Articles by Franz Lidz

The California condor was included on the first list of endangered species published by the federal government.

Planet Positive

After Last Year's Deadly Fires, the California Condor Soars Once Again

A colossus of the sky, the bird of prey was nearly gone when biologists rescued it from extinction. Then came a terrible new challenge

The main oven at Pizzeria Da Michele is near customers’ tables. The waiter in the background holds marinaras.

Inside Naples' World-Famous Pizza Culture

For hundreds of years, artisans in the southern Italian city have been cooking up the ultimate fast food

Strains of Streptomyces bacteria, found in soil, grow in a lab at Swansea University in Wales. They're so new to science they haven't been named.

Soil From a Northern Ireland Graveyard May Lead Scientists to a Powerful New Antibiotic

An ancient legend could provide a new weapon in the fight against deadly bacteria

In a 21st-century tribute to antiquity, bronze sculptures by the late Igor Mitoraj, including this centaur, grace the public grounds of the archaeological site.

The New Treasures of Pompeii

From gorgeous artworks to grimacing corpses, archaeologists are still uncovering the truth about life—and death—in the doomed city

Vanilla beans begin as the seedpods of a tropical orchid (left); Chocolate is made from the seeds hidden inside the fruit of the cacao tree (right).

The Delicious, Ancient History of Chocolate and Vanilla

Archaeologists are discovering that two of the world’s most prized flavors have a much richer history than we thought

The arrestingly modern hominin at the Neanderthal Museum, near Dusseldorf, is the work of renowned 
paleo-artists Adrie and Alfons Kennis.

What Do We Really Know About Neanderthals?

Revolutionary discoveries in archaeology show that the species long maligned as knuckle-dragging brutes deserve a new place in the human story

A polarized-light microscopy image (in background) of a section from the Allende meteorite is one-thousandth of a millimeter thin.

The Oldest Material in the Smithsonian Institution Came From Outer Space

Decades after the Allende Meteorite plunged to Earth, scientists still mine its fragments for clues to the cosmos

The Artist Who Made Coloring Books Cool for Adults Returns With a New Masterpiece

Johanna Basford, whose fanciful, hand-drawn illustrations launched a worldwide craze, is back with flying colors

The first frozen margarita machine is in the collections of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History.

American South

The Uniquely Texan Origins of the Frozen Margarita

A Dallas restaurant owner blended tequila, ice and automation. America has been hungover ever since

Potter envisioned Hill Top as a living testament to rural tradition. Its artifacts, from crockery to rustic furniture, are reproduced in her drawings.

Britain's Lake District Was Immortalized by Beatrix Potter, But Is Its Future in Peril?

Shepherds and ecologists are butting heads over what's next for the beloved landscape

Mid-19th Century specimens collected in Latin America by Alfred Russel Wallace include parrot wings and marsupial pelts.

The Great Feather Heist

The curious case of a young American’s brazen raid on a British museum’s priceless collection

How Do You Make Beer in Space?

Strap on your beer goggles and join us on a hops-fueled rocket ride

There's a Giant Warehouse Full of Product Launches That Failed

Not open to the public, this expansive archive schools marketers in the art of pitchmanship

A battery-powered facial mask did not zap wrinkles.

The Museum of Failure Showcases the Beauty of the Epic Fail

A new exhibition of inventions that bombed boldly celebrates the world’s most creative screw-ups

 “As a guard, what I liked about the ABA ball was the color,” said former ABA player Gene Littles. “It was a special feeling to take a long shot and watch those colors rotate in the air and then see the ball with all those colors nestle into the net. It made your heart beat just a little bit faster when you hit a 25-footer with the ABA ball.” -Loose Balls by Terry Pluto

The ABA Was Short-Lived, but Its Impact on Basketball Is Eternal

The spectacular play you see today owes a mighty debt to the revolutionary, slam-dunking basketball league

As he led his troops into the mountains, Hannibal vowed: “You will have the capital of Italy, the citadel of Rome, in the hollow of your hands.”

How (and Where) Did Hannibal Cross the Alps?

He pulled off one of the greatest military feats ever. Now new scientific evidence points to Hannibal's legendary route to Rome

Eternally mysterious Mount Fuji, as seen from Lake 
Kawaguchiko, remains a powerful force in Japanese culture and a must-do hike for truth-seekers despite the crowds and the looming threat of eruption.

Why Mount Fuji Endures As a Powerful Force in Japan

Not even crowds and the threat of an eruption can dampen the eternally mysterious volcano

"Bird," 1990, David Hammons, painted metal, wire, basketball and feathers.

This $1.4 Million "Bird" Makes an African-American Art Collection Soar to New Heights

With his first major contemporary acquisition, the Detroit Institute of Arts' new director is reinvigorating the museum

Re-enactor John Holman displays a  newly discovered letter alongside period objects including a hardtack-crate desk.

Newly Discovered Letters Bring New Insight Into the Life of a Civil War Soldier

A mysterious package holds long-lost correspondence from a young Union infantryman

“Brian Bilston” sits above his parody of a W. B. Yeats poem.

Why Twitter's "Poet Laureate" Has No Plans to Unmask His Real Identity

He tweets under the guise of @Brian_Bilston and uses the platform to reinvent the age-old form of writing

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