Desert Downpour

A “magic tap.” Can you see how it’s done?

Click for Answer

Richard Sharpe Shaver

Amazing Stories was full of, well, amazing stories, but Richard Sharpe Shaver insisted that his were true. Between 1943 and 1948, Shaver and editor/publisher Ray Palmer told of cavern cities filled with evil robots that kidnapped and tortured unwary humans. Shaver insisted he had been a prisoner for several years.

Strangely, the first story brought a flood of excited letters corroborating Shaver’s tale. One woman claimed she had been abducted from a Paris subbasement and raped and tortured before good robots freed her. “Shaver Mystery Club” chapters began to spring up, and Amazing gained about 50,000 subscribers.

The stories petered out as the sensation ran its course, though the clubs persisted into the late 1950s. By the 1970s, Shaver was insisting that certain rocks were “books” created by ancient Atlanteans. Today it seems he was not a misunderstood visionary but a troubled schizophrenic with a compelling imagination.

One, Three, Five …

In English, every odd number contains the letter e.

The Forevertron

The Forevertron is the largest scrap metal sculpture in the world. Salvage expert Tom Every spent decades collecting 320 tons of antique machinery, including dynamos built by Thomas Edison and an actual decontamination chamber from the Apollo project. It’s in southern Wisconsin.

In a Word

v. to search for smuggled goods

The Coso Artifact

In 1961, three prospectors in California found a sparkplug encased in solid rock.

It was originally thought to be 500,000 years old, which would put it in a class with the Kingoodie Hammer and the Dorchester Pot.

More recent investigations say the “rock” is just a concretion of iron oxide produced by the rusting plug, which may date only from the 1920s … but discoverer Mike Mikesell says he destroyed a diamond-edged blade in cutting through it.

Rock-Cut Architecture

You think your job’s bad. This was carved by hand from solid rock.

India has more than 1,200 such structures, the earliest dating to 8000 B.C.

“The Tomatina”

The world’s largest food fight takes place each year on the last Wednesday in August, when the town of Buñol, Spain, holds its annual tomato festival. Local trucks dump more than 100 metric tons of overripe tomatoes into the streets, and there’s a general free-for-all among up to 25,000 people.

Reportedly, when it’s over, rivers of tomato juice up to 12 inches deep run through the town, and area fire engines hose down the streets.

This has been going on since 1944, and apparently it has no political or religious significance — they do it just for fun.

Problem Solved

What happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object?

It can’t happen. If a force is irresistible, then by definition there’s no such thing as an immovable object (and vice versa).


There are 3 letters in the Italian word for 6, sei.

There are 4 letters in the Italian word for 8, otto.

There are 5 letters in the Italian word for 10, dieci.

There are 6 letters in the Italian word for 12, dodici.