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Kickstarting All the Way to the Moon

ROC Wide Angle Camera mosaic of the lunar South Pole region (photograph by NASA/Wikimedia)The UK scientists and engineers behind Lunar Mission One successfully completed a £670,000 (nearly $1 million)...

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Bosco Verticale Wins International Highrise Award

photograph by Alessio Mesiano/FlickrBarely a month after opening, Milan's Bosco Verticale has won the 2014 International Highrise Award, a biannual prize given by the City of Frankfurt and Deutsches...

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A Year of Falconry, Crypt Parties, and Super Science: Atlas Obscura's 2014...

Atlas Obscura visiting the Times Square New Year's Eve Ball in 2013 (photograph by Allison Meier)As we reach the end of 2014, we are celebrating an incredible year of the Obscura Society. Over the past...

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Atlas Obscura's 20 Most Incredible New Places of 2014

It's been another amazing year of discovery at Atlas Obscura, from a handmade amusement park in an Italian forest to an eerie island temple supposedly guarded by snakes. As we did in 2013, we're...

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The New Year's Ritual of Plunging Into Frigid Waters Started with a Strongman...

Swimmers run to the frigid water at the 2012 New Year's Day Coney Island Polar Bear Club Plunge (photograph by Kim/Flickr)On a gray, windy New Year's Day years ago, after a romantically traumatic New...

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The Skulls in This Wall Are All from People Consumed by Vultures

A wall of skulls in St. Leonards Church in England (photograph by Michael Rowe/Wikimedia)Though the European bone houses are some of the most famous in the world, there are similar charnels in Asia....

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Nature's Time Capsules: A Guide to the World's Pitch Lakes

The notorious ooze of Rancho La Brea (photograph by Daniel Schwen/Wikimedia)"Pitch lakes" represent surface deposits of oil bubbled up from subterranean reservoirs through faults or fissures, often...

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The United Islands of America

Island hopper Anna Marlis Burgard is the creative force behind hundreds of illustrated books and gift products and is the author and principal photographer for Islands of America: A River, Lake and Sea...

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London's Graveyard of the Outcast Dead to Resurrect into a Memorial Garden

The fence decorated as a memorial at the Cross Bones Graveyard site in London (all photos by the author)Long closed to the public and lost beneath a concrete lot, Cross Bones Graveyard in London may...

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After Half a Century, Brooklyn's New Year Steam Whistles Blast Their Last...

New Year's Eve at the Pratt Institute steam whistles (all photographs by the author unless noted)At midnight in Brooklyn on New Year's Eve, the deafening blare of steam whistles salvaged from lost...

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Last Midnight of the Steam Whistles

New Year's Eve at the Pratt Institute steam whistles (all photographs by the author unless noted)At midnight in Brooklyn on New Year's Eve, the deafening blare of steam whistles salvaged from lost...

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Zeroes After Zeroes: The World's Highest Currencies

$500 United States bill (via moneyfactory.gov)Throughout the history of paper money, there have been instances of bills printed that go into the millions, billions, trillions, and even the...

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The Dark History of Seven Places Branded by Bloodshed

The names given to streets, corners, and bridges are not only essential to finding our way around, they can also tell a story. However, the story may not always be a pleasant one. How about a leisurely...

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Objects of Intrigue: The Tiny Photo Album of a "Fairy Wedding"

Miniature brass locket with 12 albumen print portraits of Tom Thumb & Lavinia Warren (1863) (all images courtesy the Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs, © New York...

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How Gandhi's Ashes Landed in Los Angeles

 Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine (all photographs by the author unless indicated)There is perhaps no more beautiful spot in Los Angeles than the Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine in...

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Kriminalmuseum: Germany's Terrifying Museum of Medieval Torture

Das Streckbett (stretching ladder) (all photographs courtesy of the Kriminalmuseum des Mittelalters, sourced by Leipzig Tourismus)If you were on a currywurst crawl through the backstreets of central...

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Ghosts of Airships: 7 Vestiges of the Great Helium Hope

A Graf Zeppelin flying over the mountains (via SDASM Archives)Zeppelins were the great helium hope of the early 20th century. Floating above the ground like silvery clouds, they represented an...

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The McBarge: A Failed Floating McDonald's That Wants a Second Chance

The McBarge from Expo 86 in 2006 (photograph by Taz/Flickr)Before the 2010 Winter Olympics, Expo '86 was the biggest event Vancouver, British Columbia, had ever produced. Held to celebrate the city's...

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Death by Pink: When Nature's Most Cloying Color Spells Doom

Have you ever experienced that distinct feeling of rising terror when walking through the "girls' aisle" at a toy store? Or wanted to cower in fear at the idea of being dressed head-to-toe in PINK by...

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Drowned Towns Lost to Progress

There are many legends about cities consumed by the waves. Every civilization has its Atlantis story, its deluge myth. Then there are the cities we have chosen to drown. Sometimes only the spires of...

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