On the Radar: The Optical Phenomenon Behind “The Flying Dutchman”

In a way, the "Flying Dutchman" is real... ...in the sense that a specific interaction between light and atmospheric conditions causes the human eye to perceive something that's not actually there. It's nothing more, nothing less than a "superior mirage," which occurs when air near the Earth's surface is colder than the air above it …

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The Unsung Concept Artist Behind Disney’s Mid-Century Blockbusters

Disney's teams of animators and designers are known around the world for their unparalleled creative, innovative artistic vision and, historically, most of these great talents were men. But as it turns out, one of the most influential concept artists in the Disney arsenal was a woman named Mary Blair. Disney lovers everywhere have her to …

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On the Radar: Soviet X-Ray Records

During the Cold War years, listening to "Western" music--especially those genres of "ill-repute" such as jazz and rock 'n roll--could get a person sent to the Gulag. So people got creative and made bootleg records of this music on old x-rays, called "bones" or "ribs." Because the quality was so poor, people called the experience …

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God’s Giants in China

Many people today know and support the Overseas Missionary Fellowship (OMF), but few may know its past--a past dedicated specifically to China. Previously the China Inland Mission (CIM), it led thousands to Christ under near-constant persecution resulting in internment, torture, and death for many of the missionaries as they faced the Boxer Rebellion, the Xinhai …

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Rattan, the Mai Tai, and Blue Hawaii: A History in “Exotic” Escapism

Polynesian pop and Tiki culture have always been about escapism.... The trend got its beginnings in the 20s, though social and artistic obsessions with tropical climes have existed for as long as Europeans and Americans have been around to "discover" them. Escapism, however, is not a uniquely "Western" obsession; most everyone finds joy in a …

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On the Radar: Kurokawa’s Takara Beautilion Pavilion at Japan’s EXPO ’70

Famous architect Kisho Kurokawa designed this groovy building for a world's fair in Osaka called EXPO '70--the first to be held in Japan. Kurokawa took a great interest in philosophy and idealized, himself, that every culture has two traditions: the visible and the invisible. He focused the majority of his work on Japan's "invisible" traditions, …

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