Limnoria quadripunctata, male and female, ventral view.

How “Termites of the Sea” Have Shaped Maritime Technology

These small marine pests have been eating our ships for millennia, forcing us to keep building better boats throughout history.
Pavlova cake on a white background

Food and Culture

Food is complicated. That creation you love from "The Great British Baking Show? It's been the subject of arguments over culture, identity and copyright.

Holiday Supply Chain Issues of Ancient Rome

Hey, at least we’re not trying to track down frankincense and myrrh.
Marcus G. Daniel

Charity Scams of Yore

Between the 1850s and 1940s, a charity scam worked a collection circuit of Evangelical Christians in least five hundred towns across eighty countries.
Some of the chief defendants listening to the court summary at the Nuremberg War Trials. In the front row (from left to right) are Goering, Hess, von Ribbentrop, Keitel, Kaltenbrunner and Rosenberg. In the back row are Doenitz, Raeder, von Schirach and Sauckel.

In History, The Past is the Present is the Future

If the past is so all terribly bad, then aren’t we lucky in the present?
A British airship in flight above the British countryside set against a cloudy sky, 1918

Whatever Happened to Airships?

In moving away from fossil fuels, some in aviation are thinking of bringing back helium-assisted flight.
A rice farmer with a handcart in Pingtung County, Taiwan, circa 1965.

Reclaiming Rice in Taiwan

After World War 2, the US ramped up international food aid, both as a Cold War strategy and as a way to distribute surplus products.
Cicero denouncing Catiline, by John Leech, from: The Comic History of Rome by Gilbert Abbott A Beckett, circa 1850

In Rome, Mourning Clothes as Political Resistance

In Ancient Rome, swapping one’s regular toga for the dirty, drab robes associated with mourning could request mercy, or communicate resistance.
dogs in WWI

Dogs in the Trenches of World War I

While the history of pigeons and horses in the military is widely known, canines have gotten less attention.
A portrait of Italian philosopher, writer and politician Niccolo Machiavelli

Machiavelli, Prince of…Democracy?

The other side of the Renaissance man, known today for promoting autocratic power.