Features and Stories

Thomas William “Bill” Burgess — Second Person to Swim Across the English Channel

12/19/2016

Updated 10/25/2018

Thomas William Burgess got up on the morning of September 5, 1911, ready to make history. Having already tried and failed 15 times before, he knew what he was up against. He wanted to become the second person to swim across the English Channel, and the first to do so since 1875 when Captain Matthew Webb breast-stroked his way across the…read more

Pitfall II: Lost Caverns (1984) — Sequel to Pitfall!

12/02/2016

Updated 01/01/2019

From the game manual — “Help Pitfall Harry find his niece Rhonda, the cowardly cat Quickclaw and the great Raj diamond. On the way grab all the gold bars you can (and be on the lookout for a pesky stone-aged rat). There is no time limit in the caverns!” I never understood the allure of Activision’s 1982 game Pitfall! for the…read more

Helium (He) — the Second-Most Abundant Element in the Universe

12/02/2016

Updated 10/08/2018

Helium is almost like magic with the things it can do—it keeps blimps and balloons aloft, makes our voices sound funny1 when we huff it, and it makes all sorts of industrial processes possible. Helium is just plain fun. And for its place among the silver medalists, helium is the second-most abundant element in the universe and the number 2…read more

College of William & Mary — Second-Oldest College in the U.S.

The College of William & Mary

10/24/2016

Updated 01/22/2019

The College of William & Mary, chartered in 1693, is the second-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States—second only to Harvard University (http://www.harvard.edu), which was established in 1636. Although it’s the second-oldest college in the U.S., William & Mary isn’t without its own firsts: it was the first to receive a Royal Charter; the first U.S. college to become a university; the first law school in the U.S.