World’s Strangest

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Kryptos: The CIA Cipher Hiding in Plain Sight

Kryptos photo via Wikimedia Commons Kryptos is an encrypted sculpture installed at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia. It’s a set of huge copper plates with enciphered text carved into them — for example, one segment reads TWTQSJQSSEKZZWATJKLUDIAWINFBNYP, though it looks a lot nicer in context. Although the sculpture was installed in 1990, it took until 1999 [...]

Lectures for a New Year: Neil deGrasse Tyson on Pluto

Neil deGrasse Tyson is ridiculously distinguished: the man holds at least fourteen honorary doctorates, not to mention his real doctorate in astrophysics. He was also declared “Sexiest Astrophysicist Alive” by Time Magazine in 2000. But he’s most (in)famous for leading the charge to demote Pluto from its planet status to a “dwarf [...]

Dog Knows 1,022 Words

My beloved Basset Hound knew a lot of English words, as long as they start with “cookie.” Well, turns out that she’s a bit far behind this dog, a border collie in Spartanburg, South Carolina, named Chaser, who has the largest vocabulary of any known dog: [Psychologist John W. Pilley] bought Chaser as a puppy in [...]

The Late Movies: Shows You Should Be Watching

In tonight’s Late Movies, we take a look at a few educational, _flossy programs that deserve a spot in your TiVo Season Pass list. 1. NOVA scienceNOW (PBS) Hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson, an astrophysicist and head of the Hayden Planetarium in Manhattan, NOVA scienceNOW takes a news magazine approach to science. In this clip, Tyson talks [...]