A Thomas Kinkade puzzle

What’s Behind the Pandemic Puzzle Craze?

Puzzles, or “dissected maps,” were invented in Georgian-era England, probably by a mapmaker named John Spilsbury in the early 1760s.
Harpsichord

Why We Will Never Hear What Mozart Heard

Modern pianos are the product of a 600-year evolution—from Hermann Poll's 1397 clavicembalum, to clavichords, harpsichords, and the modern grand piano.
toy train

Why We Give Children Toys for Christmas

Giving children toys for Christmas first became a thing in early nineteenth century England.
Beach Pneumatic Train

The Pneumatic Subway That Almost Was

New York almost had a pneumatic subway system, but political, legal, and financial reasons kept the system from expanding.
Close-up of the face of a killer robot

Who’s Afraid of Killer Robots?

Two recent DARPA projects have sparked fears about killer robots, machines that can decide whether to engage a target without human oversight.