The Rise and Fall and Rise and Fall and Rise and Fall of 3D Cinema

When you factor in the higher costs, the uncomfortable glasses, and the headaches, it was probably only a matter of time before the novelty wore off.

We All Should Have Seen the Beanie Babies Crash Coming, but We Didn’t

For anyone who didn’t live through the nineties, it’s difficult to explain how big a deal Beanie Babies were.

You Will Probably Not Be a Rock God, and Neither Will I: Some Deep Thoughts on Bill and Ted Face the Music

We’re not, it turns out, a civilization of rock gods and their devotees; we’re all connected, and we all depend on each other.

No, the Medieval Era Wasn’t Characterized by Rampant Witch-Burnings. You’re Thinking of the Modern Era

Under the extreme stress of plagues and environmental disaster, people were undoubtedly looking for someone to blame, which—hmm, that sounds familiar.

MSG Is Perfectly Safe to Consume, but We All Spent Several Decades Freaking Out over It Anyway

By the late sixties, “chemicals” were no longer magical things that were going to solve all of our problems; they were dangerous things that were going to kill us all, and MSG was no exception.

Alvin Kelly and the Flagpole Sitters of the 1920s: They Weren’t Sick, but They Weren’t Well…

It was the 1920s, and it felt like humanity could do anything—and it took the opportunity to do really stupid stuff, like pass off urinals as art, chase after nascent fascism, and—yes—sit around on flagpoles for days at a time.

Videogames Probably Don’t Cause Violence, but They Sure Seemed like a Good Scapegoat in 1993

Joking aside, though, I’m sure you’re wondering—do violent videogames cause violence? The answer, according to science, is “Well, mayb…no. Prolly not.”

The Sisters Who Pulled a Prank and Accidentally Started a Religion

For Kate (age ten) and Maggie (age fourteen), the whole thing started as a harmless prank, but evolved into a movement of millions trying to talk to the dead.

For a Few Years, Everyone in France Was Wearing Squid Hats, and the Guy Who Wrote Les Misérables Was to Blame

So-called cephalomania first took off in France, where it suddenly became fashionable to host octopus- and squid-themed parties, and for a few years, squid-shaped hats were considered to be the height of fashion among French women.

How Lava Lamps Made Sex Boring Again

Walker described the lamp as “Freudian” and evocative of the primordial ooze, because apparently no one bothered to take him aside and say, “It’s just a lamp, Ed.”

McCarthyism Was Driven by a Lot of Bluster, Paranoia, and Hearsay, Which for Legal Purposes Is a Fact Unrelated to the Present Political Moment

These hearings, like everything McCarthy had done up to this point, were fueled mainly by McCarthy’s desire to further his own career.

Why Tickle Me Elmo Is the Key to Understanding Our Current Political Chaos (Sort Of)

It was obviously a touch ironic that Sesame Street, as a show created for poor inner-city kids, was inspiring such rabid suburban consumerism, but at the time, it was actually exactly what Sesame Street needed.

No, There Isn’t a Global Satanic Cult That Ritually Abuses Millions of Children, but for a Long Time We All Really Wanted to Believe There Was

It’s not really a mystery why people yearn to believe bizarre and dramatic tales of evil: the actual truth about evil is that it’s mundane, pervasive, and unfixable, at least to us mortals.

Why Tulips Briefly Cost More Than Mansions

If you don’t have any sort of hope beyond death, the absurdity of everything tends to hit you hard. And then you end up doing stupid stuff, like betting the family farm on a bunch of tulips.

Virtual Reality was Virtually Real, for About Five Minutes in the Nineties

Ultimately, the problem with VR was that it, like so much that happened in the nineties, put technology ahead of content.

In the Middle Ages, Dance Crazes Were Literal, Actual Crazes

Accounts of unstoppable, contagious dancing fools date as far back as the seventh century, and hail from nearly all parts of Europe.