Harrison Ford(s)

Hollywood’s Walk of Fame actually contains two stars marked Harrison Ford.

The first is for a silent film actor who retired in 1932.

He’s little remembered today — so far his namesake has outgrossed him by $5.6 billion.

Golden Gate Suicides


Jump off the Golden Gate Bridge and you’ll fall for four seconds and hit the water at 75 mph.

More than 1,300 people have attempted suicide in this way, and as of 2003, at least 26 have survived the jump. Many say they changed their minds in midair.


There was a young man of St. Bees
Who was stung in the arm by a wasp.
When they asked, “Does it hurt?”
He replied, “No, it doesn’t;
I’m so glad it wasn’t a hornet.”

— W.S. Gilbert



“This coffee plunges into the stomach … the mind is aroused, and ideas pour forth like the battalions of the Grand Army on the field of battle.” So wrote Balzac, who wrote for up to 15 hours a day wired on black coffee.

If anything, he was ahead of his time. Today we drink more than 400 billion cups of coffee every year, making it the world’s most popular beverage. It’s second only to oil as the world’s largest traded commodity.

So, is it safe to consume that much of anything? Well, yes and no.

Generally, one dose of caffeine is 100 mg. That’s what you’d get in one shot of espresso, 5 ounces of coffee, or 2.5 cans of soda. The lowest dose that’s ever killed someone is 32 times that — and that was delivered intravenously. Even with strong coffee, you’d have to drink 3 cups an hour for 100 hours even to come close to killing yourself.

But that’s not all that can happen. At lower doses you might develop “caffeinism,” a condition that mimics mental illnesses ranging from anxiety and bipolar disorder to schizophrenia and psychosis.

(And that’s just humans. Dogs, horses and parrots have much more trouble metabolizing caffeine, and it hits spiders harder than even LSD, marijuana, benzedrine and chloral hydrate, as you can see here.)

And, as always, there’s no accounting for craziness. Jason Allen, a student at a North Carolina community college, died after swallowing almost 90 pills — about 18 grams of pure caffeine. That’s the equivalent of about 250 cups of coffee, a gallon and a half of espresso, or 22 gallons of Mountain Dew. That’s a serious all-nighter.

Famous Diabetics

Famous diabetics:

  • Jack Benny
  • James Cagney
  • Johnny Cash
  • Paul Cezanne
  • Ty Cobb
  • Miles Davis
  • Thomas Edison
  • Joe Frazier
  • Dizzy Gillespie
  • Ernest Hemingway
  • Howard Hughes
  • Elvis Presley
  • Giacomo Puccini
  • Elizabeth Taylor
  • H.G. Wells
  • Mae West

A CIA Mystery


This is a little embarrassing — the CIA is having trouble decrypting a sculpture on its own grounds.

The piece, called Kryptos, was dedicated 15 years ago by American artist James Sanborn. It’s inscribed with four different messages, each encrypted with a different cipher. Sanborn would say only that the sculpture contains a riddle within a riddle, which will be solvable only after the four passages have been decrypted. He gave the complete solution to CIA director William H. Webster, who has passed it on to his successors.

The first three messages have been solved by CIA analysts, but the fourth — and the final riddle — remains open.

If you don’t want to work on this yourself, you can wait for Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown — reportedly it’s the subject of his next book.