Charles Hatfield, the rainmaker, checking some equipment. (Copyright Bettmann/Corbis / AP Images)

When San Diego Hired a Rainmaker a Century Ago, It Poured

After Charles Hatfield began his work to wring water from the skies, San Diego experienced its wettest period in recorded history.
A bowl of mashed sweet potatoes.

Considering the Sweet Potato

The sweet potato is a New World food that spread around the world, including across the Pacific before the Europeans got there.

Electric Cars… of The 1890s

Electric cars were first introduced in the late 1890s, but they didn't catch on.

Tales from the History of Cryptography

The history of cryptography.

The Importance of Fire to Human Life

The cultural importance of fire.

Never Mind That Extra Second, What Happened to Those 11 Days?

The 1752 British transition from Julian to Gregorian calendar added 11 days to people's lives.

Ballpoint Pen CSI

A short history of the ballpoint pen and early debates about its impact on handwriting.

Beavers, Hats, and the Fur Trade

Origins of the North American fur trade.

The Erotics of Backgammon

James E. Doan reveals the sexual innuendoes and double-entendres based on Backgammon.

The Origins of St. Valentine’s Day

The complicated origins of St. Valentine's Day.