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The Week In... Robots!

It’s a wide and wonderful world out there, and frankly we can't always keep up with it all. Atlas Obscura's 'The Week In…' is here to help! Each Friday, we track down the interesting things you didn't even know you missed. This week,...Show More Summary

A World-Class Violinist Brings a Venetian Gala to Albion Castle

Ever since Adriana Molello was a child, she has sought diverse experiences to guide her development as a musician. As a young violinist in Colorado, she played in her school’s jazz and mariachi bands in addition to contributing to the Denver Young Artists Orchestra and the Colorado Young Sinfonia. Show More Summary

When Gas Masks Were an Inescapable Part of Everyday Life

In 1940, British Pathé issued a newsreel titled “Do You Carry Your Gas Mask?” In it, an unidentified employee from the Ministry of Home Security gently, in clipped tones, lectures an audience on the importance of carrying, and wearing, gas masks. Show More Summary

The Secret Chord That Makes Pop Music Sound Happy

With all due respect to the Neptunes, Max Martin, and Jack Antonoff, there's really no such thing as a pop music machine. But there might be a secret formula for happy pop songs. A recent journal article in the Royal Society Open Science...Show More Summary

Nova Scotia Is Streaming Its Favorite Local Meat Log

There's that famous quote by Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin: "Tell me what you eat, and I shall tell you what you are." The same goes, these days, for webcams: Tell me what you're streaming at all hours from your local tourism page, and I shall tell you where you live. Show More Summary

The Sad Tale of the 'Flying Tailor'

Poor Franz Reichelt. He had one dream: to create a working parachute suit. But as he tragically found, when you’re a tailor with nothing more than early 20th-century technology at your disposal, even a straightforward dream can turnShow More Summary

The Quest to Save Baltimore's Iconic Berger Cookie

In 2018, an Obama-era ban on trans fats will come into effect, and it will likely affect at least one of your beloved childhood snacks: Oreos, Cheetos, Pillsbury biscuits, and even Girl Scout cookies. But for one Baltimore bakery, the...Show More Summary

Found: The Wreck of Chile's 'Titanic'

On August 28, 1922, the Chilean steamship SS Itata, a passenger-cargo vessel that, in a former life, was a warship in the War of the Pacific and the Chilean Revolution of 1891, was traveling from Valparaiso to Coquimbo. The ship ran into heavy weather just off the seaport town of La Higuera. Show More Summary

Meet Rufus Harley, the First Jazz Bagpiper

Like most Americans alive at the time, Rufus Harley was transfixed by the November 25, 1963 reporting from John F. Kennedy’s funeral. America had lost its leader, and with ears pressed to radios or eyes turned to television screens, each person witnessed the end of a tragic turn of events. Show More Summary

Meet the Rottweiler-Sized Prehistoric Otter With Teeth That Could Crunch Bone

Otters are cute semiaquatic mammals, whose charming lutrine behavior has launched hundreds, if not thousands, of online videos. They hold paws so they don't drift apart while sleeping. They crack open shellfish with rocks. Sometimes, they snack like a moviegoer with a tub of popcorn. Show More Summary

The 1977 Disability Rights Protest That Broke Records and Changed Laws

Hundreds of people arrived to the planned protest march in San Francisco on April 5, 1977, weighed down by backpacks bulging with food, medication, and basic supplies. Adults, teenagers, and parents accompanying their children came from around the Bay Area and from varied socioeconomic backgrounds. Show More Summary

Scottish Jews Have Their Own Official Tartan

From lochs to legendary castles, haggis to historical firsts, Scotland’s undeniable Gaelic charm is seducing tourists in record numbers. Visitors tend to be eager for all things Highlands, in particular a desire to purchase garmentsShow More Summary

Remembering, With Fondness, the 'Worst Orchestra in the World'

In the movies, when you gather together a ragtag group of eager but untrained dreamers to win a little league game, or put on a show to save the orphanage, odds are good that in the end, they'll heroically surpass the expectations of...Show More Summary

Nashtifan Windmills in Nashtifan, Iran

Located on the arid and windswept plains of northeastern Iran, 30 miles from the Afghan border, the small village of Nashtifan is keeping ancient traditions alive amid the winds of change. The town is home to some of the earliest windmills...Show More Summary

Watch a Wind Turbine Blade Take a Slow, Ungainly Road Trip

The blade of a wind turbine is designed to move in one particular way: in a big, fast circle, cutting a 360-degree swoop through the air. In order to achieve one's destiny, though, sometimes it's necessary to compromise. If you're aShow More Summary

The Bamboo Flutes of Japan's 'Monks of Emptiness'

Those familiar with Japanese history or culture might have seen some version of a komus?, or “priest of nothingness.” Instantly recognizable (and simultaneously unrecognizable) thanks to the woven baskets that they wear over their heads...Show More Summary

The Bamboo Flutes of Japan's "Monks of Emptiness"

Those familiar with Japanese history or culture might have seen some version of a komus?, or “priest of nothingness.” Instantly recognizable (and simultaneously unrecognizable) thanks to the woven baskets that they wear over their heads...Show More Summary

Found: A Barnacle-Covered Basketball Lost at Sea

Humans toss all kind of things into the ocean, including approximately eight million tons of plastic each year, much to the detriment of, well, the entire ocean food web. Every sailor has seen trash like this and shed a tear, but sometimes you come across something surprising, out of place, that can generate a smile. Show More Summary

Was Minnie Dean Really the Wickedest Woman in New Zealand History?

No flowers grow on the grave of Minnie Dean, the baby farmer. She killed her charges with abandon, and a hatpin. She was the daughter of a clergyman, but bound for hell. She was wicked and wanton, and deserved to die. And if you were...Show More Summary

54 Columns in Atlanta, Georgia

However you see it, the often-overlooked installation created by famed artist Sol LeWitt in Atlanta's historic Old Fourth Ward is a conversation starter. The public art piece "54 Columns" has been causing controversy since it was installed...Show More Summary

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