How Opera, Fairy Tales, Trees, and Lullabies Led to Nazism

Midnight in Paris--a film that takes us back to Jazz Age Paris and the Lost Generation. And then the city in the Belle Epoque. It could just as well have been turn-of-the-century Vienna, 1950s New York, Victorian London, Hollywood in the silver screen era, or Silicon Valley in the 70s.  Today, I want to share …

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How Sci-Fi Shaped the Past, and Shapes the Future

"Anything one man can imagine, another man can make real..." Science fiction has quite a lot to do with the way we live now, having directly driven much scientific and technological progress around the world for at least the last 150 years. One might ask how or why, and the answer is very simple: sci-fi …

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Monday at the Museum: 14 X-planes at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force

The "X" classification in research and development simply marks an invention's current use as "experimental." Some such inventions make it beyond that stage; the majority of those that follow did not. Whatever their contributions to aeronautics in the United States, these X-planes can be appreciated for their interesting designs. 1. The Avrocar Actually Canadian in …

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Monday at the Museum: Taking Tea at the Met

Monday seems like the perfect day of the week to dive down the proverbial rabbit hole, perhaps into a museum's collection. There are plenty of items awaiting individual discovery, like these eleven tea-related objects from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. First, a tea service by Eero Saarinen's father, Eliel. This futuristic set would sit pretty …

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When Love of the Game Erupted into Utter Pandemonium

Sometimes sports bring out the best in humanity. But more often than bringing out our best, sports bring out the worst--or, simply, the crazy. 70s-era baseball might just take the cake for "most fanatical followers," or could at least win award for "most likely to rage." The following three vignettes demonstrate a penchant for mob …

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On the Radar: When Everyone Had Stoves, But Not Ovens

Called a four banal (common oven, sometimes called four à pain), the history of this oven's practice spanned from medieval times until as recently as World War II. French seigneurs provided their serfs with a communal oven, run by a fournier, to meet their baking needs. Every house could build a fire over which they …

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L’art de la bohème in Turn-of-the-Century Montmartre

Now what many Parisians consider an arrondissement almost wholly belonging to tourists, Montmartre was once a bucolic village on a hill where artists flocked to escape from the city. Something about this cross between city and country inspired the beautiful and, often, the absurd. Picasso got his start in Montmartre before gaining popularity, Van Gogh created …

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