Sea Serpent

In August 1848, during a voyage to Saint Helena in the South Atlantic, the officers and crew of HMS Daedalus observed a creature 60 feet long that held a peculiar maned head above the water.

What was it? The English biologist Sir Richard Owen supposed it was an elephant seal; others have suggested a “super eel,” a giant squid, and an upside-down canoe. We’ll never know.

Seeing Things Differently

  • Dan Aykroyd has one blue eye and one brown eye.
  • Gracie Allen had one green eye and one blue eye.
  • Jane Seymour has one green eye and one brown eye.
  • Elizabeth Berkley’s eyes are green, but her lower right eye is brown.
  • Kate Bosworth’s eyes are blue, but her lower right eye is hazel.
  • David Bowie has a permanently dilated left eye that can appear brown or green.

Curse of the Iceman

In 1991, a pair of German tourists discovered the frozen corpse of a Copper Age man in the Alps, where it had apparently lain undisturbed since 3,300 B.C. “Ötzi” had died in a fight, it seems: A CAT scan found an arrowhead in one shoulder, and he had bruises and cuts on his hands, wrists, and chest. DNA analysis also found blood from four other people on his gear.

If he was ornery in life, apparently his ghost was worse. In all, eight people connected with the iceman have died unexpectedly. In 1992, the head of the investigating forensic team died in a head-on collision. The mountaineer who led scientists to the body died in an avalanche. An Austrian journalist who covered the body’s removal died of a brain tumor, and the tourist who found it fell into a ravine on the mountain.

Have investigators unleashed a mysterious curse, like that of King Tutankhamen? “I think it’s a load of rubbish,” said the leading expert on the corpse, archaeologist Konrad Spindler. “It is all a media hype. The next thing you will be saying I will be next.”

He died in April 2005.

Good Company

Nobel laureates by country, as of July 2006:

  1. United States: 160
  2. United Kingdom: 110
  3. Germany: 92
  4. France: 44
  5. Switzerland: 25
  6. USSR and Russia: 21
  7. Italy: 19
  8. Canada: 18
  9. Sweden: 18
  10. Netherlands: 18
  11. Hungary: 16
  12. Denmark: 14
  13. Poland: 14

Nice Try

Joshua Gardner may be a sex offender, but he’s a creative one. Last year the 22-year-old visited Minnesota’s Stillwater Area High School three times, claiming to be Caspian James Crichton-Stuart IV, the Fifth Duke of Cleveland. He spoke in an English accent and insisted that students, staff and even the principal call him “your grace.”

Student journalists caught on when he misspelled the name of his “castle,” and they soon discovered Gardner was on probation after having sex with a 14-year-old girl in 2002. He now faces up to 21 months in prison.

Japanese War Tuba

Before World War II, this photo emerged from Japan — Emperor Hirohito inspecting a fleet of giant tubas, with anti-aircraft guns in the background.

They’re actually acoustic locators, designed to listen for plane engines. Radar made the whole project obsolete.

No Tips

Throughout his entire professional career, Andy Kaufman kept a day job busing tables at Jerry’s Famous Deli in Los Angeles.


“Tragedy is when I cut my finger. Comedy is when you fall into an open sewer and die.” — Mel Brooks

Jastrow Illusion

An optical illusion. The two figures are the same size.


“Don’t just do something, stand there.” — Clint Eastwood’s acting coach