World’s Strangest

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Carbide Shooting: A Dutch New Year’s Eve Tradition

(Video Link) In the Netherlands, New Year’s Eve means partying hard. And partying hard means carbidschieten–detonating calcium carbide in a milk churn: Basically, a small chunk of calcium carbide and a little bit of water is placed in a metal milk churn. The carbide decomposes into acetylene and a flame is held up to a small hole in [...]

A Comprehensive, Interactive Chart of Zeus’s Affairs

The Greek god Zeus was a busy fellow and a shameless adulterer. It would be hard for him, let alone us us, to keep track of his affairs. This chart, made by Viviana Ferro, Ilaria Pagin and Elisa Zamarian, attempts to visualize of all of his indiscretions as well as the children he sired from them. At the link, [...]

Vodka Saves Elephants’ Lives during Harsh Russian Winter

Oh, vodka! Is there anything you can’t do? Circus trainers claim two of their elephants were saved from the deadly Siberian cold by vodka. Emergency ministry spokesman Alexander Davydov said Friday that the elephants were in a trailer that caught fire Thursday outside the city of Novosibirsk, forcing trainers to take them out into the bitter cold [...]

Gadget Plugs into a Desk Lamp, Creates a Touchscreen Surface

Natan Linder, a doctoral student at MIT, and his colleagues developed the LuminAR. It’s a gadget that plugs into a light bulb socket and projects a computer interface onto any flat surface: inder’s system uses a camera, a projector, and software to recognize objects and project imagery onto or around them, and also to function as [...]

After Winning the Nobel Prize in Physics, Niels Bohr Was Given a Perpetual Supply of Beer Piped Directly into His House

(Video Link) The people of Denmark were justifiably proud when one of their own, Niels Bohr, won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1922. The famous Carlsberg brewery marked the occasion by giving him a house and piping fresh beer into it continuously, straight from the brewery. Inevitably, this inebriation led to ever greater discoveries by [...]

Pig Genome Project Could Lead to Tastier Bacon

The Swine Genome Sequencing Consortium has completed the task of sequencing the DNA of a pig and placing all of that data available online for free. Is it now possible to improve bacon through genetic engineering? The study’s authors think so: Tastier pork could certainly be an outcome of this research, too, Schook and Dekkers say. What [...]

Scientist: Humans Have Been Getting Stupider for Thousands of Years

Idiocracy wasn’t a movie, but a documentary. Gerald Crabtree, the leader of a genetics laboratory at Stanford University, argues that humans evolved to be hunter/gatherers–a high risk occupation that tended to keep the gene pool tidy. We have departed from that self-correcting lifestyle: Life as a hunter-gatherer was probably more intellectually demanding than widely supposed, he [...]

Bob Ross Feeding a Squirrel

(Video Link)  This video will blow out your serenity capacitors, so open the pressure valves before starting it. Here’s Bob Ross, the artist famous for his happy little clouds, feeding a squirrel with a bottle. -via Ace of Spades HQ

After the Resignation of the Police Chief, A Dog Is the Only Officer Left on the Force

Ben at Ace of Spades HQ writes, “This has the perfect sitcom plot written all over it.” He’s right. Vaughn, New Mexico is a little town of about 450 people. The Chief of Police had to resign after facing felony charges. That leaves Nikka the dog alone to protect the people of Vaughn against the [...]

Belgium-Sized Mass of Floating Volcanic Rock Spotted off New Zealand

What you’re looking at is a huge mass of pumice–volcanic rock that can float. Aircraft and naval vessels from New Zealand are studying the 10,000-square mile body which is likely the product of a recent underwater volcanic eruption: The stretch of golf-ball-size pumice rocks was first spotted this week by a New Zealand air force plane [...]