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.

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.