In All the Whole Town the Most Wonderful Spot

Mail addressed to Dr. Seuss was frequently misdirected to Dr. Hans Suess, a nuclear physicist who lived in the same town, La Jolla, Calif.

The scientist bore this patiently, but he was overshadowed even in death. His personal papers are housed in a San Diego library named after … Dr. Seuss.

tfeL to thgiR

Leonardo da Vinci recorded most of his personal notes in mirror writing. Maybe he wanted to hide his ideas from the Church … or maybe, being left-handed, he didn’t want to smudge the ink.

In a Word

n. love of hotels

“A Stoppage of the Falls of Niagara”

The following remarkable account of the stoppage of Niagara Falls, appeared in the Niagara Mail at the time of the occurrence: “That mysterious personage, the oldest inhabitant, has no recollection of so singular an occurrence as took place at the Falls on the 30th of March, 1847. The ‘six hundred and twenty thousand tons of water each minute’ nearly ceased to flow, and dwindled away into the appearance of a mere milldam. The rapids above the falls disappeared, leaving scarcely enough on the American side to turn a grindstone. Ladies and gentlemen rode in carriages one-third of the way across the river towards the Canada shore, over solid rock as smooth as a kitchen floor. The Iris says: ‘Table Rock, with some two hundred yards more, was left dry; islands and places where the foot of man never dared to tread have been visited, flags placed upon come, and mementoes brought away. This unexpected event is attempted to be accounted for by an accumulation of ice at the lower extremity of Fort Erie, which formed a sort of dam between Fort Erie and Buffalo.'”

Barkham Burroughs’ Encyclopaedia of Astounding Facts and Useful Information, 1889

Cheaper Than Renovation

The frontage of the Saint-Georges Theater in Paris, transformed entirely with paint by muralist Dominique Antony.

This technique, where an effect emerges only when an image is viewed from a certain perspective, is called anamorphosis. Here’s a much earlier example.


“In the first place, God made idiots. That was for practice. Then he made school boards.” — Mark Twain

Zebra Puzzle

This puzzle has been attributed both to Lewis Carroll and to Albert Einstein:

  1. There are five houses in a row. Each of the houses is painted a different color, and their occupants come from different countries, own different pets, drink different beverages, and smoke different cigarette brands.
  2. The Englishman lives in the red house.
  3. The Spaniard owns the dog.
  4. Coffee is drunk in the green house.
  5. The Ukrainian drinks tea.
  6. The green house is immediately to the right (your right) of the ivory house.
  7. The Old Gold smoker owns snails.
  8. Kools are smoked in the yellow house.
  9. Milk is drunk in the middle house.
  10. The Norwegian lives in the first house.
  11. The man who smokes Chesterfields lives in the house next to the man with the fox.
  12. Kools are smoked in the house next to the house where the horse is kept.
  13. The Lucky Strike smoker drinks orange juice.
  14. The Japanese smokes Parliaments.
  15. The Norwegian lives next to the blue house.

Who drinks water? Who owns the zebra?

Click for Answer

Egging the Question

The magnificently named Lake Winnipesaukee Mystery Stone is just that — an odd carven stone, about 4 inches long, turned up by workmen digging a fence post in New Hampshire in 1872.

No one knows who carved it, when, or why. On one side are carved an ear of corn, a deer’s leg, and several other figures. One the other side are inverted arrows, a moon shape, a spiral, and some dots.

When the stone first came to light, the American Naturalist suggested that it “commemorates a treaty between two tribes.” But after an analysis in 1994, state archaeologist Richard Boisvert said that the holes drilled in the top and bottom are more consistent with power tools from the 19th or 20th century. He said that scratches in the lower hole suggest that the stone was placed on a metal shaft and removed several times. We’ll never know its real origin.

The Feynman Point

Between the 762nd and 767th decimal places of pi there are six 9s in a row.

It’s called the Feynman point, because physicist Richard Feynman said he’d like to recite 761 digits and end with “… nine, nine, nine, nine, nine, nine, and so on.”

Thanks for Nothing

Gordon Macdonald was the last British governor of Newfoundland. Despite the island’s fiercely independent nature, he openly campaigned for it to become part of Canada. In 1949 he succeeded, and two days before he returned to England, the Evening Telegram published a congratulatory poem:

The prayers of countless thousands sent
Heavenwards to speed thy safe return,
Ennobled as thou art with duty well performed,
Bringing peace, security and joy
Among the peoples of this New Found Land.
So saddened and depressed until your presence
Taught us discern and help decide what’s best for
All on whom fortune had not smiled.
Remember if you will the kindness and the love
Devotion and the respect that we the people have for Thee

— Farewell!

It was several weeks before the editors noticed it was an acrostic — read the first letter of each line.