J.L. Hunter

The world’s oldest active bank robber was 91-year-old J.L. Hunter, who robbed the First American Bank in Abilene, Texas, of $2,000 in 2003. It was his third robbery in five years.

When asked why he did it, he said he hadn’t liked banks since they forced him into bankruptcy.

Monthly Coincidences

Unless it’s a leap year:

  • January begins on the same day of the week as October.
  • February begins on the same day of the week as March and November.
  • April begins on the same day of the week as July.
  • December begins with the same day of the week as September.
  • No other month begins on the same day of the week as May or June.

First Photo


This is the world’s first successful permanent photograph, “View From the Window at Le Gras,” created by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce in 1826.

The exposure required eight hours, so the buildings are illuminated from both right and left.


This year Mensa accepted a new youngest member. Three-year-old Mikhail Ali of Bramley, Leeds, England, has an IQ of 137; he’s one of only 30 members under 10.

But he’s not the all-time youngest member — that’s Ben Woods, who was 2 years and 10 months old when he joined in the mid-1990s.

Tunguska Redux


Somebody up there hates Siberia.

On June 30, 1908, something huge exploded over the Tunguska River near modern Evenkia. The blast felled 60 million trees over 2,150 square kilometers; it’s been estimated at between 10 and 15 megatons. Witnesses described a huge fireball moving across the sky, a flash, and a shockwave that knocked people off their feet and broke windows up to 400 miles away. Afterward, the night sky glowed for weeks.

But, strangely, there was no crater. In fact, a few trees near ground zero were still standing, their branches and bark stripped off. Stranger still, some reports said the skyglow had begun the night before the explosion, and that there had been strange weather and increased seismic activity for days beforehand. And carbon-14 dating of the soil gave a date in the future — meaning the soil had somehow become enriched with radioactive carbon-14.

What caused the explosion? A meteor? A comet? An asteroid? There’s been no conclusive explanation. But, disturbingly, a similar thing happened just three years ago. An explosion in Siberia in September 2002 that measured up to 5 kilotons was accompanied by northern lights, increased radioactivity, and an outbreak of unknown diseases nearby. An expedition the following year concluded that it was a comet, but no one knows for sure.

No Kickstand

The world record for high-speed bicycling keeps going up, of course, but the record for low-speed bicycling has remained unchallenged for 40 years. In 1965, Tsugunobu Mitsuishi of Tokyo, Japan, remained perfectly stationary for 5 hours and 25 minutes.