Red Cross volunteer Terry Lewis talks with an evacuee at the Red Cross shelter in Bound Brook, N.J., after the area was struck by a powerful storm.

How do you define success in retirement—being wealthy or being generous? According to a study by Merrill Lynch and Age Wave, a research and communications firm specializing in aging, 85% of respondents believe that generosity is the benchmark of a successful retirement. 

Actress and inventor Hedy Lamarr.

Most people know her as a gorgeous movie legend. 

Hedy Lamarr had an unforgettable on-screen presence to anyone who saw her films. She stood five feet, seven inches tall, with an elegant, model’s figure and a face as beautiful for its symmetry as it was for its sultry expression.

June 12, 1969: The Corps of Engineers Buffalo District dewatered the American Falls to study erosion and the talus slope.

Tightrope artists have walked across it. Daredevils have plunged over it, usually but not always in a barrel. Artists have painted it. And millions of tourists have flocked to upstate New York and Ontario, Canada, to gaze at the awesome beauty of Niagara Falls. 

Franklin Delano Roosevelt giving a speech for the nomination of Alfred Smith at the 1924 Democratic National Convention. This was a contested convention, and, after 130 ballots, the party chose not Smith but John W. Davis.

By the way things are shaping up, the ongoing presidential race looks like it could be one for the books. 

For roughly a year, the Republicans and Democrats have whittled away at their respective stables of contenders; the Republicans having started out with close to a dozen presidential hopefuls. 

Portrait of Wilhelm Richard Wagner, made in Paris in 1861.

Judging by his portraits, Richard Wagner looked more like a stern military man than he did a composer. And perhaps this is an apt comparison considering the force and drama that defined his music.

Born in Leipzig, Germany, in 1813, Wilhelm Richard Wagner was weaned on the arts. 

 Use the Oak Bottle to give your favorite beverage an aged flavor.

If you’re a bourbon lover and want to taste the best of the best, prepare yourself. A bottle of Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve 23-year-old Kentucky Straight bourbon will set you back between $2,600 and $15,000. A bottle of A.H. Hirsch Reserve 16-year-old straight bourbon is a comparative bargain, selling for between $2,000 and $6,000 per bottle.

Children in the Czech Republic gather around to explore “Chimp & See,” one of the many ongoing Zooniverse projects.

One recent rainy afternoon, I helped researchers identify animal behaviors in the African jungle. I also analyzed slides of breast cancer cells, and I transcribed a recipe from Shakespeare’s time. I did all of this without ever leaving home, without any prior knowledge of the scientific studies I was contributing to, and without any training beyond simple directions. How?

David Allison (far right) and wife Diane meet with Andrew Carroll about the more than 300 letters David’s father wrote home during World War II.

Most of them were penned in the midst of filth and violence: In the fire trenches of a ravaged French pasture; the foxholes of a Belgian forest; the jungles of Vietnam; and the parched sands of Iraq. Letters to and from home have been a source of comfort for military personnel in every American war from the Revolution to present-day operations in the Middle East.

A Phenakistoscope disk called "A Couple Waltzing."

Eadweard Muybridge didn’t exaggerate when he signed his photographs Helios. Like his pseudonym’s namesake—a Greek god who brought light to the world by pulling the sun with his chariot—Muybridge used his brilliant gift for invention to illuminate and advance the art of photography, and most importantly, motion pictures.