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History

Sometimes the most important victories in a war don’t occur on battlefields and don’t involve weaponry. On Wednesday, a very unusual group of veterans gathered at Bletchley Park, Buckinghamshire to commemorate an event that shortened the Second World War and saved countless lives. They were the men and women who built Colossus, the world's first programmable electronic digital computer, and they and their families were at the National Museum of Computing for a re-enactment of the day the famous machine began its code-breaking operations against the Axis forces. Read More
Rolls-Royce is so closely associated with luxury cars that it's often easy to overlook the fact that the badge has also graced everything from jet engines to nuclear reactors. As a reminder of the company’s history, Rolls-Royce gave us a hint on Tuesday of its new Bespoke Waterspeed Collection, with the release of a sketch of its Phantom Drophead Coupé. The car features a special design to honor the achievements of land and water racing legend, Sir Malcolm Campbell. Read More
Ask most petrolheads when the first Porsche was built and the likely answer you’ll get is 1948, when the Type 356 rolled out. In fact, that’s off by fifty years. This week, the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen will mark its fifth anniversary with the unveiling of the rediscovered and unrestored first Porsche, the P1 built in 1898. Recovered from a warehouse where it languished forgotten for over a century, it’s now the centerpiece of a new permanent exhibit telling the early history of Porsche and its founder. Read More
For motorcyclists wishing to balance the inequities of the road-going pecking order, this could be the perfect mount. Vespa's 150 TAP might only be good for 40 mph, but the integrated M20 light anti-armor cannon shoots 75 mm rounds capable of penetrating 100 mm of armor from four miles. Read More
The new £27-million (US $44 million) visitor centre for the world’s most famous Neolithic monuments has opened its doors just days before the winter solstice in Britain, offering a modern, but low-key and educational introduction to the 5,000-year-old stone circle. Cars are banished and visitors are offered a virtual "Stonehenge experience" before approaching the stones on foot or by shuttle. Read More
When the first astronauts landed on the Moon, it wasn’t a straight jump from Earth to the lunar surface on the first try. Instead, the first footsteps only came after a long series of preliminary steps, one of which was a manned orbital mission to the satellite. This December 21st marks the 45th anniversary of the day in 1968 when Apollo 8 lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida and into history as the first manned mission to orbit the Moon. It not only paved the way for Apollo 11, but is also seen by some as a greater achievement than the Moon landing itself. Read More

With the 50th anniversary of the "timeless" TV series Doctor Who taking place this weekend, Bonhams auction house in the UK has announced its upcoming sale of memorabilia from all five decades of the program. On December 18th, participants in the Entertainment Memorabilia sale will be able to bid on items such as a destroyed Dalek, a Cyberman costume, and scripts from various episodes. Read More

Sometimes great mysteries hang right over our heads. We’re so used to looking up and seeing the “Man in the Moon” that we often don’t realize that those familiar dark areas on the face of our nearest neighbor are part of a centuries old question that has yet to be answered. Many hypotheses have been put forward and now data from NASA's twin Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) lunar orbiters has provided new insights into how the surface of the Moon formed and how its distinctive “seas” came to be. Read More
NASA’s Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration (LLCD) experiment made history yesterday as it beamed data back to Earth from lunar orbit at previously unheard of speed for a space mission. Operating from the LADEE lunar orbiter, the LLCD used lasers to transmit data to Earth at 622 megabits per second (Mbps) as a demonstration of a technology that NASA hopes will one day not only keep up with the communications demands of future missions, but also greatly enhance their capabilities. Read More
What weighs 5 tons and has less computing power than your watch? A pioneering piece of computing history call "Flossie," the last operating ICT 1301 mainframe. The National Museum of Computing recently took delivery of the dismantled computer, which needed three moving vans to bring it to the museum’s storage facility in Milton Keynes, UK. Read More
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