How Photographer Alfred Wertheimer Captured Elvis Presley’s Kiss

Editors Note, November 16, 2018: In honor of what would have been Alfred Wertheimer’s 89th birthday today. We are resurfacing this interview with the photographer, who died at age 84 in 2014. An exhibition of his photographs of Elvis Presley appeared at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery in 2010 and we interviewed Wertheimer at the […]

The Surprising Origins of Kotex Pads

Editor’s Note, November 9, 2018: With Veterans Day approaching, we are resurfacing this 2017 story about how a World War I invention led to Kotex pads. What’s in a name? For Kotex, the first-ever brand of sanitary napkins to hit the U.S., everything. The disposable sanitary napkin was a high-tech invention (inspired, incidentally, by military […]

Top 10 Real-Life Grinches Who Did Their Best to Steal Christmas

With the release of yet-another adaptation of Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, here’s a look at 10 instances of people who deserved a bit of coal in their Christmas stockings. 1. Brock Chisholm was a distinguished Canadian psychiatrist who, as the first director-general of the World Health Organization, came to be called the […]

35 Places to Commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the End of World War I

From 1914 to 1918, the wealthy and powerful Western nations and empires that had come to dominate the globe wrecked themselves in a paroxysm of destruction unmatched in any previous era. Empires toppled, millions died and the world changed forever. In the wake of the First World War, nations sought appropriate forms of public mourning and commemoration […]

Why Women Bring Their ‘I Voted’ Stickers to Susan B. Anthony’s Grave

SmartNews Keeping you current It’s a small tribute to a big leader in women’s suffrage American women wouldn’t be able to sport ‘I Voted’ stickers if not for Susan B. Anthony. (Greta Page-Mann) April 20, 2016 | Updated: November 6, 2018 9:33PM Update, November, 6, 2018: As citizens across the country go to the polls to […]

Preserving the Home of Selma Heraldo, Neighbor and Friend of Louis Armstrong

SmartNews Keeping you current Heraldo bequeathed her home to the Louis Armstrong House Museum, which plans to renovate the property with the help of a sizable city grant People crowding in front of Selma’s House on the opening day of the Louis Armstrong House Museum in 2003. (Courtesy of the Louis Armstrong House Museum) […]

Man-Eating Tigress Killed in India, Lured by Calvin Klein Cologne

In what Indian officials are calling the most intense tiger hunt in recent memory, a female tiger that is said to have killed 13 people in India over the last two years was shot and killed on November 2. Hunters initially tried to tranquilize the tiger, but she became aggressive and allegedly charged the group. […]

When Pulling a Lever Tallied the Vote

Editor’s Note, November 1, 2018: With Election Day approaching, we are resurfacing this 2004 story about an 1890s gear-and-lever voting machine in the Smithsonian collections. Like most Americans, I still remember my first vote in a presidential election. I think I won’t mention the candidates, though rest assured Warren G. Harding was not one of […]

Take a Trip Through Edgar Allan Poe’s America

(Wikimedia Commons) Edgar Allan Poe was born in Boston, and published some of his most famous works while living in the city. But Poe never felt at home in Boston—and the city, famous for authors like Emerson and Thoreau, never welcomed Poe as one of their own, either. The feud was partly sparked by comments […]

Where to See the World’s Biggest Spiders

Don’t freak out—our arachnid friends help more than hurt (Smithsonian National Zoo) October 31, 2016 | Updated: 35 minutes ago Currently, more than 46,000 spider species stretch their eight legs in habitats across the world, in every country and continent except Antarctica. And those are only the ones scientists have been able to find […]

Five Things We’ve Learned Since Brazil’s Devastating National Museum Fire

Update, October 26, 2018: Luiza, the oldest human fossil in the Americas, has been recovered from the rubble of Brazil’s National Museum. The 200-year-old Rio de Janiero institution burned down in September, taking with it most of the museum’s 20 million artifacts. But the remains of Luiza, which were held in a metal urn, have been successfully identified by researchers. […]

With AI Art, Process Is More Important Than the Product

With AI becoming incorporated into more aspects of our daily lives, from writing to driving, it’s only natural that artists would also start to experiment with artificial intelligence. In fact, Christie’s just sold its first piece of AI art—a blurred face titled “Portrait of Edmond Belamy”—for $432,500. The piece is part of a new wave […]

17 Inventions That Will Put You in the Halloween Mood

Here are some bizarre costume ideas, decorations and supplies culled from the U.S. patent archives (Patent from USPTO/Design by Shaylyn Esposito) October 28, 2015 | Updated: October 25, 2018 4:13PM The National Retail Federation suspects that Americans will spend $9 billion this Halloween. About $3.2 billion will go toward store-bought costumes and the props, […]

The Puerto Rican Roots of the Mega Millions Jackpot

As the newest Mega Millions jackpot breaks the billion-dollar mark, Americans are once again flocking to corner markets in the hopes of hitting it rich. But most U.S. citizens could have nothing to do with the first modern American lottery, no matter how much they wanted to be involved, because it happened in the territory […]

The Best Places Around the World to See Bats (by the Millions)

Bat tourism might sound creepy, but it may be the best way to help bat conservation around the world Mexican free-tailed bats near Bracken Cave, Texas. (© Aerie Nature Series, Inc./CORBIS) October 31, 2014 | Updated: October 18, 2018 5:40PM It’s hard out there for a bat: not only do the flying mammals suffer […]