Monday, January 31, 2011


The average daily growth of a bamboo plant is 35.4 inches

There are 5 million different species of insects in the world. The insect population of the world is at least 1,000,000,000,000,000,000. The weight of the world's insect population exceeds that of human by a factor of twelve

In the opening procession of the Olympics, the team representing the host nation always marches last

The famous Russian composer Aleksandr Borodin was also a respected chemistry professor in St. Petersburg

More than 1.5 million people die from malaria every year

Moths – at least in the form we know them – are not responsible for damaging woolen clothing. Our wearables are attacked only by moths in the larval state, and then only by one family of moths, the Tineidae 

Early models of vacuum cleaners were powered by gasoline

A male goat that has been neutered is known as a "wether"

The world's tallest mountains, the Himalayas, are also the fastest growing. Their growth — about half an inch a year — is caused by the pressure exerted by two of Earth's continental plates (the Eurasian plate and the Indo-Australian plate) pushing against one another

With a six-inch wingspan, the cecropia is the largest moth in North America. Its charcoal gray wings are adorned with distinctive “eye spots” and bands of orange and white. The cecropia has feathery antennae and a furry orange-striped body as big as a baby mouse

When a school of baby catfish are threatened, their father opens his huge mouth and the youngsters swim inside to hide. When danger has passed, he reopens his mouth so they can swim back out

Residents of Hawaii outlive residents of all other states, while Louisianans are the most prone in the U.S. to die an early death - in the US, and around the world, on average women outlive men by a few years

The African eagle, swooping at better than 100 miles per hour, can brake to a halt in 20 feet

Iridescent beetle shells were the source of the earliest eye glitter ever used — devised by the ancient Egyptians

A recent study found that 75 percent of headache patients felt relief when they rubbed capsaicin (the component that makes chile peppers hot) on their nose

Less than 50 percent of American adults understand that Earth orbits the Sun yearly, according to a 2006 basic science survey 

Airport security personnel find about six weapons a day searching passengers at US airports

If a person is "aerophobic," they have an irrational fear of drafts of air

According to a 2005 survey, 7 out of 10 British dogs get Christmas gifts from their owners

Each rain drop is made up of several million cloud droplets

The letters in the acronym LED stand for light-emitting diode

To make a daguerreotype, an early photograph, required a 15-minute average exposure time (Pictured below is a typical daguerreotype camera, cicra 1937)

The name Netherlands is derived from the Dutch word neder meaning "low;" the term Low Countries is used collectively for Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands, a reference to the low-lying nature of the land   

There are 62,000 miles of arteries, capillaries, and veins in the adult human body

French consumers drink an average 88 servings of Coca-Cola® products per year per person

The pinball machine was one of the few successful industries that grew out of the Depression in the United States. The early models typically charged 5 cents for 10 balls, did not have side flippers, and the player had to add up his own score. Because it offered inexpensive and interactive entertainment value, the pinball machine remained popular for decades, until the advent of electronic video games   
1950 Striker pinball machine
Jason Williams, 38, was convicted in Maidenhead, England, in 2010 October of stealing a neighbor's window curtains, which he had immediately installed on his own windows--in plain view of the neighbor's window

Ms. Cha Sa-soon, 69, became a national heroine in South Korea in May when she passed her driver's license written test on the 950th try (after taking two-hour bus rides to the test center almost daily for three years). (It took her only 10 more tries to pass the driving test, and Hyundai gave her a new car as a reward)

In 2010 October, Greece's largest health insurance provider announced, in a letter to a diabetes foundation, that it would no longer pay for the special footwear that diabetics need for reducing pain but suggested it would pay instead for amputation, which is less expensive. The decision, which the foundation said is not supported by the international scientific literature, was published in the prominent Athens newspaper To Vima ("The Tribune") and reported by the U.S. news site 

A shop in Santa Cruz, California, opened in 2010 September selling ice cream infused with extract of marijuana.  Customers with "medical marijuana" prescriptions can buy Creme De Canna, Bananabis Foster, or Straw-Mari Cheesecake, at $15 a half-pint (with one bite supposedly equal to five puffs of "really good" weed, according to the proprietor)   

Monday, January 24, 2011


New York was the first state to require the licensing of motor vehicles. The law was adopted in 1901  (Pictured below is a driver's license issued in 1938 for a New York driver)

The State of Nevada first legalized gambling in 1931. At that same time, the Hoover Dam was being built and the federal government did not want its workers (who earned 50 cents an hour) to be involved with such diversions, so they built the town of Boulder City to house the dam workers. To this day, Boulder City is the only city in Nevada where gambling is illegal 

Hoover Dam is 726 feet tall and 660 feet thick at its base. Enough rock was excavated in its construction to build the Great Wall of China. Contrary to old wives' tales, no workers were buried in the dam's concrete

A claque is a group of people hired to applaud an act or performer

Former US President Lyndon Baines Johnson was so obsessed with secrecy that he often wrote "burn this" on personal letters

One of Napoleon's drinking cups was made from the skull of the famous Italian adventurer Cagliostro

Of the 250-plus known species of shark in the world, only about 18 are known to be dangerous to humans

In the mid 1880s until approximately 1910, American undertakers sold "Grave Alarm" Devices. These were elaborate rope and bell/pulley arrangements allowing those buried alive to summon help. The rope was placed into the hand of the (supposed) deceased, and it wound through a series of tubes to the bell outside the grave - the person hired to sit at the grave site for the first three nights after death was known as having taken the "graveyard shift," a term that today still refers to someone who works overnight

To an observer standing on Pluto, the Sun would appear no brighter than Venus appears in our evening sky

In January 2000, the U.S. Postal Service issued a Grand Canyon stamp. However, the photo used was a reverse image, giving a mirror image of a view from the South Rim. The previous year, the Postal Service mistakenly labeled the Grand Canyon as a Colorado landmark on 100 million stamps. Those stamps were destroyed. A trade paper estimated the reprinting cost for the current mistake at $500,000, and so it was decided to distribute them with the reversed image

If the name of every insect were printed in an average-size book, it would take about 6,000 pages to list them all. There are more than 900,000 known species of insects in the world

The official term for the pincerlike claw of a crab, lobster, or scorpion is a "chela"
A whirlpool below Niagara Falls iced over for the first time on record, on March 25, 1955. A huge ice jam in Lake Erie caused more than $6 million in property damages near Niagara Falls, New York

There are 170,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 ways to play the ten opening moves in a game of chess

To make a one-pound comb of honey, bees must collect nectar from about two million flowers

A giant Pacific octopus can fit its entire body through an opening no bigger than the size of its beak

The venom of the king cobra is so deadly that one gram of it can kill 150 people. Just to handle the substance can put one in a coma  

Hot water weighs more than cold

The are more different kinds of insects on existence today than the total of all kinds of other animals put together

A lawyer in Xian, China, filed a lawsuit in 2010 September against a movie house and film distributor for wasting her time--because she was exposed to 20 minutes of advertisements that began at the posted time for the actual movie to begin. Ms. Chen Xiaomei is requesting a refund (equivalent of about $5.20) plus damages of an equal amount, plus the equivalent of about 15 cents for "emotional" damages, plus an apology

British entrepreneur Howard James, who runs several online dating sites, opened another in 2010 August to worldwide attention (and, allegedly, thousands of sign-ups in the first five days): dates for ugly people. James said new members (accepted from the UK, the USA, Canada, Australia, and Ireland) will have their photos vetted to keep out "attractive" people

Keith Jeffery's book on the British intelligence service MI6, published in 2010 September and serialized in The Times of London, revealed that the first chief of the SIS (Secret Intelligence Service) during World War I recommended, as the best invisible ink, semen, in that it "would not react to [ink-detecting] iodine vapor" and was, of course, "readily available"

Recently, the New York Times discovered that 104-year-old Montana copper-mine heiress Huguette Clark has cloistered herself for the last 20 years in an ordinary room at an unnamed New York City hospital. All of Clark's affairs are handled by an attorney who has almost no contact with her but oversees her three well-maintained estates in Connecticut, Santa Barbara (Calif.), and New York City, worth, respectively, $24 million, $100 million, and $100 million

Monday, January 17, 2011


The gestation period of some species of opossum is less than two weeks

More than half the people living in Uganda are under 15 years of age

Comic book publishing giants Marvel and DC differ on a central aspect of a superhero’s origin: Marvel sets all its characters in real cities (New York, Los Angeles, etc.), while DC Comics chooses to sticks to fantasy with places like Batman’s Gotham City and Superman’s Metropolis
Before it became PG, the “parental guidance” movie rating was known for one year as GP (for General audience, Parental guidance suggested)

From 1920 to 1933, the 18th amendment to the US Constitution outlawed the manufacture and sale of intoxicating liquors - much as with marijuana today, people lobbied for "medical liquor" and some states allowed prescriptions for the treatment of various ailments from migraine headaches and cancer
Pictured:  A logbook, circa 1930, for prescriptions for liquor
The eye of the Colossal Squid is the largest of any known animal, at up to 12 inches in diameter (30 cm)

In 1960, Joseph William Kittinger II jumped from an altitude of 102,800 feet as part of the United States Air Force’s ‘Project Excelsior’ and safetly parachuted back to earth. This record jump was made from an open gondola helium balloon, and to this day, this jump set a number of records which still stand including the highest, longest and fastest highjump

Foreign Accent Syndrome is a rare side effect of brain trauma, whereby a patient’s enunciation is altered to the point where it begins to resemble a foreign accent. Perhaps the most famous example occurred in 1941, when a young Norwegian woman began speaking with what sounded like a German accent after being hit in the head with shrapnel. Her community, thinking she had Fascist sympathies, shunned her - to date, there have been over 60 reported cases including one that followed a severe migraine headache.  Once afflicted with Foreign Accent Syndrome, the sufferer does not regain their normal speech pattern

As a rule, European carousels rotate clockwise, while American merry-go-rounds spin counterclockwise

Artificial colors are illegal in the feed farmers give to hens so a egg yolk's color depends on the hen's diet. Hens that eat feed containing yellow corn or alfalfa produce medium yellow yolks. Hens that eat feed containing wheat or barley produce lighter color yolks. Natural yellow-orange substances such as marigold petals may be added to light colored feeds to enhance the yolk color

The Gideons, who went on to place millions of Bibles in hotels, prisons, hospitals and military bases across the United States, first did so at the Superior Hotel in Iron Mountain, Montana, in 1908

Buddy Guy’s complete Rock & Roll Hall of Fame acceptance speech: “If you don’t think you have the blues, just keep living”

When the American Civil War broke out, the seceding Confederate states snatched up government property, including everything from forts to arsenals to thousands of post offices stocked full of stamps. Not wanting the enemy to profit off their goods, the Union recalled every U.S. stamp ever issued and declared them invalid for postage. Instead, people were allowed to exchange their old stamps for replacements, which the government had quickly printed with new designs

Most hoofed herbivores (from horses to giraffes) sleep standing up - if they slept lying down in the wild, precious seconds would be wasted scrambling to their feet when predators approached

Matt Majikas holds a Guinness Book record for playing miniature golf for 24 hours straight. During that time, he traversed more than 35 miles of putting green and completed 3,035 holes

John C. Calhoun of South Carolina was the only man to serve as Vice-President to U.S. Presidents in two different parties: John Quincy Adams (1825-1829) and Andrew Jackson (1829-1832). He is also the first to resign the office

Medieval Japanese samurai burned incense in their helmets, so if they were decapitated in battle, their head would smell sweet

Nuclear explosions have taken place in five U.S. States: New Mexico, Nevada, Colorado, Alaska, and Mississippi

The first cow to ride in an airplane was Elm Farm Ollie in 1930 as part of the International Air Exposition - Milk she gave in-flight was sealed in containers and parachuted down over St. Louis to spectators below

President Warren G. Harding once gambled away and entire box of priceless White House China while playing poker with friends in the Presidential Mansion

The infinity sign is properly known as a “lemniscate"

It took George Eastman, the inventor of Kodak film, four years to come up with a name for his product. He worked with his mother on it, and had a few rules for what he wanted: something short, something impossible to mispronounce, something unique, and something that included his favorite letter, K

Among the Medicare billings only recently discovered in late 2010 as fraudulent (after being paid): (1) Brooklyn, New York, proctologist Boris Sacharov was paid for performing 6,593 hemorrhoidectomies and other procedures over a 13-month period--an average of 18 every day, 365 days a year (and 6,212 more than the doctor who billed the second-highest number). (2) Two Hialeah, Florida., companies, "Charlie RX" and "Happy Trips," between them billed Medicare $63,000 for penis pumps--including a total of four to the same patient (by the way, a woman)

People with tough times ahead: Donald N. Duck, 51 (arrested for DUI, Massillon, Ohio, June). Lord Jesus Christ, 50 (pedestrian injury, Northampton, Massachusetts, May). Tara Wang (marrying Austin DeCock in Moorhead, Minnesota, in October). (2) Police saw them coming: Jerry Dick, 46 (pleaded guilty to indecent exposure, Greensboro, North Carolina, August). Kermit Butts, 26 (arrested in the slaying of Samuel Boob, Madisonburg, Pennsylvania, August). Cum Starkweather, 56 (arrested for prostitution, Springfield, Ohio, August) - (All arrested in 2010)

A 29-year-old man, in a group of 12 "ghost hunters" on a field trip in Iredell County, North Carolina, in August 2010, was killed by a speeding train. The 12 were investigating a rumored "ghost train" that killed 30 people in an 1891 crash and supposedly returns every year on the anniversary date

Woody Will Smith, 33, was convicted in September 2010 of murdering his wife after a jury in Dayton, Kentucky, "deliberated" about 90 minutes before rejecting his defense of caffeine intoxication. Smith had claimed that his daily intake of sodas, energy drinks, and diet pills had made him temporarily insane when he strangled his two-timing wife with an extension cord in 2009, and made him again not responsible when he confessed the crime to police. (In May 2010, a judge in Pullman, Washington, ordered a hit-and-run driver to treatment instead of jail, based on the driver's "caffeine psychosis." Some doctors believe the condition can kick in with as little as 400 mg of caffeine daily--an amount that, given America's coffee consumption, potentially portends a sky-high murder rate)

Monday, January 10, 2011


The first person to patent an artificial heart prototype also invented the retractable ball point pen: Paul Winchell, ventriloquist who co-hosted the 1960s children's television show “Winchell – Mahoney Time”

In the 1980s Winchell, concerned about the starving African people, developed a method to cultivate tilapia fish in tribal villages and small communities. The fish thrives in brackish waters, which made it particularly well suited for sub-Saharan Africa  (Winchell appeared before a US Congressional Committee with several other celebrities, including actors Richard Dreyfuss and Ed Asner, and Dr. Henry Heimlich. The Committee declined to finance a pilot program for the tilapia aquaculture project (in Africa) because it required digging a well into non-potable water, which the Committee felt was not advisable)

In the Asian, African and Latin American countries, well over 500 million people are living in what the World Bank has called "absolute poverty" - Worldwide, every 3.6 seconds someone dies of hunger

At certain points during a baseball pitcher’s delivery, the pitcher’s arm is rotating at approximately 7,000 degrees per second—the equivalent of rotating your arm all the way around 70,000 times an hour

Ludwig Van Beethoven originally dedicated his 3rd symphony to Napoleon. However, when Napoleon took the crown out of the Pope’s hands and crowned himself emperor, Beethoven was so disappointed in him that he changed the dedication to “Heroic Symphony, Composed to Celebrate the Memory of a Great Man”

The device used to measure your foot at a shoe store is called a Brannock Device

Ancient Greeks used tatoos to brand spies, Romans used them to mark slaves, and Japanese used them as a signal that someone was available for marriage

Author Alex Haley was forced to pay Harold Courlander more than half a million dollars after losing a plagiarism suit over Roots - Courlander wrote seven novels, his most famous being The African, published in 1967. The novel was the story of a slave's capture in Africa, his experiences aboard a slave ship, and his struggle to retain his native culture in a hostile new world. In 1978, Courlander went to the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of New York, charging Alex Haley had used a 100-word segment from his novel.
After a five-week trial in federal district court, Courlander and Haley settled the case, with Haley making a financial settlement of $650,000. Haley conceded that three brief passages in his book had apparently come from Courlander's The African

The highest spot on earth is not Mt. Everest; if we define the “highest spot” as that which is closest to the moon, stars, etc. Mt. Chimborazo in Ecuador is an incredible 1.5 miles higher due to the oblate spheroid shape of the earth

Outside North and South America, the only alligators found in the wild are in China

Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, once sworn political enemies (though after retirement they became quite friendly), died on July 4th of the same year 1826 (America’s 50th anniversary) 

The term "couch potato," used to refer to someone who gets little exercise, is the legal property of Robert Armstrong, who trademarked it in 1976 

In 1924, Alvin Kelly sat atop a flagpole for 13 hours, inspiring copycats across the country to replicate his feat (to varying degrees of success) - pole-sitting became a fad among teens and young adults in the US in the 1920s through the 1940s - occasionally today some still attempt to set new records
Pictured:  Alvin "Shipwreck" Kelly sits atop a pole for 13 hours, 13 minutes
 The Haskell Free Library and Opera House straddles the Canadian and Vermont border. The actors perform in Canada while most of the audience sits in the United States. There is even a painted line running through the building

An elephant’s trunk has up to 150,000 muscles

Black-eyed peas aren’t peas, but beans, and coffee beans aren’t beans, but seeds

The flashes of colored light a person may see after rubbing their eyes are called “phosphenes” - the phenomenon is caused by applying pressure to the eye, which mechanically stimulates the cells of the retina.    The experience of phosphenes is often called "seeing stars" and can be caused by a blow to the head, sneezing, a heavy and deep cough, low blood-pressure, and many other physical conditions
Cosmopolitan started as a family magazine in 1886, later transformed into a literary magazine with issues including stories by Henry James and Theodore Roosevelt and covering topics like climbing Mount Vesuvius and the life of Mozart - the magazine, also known as Cosmo, became a women's magazine in the late 1960s -
its current content includes articles on relationships and sex, health, careers, self-improvement, celebrities, as well as fashion and beauty - it is printed in 34 languages and distributed in over 100 countries

Under US federal law, garment tags that contain the use-and-care instructions must last the lifetime of the garment

The consistency of your ear wax is genetic

When Mad Cow Disease caused a slump in burger sales in 2005, several Japanese McDonald’s franchises enticed customers by replacing Ronald McDonald with a svelte female with shoulder-length red hair, a yellow dress, and red high-heeled shoes

History’s shortest war lasted 38 minutes between Great Britain and Zanzibar

The Golden Hamster is native to Syria. In fact, all hamsters in captivity today can trace their roots back to the original litter discovered in 1930 by archaeologist Aaron Abrahams

Donald Denney and his father (also named Donald Denney) concocted a plan on the telephone for Dad to smuggle the son a ball of black-tar heroin into his Colorado prison (for eventual resale) during visiting hours, to be passed through the mouth by a deep kiss from a female visitor. However, Dad could not find a woman with a clean-enough record to be admitted as a visitor. Still enamored of the plan, however, the father decided to be the drug mule, himself, and inserted the packaged heroin into his rectum for later transferral to his mouth (even though the eventual deep kiss would be awkward). The Denneys were apparently unaware, despite audio warnings, that all the son's phone calls were being monitored, and in September, prison officials were waiting for the father, with a body-cavity search warrant, as he entered the prison 

David Winkelman, 48, was arrested in Davenport, Iowa, in September on a misdemeanor warrant, still sporting "The Tattoo."  In late 2000, Winkelman, reacting to a radio "contest," had his forehead inked with the logo of radio station KORB, "93 Rock," because he had heard on-air personalities "offer" $100,000 to anyone who would do it. Winkelman had the tattoo done before checking, however, and the disk jockeys later informed him that the "contest" was a joke.  Winkelman filed a lawsuit against the station, but it was dismissed. Ten years later, the "93 Rock" format has expired, but Winkelman's forehead remains busily tattooed

New York City artist Sally Davies offered in October 2010 the latest evidence of how unattractive today's fast foods are to bacteria and maggots. Davies bought a McDonald's "Happy Meal" in April, has photographed it daily, and has noted periodically the lack even of the slightest sign of decomposition.  Her dog, who circled restlessly nearby for the first two days the vittles were out, since then has ignored it. (Several bloggers, and filmmaker Morgan Spurlock, have made discoveries similar to Davies's.)  Food scientists "credited" a heavy use (though likely still within FDA guidelines) of the preservative sodium propionate but also the predominance of fat and lack of moisture and nutrients--all of which contribute to merely shrinking and hardening the burger and fries

Monday, January 3, 2011


The Outerbridge Crossing, that connects Staten Island, New York and Perth Amboy, New Jersey was named after Eugenius Harvey Outerbridge and has nothing to do with the geographical location of the bridge

Only half of a dolphin’s brain sleeps at a time. The other half that’s awake makes the dolphin come up for air when needed to prevent drowning

Ayds, an appetite-suppressant candy in the 1970s, lost half of its sales when the similarly named AIDS virus gained public awareness in the mid-1980s- the company rebounded by changing the product's name to “Diet Ayds”

An estimated 15% to 20% of people who receive gift cards never redeem them - companies know that this percentage of recipients will not redeem their gift card, and profits substantially from the sale of the cards not only monetarily but in promoting their logo and brand name

The “Black Hills” of South Dakota are not hills but really mountains

Three months after Charlie Chaplin died his corpse was stolen by two Swiss mechanics in order to extort money from the family. The robbers were captured and Chaplin’s body was found eleven weeks later. To prevent further attempts, he was reburied under concrete

World Famous Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey is made in only one place-the small town of Lynchburg, Tennessee, population 361. Though the town supplies the world with the famous libation, not a drop may be purchased for consumption anywhere in town. Moore County is a “dry” county; the sale of hard alcohol is illegal

An ostrich’s eye is the same size as its brain

‘Aposiopesis’ is the official name of the rhetorical style in which you deliberately fail to complete a sentence - (’Why you…’)

About one in every 30 Americans births results in twins

Seashell fossils have been found high in the Himalayan mountains, suggesting that the land was once underwater

The “french” in french fries actually describes the way the potatoes are sliced, not their country of origin

“Pepsi-Cola” is an anagram for “Episcopal,” which some believe the drink is named after

In the 1940s, Eleanor Abbott invented the board game Candy Land as a diversion for children recovering from polio

Beethoven, Schubert, Dvorak, and Mahler all died before completing a tenth symphony

The name “The Birdman of Alcatraz” is a bit of misnomer: Robert Stroud was allowed to keep birds when he was incarcerated at Leavenworth, but not when he was transferred to Alcatraz

In the early 20th century, peanut butter was less suburban staple and more haute cuisine.  High-end establishments like New York’s Vanity Fair Tea Room served up peanut-butter-and-watercress sandwiches, and the cookbooks of the day endorsed plenty of peanut butter pairings, including pimentos and chili

Mock turtle soup does not actually contain turtle, its main ingredient is brain and organ meats usually from a cow or calf's foot - sometimes vegetables are added such as onion and celery

Ashrita Furman’s twelve-minute mile may not sound impressive, unless it’s pointed out that he was riding a pogo stick at the time

The popular toy known as the View Master began as an invention called the Model A Viewer in 1939 and was marketed to adults as a way to see scenic views of tourist attractions in the United States - by 1942, the US military purchased over 1,000 of the viewers as a way to train soldiers in identifying planes, munitions, and even territory occupied by their enemies.  By 1950, the viewer became marketed as a child's toy, the View Master
Pictured:  A 1952 Model E View Master, a precursor to the toy that would become known simply as the View Master in less than a decade

Jackrabbits are powerful jumpers. A twenty inch adult can leap twenty feet in a single bound

Leonardo da Vinci could draw with one hand and write with the other simultaneously

On March 27, 1964, North America’s strongest recorded earthquake, with a moment magnitude of 9.2, rocked central Alaska. Each year Alaska has approximately 5,000 earthquakes, including 1,000 that measure above 3.5 on the Richter scale. Of the ten strongest earthquakes ever recorded in the world, three have occurred in Alaska

The largest order of mammals, with about 1,700 species, is rodents - Bats are second with about 950 species

Marie Murphy, a fifth-grade teacher in Stratford, New Jersey, and her husband lost almost everything in a house fire in April, but when she arrived at the burning home, she defied firefighters and dashed inside to retrieve a single prized possession: her Philadelphia Phillies season tickets. "My husband was so mad at me." (Later, a Phillies representative gently informed her that the team would have reprinted her tickets for free)

At least 13 percent of U.S. teenagers report having intentionally injured themselves as cries for help, and among the more extreme manifestations is "embedding"--the insertion of glass, wood, metal, and other material, just under the skin. Writing in October in the journal Radiology, a doctor at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, followed up on 11 cases involving 76 self-embedded objects in arms, neck, feet, and hands, including an astonishing 35 placed by one boy (staples, parts of a comb, parts of a fork

Sherin Brown, 23, happened to be walking through a Brooklyn, New York, neighborhood in August at the exact moment that a tractor-trailer accidentally clipped a light pole, sending it crashing to the sidewalk. First responders found Brown pinned under the pole, screaming for help, and had her taken to a hospital. Afterward, investigators discovered a nearby surveillance camera, which revealed that Brown had stepped out of the way of the falling pole but then, with no one else around, had crawled underneath and began wailing in "pain," perhaps in anticipation of a future lawsuit 

Steven Black, one of five suspects in a federal credit card and check-cashing fraud ring, was arrested on August 30th in Maryland Heights, Montana., following a car chase. In a search, police discovered that Black was carrying $1,540 in cash, in a roll tied with a shoelace to his scrotum 

Saturday, January 1, 2011


"A new fuel of vastly increased power but of infinitesimal bulk will supersede gasoline within the next 10 years": - Norman Bel Geddes, "Ten Years From Now," Ladies Home Journal, 1931

"Cars will cost as little as $200. People will have two-month vacations. They will care little for possessions. The happiest people live in one-factory villages" - General Motors President, New York Times, September 12, 1929

"The population will begin to get smaller and smaller" - author Cyril Bibby in 1947, at the beginning of the baby boom

In a 1967 speech to the Women's National Democratic Club, Nobel laureate Glenn Seaborg, then head of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, spoke of the box-shaped, multi-armed robot that would be programmed for the specific needs of the housewife. The mechanical maids of 2000 would be capable of simultaneously sweeping, vacuuming, dusting, washing "and picking up your husband's clothing," he said

"Experimental evidence is strongly in favor of my argument that the chemical purity of the air is of no importance" - professor L. Erskine Hill of London Hospital, 1912

"Computers will benefit even more than telephones from the development of integrated circuits in ever smaller 'chips,' and very small computers may emerge. Most computers will probably still occupy a large room, however, because of the space needed for the ancillary software - the tapes and cards to be fed in, the operating staff, and the huge piles of paper for printing out the results. But future computers, though no smaller, will be capable of doing far more than their predecessors"
- professor Desmond King-Hele, The End of the Twentieth Century, 1970

"Private passenger vehicles will be barred from most city cores by 1986." - The Futurist, 1967

"It may, however, be safe to assume that it will hardly be possible to apply electricity to haul great passenger trains" - George H. Daniels, railroad executive, Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 1900

"I do not hesitate to forecast that atomic batteries will be commonplace long before 1980…It can be taken for granted that before 1980 ships, aircraft, locomotives and even automobiles will e atomically fueled" - RCA found David Sarnoff, The Fabulous Future: America in 1980, 1956

"To us who think in terms of practical use, the splitting of the atom means nothing" - British science writer Lord Richie Calder, 1932

"An entirely new profession - that of airmanship - will be thoroughly organized, employing a countless army of airmen…Boundaries will be obliterated…The great peoples of Christendom will arrive at a common understanding: the Congress of Nations will no longer be an ideal scheme...Troops, aerial squadrons, death dealing armaments will be maintained only for police surveillance over barbarous races, and for instantly enforcing the judicial decrees of the world's international court of appeal" - Century Magazine, 1878 

When the Quebec Act recognized Catholic rights in Canada in 1774, a New England pamphlet warned, "If Gallic Papists have a right to worship in their own way, then farewell to the liberties of poor America!" 

"In 2000 Commuters will go to the city in huge aerial buses that hold 200 passengers. Hundreds of thousands more will make such journeys twice a day in their own helicopters" - Waldemar Kaempfert, Popular Mechanics, 1950
Image of an imagined cityscape with aerial transport (did not accompany Popular Mechanics article)
"It is hardly necessary to inform you that life [a hundred years hence] will be as nearly a holiday as it is possible to make it. Work will be reduced to a minimum by machinery. Everything will be brought to your hand by deaf and dumb waiters and sliding shelves, operated by electricity supplied to the entire country by the power of the sea" - Editor C.M. Skinner, Brooklyn Daily Eagle, December 30, 1900

"Split second lunches; color keyed in disposable dishes; a society rich in leisure and taken for granted comforts. At the turn of the next century, most food will be stored frozen in individual portions. The computer will keep a running inventory on all foodstuffs and the nutritional needs of the family" - "Year 1999 A.D." a 1967 film by the Ford Motor Company 

Cartoonist Kemble predicted in a cartoon in Life Magazine that the automobile would pass out of existence by 1905. His comic depicted a man planting flowers in a model T with the caption, "Of course, there will always be some use for the automobile." 

"The people of New York will practically live in the sky…there will be avenues of aerial gardens and sky golf courses. Instead of going up to the country, people will go 'up' for country air. There will be aerial hangars and airplanes will be as common as flivvers" - architect and "urban visionary" Hugh Ferris, 1925 

"There will never be a bigger plane built" - a Boeing engineer after the first flight of the Boeing 247 in 1932. The twin engine plan had a capacity of 10 people 

"We must also prepare ourselves for the very real possibility that the outcome of this situation might well be the total extinction of the entire human race. It really could be worse than I am predicting, and I really am being optimistic. First, I would like to assure you that I am not some kind of nut anxiously waiting for the end of the world..." - Cory Hamasaki, DC Y2K Weather Report, November 1998 

"We just won't have arthritis in 2000" - Dr. William Clark, president of the Arthritis Foundation, 1966 

"Much of our formal education in the past was designed to prepare us for a world in industrial revolution. We went to school on specific days at specific times, just as our parents went to work. By 2000 that will have changed and education will be as unregimented as our lives at that time" - David Saperstein, "Your Time, Your Station," in the 1974 book Women in the Year 2000 

"All human infectious diseases [will be ] successfully eradicated" - prediction for the year 1999 by economist Feliz Kaufmann, 1980 

FEED*YOUR*HEAD on Facebook