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5 Surprising Things You Didn’t Know About Margaret Thatcher

Margaret Thatcher (1925-2013) passed away today after fighting illness for several years. She died in London, after having suffered a stroke, at 87 years old. Last December, she had undergone an operation to remove a growth from her bladder. Known as the Iron Lady for her toughness, Thatcher had served as the United Kingdom’s only…

Maria Sibylla Merian Google Doodle Shares Beauty of Nature Illustrations

One of my favorite vendors at D.C.’s Eastern Market sells illustrations of plants and animals. The intricate colored drawings harken back to a golden age of naturalism, when intrepid explorers headed out with little more than a notebook to chronicle the incredible biodiversity of our world. Of course, there are still many species yet to…

Ash “Wednesday,” “Lent,” and “February”: Surprising Word Origins

Each year in February or March, Christians around the world mark the beginning of Lent. But what does that word even mean? Or, for that matter, where in the world did we get “February”?

Photography’s Colorful History

National Geographic has long been known for photography, and National Geographic magazine has published its fair share of iconic images over its long, storied history. Of course, photography itself has a long, storied history. Did you know the first color photograph appeared in 1861? That 70% of activity on Facebook revolves around photos? Or that…

Henry Henshaw: The National Geographic Founder Who Helped Save America’s Birds

A friend of Henry Henshaw’s described him as having an “innate shyness and personal dignity,” along with a “ready wit and a whimsical sense of humor [that] gave him a most attractive personality.” Along with his quiet charm, the ornithologist was a passionate advocate for America’s birds. When he resigned as Chief of the Biological Survey in 1916, he left as his legacy not only the Migratory Bird Bill, but also the Migratory Bird Treaty with Great Britain, the mother of all subsequent pieces of international conservation legislation. He also left nearly 70 bird sanctuaries.

$450,000 In Private Donations Will Allow Excavation Of Blackbeard’s Ship To Continue

  A spur-of-the-moment donation today of $32,500 allowed the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources to meet its fund-raising goal of $450,000 to continue excavating the wreckage of the Queen Anne’s Revenge, the flagship of the legendary 18th-century pirate Blackbeard. The contribution from Rita and Eric Bigham, a retired couple who divide their time between…

Why Don’t You Call it Scat, Meriwether?

  I have read numerous journals from 19th century explorers, fur trappers, and government officials for my research project with American Prairie Reserve this summer (previous posts here and here). The hope was that these sources would provide anecdotal insights into historic wildlife populations from Montana’s prairie ecosystem. In fact, these sources have been indispensable…

Ada Lovelace Day Celebrates Women in Science

    Today, the 16th of October, is Ada Lovelace Day. You’d be forgiven for not having heard of Ada Lovelace, or of this celebration each October. It’s one of the more unusual dates, but if you’re one of the many (yet still minority of) women in science, this is a day you recognize, and…

John Russell Bartlett: An Admiral Turned Oceanographer

National Geographic founder John Russell Bartlett began his lifelong career as a naval officer when he was ordered into service at the beginning of the Civil War. But his legacy ended up being less military and more scientific. Accurate high-density soundings taken by his ship lead to the first modern bathymetric map, and the Bartlett Deep was named in his honor, a tribute to the man who had sounded its deepest depths.

Should Conservation Look Back? Examining Historic Wildlife Populations of America’s Serengeti

  “Immense” was the word Meriwether Lewis used repeatedly to describe the abundance of wildlife on the prairie during his transcontinental expedition with William Clark from 1804 to 1806; “We saw immence quantities of game in every direction around us as we passed up the river: consisting of herds of Buffaloe, Elk and antelopes with…

Ex-CIA Agent Claims to Have Seen Roswell UFO Evidence

  Huffington Post Weird has a news item about Chase Brandon, a 35-year veteran of the CIA who claims to have seen a file with information about the reputed Roswell, New Mexico UFO crash in 1947–an event that happened 65 years ago. “It was not a damn weather balloon — it was what it was…

New Evidence Suggests that Amelia Earhart May Have Landed Plane, Lived as Castaway on Kiribati Island

When the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard failed to find any sign of Amelia Earhart after she vanished on July 2, 1937, it was assumed that the famous pilot and her navigator died when their plane ran out of fuel and crashed into the Pacific Ocean. However, new details have emerged that suggest the story of Earhart’s disappearance may be different — and more tragic – than originally thought.

What Happened To The Titanic Survivors? One Of Them Wrote For National Geographic Magazine

Helen Churchill Candee’s 1936 National Geographic article “Summering in an English Cottage” may not sound like the stuff of adventure, but its writer knew plenty about excitement. Journalist, Washington socialite, suffragette, globe-trotter, White House interior decorator — those were just a few of Candee’s accomplishments. And then there was that last-minute trip she booked on the RMS Titanic…

A National Geographic Love Story

Mabel Gardiner Hubbard was only five years old when scarlet fever rendered her deaf for life. At the age of 17, she would meet a young Scottish speech therapist who was destined to shape her life. We know him better as Alexander Graham Bell. This is their love story.

The Living People in Charge of Dark Age Treasure

A lively conversation among experts and the audience of an NG Live! event fills in the gaps and adds new life to the story of the largest hoard of Anglo-Saxon gold ever found.