The Museum of Unworkable Devices debunks a whole fleet of perpetual-motion machines.
On this date in A.D. 600, Pope Gregory the Great decreed that saying “God bless you” is the correct response to a sneeze.
How does that work, exactly? When you become pope, do they give you a special hotline phone? If so, I think there are more important questions he could have asked.
You can spare others the whole “gesundheit” question by tickling the roof of your mouth with the tip of your tongue — it stops the sneeze impulse.
Ambigrams are word renderings that can be read both right-side up and upside down (or, sometimes, in a mirror). They’re hard to do convincingly, though some designers are pretty good at it. The one above was actually generated by a computer: Word.Net’s Ambigram.Matic. It’s not as elegant as the others, but I’m surprised that a machine can do this at all.
“When you are 8 years old, nothing is any of your business.” — Lenny Bruce
- “I’d just as soon kiss a Wookiee.” = “Preferiria besar a un Wookiee.”
- “Artoo! You’re playing the wrong message!” = “¡Artu! ¡Pusiste el mensaje equivocado!”
- “I see you have constructed a new lightsaber.” = “Veo que has construido una nueva espada laser.”
Luke Skywalker is Lucas Trotacielos, and the Force is la Fuerza. Yeesh. I suppose some Spanish films must sound embarrassingly dorky in English, too.
The exact layout of Air Force One has always been classified, but How Stuff Works has figured it out and rather recklessly published it online.
When they retire the plane in 2010, I’m hoping they put it up on eBay. At 4,000 square feet, it’s twice the size of my house, and my house doesn’t have a pharmacy, an operating table, 85 telephones, 19 televisions, radar jammers, hand-crafted wooden furniture, and flares to confuse heat-seeking missiles.
Also, Air Force One holds 2,000 meals and feeds 100 people at a time, and it can carry 70 passengers halfway around the world without refueling. I think that would be handy on vacations. I can probably fit 10 people in my dining room if we set up an extra card table, but it doesn’t go anywhere.
The Language Museum has samples of more than 2,000 languages, rather amazingly compiled by one guy in Beijing. Showoff.
If stars on Hollywood Boulevard actually recognized incendiary talent, this is what mine would look like. Unfortunately, the actual system is a lot more sordid than people think. Oscar Levant said, “Behind the phony tinsel of Hollywood lies the real tinsel.”
It’s the Chamber of Commerce that doles out the stars, choosing 20-24 each year from among 200-300 applicants. That’s right, you have to apply. It’s all just a big marketing project. Even if they pick you, they charge a $15,000 fee; usually that’s paid by your studio, which uses the ceremony to promote a recent project.
Like the Grammys, the stars are no measure of real merit. Al Pacino, Francis Ford Coppola, Robert Redford, and Mel Gibson don’t have stars; Bob Barker, David Spade, Pee Wee Herman, and Big Bird do.
So save your money and design your own star like I did. You can blow the $15,000 on heroin and hookers.
FeralChildren.com has harrowing stories of almost 100 resilient children — kids raised by ostriches, raised in henhouses, running with jackals, or simply living alone in a forest.
Tarzan and Mowgli were hugely romanticized fictions. Real feral kids walk on all fours, their growth is retarded, they have keen senses, and they’re impervious to heat, cold, and rain. What an awful life. Linnaeus even classed them as a separate species.