The “Father of Aeronautics”

The invention of the airship dates back almost three and a half centuries to Lombardy, Italy. In 1670 Francesco Lana de Terzi, a Jesuit Father and professor of physics and mathematics at Brescia first published a description of an “Aerial Ship.” Terzi is commonly referred to as the “Father of Aeronautics” for turning the field of aeronautics into a science by establishing “a theory of aerial navigation […]

The Steampunk Capital of the World?

Fans of science fiction, fantasy, and steampunk may find themselves asking—why does New Zealand have all the cool places to travel? First Peter Jackson chose New Zealand for the film locations of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies: now there is an entire tourist industry dedicated to taking travelers to all the stunning film locations. If this is not enough, tourists can visit Flock Hill, Purakaunui Bay, and Auckland City to see where The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe was filmed. Of course, fans of the X-Men can visit Otago and feel like they are walking through scenes of X-Men Origins: Wolverine. But for the true immersive experience, steampunk fans can visit Oamaru, a town dedicated to the steampunk aesthetic: a town whose residents claim they are living in the Steampunk Capital of the World.

August 27th, 1896 – The Shortest War in History

The Anglo-Zanzibar War was fought between the United Kingdom and the Zanzibar Sultanate on August 27th, 1896. The conflict lasted around 40 minutes, marking it as the shortest war in history.

The Uncommon Geek podcast Episode 56: Interview with Alpha Riff!

We have the cyborg bounty hunter Alpha Riff on the podcast! The nerdcore hip-hop artist what is starting to take the world by storm sits down with Troy to talk about how he got into music and the origins of his persona, Alpha Riff! He also talks about some of the subtleties in his hip-hopera, […]

The Rebels . . . were British?

There is long standing acknowledgement in the Star Wars universe that all the Imperial officers and general bad guys are played by British actors; British comedian Eddie Izzard even has a sketch about it. The prominent characters of the galactic rebellion are played by American actors: Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and Mark Hamill. It’s no stretch to […]

Dr. Pembroke’s Clinic – Anatomy Night School

During the intellectually ravenous period of the mid to late 1700’s, the study of medicine was flourishing and blooming like some strange, bloody, sticky anatomical flower, as doctors engaged themselves in the long road to true, empirical understanding of the human body. Luminaries such as my personal hero John Hunter, amongst others, were eager to expand their skills […]

August 26th, 1883 – The Day the Planet Shook!

The 1883 eruption of Krakatoa in the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) began in the afternoon of August 26th, 1883 (with origins as early as May of that year) and culminated with several destructive eruptions of the remaining caldera.

Dancing on a Crashing Spaceship

British TV sci-fi shows from the 80s had some notoriously bad sets; part of the fun with old episodes of Doctor Who is watching the set wobble on a regular basis. Around the same time that Colin Baker was playing the sixth Doctor, British pop band Five Star were dancing on a spaceship bridge that would have […]

Zashchitniki: Russian Sci-Fi Turns Super

The Cold War inspired many of America’s favorite superheroes, particularly of the spy and assassin variety, a reflection of America’s perception of the Soviet Union at the time. Such pop culture icons continue to evolve to resonate with current events and trends, but their roots will always mark the era of their birth. As political […]

August 25th, 1835 – Bat People on the Moon!

In 1835, the most well known and respected astronomer of the time was Sir John Herschel, and starting on August 25th the New York Sun published a series of six articles that were supposedly written by him. In the series Herschel shared his recent observations of the Moon in which he had witnessed and documented an entire civilization of “bat […]

Dan Dare – Dieselpunk Pilot of the Future?

Just less than five years after the end of World War II, on April 14th, 1950, Britain saw the debut a new comic book hero . . . Dan Dare “Pilot of the Future.” The story is set in the 1990s, forty years into the future for the original readers, but has a distinct 1940’s […]

Volcano Day; or, the Fall of Pompeii

Sometimes, historical tragedy is the archaeologist’s best friend. Most cities slowly fade into obscurity as people gradually pack up their belongings and move away, chasing greener or safer pastures. The buildings they leave behind slowly crumble until there’s nothing left but foundations which often become buried by debris, newer construction, or both. When death is […]