Yonaguni

These structures were discovered off the Japanese island of Yonaguni in 1985. Are they man-made? They resemble the pyramids of Egypt, Mesopotamia, Mexico, and Peru, but analyses showed one was 8,000 years old, which would make these the oldest ruins in the world.

If that’s so, historians can’t explain who would have built them. And archaeologists have suggested that the plates may have formed naturally. For now, the jury’s out.

Television Privileges

Emmy Award trophies are made at the maximum-security El Dorado Correctional Facility in Kansas.

Duck!

How much damage can one sparrow do?

Last year in the Netherlands organizers were preparing a world-record display of cascading dominoes when a house sparrow flew into the room.

The bird knocked over 23,000 tiles before organizers finally resorted to shooting it, setting off a furor among animal-rights activists.

Four days later, a new record was set when 4,002,136 dominoes fell in one continuous cascade.

The bird, stuffed and mounted, will go on display at the Natural History Museum in Rotterdam this November, exactly one year after the shooting.

Beach Blanket Hades

In western Namibia, there’s a deadly strip of beach where the Namib Desert runs right up against the South Atlantic Ocean. Shipwrecked sailors who landed there found themselves trapped between heavy surf on one side and hundreds of miles of desert on the other. Many starved to death right there on the beach.

It’s called the Skeleton Coast.

The Power of Community

Francis A. Johnson of Darwin, Minn., started a ball of twine in March 1950 and kept going for 29 years. The ball is 12 feet in diameter and weighs 17,500 pounds.

That’s impressive, but it’s also inspiring. Frank Stoeber of Cawker City, Kan., heard about Johnson’s achievement and started his own ball. Sadly, when he died in 1974, Stoeber’s ball measured 11 feet — just short of his goal.

But, in fine Frank Capra style, Cawker City built an open-air gazebo over the ball and began holding a “Twine-a-Thon” every August to increase it.

They’ve succeeded. The Cawker City ball now incorporates 1,325 miles of twine … and weighs 17,554 pounds.

Sunburn Alley

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Us_route_50_nevada.jpg

In Nevada, U.S. Route 50 is known as “The Loneliest Road in America.” Because of the barren terrain and low traffic, AAA warns its member to stay off the road unless they’re sure of their survival skills.

There are only five towns along the road, and all of them offer “Route 50 Survival Kits.” Stop in all five and you’ll get a survival certificate signed by the governor.

One Way

Kamikaze planes had no landing gear.

“What Is This Sea Which Is All Round Me?”

“The next day I was sad and sick at heart, for I felt how dull it was to be thus cut off from all the rest of the world. I had no great wish for work: but there was too much to be done for me to dwell long on my sad lot. Each day as it came, I went off to the wreck to fetch more things; and I brought back as much as the raft would hold.”

— From Robinson Crusoe in Words of One Syllable by Mary Godolphin, 1869

Zorbing

New Zealanders know how to make their own fun. They’ve taken to rolling down hills inside giant plastic balls called zorbs. Most contain straps to hold the rider in place; if you’re insane you can forgo the straps and fill the ball with water, creating a self-contained water chute.

The first U.S. facility opens this year in Tennessee. Brace yourself.

Star Power

In 1993 Bruce Willis appeared in a Japanese advertising campaign for the Subaru Legacy, so the company designed a car in his honor.

It’s called the Subaru Touring Bruce.