiest day of the year. Fear of Friday the 13th has spawned a horror movies franchise and a tradition of widespread paranoia when it rolls around each year. While many will laugh off the superstitious day, some people will be so paralyzed with fear they simply won’t get out of bed in order to avoid daily tasks. Others will steadfastly refuse to fly on an airplane, conducts business, buy a house, or act on a hot stock tip. Here are 13 things to know about why the day is considered so ominous.
Puzzling ancient finds have a way of captivating the public, perhaps because it’s just too easy to dream up interesting explanations for how and why things exist. But for all of the time we spend researching and documenting our past, there are still many questions left unanswered. Our ancestors left a lot of traces in this world, and not all of them were ever meant to be understood by other cultures. Despite our best efforts, these 15 archaeological discoveries remain mysteries to this day and have left scientists scratching theirs heads year after year.
Barack Obama is about to finish his second term in the White House. What will he do once he’s returned to a quasi-normal life? In a video screened at this year’s White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, Obama joked about a number of potential options: Getting a driver’s license, playing golf every day, wearing comfortable mom jeans. But maybe he’ll also follow in the footsteps of some of his predecessors. Here’s a look at some of the interesting paths that 13 other presidents took after retiring from the nation’s highest office.
December 26 is not only a day for Santa Claus to catch his breath, but it’s also a public holiday known as Boxing Day that is celebrated in the United Kingdom and other British Commonwealth countries. In spite of its peculiar name, Boxing Day has nothing to do with fist-fighting, the trashing of empty Christmas boxes, nor the return of unwanted presents to department stores. Here’s everything you need to know about the day and why it is celebrated.
Have you ever thought about the expressions people use on a daily basis and wonder how they became such a widespread part of the English language? Some sayings are now so commonplace, we’ll utter them with no idea of where they came from. But every phrase, saying or proverb starts somewhere. In this post, we’ve uncovered the surprising origins and history behind 40 common phrases and expressions we still frequently use today.
Many people are fascinated by historical photos. They give us a rare glimpse into a world that could easily be forgotten and preserves these moments well into the future. From a photo depicting the very last public execution in the U.S., to vintage pictures of Adolf Hitler, Bob Marley and even Albert Einstein, here are 50 of the most fascinating and rare historical photos ever captured on camera. (Caution: Some of the following images may be disturbing.)
This Wednesday marks the 75th anniversary of Japan’s on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor. The surprise attack unified American in a way seldom seen since, yet it also thrusted the nation into entering World War II—the deadliest war in modern history that resulted in the death of at least 60 million people across the globe, and nearly 419,000 Americans. In commemoration of Pearl Harbor’s 75th anniversary, a host of solemn tributes befitting to the historic tragedy that claimed over 2,400 Americans will be taking place in Honolulu, beginning Dec. 1 and continuing through Dec. 11.