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Pizza Vending Machines Are Now Operational in Florida

Would you buy pizza from a vending machine? An Italian company is betting just that, testing out a couple of the machines near Orlando, Florida, as well as one in nearby Lakeland, according to...

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From Waxed Canvas To Movie Screens, the History of the Air Mattress

A "hipster mattress." (Photo: iris/CC BY-ND 2.0)A version of this post originally appeared on Tedium, a twice-weekly newsletter that hunts for the end of the long tail.Nine months ago, I made a lot of...

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The Centuries-Old Shrine Where Indians Pray for U.S. Visas

Statues at the front gate of the temple depict the unearthing of the god's image from the anthill. (Photo: Tim Williams)Every year, thousands of pilgrims travel to a small temple in the Indian village...

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A Map of the Last Remaining Flying Saucer Homes

Futuro at the WeeGee Exhibition Centre in Espoo, Finland. (Photo: J-P Kärnä/CC BY-SA 3.0)The Futuro House, in all its space age retro splendor, is like a physical manifestation of 1960s optimism....

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We Asked 32 Trekkies How They Would Create a Perfect Future

(Screenshot by Eric Grundhauser/Netflix)Forget all of the spiritual gurus and ambitious cult leaders, maybe no one in history has given more thought to the concept of utopia than Star Trek fans.For 50...

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The Bonkers Real-Life Plan to Drain the Mediterranean and Merge Africa and...

An artist's rendering of what Atlantropa—a plan to partially drain the Mediterranean—might have looked like. (Photo: lttiz/CC BY 3.0)Later this year, Amazon Studios will release the much-anticipated...

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The World's Oldest Snowshoe Sat in an Italian Cartographer's Office for 12 Years

A very old snowshoe. (Photo: Provincia di Bolzano)Thirteen years ago, Simone Bartolini was mapping Italy's border with Austria. High up in the mountains, at more than 10,000 feet, he found a wooden...

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Dolphins Have Human-Like Conversations Underwater, Says Science

Blah, blah, blah... (Photo: David B./CC BY-SA 2.0)We may be getting one step closer to figuring out what dolphins are always gossiping about. According to the Telegraph, for the first time ever,...

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The New York Cosmos Are American Soccer’s Past. Are They Its Future?

Pelé in a game against the Dallas Tornados. (Photo: Focus on Sport/Getty Images)Many fans on a warm June night at Belson Stadium in Jamaica, New York were clad in strangely dated gear for a soccer game...

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Polar Bears Are Staking Out Some Russian Meteorologists

A pair of area polar bears. (Photo: National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration/Public Domain)Meteorologists at a remote Russian weather station are having trouble with the neighbors. For two...

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Why Thousands of Catalytic Converters Are Stolen from Cars Each Year

(Photo: Public domain)Catalytic converters have been standard in most cars since 1975, when the Environmental Protection Agency mandated stricter emissions regulations for automobiles. They're a part...

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Watch Five Alarmingly Calm Men Stand Under an Exploding Atomic Bomb

In 1945, the first atomic bomb was set off during the Trinity Test in the New Mexican desert. This marked the birth of the Atomic Age, a period of nuclear experimentation that would alter the world on...

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6 New Entries Added to Oxford English Dictionary in Honor of Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl in 1982. (Photo:  Hans van Dijk/CC BY-SA 3.0)Entries for scrumdiddlyumptious, human bean, golden ticket, oompa loompa, the "witching hour," and Dahlesque have each been added to the Oxford...

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Watch These Buildings Ripple Gently in the Wind

On particularly gusty days in Pittsburgh, the exterior of the Pittsburgh Children’s Museum becomes alive with undulating ripples.The museum’s watery-wave installation, that environmental artist and...

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Ask Zardulu: How Do You Know If You Owe Someone a Soul?

(Illustrations by Matt Lubchansky)Welcome to the first installment of Atlas Obscura's new advice column, Ask Zardulu. If you have a life, love, money, family, spiritual, moral or myth-based dilemma,...

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This Woman's Ongoing Fight for the Right to Live in a Treehouse

For 25 years, Shawnee Chasser has lived in a series of dream houses. They were not designed by fancy architects, and they've been small, but they had one very important feature. Since the early '90s,...

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The Doomed Mouse Utopia That Inspired the 'Rats of NIMH'

Calhoun inside Universe 25, his biggest, baddest mouse utopia. (Photo: Yoichi R. Okamoto/Public Domain)On July 9th, 1968, eight white mice were placed into a strange box at the National Institute of...

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The Commune in Ethiopia Where Feminism is the Law

The village center of Awra Amba. (All Photos: Zac Crellin)Tucked away between the rugged gorges and valleys of the Ethiopian highlands is an egalitarian commune that defies the norms of traditional...

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Food Forests, Fairy Tales, and Other Upcoming Utopia-Themed Events

(Photo: Beacon Food Forest)For Utopia Week at Atlas Obscura, we’ve compiled a list of upcoming themed events taking place around the country. From touring a historic fairy tale village to walking...

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America's Oldest Lighthouse Has Turned 300

Boston Light, which turns 300 years old today. (Photo: Massachusetts Office of Tourism/CC BY-ND 2.0)Three hundred years ago today, a lighthouse keeper made his way across Boston Harbor to Little...

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