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The Great Dismal Swamp [EPISODE]

On the border of Virginia and North Carolina stretches a great, dismal swamp. The Great Dismal Swamp, actually — that’s the name British colonists gave it centuries ago.

Hostile Terrain: Tank Traps, Fake Towns & Secret Tunnels of the Korean Borderlands [ARTICLE]

Strange structures start to appear all around as one drives toward the Korean Demilitarized Zone from either side of the border.

No Shadow Tower: Reflective Skyscraper Bounces Sunlight into Shaded Space [ARTICLE]

Computer modeling has helped revolutionize architectural design, enabling sophisticated and sculptural shapes rich with three-dimensional complexity.

Speed Lump Optical Illusion Designed to Reduce Need for Bumps & Humps [ARTICLE]

Launched last year and continuing into next year, a pilot program in London is testing the efficacy of a peculiar new kind of traffic calming measure — one that uses tricks of perspective to slow drivers down.

Ways of Hearing [EPISODE]

When the tape started rolling in old analog recording studios, there was a feeling that musicians were about to capture a particular moment.

Rain Chains & Musical Drains: Downspout Alternatives Put Drainage on Display [ARTICLE]

Good design is in the details, as they say, and great architectural design details are often site-specific, responding to local contexts and regional conditions.

Cracking the Case: Science Solves Ancient Mystery of Durable Roman Concrete [ARTICLE]

Steel-reinforced concrete is a wonder of the modern built world and part of the foundation of civilization as we know it.

El Gordo [EPISODE]

In the early 2000s, Costis Mitsotakis of Greece met a Spanish girl named Sandra del Pozo. They fell in love, and not long after, bought a small RV, left Greece and headed to Spain.

Decoding Cat’s Eyes: A Global Color Guide to Reflective Road Markers [ARTICLE]

Raised pavement markers come in a variety of reflective colors, some of which (like white and yellow) have guessable meanings borrowed painted road line conventions.

Firing Off Letters: The U.S. Postal Service’s Cold War “Missile Mail” Project [ARTICLE]

In the midst of the Cold War, a submarine-fired guided missile carrying a most unusual payload arced up over the United States and landed in Florida.

The Trials of Dan and Dave [EPISODE]

It started 25 years ago with a ubiquitous ad campaign that turned two track and field athletes into overnight celebrities.

Flying by the Numbers: How to Decipher Two-Digit Airport Runway Designations [ARTICLE]

Runways feature a lot of design details, but one in particular is both easy to miss (as you fly right over it) yet also hard to decode: their unique numbers.

End of the Road for Botts’ Dots: Round Markers Being Phased Out in California [ARTICLE]

The 1950s postwar boom led to rapid increase of cars (and accidents) on California roads and, in turn, the development of Botts’ dots, a design solution that is just now starting to be phased back out.

Repackaging the Pill [EPISODE]

In 1960, a new wonder drug hit the U.S. market. And while lots of new drugs promise dramatic results, this one would actually transform millions of lives and radically shift American culture.

Reshaping Reality: How Actual Architecture Inspires Surrealistic Building Art [ARTICLE]

Surreal architectural photo collages and concept renderings have long captivated denizens of the internet.

Strip Panel Naked: Deconstructing the Art & Design of Comic Book Layouts [ARTICLE]

Creative comic book layouts work with other artistic choices to tell stories that go well beyond what narration or dialogue could accomplish alone.

The Pool and the Stream [EPISODE]

It’s hard to say where inspiration comes from. The path from the seed of an idea to its execution is often a long one.

Underwater Cloud: Inside the Cables Carrying 99% of Transoceanic Data Traffic [ARTICLE]

Local wireless internet helps promote the feeling that data moves through thin air, but in reality: the vast majority of international data transfers are made possible by underwater cables.

Mexico 68 [EPISODE]

The 1968 Olympics took place in Mexico City, Mexico. It was the first games ever hosted in a Latin American country.

Accidental Cuppa Design: The Silk Sample Sacks that Turned into Tea Bags [ARTICLE]

Bags are to tea as filters are to coffee, each classic consumer staples integrated into our basic conception of these hot drinks.