Egg nog has not always been such a refined holiday quaff.

Eggnog: It's All Fun and Games Until Someone Starts a Holiday Riot

When four gallons of whiskey were smuggled into a West Point Christmas party, a third of the academy erupted into chaos


Listen to Classic Holiday Music From Around the World

Go around the world this holiday with Smithsonian Folkways--no reindeer or sleigh required

Stained transverse section of a lily flower bud. Darkfield illumination, stitched images.

The Startling Beauty of the Microscopic

Olympus BioScapes announces ten winners of their 2013 Digital Image Competition, which honors some of the best images taken through a microscope


Is the World Empty? Or Overcrowded? It's Both

This interactive map takes you to the world's densest and most remote locales

Different visuals paint different pictures of the AIDS epidemic in America.

The Confusing and At-Times Counterproductive 1980s Response to the AIDS Epidemic

A new exhibit looks at the posters sent out by non-profits and the government in response to the spread of AIDS

Would you use these crystals in your kitchen if they were called “super delicious umami crystals?”

It’s the Umami, Stupid. Why the Truth About MSG is So Easy to Swallow

Few remember that the food pariah and hot trend are so closely connected

Interactive map courtesy of ESRI. Text by Natasha Geiling.

See Why China's New Highway System is an Engineering Marvel

In this series of satellite photographs, see the impact of the massive growth in transportation infrastructure

Why do we associate popcorn with the movies?

Why Do We Eat Popcorn at the Movies?

The movie theater's most popular concession wasn't always associated with the movies—in fact, it used to be explicitly banned

Edward Pickering and his female assistants, known as the “Harvard computers.”

The Women Who Mapped the Universe and Still Couldn’t Get Any Respect

At the beginning of the 20th century, a group of women known as the Harvard Observatory computers helped revolutionize the science of astronomy

Photo courtesy of the David Rumsey Map Collection; Interactive by Esri; Text by Natasha Geiling.

When Real Estate Plotters Planned Out Denver

Bankers and speculators in the Colorado capital used this 1879 map to explore the Mile High City’s real estate potential

Photo courtesy of the David Rumsey Map Collection; Interactive by Esri; Text by Natasha Geiling.

Before There Could Be a Los Angeles, There Had to be Water

California’s first state engineer, along with a team of surveyors, created this hand drawn map in 1880 to explore Los Angeles’ water resources

Photo courtesy of David Rumsey Map Collection. Interactive by Esri. Text by Natasha Geiling.

When the Lincoln Memorial Was Underwater

James Keily’s 1851 map of Washington shows a considerably smaller district, before the Potomac River was filled in to make way for monuments

Photo courtesy of David Rumsey Map Collection. Interactive by Esri. Text by Natasha Geiling.

This Interactive Map Compares the New York City of 1836 to Today

Manhattan had a very different topography than the concrete jungle we know today

Interactive map courtesy of Esri. Text by Natasha Geiling.

What Did Chicago Look Like Before the Great Fire?

This 1868 pocket map of Chicago shows the city in full-blown expansion, a mere 3 years before the infamous blaze

What is it that makes honey such a special food?

The Science Behind Honey’s Eternal Shelf Life

A slew of factors—its acidity, its lack of water and the presence of hydrogen peroxide—work in perfect harmony, allowing the sticky treat to last forever


The Worst Shark Attack in History

In 1945, a U.S. naval ship was sunk by a Japanese submarine, but the ship's sinking was just the beginning of the sailors' nightmare

Cubans had fought vehemently for independence from Spain from the 1860s to the 1890s, but by the 20th century, the country had become beholden economically to the United States (a Cuban street, with a classic American car, today).

Before the Revolution

Socialites and celebrities flocked to Cuba in the 1950s

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