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Piranhas. Defiant to the end

How Piranha end in Alligator’s Mouth

crocodile eat Piranha Piranhas. Defiant to the end

Piranhas from Wikipedia:

Piranhas is a historic city and municipality in the western of the State of Alagoas, in the Northeast Region of Brazil. Located on the bank of the São Francisco River, just at the border with the State of Sergipe, Piranhas was founded in 1891 and originally named Floriano Peixoto (in honor of the Army General who was one of the founders of the Republic and later elected President). It was initially named Porto de Piranhas, because a fisherman had caught some piranhas (a carnivore predator fish) there. In the 30s, Piranhas was attacked several times by the cangaceiros, bands of marauders and bandits commanded by the infamous Lampião, who frequently hid from the police in the rocky outcrops near the city.

Lego TV Remote

Each of the keys has a simple id chip in (like rfid but w/o the rf and two contacts.
When you buy the remote you get a bag of keys and the base. You can reconfigure what the remote does when keys are pressed by somehow interfacing the remote with your computer (usb or bluetooth maybe).
Obviously all the guts are in the base including the battery pack and infra red sender.

Lego tv remote Lego TV Remote

The Diving Horses of Atlantic City

Atlantic City, New Jersey! The biggest show in the Garden State. Once, decades before Disneyland, it was the playground of America; the city of the original Monopoly board, because Charles B. Darrow, that game’s unemployed inventor, had spent so many happy summers there in his childhood (the board’s original shape was circular, interestingly enough).

The greatest attraction in Atlantic City was the Steel Pier, which featured a host of extraordinary side shows, and where stars of stage and screen regularly performed at the Marine Ballroom. But the most popular, and the most indelibly remembered, act on the Steel Pier was the Diving Horse. For children especially, the diving horses were for decades a mesmerizing and never-to-be-forgotten experience.

The Steel Pier was opened on June 18 1898, and was originally built by the Quakers, as a private resort. However, it was soon open to the public, as “the handsomest and most luxuriously appointed pier in the world”, and this was no idle boast. Later it was owned by the Hamid family, who maintained the Steel Pier’s high standards.

The venue’s most fondly remembered act began in the 1920s. Dr W. F. Carver, a noted sportsman, was returning home on horseback one night in 1924. The bridge he was crossing collapsed, and he and his horse plunged forty feet into a raging river. The horse executed a well-balanced dive, and both swam safely to shore. Dr Carver wondered later whether a horse could be trained to do this. Dogs could certainly be trained to dive…but horses?

One of the original riders, and certainly the most famous rider of all, was Sonora Webster Carver, Dr Carver’s daughter-in-law. Her husband Al Carver had been the original horseman, but Sonora made a female rider a traditional part of the thrilling show. Her sister Annette was also a rider of the diving horses in their forty, and sometimes sixty, foot plunge into a special tank. At first Dr Carver had thought that Sonora Webster, who had her heart set on riding the horses, was too small for the task, and he gave her a job as a stable hand. But she persisted, and was finally given the chance to fulfill her dream.

Tragedy struck Sonora Carver in 1931. After a bad dive she suffered from detached retinas and was blinded. Incredibly, she continued to take part in the show for another ten years. She published her memoirs in 1961, in a book entitled ‘A Girl and Five Brave Horses’, which inspired the film ‘Wild Hearts Can’t be Broken’, about Sonora Carver and the diving horses. She died only this year, in Pleasantville New Jersey, at the age of 99. She had been blind for 72 years.

 The Diving Horses of Atlantic City

Many people have written about the extraordinary experience of seeing the famous diving horse during a childhood holiday in Atlantic City. John B. Abbott writes:

‘Thinking back on that day, I remember the windburn I got on my forearms from the cool salty breeze off the Atlantic—a first for me. And to this day, I can’t go to the Jersey Shore without bringing home a box of fresh saltwater taffy.

‘But above all, I remember anxiously getting bleacher seats to see the Diving Horse. As we took our seats, the horse, with a girl named Arnette Webster (clad in a rubber wet suit) on its back, was about to jump from a platform roughly thirty feet high into a pool. I recall staring at the odd sight of a horse standing as calmly as you please on a platform above a pool just like the kind I swam in at my Aunt Anne and Uncle Leo’s house. To a recorded drum roll and cymbal crash, Webster urged the horse forward, and the two fell through space, to make the biggest splash I’d ever seen—even bigger than the cannonballs my uncle could make in his own pool. Wow! And then both horse and rider surfaced, though for the life of me, I can’t recall how they got out of the pool.’

(The diving tower, originally some sixty feet high, was later lowered to forty feet, and finally to thirty feet).

Another memory, from a very dear reader of ‘Petticoat Discipline Quarterly’, recalls a special summer in 1952, when she and her brother were staying with their uncle and aunt in Atlantic City:

‘The rest of the day was filled with exciting sideshow acts, such as Mr. Johnson’s Boxing Cats; Elsie the Cow and her son Beauregard, and Captain Kelly and his sea lions. Best of all was Dimah the Diving Horse, named after Steel Pier owner Mr. Hamid, but spelled backwards.

‘Dimah was a beautiful jet-black filly. Her rider, a pretty young woman, stood on top of a high diving platform waving to the crowd as the announcer called our attention to the small water tank.

“Ladies and Gentleman, Dimah the Wonder Horse is going to dive into this small tank of water. Her rider Miss Olive Gelnaw will guide Dimah during her sixty-foot drop in to the tank. Now we need you to be very quiet, it takes all of her concentration to get it right, or they will miss the tank and fall to their death in the ocean.”

‘The crowd grew silent. Dimah, standing at the bottom of the ramp, was released from her trainer and trotted up the long ramp to the top of the diving platform, and her awaiting rider. Miss Gelnaw, standing on a side railing, sprung effortlessly over to the filly’s back landing just behind the harness. She took hold of the leather strap cinched up around Dimah’s huge girth, before making the big jump.

‘We held our breath as the filly walked to the edge of the platform and looked out over the crowd. Just then a sea gull flew by catching her attention. She lifted her head and sniffed the air, curling her upper lip over her nose. It looked as if she were smiling at us. In a blink of an eye, she slid her two front legs down the ramp, and jumped off the platform. Down she came!

“Sp–lash!” Most of the water in the tank came rushing up in a huge wave, spilling over the sides of the tank, leaving it less than half full. The crowd went wild; Dimah and her rider did a perfect dive. They emerged from the tank and took a bow, the filly’s coat wet and shiny, gleamed in the sun as they led her back to her stall.

 The Diving Horses of Atlantic City

“Wow, I want to do that when I grow up!” I said to the gang dressed in old-fashioned bathing suits climbed up a ladder to the top of the diving platform and announced that they were going to do a dive better than Dimah. The fat man was going to play the part of Dimah, and the skinny fellow was going to be the rider. We all laughed and booed them, saying they couldn’t do it. The announcer gave them a count. On the count of three the fat man dove off the platform leaving the other man behind. “Hey dummy, you forgot me!” he hollered to the man below in the tank. The fat man climbed back up the ladder complaining all the way, telling the crowd, “And they call me the Jackass, why he can’t even count.”

 The Diving Horses of Atlantic City

And another reminiscence:

‘The High Diving Horses were always my favorite.  I must have seen at least six of them over the years.  They each had their own style of diving.  One would wait a good five minutes before jumping – he would hold his head up and watch the seagulls fly by.  Some dove with their front legs straight out, while others tucked up their legs as if they were going over a jump.  One horse would twist in the air and land on his side, making it dangerous for his rider.

‘The riders (all women) would suffer one or two broken bones a year.  Most of the injuries came from getting out of the pool of paddling hooves. They made it look easy, but it wasn’t.  Years ago a rider by the name of Sonora Carver (in the late 1920’s) went blind from a bad impact with the water.  The jump was sixty feet at that time, but was then lowered to forty.

‘Another horse, I think his name was Patches, drew quite an audience.  After making so many jumps he no longer waited for his rider.  He would charge up the ramp to the tower and take a running jump off the diving board, leaving the rider behind.  A couple of the girls tried to leap on him as he flew by, only to be left sailing through the air mount-less.   One day, he got up so much speed he almost overshot the pool.  Needless to say, they retired him.  One year they even had a high diving mule.’

The Diving Horses ceased in 1978, when the Steel Pier was bought by Resorts International, and was shut down. Thankfully, the last two diving horses were saved by an animal protection society. The Steel Pier itself had been through a good deal of drama: in 1962 a tidal wave washed part of it away, and in 1970 the famous Marine Ballroom was sadly destroyed by fire. Atlantic City had acquired a somewhat seedy and run-down reputation, but today there are plans to restore and reopen the pier. Hopefully they will be fulfilled.

But the diving horses will never come back. It was an act with significant dangers, and many riders, Sonora Carver in particular, suffered quite severe injuries. The horses seemed to enjoy it greatly, but the animal protection societies would never permit such an act again. It has vanished into the bitter-sweet mists of memory, but there are still many thousands of people who will carry with them all their lives the thrilling and spectacular memory of the Diving Horses of Atlantic City…


Phantom Bike

When I first saw this bike, I thought that it must be an optical illusion. Olli Erkkila designed this unusual bike for his graduation project. It’s rather amazing!
phantom bike Phantom Bike
phantom bike2 Phantom Bike

Collection of the most expensive and most worthless items in the world

A new blog, maybeyoushouldntbuythat.com, publishes pictures of ridiculously expensive products. Describing itself as “a collection of the most expensive and most worthless items in the world” it is proof that some people really do have more money than sense. Among the items on show is this Ginza Tanaka handbag, covered in platinum and diamond studs, retailing for $1.63 million

silver purse 1420371i Collection of the most expensive and most worthless items in the world

The DualTow watch by Christophe Claret retails for $300,000, but it only displays the time to the nearest five minutes. As the people behind the blog say: “So you’re paying for a, seemingly, needlessly complicated watch that doesn’t actually tell you the correct time”

expensive chrome Collection of the most expensive and most worthless items in the world

The iCarta+ Stereo Dock and toilet paper holder. Yours for $90

ipod toilet roll h Collection of the most expensive and most worthless items in the world

The Brigg umbrella, which comes fitted with a screw-in glass flask, retails for about $725. The people who run the blog say: “The umbrella says, ‘Man of taste’, while the flask says, ‘There’s a good chance I’ll pass out in a ditch somewhere tonight’. Two great looks married together in one convenient package”

umbrella Collection of the most expensive and most worthless items in the world

DEOS Group’s diamond earbuds retail at between $1,200 and $15,000 for a pair

headphones Collection of the most expensive and most worthless items in the world

Here’s the Leman Rose Gold Limited Edition Pen by Caran D’Ache, retailing at $15,800. Well, it is 18-carat gold and covered in up to 34 diamonds or stones

pen 1420373i Collection of the most expensive and most worthless items in the world

The Diesel DZ9044 Sideview watch is a snip at a mere $365. Your osteopath’s bill will be more than that once you’ve twisted your arm around a few times to check the time

watch 1420365i Collection of the most expensive and most worthless items in the world

Here’s a chocolate truffle for $240. Yes, for one truffle. That’s $2,600 per pound. But it’s a truffle with a black truffle inside, you see. Lovely.

chocolate 1420363i Collection of the most expensive and most worthless items in the world

Here’s the Apple iPhone 3G Kings Button, retailing for about $2.4 million. And now rendered obsolete by the Apple iPhone 3GS

iphone 1420377i Collection of the most expensive and most worthless items in the world

The $2,800 Pizza Royale 007, created by Chef Domenico Crolla, is topped with tomato pizza sauce, smoked salmon, venison medallions, cognac-marinated lobster and champagne-soaked caviar. Oh, and 24-carat gold leaf.

pizza 1420372i Collection of the most expensive and most worthless items in the world

And finally, there’s the Anita Bling-kini by Pistol Panties, which cost £2,000 (about $3,000). But then they are covered in more than 5,000 Swarovski crystals.

bikini 1420364i Collection of the most expensive and most worthless items in the world

10 Strange, and Often Wrong, Colored Foods and Drinks

I thought of this idea yesterday when everyone was talking about green beer. Sometimes, foods are just supposed to be one color. And when they’re not, it feels wrong.

I know that green beer is regular beer with tasteless food coloring added. And yet, when you drink it, your mind thinks something is off. Food colors matter.

So I put together this list of 11 weirdly-colored foods, strange food colors, and/or experiments in food coloring that were just flat-out wrong

  • Green beer. Alcohol shouldn’t color your tongue. If it does, you’re doing it wrong. That’s why I never do shots out of test tubes. Why put the shots that are all juice and coloring into the nerdiest scientific item in the entire bar? They don’t light up your flaming shots with a bunsen burner.
  • green beer 10 Strange, and Often Wrong, Colored Foods and DrinksPink fake bacon (or “fakon”). I don’t get why they do this on vegetarian products. It’s not bacon. It doesn’t taste like bacon. And, worst of all, in their attempts to make it resemble bacon, it’s hot pink with fake off-white marbling.
  • pink soy bacon 10 Strange, and Often Wrong, Colored Foods and DrinksPurple ketchup. At one point, Heinz decided that kids didn’t want red ketchup any more, they wanted colored ketchup. The stuff looks like, at best, mold.
  • purple ketchup 10 Strange, and Often Wrong, Colored Foods and DrinksBlue raspberry. I never understood why blue became the universal color of raspberry in candy. I get that cherry is red, but kids aren’t stupid. And they haven’t lost their vision yet… they can still visually discern between red and maroon or red and vermilion. “Blue raspberry” was such a weird decision someone made once upon a time that stuck.

blue raspberry gum 10 Strange, and Often Wrong, Colored Foods and Drinks

  • Crystal Pepsi. Frankly, this was all just an elaborate ruse to cram yet another reference to Crystal Pepsi onto this blog.
  • crystal pepsi 10 Strange, and Often Wrong, Colored Foods and DrinksGreen eggs. My name is Sam. For my entire life I have been tormented by this food. At least when people want to make a lame cultural reference to my name they go for “Sam I Am” and not “I Am Sam”. And then to round it out I could say “Am I Sam?”
  • green eggs1 10 Strange, and Often Wrong, Colored Foods and DrinksPink butter. Unacceptable. If butter’s pink, how can Americans continue to secretly cook everything in it and fatten up. The pink would leave evidence behind.
  • pink butter 10 Strange, and Often Wrong, Colored Foods and DrinksWhite mint chocolate chip. I remember when my mom bought some white mint chocolate chip ice cream. I thought it was weird. Then I ate some and it was effing delicious. Seriously. I think my mom and I would’ve killed a man for trying to take this away from us.I’m fairly sure that green is added to most cheaper mint chocolate chip ice creams just to distinguish it from regular chocolate chip.

    It’s like the green color in the Shamrock Shake. Does it really add a minty taste or is that in your head? (And, more importantly, did you just think to yourself, “Oh shit it’s March 18th McDonald’s is gonna stop selling Shamrock Shakes this week I gotta go buy one before I get McRibbed.”

  • white mint chocolate 10 Strange, and Often Wrong, Colored Foods and DrinksPurple mashed potatoes. I actually don’t care for mashed potatoes, so this doesn’t gross me out any more than regular white mashed potatoes.

purple mashed pottato 10 Strange, and Often Wrong, Colored Foods and Drinks

  • Black tomatoes. These, on the other hand, gross me out hardcore.

black tomatoes 10 Strange, and Often Wrong, Colored Foods and Drinks

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8 Overkill Punishments Dished out by Greek Gods

zeus greek mythology 150x150 8 Overkill Punishments Dished out by Greek GodsThe Greeks brought the world a number of awesome things.

The first Olympics, delicious Gyros, but most importantly The Greek Gods.

Today we’re going to jump into the Delorian and take a look at what might have happened if you somehow disappointed one of them.


Does the punishment fit the crime?  In many cases we’d like to say no, but we’ll let you be the judge.

actaeon 150x150 8 Overkill Punishments Dished out by Greek Gods

Actaeon – Actaeon was a hunter who spent his days chasing wild life with his hound dogs.  One afternoon he was hunting in the woods when he stumbled across Artemis who was bathing.  Like any heterosexual male, he took a moment to admire her cans.

His Punishment - Artemis didn’t like the fact that she was being stared at by a nobody, so she cursed him with forbidden speech.  Talking would result in a shape shift.  Basically he had to shut the f**k up for the rest of his life or he would turn into a deer.  Sadly, he couldn’t keep quiet long and he tried to call out to his hunting party.  Upon doing so, he was turned into a stag and ripped to pieces by his own dogs.  Pretty steep fine for accidentally stumbling across a set of t**s.

arachnerzd 150x150 8 Overkill Punishments Dished out by Greek Gods

Arachne – Archne was a weaver, and a damn good one.  Like many people who become the best at something, she slowly started to develop a monster ego.  She even went so far as to tell people that she could out weave Athena (the goddess of wisdom and war as well as the weaving arts).  Athena gets pi**ed, disguises herself, and challenges Archne to a ‘weave off’.  Arachne weaves up several portraits of the gods displaying infidelity (oops).  Although the tapestry was flawless, it sent Athena into a rage.

Her Punishment – Athena (now pi**ed) completely destroys Arachne’s work, and touches her forehead.  Doing so instilled the notion of guilt upon her.  This sent Arachne into a depression and eventually she hanged herself.  Now feeling bad that Arachne had off’d herself, Athena decides to bring  her back to life…as a fu**ing spider.


io 150x150 8 Overkill Punishments Dished out by Greek Gods

IO – Zeus liked to play the field.  One of the hunnies he liked to mess with was a slammin’ betty named IO.  One day they were getting it on, when Zeus’ jealous wife (Hera) rolls up on them.  Not wanting to get caught, Zeus quickly turned IO into a cow.  Hera wasn’t completely fooled though so she demanded the cow as a gift.

Her Punishment – Poor IO really didn’t do anything wrong.  Sure she was grabbing her ankles for Zeus, but what would’ve happened if she had said no? Exactly.  Eventually Zeus decides he wants her back so he gets Hermes to kill Argus (who was gaurding IO in her cow state).  The now very jealous (and bat s**t crazy) Hera just became more upset and had a gadfly chase down IO, stinging her in the ass, so she could never rest again.

sisyphus 150x150 8 Overkill Punishments Dished out by Greek GodsSisyphus – Zeus had taken the daughter of the river god Asopus for his sexual desires.

Sisyphus knew where she was, so he made a stupid move and told Asopus of her whereabouts.

His Punishment – Naturally this made Zeus furious, so he gave him a slap on the wrist.

By slap on the wrist I mean, being cursed to push a gigantic boulder up a hill, only to have it roll back down again – for eternity.

narkissos 150x150 8 Overkill Punishments Dished out by Greek GodsNarkissos – This guy was a regular lady killer.  By the time he was 15 years old, every girl in town wanted to be with him.  One day, a grl by the name of Echo stalked him into the woods.  When she finally showed herself he wasn’t the least bit interested and basically said “t**s or gtfo” (without the t**s part).  This devastated Echo.

His Punishment – Since Echo was a total crybaby, she spent the rest of her life doing so, until Nemesis heard her prayers.  Apparently Nemesis was tired of her belly aching as well so he decided to give Narkissos a taste of his own medicine.  Later, Narkissos saw his reflection in the water, fell love with it, realized that it was an image of himself, and died (knowing he couldn’t act upon his love).  His soul was sent to the darkest hell (the narcissus flower grew where his body once l**d).  Keep this story in mind next time you’re about to shun the girl with f***ed up teeth at the bar.

ixion11 150x150 8 Overkill Punishments Dished out by Greek GodsIxion – One evening Zeus invited Ixion over for dinner.  The not so bright Ixion started to lust after Hera.  Playing footsie with Zeus’ old lady was definitely frowned upon, so he was scolded and told to stop.  Being a generous host, Zeus invites Ixion to stay the night.  To test his loyality he formed a cloud like replica of his wife and sent her to Ixion’s room.  Ixion, without missing a beat, hit that s**t.


His Punishment – Zeus was done giving this guy warnings so fired a lightning bolt at him.  He wasn’t quite satisfied with just a lightning bolt though so he fastened him to burning wheel…for eternity.

tiresias iii 300x231 150x150 8 Overkill Punishments Dished out by Greek GodsTiresias – This guy once came across two snakes mating, so he decided to kill one of them (the female snake).  For some reason this turned him into a woman.  Years later he saw different set of snakes mating, so he killed the male this time, turning him back into a man.  Meanwhile, Zeus and his woman (Hera) were arguing about who gets the most pleasure out of sex, the man or the woman.  They called upon Tiresias to settle this (since he had been bent over quite a few times when he was in his female state).  Tiresias explained that men give 10 times more pleasure then they receive during sex.

His Punishment - Surprise, surprise – Hera is fu**ng fired up yet again.  Displeased with losing the argument, she decides to blind poor Tiresias.  Zeus was like “Damn dude I hate when she gets in these moods, I can’t get your eyes back but I will extend your life by 7 and also give you the gift of foresight.”  There really isn’t a moral here besides ‘never try to win an argument with a woman’.

prometh eagle 150x150 8 Overkill Punishments Dished out by Greek GodsPrometheus – It is said that without Prometheus, mankind would have never had fire.  He did this by putting some hot coal in a fennel-stalk that he took from the gods, then gave the contraption we call fire, back to the humans.

His Punishment - Zeus did not like this act of betrayal so he chained Prometheus to a rock.  That doesn’t seem to bad does it?  Oh I forgot to mention that a motherfu****g eagle swoops down every day to eat out his liver which regenerated at night.

Conclusion: Sure the gods were a bit harsh, and sometimes I’d go so far as to say they were being as**oles, but look what it accomplished.  People knew that if they messed up, they’d be eating a s**t sandwich (possibly for eternity).  Wouldn’t you feel a whole lot better if the douchebag who cut you off in the Ford Ranger got a Greek God smack down?  “Dear Zeus, some bro in a Ranger just cut me off, also his bumper sticker said ‘Hera sucks d**k’.”.

You can be gr

Unknown creature found by Russian soldiers

This creature was found by Russian soldiers on Sakhalin shoreline. Sakhalin area is situated near to Japan, it’s the most eastern part of Russia, almost 5000 miles to East from Moscow (Russia is huge). People don’t know who is it. According to the bones and teeth – it is not a fish. According to its skeleton – it’s not a crocodile or alligator. It has a skin with hair or fur. It has been said that it was taken by Russian special services for in-depth studies, and we are lucky that people who encountered it first made those photos before it was brought away.

VIA

Absurd Inventions Ever Patented

Obtaining a patent is a costly and time consuming process. Inventors must have unstoppable faith in their vision in order to realize their dream of acquiring a patent.
But sometimes these inventions come from a creative place so deep, they can be perceived by some as offbeat, unusual and possibly a bit eccentric. And that’s where we step in… America’s Goofiest Patents!

bulletproff bed 150x150 Absurd Inventions Ever Patented Bulletproof Bed

Do you need protection from bio-chemical terrorists attacks? How about natural disasters? Kidnappers and stalkers? Or would you just feel safer sleeping in a bulletproof bed? If you answered yes to any of the aforementioned questions, you need the oh-so-versatile Quantum Sleeper.

Not for the claustrophobic or light of check book, this $160,000 coffin-esque “saferoom” does not include the optional microwave, fridge or entertainment center.

pierced glasses 150x150 Absurd Inventions Ever Patented Pierced Glasses

Anyone who wears glasses knows that the earpiece that holds your glasses to your head can be annoying and on a bad day, cause headaches. The earpieces have to be tight enough to hold your glasses on and loose enough to be comfortable.

And, it can be tricky finding this happy medium. So our fearless inventor discovered a new way to hang eye glasses on your face, by using body piercing studs. That’s right… pierce your face, hang your glasses!
Finally, piercing gets practical!

hijacker injector 150x150 Absurd Inventions Ever Patented Hijacker Injector

Okay, we know we’re treading on sensitive ground here, but even methods to stop airplane hijacking can be totally absurd. This patent dates back to 1974 when there were kinder, gentler hijackers. We have to presume our nattily dressed felon either just handed the flight attendant his demand note or, after he told the pilot of his intentions, he was asked to return politely to his seat and buckle up. Now here comes the insight into genius; there is a hypodermic needle injector built into every seat on the plane!
According to the inventor, the “hypodermic injection apparatus is arranged for driving the needle of a hypodermic syringe through the seat cushion, into the passenger to instantly sedate or kill the passenger”. Ouch!

fish lush 150x150 Absurd Inventions Ever Patented Fish ‘n Flush!

Goldfish die and then what happens next? You flush them down the toilet! But that’s not what the Fish ‘n Flush is all about my friend, oh no.

The Fish ‘n Flush is a toilet aquarium kit that turns your toilet into a facsimile of the Great Barrier Reef, complete with colorful fish and bubbling treasure chests.

Finding Nemo has never been easier. Our concern is for the poor fish and the views they have to endure

hurricane house 150x150 Absurd Inventions Ever Patented Hurricane House

Thunderstorms, tornadoes and hurricanes, as we have recently witnessed, can devastate conventional homes. The shear force of Mother Nature can rip apart seemingly sturdy structures and the cost to build a hurricane-proof house has been prohibitively expensive. That is, until now. Our inventor looked into high winds until he was blew in the face (we couldn’t resist), and thus invented… the Hurricane House!
Hey, that looks like a jet airplane, you may be saying to yourself. Well, it is, because commercial airliners are designed to withstand winds in excess of 500 miles per hour. So our inventor ripped out this retired planes seats and filled it with suitable home furnishings. Then he mounted it on a rotating base that is securely embedded in the ground. Now when the winds whip up, the Hurricane house automatically “weathervanes”, rotating into the wind, as if it were flying at 30,000 feet, providing the smallest cross-sectional area to the destructive wind forces.

human car wash 150x150 Absurd Inventions Ever Patented Human Car Wash

People need bathing. Hospital patients need bathing too and to speed up this process, may we suggest the Human Car Wash? The HCW eliminates slipping and falling because the washees are strapped into a hanging harness and merely need to stand or dangle in a fixed position while the conveyor belt moves them from station to station. First the wetting station, then the soapy spray station, next the rinsing station and at the end, no towels are needed because there’s a blow drying station!
Developed in 1969 during the cold war, the inventor suggests the Human Car Wash can be built into a mobile trailer “to cope with the mass bathing requirements after an atomic bomb”.

imaginary friend 150x150 Absurd Inventions Ever Patented Imaginary Friend

The inventor says this invention is a mobile desk for your moto, designed to sit in your front seat, giving you have access to drawers and cubbyholes for your pens, papers, files and food. But then she had a bold idea… why not make this a security device too!
So she added an imaginary friend, an official looking inflatable village person that you can hang out with. Not only that, in case some desperados see that your friend is only half there and they are still after you, it’s time to reach for your fake phone! That’s right, it looks like a real phone and we’re hoping big time that the robbers think it’s real, but it’s really only useful for talking to your Imaginary Friend.
As an added bonus, Mr. Inflatable is also useful for car pool lanes and Desperate Housewives.

remote controlled horse 150x150 Absurd Inventions Ever Patented Remote Controlled Horse

Remote controls are running rampant in our lives! We remotely control our TV’s, our DVD’s and our CD’s. There are remote controlled ceiling fans, remote controlled curtains, and now you can even control your homes lights and temperature settings from anywhere in the world, via remote controls over the internet. But our inventor was way ahead of the curve. Way back in 1981, he envisioned something for the ultimate couch potato, he invented the Remote Controlled Horse! The inventor indicates in his patent statement that it can be time consuming and costly to search for and pay a hired rider to herd cattle or a jockey to race your horse. But with the Remote Controlled Horse, all that our non-rider needs to do is sit back in a comfy chair and use his joy stick to remotely control his trusty steed using a specialized servo saddle. Motorized mechanisms pull the horses reins, steering him in the right direction or pulling back, commanding Seabiscuit to a full stop.

Russian Anti-Coca-Cola Calendar

In Russia they started selling anti-Coca-Cola calendars. The reasons for this are not very clear. Here is it. It’s being made in Soviet stylistics.

The cover reads “Chemistry or Life?”

The 25 Most Important Questions in the History of the Universe

Hard questions that matter, like “can a pregnant woman drive in the carpool lane?” or “how can I win at that ultra-important-corporate-decision-making- process, rock-paper-scissor?” and of course, “is turkey a country or a bird first?”. Wait, is it *really* a natural bird? Never mind – don’t answer that.

The folks at mental_floss were friendly enough to let us feature their stuff – something that will become a regular feature here at Neatorama (so be kind to them and visit their brand new and very chic blog, ok?). The text is verbatim from the articles, although I did add links, pics, videos and probably a couple of typos.

Let’s go to the list, already:

1 The 25 Most Important Questions in the History of the Universe What Makes No. 2 Pencils So Darn Special?

Little. Yellow. Identical. The No. 2 is definitely No. 1 in the pencil market. It’s a staple in schools and workplaces everywhere, and the required writing utensil for Scantron® tests across the globe. But is it really that great of a pencil? You bet your bippy.

No. 2’s use medium weight graphite, which makes them the ideal pencils for general writing. 18th-century French pencil maker Nicolas-Jacques Conté created the number system based on a pencil’s hardness (the higher the number, the harder the graphite), and we’ve been using it ever since.

But let’s not forget the other numbers of pencils out there. No. 1’s are made with soft graphite and tend to smudge, and are often used to record bowling scores. No. 3’s and above indicate harder pencils that are most often used for drafting, when you need a sharp, strong point.

2 The 25 Most Important Questions in the History of the Universe Who’s That AOL Guy Who Eerily Knows When You’ve Got Mail?

Meet Elwood Edwards, the man behind the message. Approximately 63 million times a day, Edwards’ voice greets AOL customers to let them know “you’ve got mail.”

Edwards’ career as a disembodied cyber presence stretches back to 1989 when his wife overheard her boss at Quantum Computer Services discussing adding a voice to its online service, Q-Link. At the time, Elwood did voice-overs for radio and television, so his wife suggested him for the company’s new program. Not long after, Quantum changed its name to America Online and premiered AOL 1.0, with Elwood speaking four phrases: “Welcome,” “You’ve got mail,” “File’s done,” and “Goodbye.” Through AOL’s numerous upgrades, one thing has remained the same: Elwood Edwards.

Today, his voice is so well known that he’s created a website where fans can order their own custom phrases. The site also includes pictures of Edwards, just in case you’re looking to put a face with that friendly voice you love so much.

3 The 25 Most Important Questions in the History of the Universe Where Does Nougat Come From?

Like falafel and the number “0,” nougat is a product of Middle Eastern genius. Originally made from a mixture of honey, nuts, and spices, the basic recipe was transplanted to Greece where it lost the spices and gained the name “nugo.”

Later cultural exchanges brought the treat to France, where it became “nougat,” and the recipe switched from calling for ground walnuts to ground almonds. In 1650, the French made another change for the better, adding beaten egg whites and creating the fluffier, modern nougat texture. The first commercial nougat factory opened in Montelimar, France, in the late 18th century, and today, the area is renowned for its nougat, with about a dozen manufacturers producing the sugary treat.

As for its ugly American cousin – the nougat you’re probably familiar with from candy bars – it’s not “true nougat.” The imitation stuff is chewier, less almond-y, and contains enough artificial preservatives to make a French candy-maker swoon.

4 The 25 Most Important Questions in the History of the Universe Is There One Move That’s More Likely to Win a Game of Rock-Paper-Scissors?

To answer this question, we turned to the archives of the World Rock-Paper-Scissors Society (seriously!), where we found that RPS players rely on strategy, not probability, to win. From the playground to the annual International World RPS Tournament (really, people, we’re not kidding), outwitting your opponent is job No. 1 for serious competitors.

According to the Society, one way to guess what hand someone will throw out is to know how many rounds they’ve won so far. Players who are in the lead will often use scissors, because it’s believed to symbolize aggression, while paper is used for a more subtle attack. Rock is usually a last resort, when players feel their strategies are failing. There are also techniques you can use to mask your move, such as cloaking, in which players will pretend to throw rock and then stick out two fingers at the last second to make scissors. In addition, the true professionals (who do exist) will use sets of three moves, called “gambits,” to help them make their moves out of strategy, not reaction.

But that’s not all. The Society also keeps track of how common moves are, particularly as they relate to mentions of RPS in pop culture. For instance, after “The Simpsons” episode where Bart beats Lisa with rock and thinks to himself “Good old rock, nothing beats it,” the Society recorded a .3 percent upswing in the use of rock.

But if you’re gonna play, be prepared to pay; RPS can be a dangerous sport. In the late 1980’s, Kenyan Mustafa Nwenge lost a match and the use of a finger when an overzealous opponent “cut his paper” a little too hard and crushed Nwenge’s finger ligaments.

5 The 25 Most Important Questions in the History of the Universe Which Came First, the Can Opener or the Can?

While the mental_floss staff is still working round the clock to figure out that blasted chicken/egg question, this one we can definitely answer.

In 1810, a British merchant named Peter Durand patented the tin can, making it possible for sterilized food to be preserved more effectively than was possible with breakable containers. The can were especially useful for long ocean voyages, where glass bottles were prone to breakage, and soon the British Navy was dining on canned veggies and meat.

So far, so good. But what Durand (and everybody else for that matter) forgot to invent was a way to open the cans. For almost 50 years, getting into your pork ‘n’ beans required the use of a hammer and a chisel.

The first can opener was patented by American inventor Ezra Warner in 1858, but even that wasn’t particularly convenient. These early openers were stationed at the grocery store, and clerks did the honors. It wasn’t until 1870 that the first home can openers made an appearance.

6 The 25 Most Important Questions in the History of the Universe How Does a Word Become a Curse Word?

Our parents are totally going to ground us for talking about this, but if you must know, a “curse” was originally just a bad type of prayer. Thus, the first curse word was likely “damn,” as in asking God to damn someone to Hell, which was considered taboo because of the religious power it wielded.

Condemning people to an eternity of suffering isn’t something to let everyone just go around doing on a daily basis, so the government stepped in, leading to the first censorship laws. Among the first victims was William Shakespeare, whose works were considered quite racy for their time, and not just because he sent his fair share of characters to Hades. The Bard’s plays were littered with sexual innuendo, and eventually, these types of references became swear words as well.

Depending on what the sexual mores of the current generation were, formerly innocuous words could suddenly become unfit for polite company. The Victorians, for instance, instituted the practice of referring to the thigh meat on a chicken as “dark meat” because saying the word “leg” or “thigh” at dinner could be enough to give your hostess a case of the vapors.

And in the 17th century, the “c-word” that formerly referred to a certain barnyard fowl took on another, er, more inappropriate meaning, leading to the invention of words like “rooster” and “weathervane” to keep the newly dirty word from crossing genteel lips.

Sometimes these avoidance tactics went a little too far, though. Case in point: the 1952-53 season of “I Love Lucy,” during which, despite the star’s stomach being about the size of the Superdome, censors prevented the show’s writers from even once mentioning the word “pregnant.”

7 The 25 Most Important Questions in the History of the Universe Can a Pregnant Woman Drive in the Carpool Lane?

Expectant mothers, start your engines! In 1987, a pregnant California woman was ticketed for driving “by herself” in the carpool lane. Sure, the citation was only for $52, but she sued anyway, contending that her 5-month-old fetus constituted a second person.

Lo and behold, the jury agreed with her, despite the prosecution’s argument that women could then just stuff pillows up their dresses to drive “carpool” on California’s freeways.

But as it turns out, the California Highway Patrol took care of that concern, brushing off the case as a bunch of hooey. Verdict or not, officers said they would continue to ticket solo drivers, even if they claimed to be pregnant.


Why Do Battery Letters Skip from A to C? Was There Ever a B-Cell Battery?

Battery letter designations are based on the size of the battery: for common sizes, A is the smallest, and D is the largest. By the same logic, AA batteries are larger than AAA. Unfortunately for B batteries, it’s not the size that counts. You never see B batteries around because they aren’t very useful.

The size never caught on in products made for consumers, so stores didn’t carry them, and the cycle continued. They are sold, but only in Europe, where they’re used primarily to power bicycle lamps.

9 The 25 Most Important Questions in the History of the Universe What Does McDonald’s Have in Common with the CIA?

“Clowns wanted! We are looking for clowns to fit high profile, permanent positions. Must be wiling to relocate.”

If this ad seems a little peculiar, it’s because McDonald’s execs share an intense policy of employee secrecy with their less-delicious counterparts over at the Central Intelligence Agency. Clowns who portray the company mascot, Ronald McDonald, are strictly forbidden from disclosing their identities.

It’s also taboo for two (costumed) Ronalds to be in the same place at the same time. In fact, the only time they get together is at the biennial Ronald McDonald Convention, which, as you might imagine, is also very top-secret.

All of this helps keep up the image that Ronald, the second most recognizable figure worldwide after Santa, is a single, magical character. There are, of course, many Ronalds – an estimate 250 of the clowns worldwide, in fact. Their average income is about $40,000 a year, but the busiest clowns can bring in as much as $100,000. The Ronald McDonald who appears in the company’s television commercials earns a salary of more than $300,000 and must be booked a year in advance. We could tell you who he is, but then, of course, we’d have to kill you.

10 The 25 Most Important Questions in the History of the Universe Why Does Hawaii Have Interstate Highways?

While we’d like to believe Hawaii’s Interstate system exists for the sole purpose of annoying George Carlin, the name is actually a misnomer. Not all Interstates physically go from one state to another; the name merely implies that the roads receive federal funding.

The three Hawaii Interstates (H1, H2, and H3) became Interstates as part of The Dwight D. Eisenhower System of Interstate and National Defense Highways to protect the U.S. from a Soviet invasion by making it easier to get supplies from one military base to another.

11 The 25 Most Important Questions in the History of the Universe Why Do Most Snooze Buttons Only Give You Nine More Minutes of Sleep?

By the time the snooze feature was added in the 1950’s, the innards of alarm clocks had long been standardized.

This meant that the teeth on the snooze gear had to mesh with the existing gear configuration, leaving engineers with a single choice: They could set the snooze for either a little more than nine minutes, or a little more than 10 minutes.

Reports indicated that 10 minutes was too long, since it allowed people to fall back into a “deep” sleep, so clock makers chose the nine-minute gear, believing people would wake up easier and happier after a shorter snooze. We’d tend to disagree with that logic, but, then we must be in the lazy minority.

Although today’s digital clocks can be programmed to have a snooze of any length, most stick with nine minutes because that’s what consumers expect.

12 The 25 Most Important Questions in the History of the Universe Why Do We Call Them Grandfather Clocks?

Grandfather clocks are grandfather clocks for much the same reason M.C. Hammer pants are M.C. Hammer pants: It’s all about the pop music.

In 1875, American songwriter Henry Work checked in for a stay at the George Hotel in North Yorkshire, England. In the lobby was a large pendulum clock that had belonged to the inn’s pervious owners, both deceased. The clock was said to have stopped dead – to the minute – on the day the last surviving owner died.

Work thought this was a great story and went on to fictionalize it in a song called “My Grandfather’s Clock [wiki].” The lyrics centered around a clock that was “taller by half than the old man himself” and that “stopped short never to go again” when the grandfather died. It was, obviously, a runaway hit.

Work sold over a million copies in sheet music, and eventually, the term “grandfather clock” became attached to the style of clock that inspired the song.

Was Turkey a Bird or a Country First?

And the award goes to: Turkey-the-country! Turns out, turkey-the-bird is native to North America and acquired its name when the Spanish brought it from Mexico to Europe. When the bird made its debut in England, it was mistaken for a Guinea Hen, a common fowl regularly imported from Africa by Turks. Then the English, demonstrating that they are the real turkeys in this story, named the bird after its supposed importers.

14 The 25 Most Important Questions in the History of the Universe How Much Wood Would a Woodchuck Chuck if a Woodchuck Could Chuck Wood?

Probably none. Woodchucks aren’t particularly tree-oriented, and while they can climb to find food, they prefer being on the ground.

In fact, they got the name “woodchuck” from British trappers who couldn’t quite wrap their tongues around the Cree Indian name “wuchak.” More commonly (and accurately) known as groundhogs, these animals are closely related to squirrels, marmots, and prairie dogs, with which they share an affinity for burrowing.

And actually, a burrowing woodchuck can chuck dirt, in the form of tunnels that can reach five feet deep and as much as 35 feet in length. So, based on that number, New York State wildlife expert Richard Thomas calculated that if a woodchuck could chuck wood, he could chuck as much as 700 pounds of the stuff.

15 The 25 Most Important Questions in the History of the Universe We Know Nothing Better Has Come Along Since then, But Who Invented Sliced Bread Anyway?

It may get a lot of credit now, but at the time of its debut in 1928, sliced bread received less-than-rave reviews.

Baker and inventor Otto Frederick Rohwedder had spent 15 years perfecting his bread slicer (finally settling on one that wrapped the sliced bread to hold it together as opposed to the hat pins he’d tried earlier), but consumers weren’t quick to convert. People found the sliced bread strange and senseless. It wasn’t until the advent of Wonder Bread, and the collective realization that sliced bread worked better in the toaster, that Rohwedder’s invention really took off.

By World War II, the military was using sliced bread to serve peanut butter & jelly sandwiches as part of soldiers’ rations. Previously uncommon, the PB&J gained a loyal following among servicemen, who kept making the sandwich, sliced bread and all, after they came back to the home front.

16 The 25 Most Important Questions in the History of the Universe Why Is It Called “Blackmail?”

The first blackmailers were Scottish landlords who exploited farmers by making them pay rent in livestock or services if they couldn’t pay in cash. The goods they had to hand over were usually worth more than the rent owned, and the landlords didn’t make change.

Around the same time, local chieftains started going after the same farmers with the kind of scheme the mafia usually refers to as “selling insurance.” They made an offer the farmers couldn’t refuse: pay a fee for protection. If the farmers didn’t pay, then the chieftains would unfortunately be unable to prevent ruffians from destroying crops and sacking property.

The Scottish farmers called both nefarious deals “black” because they associated that color with evil, and because both payments were made in goods rather than silver coins (called “white money”). As for the “mail” part, it doesn’t refer to the postal system. That “mail” comes from the German word for “pouch.” The “mail” in blackmail is related to the Old Norse word for “payment” or “agreement.”

Neatorama’s note: The photo above is of Monty Python’s skit Blackmail [wiki], where “Michael Palin plays a smarmy television game show host who extorts money from his viewers by threatening to reveal embarrassing or illegal facts about them. One game is “Stop the film,” where a scandalous film is played until a phone call is received, and the amount of money needed increases the longer the subject waits.”

17 The 25 Most Important Questions in the History of the Universe Is It Possible to Own Property on the Moon?

That depends on what your definition of is, is. According to the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, countries can’t own lunar real state. However, the Treaty doesn’t say anything about the rights of individuals to claim land.

Enter Dennis Hope, a California entrepreneur / ventriloquist who’d exploited the loophole to its fullest. In 1980, Hope announced his ownership to the moon (and, incidentally, the rest of the solar system) and promptly started selling off plots through his company, Lunar Embassy.

Space-faring nations vehemently denied the legality of Hope’s business, pointing to the 1979 Moon Treaty, which forbids individual interstellar land investment. Finding yet another loophole, Hope countered by nothing that none of the space nations ever actually signed that treaty after the U.S. and Russia both refused.

But Moon Treaty or not, an individual can still only own land through the jurisdiction of his or her home country, and if nations can’t own it, then people can’t own land through them.

Tenuous as his argument is, Hope has still managed to inspire some serious investors. To date, the Lunar Embassy has made more than $1.6 million. If you’re interested, plots go for as little as $30, but don’t spend all your money on moon land: mental_floss has some contacts with beautiful oceanfront lots in Arizona and we’d love to get you in on the ground floor.

18 The 25 Most Important Questions in the History of the Universe Why Can’t You Tickle yourself?

Much to the dismay of wacky masochist everywhere, the human brain is wired against self-tickling. Because the brain controls movement, it knows what your hand is going to do before you do it. Thus it anticipates the exact force, location, and speed of the tickle and uses that information to desensitize you to your own roving hands.

So why do we have a tickle response anyway? Turns out, it’s a defense reaction meant to alert our cave-dwelling ancestors to creepy crawlies that didn’t know their place, and the uncontrollable laughing fit that goes along with it is actually a panic response.

Even if you know someone else is about to go for your rib cage, it’s hard to turn the response off because a) your brain can’t anticipate exactly how and where they’ll tickle you and b) knowing someone is about to tickle you is usually enough to keep those panic receptors open and ready to go.

19 The 25 Most Important Questions in the History of the Universe Human Meat Isn’t Appetizing, But is It Healthy?

You are what you eat. So it stands to reason that if you’re a cannibal, and you eat a diseased, dead guy, you’re going to become a diseased, dead guy.

But the cannibalistic Fore people of New Guinea found that out the hard way. For most of the 20th century, the Fore were plagued with a disease called Kuru [wiki], also known as the laughing death. Kuru, a relative of mad cow disease, paralyzes its victims and cause dementia by turning the brain into something resembling Swiss cheese – literally creating holes in the brain.

Fascinated by what he though was a genetic disorder, scientist Daniel Carleton Gajdusek [wiki] traveled to New Guinea in 1957 to study the Fore. While there, he discovered that women made up the vast majority of Kuru victims. He also noticed that women and children were the ones ceremonially eating the brains and intestines of dead relatives. Putting two and two together, Gajdusek deduced that the Fore were ingesting the prions, or misshapen proteins, that caused the disease.

Gajdusek received a Nobel Prize for his work, and today, cannibalism and Kuru are all but wiped out in New Guinea.

20 The 25 Most Important Questions in the History of the Universe Can You Actually Sense Weather with an Injured body Part?

There was a time when scientists would walk barefoot, through the snow, uphill both ways, just to ridicule you for believing that sensing weather with the body was anything but an old wives’ tale.

Today, many will still scoff at the idea, but maybe just in an email. In 1961, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School conducted a series of tests that proved changes in climate could affect your health, especially if you suffered from arthritis.

It works like this: When a storm is approaching, the barometric pressure of the air falls, which can cause an inflammation around a bone injury to swell and stretch, irritating the nerves around the joint and causing a lot of pain.

The Pennsylvania scientists tested their theory on 12 volunteers in a climate-controlled chamber, and found that those who had arthritis experienced more pain when the air pressure was lower, thus suggesting that they could sense an approaching storm.

21 The 25 Most Important Questions in the History of the Universe Why Won’t Pineapple and Jell-O® Be Friends?

If Jell-O® ads and 1950’s cookbooks are to be believed, you can mix almost anything with gelatin and have it come out tasty. Ham? Absolutely. Carrots? Sure thing. Tomato soup? M’m, m’m, good.

The only ingredient that seems to be taboo is one that actually sounds delicious: fresh pineapple. Unfortunately, the tropical treat works like kryptonite on Jell-O® because it contains an enzyme called bromelain, which prevents gelatin from forming into a solid.

But fret not, fruit salad mold fans: canned pineapple doesn’t contain bromelain. The canning process heats the pineapple to a temperature sufficient to break the enzyme down, making it oh-so Jell-O® friendly.

22 The 25 Most Important Questions in the History of the Universe What are Sea-Monkeys®, Anyway?

Ah, Sea-Monkeys®. You know ‘em; you love ‘em; you’re totally confused by them. Well, consider he monkey mystery solved. Turns out, they’re Artemia salinas, or brine shrimp.

In the 1960’s, inventor Harold von Braunhut [wiki] discovered that the eggs of these shrimp lie dormant in salt flats waiting for the right conditions before they spring to life, so he started experimenting with them for his toy product, Instant-Life. But later, he changed the name (and struck pop culture gold) after a colleague heard him call the creatures his “cute little sea monkeys.”

The shrimp became popular because of their ability to “come back to life” after being stored dry on a shelf, but hey weren’t so popular after children discovered that the shrimp only had a life span of about a month.

Over the years, however, Von Braunhut has managed to breed better Sea-Monkeys®. Today’s comic book ads now promise that they will live up to two years. Von Braunhut, who passed away in 2003, was also the man responsible for X-Ray Specs, and the late 1980s’ hermit crab craze.

23 The 25 Most Important Questions in the History of the Universe . Why are Grape-Nuts® Neither Grapes Nor Nuts?

Post Company founder Charles W. Post might have been good at creating popular cereals, but he wasn’t the best at naming them.

One of his first breakfast treats, Post Toasties, was originally known by the more, er, zealous name, Elijah’s Manna.

And then there’s the misleading Grape-Nuts®, which Charles named after a key ingredient in the cereal called maltose, which tasted like nuts and, at the time, was known as “grape sugar.” Hence, Grape-Nuts.

It may sound like false advertising, but it’s not. Post would likely be protected from such allegations by that precious little hyphen. The Federal Trade Commission might consider a cereal called Grape Nuts “deceitful,” but that hyphen makes the name “fanciful,” which excludes it from prosecution according to the 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act.

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