America's highways are littered with loose ends. In Houston, relics of an incomplete inner city project loom on the east and west ends with nothing in-between. In Portland, ramps built to merge with the Mt. Hood Freeway simply drop off into an overgrown field.
In the 1930s, construction began on a highway that would cross Pennsylvania’s unruly terrain, following a path developed by the railroad magnate William Vanderbilt. But by the 60s, the route had bypassed a long segment and a narrow tunnel in Breezewood, Pennsylvania. The highway is now slowly being recaptured by nature.
Carl Sagan is the go-to guy for interstellar greeting cards. During the 1970s, he developed plaques for equipment that NASA thought had the potential of being discovered millions or billions of years in the future.
The most ambitious project was the golden records for the Voyager probes. Sagan was given the daunting task of assembling a guide to all things human. Something that would fit on a standard 12-inch record.
Suicide bombings, an act usually associated with terrorism, can be found in select insects that are built to self-destruct.
In Southeast Asia, at least nine different varieties of carpenter ants have an unusual talent; they can make themselves explode.
It's a natural act of defense in which they (Camponotus saundersi, for instance) grip an enemy, squeezing it tightly until the ants own abdominal lining ruptures. It's a suicide bombing that releases sticky toxins that glue the ant and its foe together, killing them both.
Roller coasters are the workhorse of the modern theme park, but their rise to popularity has been long and strange.
Its precursor could be found outside of St. Petersburg in the 1800s. Massive ice slides called Russian Mountains were reinforced with wood, plunging up to seventy feet at sharp angles.
We can still see this origin in the words for “rollercoaster” in romance languages like Spanish— La Montaña Rusa—and other variations in French, Italian and Portuguese. Strangely, the Russian term literally translates as “American Mountains.”
A lot has changed for the Olympics over the last century, including the focus on an entire discipline.
The Olympics from 1912 to 1952 weren’t just about sports, but art. Medals were given out for painting, sculpture, literature, music and architecture. The only caveat being that the pieces must be inspired by sport.
The rumors began circulating in 2001 about something called The Ginger Project, or simply “It.” Talk of changing the world, of reorganizing cities, of "Reinventing the Wheel"—as Time Magazine called it in one article title—all of these hopes were in the air.