World’s Strangest

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NASA Releases Free Historical Ringtones

Want your phone to say “Houston, we have a problem” when your cousin calls? Now you can! (Sort of.) NASA has released a collection of historical sounds as ringtones (both MP3 and the iPhone’s M4R format). And, for the record, it’s “Houston, we’ve had a problem” — not quite as catchy. [...]

Birth of a Shoe Company

The Twenty-Second Rule of Acquisition says that “A wise man can hear profit in the wind.” He sense opportunities and maneuvers around obstacles with ingenuity. That’s what fashion mogul Kenneth Cole did in 1982, when he was just getting started in the business. He needed to show his shoes at a New York City fair, [...]

Overcoming Selection Bias

During World War II, the Royal Air Force asked Abraham Wald, a statistician, to help decide where armor should be added to the UK’s bombers. The RAF gave Wald information about which parts of its planes were typically hit. Wald’s response was simple, brilliant, and surprising: armor the spots that hadn’t been hit by German [...]

Invest in Tennis with Wimbledon Bonds

Building and maintaining the tennis venue at Wimbledon is expensive, so starting in the 1920s, the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club sold bonds to investors. But buyers don’t get money; they get tickets. They can sell these tickets freely on an open market and thus earn a profit: The club has issued these since [...]

Hacked TV Remote Control Auto-Mutes Snooki

Matt Richardson has developed a deep loathing for certain celebrities and hates to hear them speak in any context. So he’s hacked his TV remote to automatically mute the volume whenever certain words appear in the closed captioning system: Richardson combined a couple of Arduino circuit boards with an infrared LED light — that little red [...]

Sweden Developing Invisible Tank

Swedish engineers are working on a tank that will be able to blend into the background — whatever that background may be. It’s covered with a skin that can change its appearance: The technology is based on sheets of hexagonal ‘pixels’ that are able to change temperature very quickly. On-board cameras collect images of the vehicle’s background [...]

Man Eludes Police Surveillance by Taking off the Prosthetic Leg to Which Officers Had Attached an Electronic Monitoring Device

We often post stupid criminal stories here at Neatorama. This isn’t one of them. No, this fellow was most cunning. Christopher Lowcock wrapped up his prosthetic leg in bandages. When private contractors hired by the police attached an electronic monitoring device to him, they wrapped it around the false leg. Then Lowcock took it off [...]

The Expression "Sweating Like a Pig" Has Nothing to Do with Pigs

Pigs don’t sweat much, so they wallow in the mud to cool off their bodies. So how did the English language expression “sweating like a pig” develop? It’s actually a reference to pig iron, which is form of iron smelting: When pig iron is originally created from iron ore, the smelter needs to heat the ore [...]

Filmmaker Sent Rejection Notice from Film Festival She Never Even Submitted Work to

It’s hard to work in the creative industries. You’ve got to have a thick skin because you’re going to get told ‘no’, a lot. You may even get rejected for things you’ve never asked, as Shawnee Barton discovered. Art San Diego rejected her non-existent submission to a film festival. Here’s a passage from her response: After [...]

English v3.31 Released

If you’ve been using heavily patched, older versions of the English language, you’ll be pleased to know that a completely updated and revised edition just entered beta testing. One reviewer at The Register thinks that it’s great: Just downloaded the beta version of English V3.31, and I have to say I am very excited about it. [...]