Ever since Pat and Diane Farla moved into the detached Victorian building three years ago, they'd wondered what lay behind the metre-long rectangle which lay alongside a wall.
The International Institute of Social History was founded in 1935. It is one of the world's largest documentary and research institutions in the field of social history. From their collections: Secret Societies: Documents and illustrations of Freemasons, Jesuits, Illuminati, Carbonari, Burschenschaften and other putative secret societies and clandestine organizations.
Nine experienced cross-country skiers hurriedly left their tent on a Urals slope in the middle of the night at around -30 degrees Celsius for no obvious reason, casting aside skis, food, boots and most of their clothes. Soon they would be dead, some with injuries more suited to car crash victims, and apparently dosed with radiation. Their deaths are still unexplained, 49 years later. The Mystery of the Dyatlov Pass Accident. [more inside]
All the episodes of The Secret Life of Machines are available online. Created by engineer, artist, tinkerer and cartoonist Tim Hunkin, the show took a look at the science and mechanics behind common household objects, with a bit of social history, homemade laboratory experiments, and downplayed humor. The series grew out of a long-running strip, which Hunkin has now offers as his own cartoon encyclopedia. You can also try some experiments of your own, marvel at the coin-operated contraptions he made for the Under the Pier Show in Suffolk (don't miss the film), and read his thoughts about his brief foray into the fine art world and his ruminations about how art and engineering mix.
You've probably heard of the WWII Navajo "code talkers" who managed to baffle crack Japanese cryptanalysts and were credited with enabling US success at Iwo Jima. Civil engineer, journalist and photographer Philip Johnston was the determined mind behind the "windtalkers". The son of missionaries, Johnston grew up on a Navajo reservation and was one of only a handful of outsiders fluent in the Navajo language. A bit of his background is included this article, and you can read a complete history of his plan, view an archive of photos by Johnston, and see copies of his enlistment application letter to the Marine Corps commandant, as well as a recommendation letter from the Commanding General. (more inside...)