Kraft Foods Gave Away a Real Spaceship Simulator in 1959

If you were an American kid in the 1950s and 60s you were bombarded with an amazing promise: one day, when you're all grown up, you'll be able to vacation on the moon. But until then you'll have to settle for space-adventure TV shows and comic books. Unless, of course, you won this real live space simulator from 1959. » 10/23/14 2:50pm Thursday 2:50pm

No Love for Lovelace: A Closer Read of Walter Isaacson's Innovators

I'm glad Walter Isaacson is getting such an outpouring of love from reviewers and talk-show hosts for including Ada Lovelace in The Innovators, his new history of the digital revolution.1 Thanks to Isaacson, Lovelace is finally receiving at least a few bytes of the attention she deserves for having written the first… » 10/23/14 2:30pm Thursday 2:30pm

The Hoverboard Is Real, and I Rode It

I'm tired of being lied to. Tired of companies exploiting my childhood dreams of riding a hoverboard just like Back to the Future Part II. When Doc Brown let me down, I was ready to write off the whole idea. But this week, my dream finally came true. » 10/22/14 4:02pm Wednesday 4:02pm

Don't Get Too Excited About That New "Hoverboard" Just Yet

People are understandably really excited about the latest hoverboard currently being crowdfunded at Kickstarter. It's called the Hendo and it's being developed by Greg and Jill Henderson for their company Arx Pax. Is it real? Yes. Has our Back to the Future hoverboard finally arrived? Sadly, no. » 10/21/14 12:45pm Tuesday 12:45pm

Isaac Asimov's Newly Published 1959 Paper for DARPA on Creativity

Isaac Asimov was one of the great sci-fi writers of the 20th century. So naturally, at the dawn of the space age, the military wanted to tap his brain. In 1959 he was approached by ARPA (now known as DARPA) to "think outside of the box" about how ideas are formed. His brief work for the organization has never been… » 10/20/14 7:00pm Monday 7:00pm

From Football Field to Battlefield: A Futuristic 1950s Vision of TV

As TV technology stormed into American homes during the early 1950s, more and more people started to ask, why don't we use this stuff on the battlefield? They imagined a world where commanders could remotely monitor the activity of troops on the ground — maybe even from halfway around the world. » 10/20/14 2:20pm Monday 2:20pm

A French Inventor Once Proposed a Giant Mirror to Burn a Message on Mars

When we want to leave our mark on Mars today, we simply send over a few Rovers to roll around in its red soil. But 150 years ago, scientists had very different plans for contacting the planet, including one French inventor who wanted to use the refracted light of the sun to sear a welcoming message into the Martian… » 10/16/14 12:55pm 10/16/14 12:55pm

Wernher von Braun Predicted We'd Send Men to Mars No Sooner Than 2050s

Student researchers at MIT have concluded that given current technology, any colonists to Mars would die after about 68 days. Mars One, the company that hopes to put people on Mars by the 2025 (and film a reality TV show there, so you know they're legit) insists that the MIT researchers are wrong. But as any student… » 10/15/14 1:00pm 10/15/14 1:00pm

1918's 48-Phonograph Sound System Was Way Ahead of Its Time

Before the rise of synchronized sound in the late 1920s, movie theater owners tried all kinds of different ways to get words and music into the movie-going experience. They brought in enormous orchestras, they built gigantic sound effects machines, and they even tried putting voice actors behind the screen who would… » 10/14/14 3:15pm 10/14/14 3:15pm

Raymond Loewy's NASA Designs Are The Space Future That Never Was

From 1967 until 1973 NASA employed the services of Raymond Loewy, a legendary figure in the design world. Loewy's firm produced over 3,000 designs for NASA during this time. And everything they produced for the space agency would fit perfectly in Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey — like the Loewy space taxi » 10/13/14 1:20pm 10/13/14 1:20pm

Fireballs and Wolves: The Horrifying Story of the First Spacewalk

Almost 60 years ago, we took our first steps into the big, black nothingness of space. Or more specifically, Soviet cosmonaut Alexei Leonov had the honor of taking the very first space-dip. But this was a rush job—a means for the Soviet Union to shame the US and win the space race once and for all. Which they did! … » 10/13/14 1:13pm 10/13/14 1:13pm

The Ford 24.7 Concept Car Predicted Apps Years Before Smartphones

Take a look at that dashboard: It's clearly presenting the driver with a selection of apps, each with a simple, readable icon. This isn't some 2015 future-mobile, though. It's the Ford 24.7 concept, a design exercise from January 2000—seven years before most folks came to know the concept of "apps." » 10/08/14 10:45am 10/08/14 10:45am

The 10 Types of Fictional Apocalypses (And What They Mean)

The Apocalypse rules pop culture. Half the biggest literary novels these days are apocalyptic, and meanwhile The Walking Dead is a huge hit. Post-apocalyptic stories are what space opera was in the Space Age. But what are they about? Here are 10 types of apocalypses, and what they each signify. » 10/07/14 4:58pm 10/07/14 4:58pm