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  • Wardenclyffe Tower


    The Wardenclyffe Tower was an early telecommunications aerial tower intended for commercial wireless transatlantic telephony and broadcasting and to demonstrate the transmission of power without interconnecting wires. Designed by inventor Nikola Tesla and funded by financier J.P. Morgan and others, the tower was planned to be built in Long Island, New York. Construction began in 1901, but as funds dwindled, work was halted. Why did the US government have the incomplete facility blown up in 1917? Discuss
  • The Umbrella


    In ancient times, small canopies were used to protect against the sun and denote rank in places like China and Egypt. In ancient Greece and, later, in Rome, the parasol came to be seen as an indispensable part of a fashionable lady's garb. The umbrella all but disappeared in Europe during the Middle Ages and did not reemerge until the late 16th century, when it was introduced as the parapluie—French for "against the rain." Slang terms for umbrella include brolly, gamp, and what else?
  • The Absent-Minded Professor


    The absent-minded professor is a stock character in popular fiction, usually portrayed as an intelligent but bumbling academic whose focus on scientific matters causes him or her to lose track of the everyday world. Isaac Newton, Adam Smith, and Archimedes were all considered absent-minded professors by their contemporaries. What philosopher is said to have fallen down a well because he had his eyes focused on the heavens instead of the ground in front of him while walking at night?