Marilyn was at a low point of drug use when this film was made. Billy had to write her lines on a blackboard, and some scenes took 50 takes; in at least one you can clearly see she's reading the lines. Billy told Jack and Tony: "You guys have to get it right every time, because when Marilyn gets it right, that's a… » 10/24/14 8:13pm Yesterday 8:13pm

Fun fact: the picture of the Beatles shows Pete Best. He was their drummer from 1960 -1962 when the band replaced him with Ringo, just before the Beatles hit it big. They stated that he wasn't a good enough drummer for recording, but there were rumors that he was becoming too personally popular; the band was turning… » 10/24/14 10:42am Yesterday 10:42am

I guess I'm just a home-town boy, but I humbly submit the National Mall in DC. It's a huge public green space bounded on the east by the Capitol Building and on the west by the Lincoln Memorial. In between there's the reflecting pool, several war memorials, and the Washington Monument. Just off to the side there's the… » 10/24/14 9:36am Yesterday 9:36am

In his book First Light: The Search for the Edge of the Universe author Richard Preston describes the history of the Hale Telescope at Mount Palomar. Built over twelve years and used extensively ever since, some details of its construction are now lost. Mechanical stress compensators on the back of the mirror are… » 10/24/14 8:58am Yesterday 8:58am

Oh Matt, how you pluck at my heartstrings. I remember this vividly; I was there. I wanted this thing more than the breath of life itself. The contest was sponsored by Kraft marshmallows; they were "Jet-Puffed", you see. I was ten years old, and I sent in dozens of entries; alas, to no avail. In later life I did quite… » 10/23/14 5:14pm Thursday 5:14pm

Fun fact: this picture is from the sci fi classic Earth vs. The Flying Saucers. The finale is a epic battle over Washington DC, with crashing saucers taking out the capitol dome and the Washington Monument. Stop-motion sfx by the late, great Ray Harryhausen. Available on Netflix DVD. » 10/23/14 11:49am Thursday 11:49am

As others have pointed out, the German bomb program never approached success. By late 1944 the US A-bomb was a sure thing; Manhattan Project scientists were so certain that the Uranium "Little Boy" bomb would work that they deployed it without testing. By then it was too late for Germany; if they had ever posed any… » 10/23/14 2:37pm Thursday 2:37pm

Man, I was there. I grew up in the '50s when ac was still uncommon. I spent summers in southern Mississippi, where no one had ac and the temperature were beyond belief. We drove there in an un-air-conditioned DeSoto; three sweltering days on the road, each way. My parent's home in suburban Maryland had no ac, and… » 10/22/14 5:50pm Wednesday 5:50pm

Fun (but disturbing) fact: in the early days of WW-II German U-Boats routinely patrolled the east coast of the US, penetrating the Chesapeake Bay, the Gulf of Mexico, and even the Mississippi River. They called it Betrieb Paukenschlag ("Operation Drumbeat"). Eastern cities were never blacked out; the U-Boats could… » 10/21/14 9:16pm Tuesday 9:16pm