World’s Strangest

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The 13-year-old Veteran

Calvin Graham was only 12 when he became a seaman in the United States Navy. He had already left home to escape an abusive stepfather, and the military was desperate for manpower right after the Pearl Harbor attack that drew the US into World War II. Graham was assigned to the USS South Dakota, which [...]

R.I.P. John Fairfax, A Man Who Rowed Across the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans When He Wasn’t Doing Even More Extraordinary Things

John Fairfax of Henderson, Nevada died at the age of 74. He was the most interesting man in the world: At 13, in thrall to Tarzan, he ran away from home to live in the jungle. He survived there as a trapper with the aid of local peasants, returning to town periodically to sell the jaguar [...]

Archive: September 2012

Fascinating Chemistry Photos Fantastic visuals at a point where science intersects art Awesome Vintage Calculators Highly desirable objects of technological genius “Flying Saucer” Soviet Architecture in Caucasus Truly “The House on the Borderland” Unintentional Faces in Objects, Part 2 There are some “things” in your house… Ghost Towns of the Pacific Northwest: Bordeaux, Washington Exploring Abandoned Places in the Land of Myst Up, Up and [...]

The 2012 Presidential Debate Drinking Game

The first presidential debate is tonight at 9PM Eastern (6PM Pacific). If you’ll be watching for fun, you might want to keep an eye out for cues to take another drink. Watch out if you’re playing for real, because the items on the list might make you totally unable to work tomorrow! 6. A Candidate Thanks [...]

Lumberjacks Sitting On Top of a Precariously Stacked Pile of Logs

Photo: MSCUA, University of Washington Libraries. Photo Coll 516 Back when old growth timber was plentiful and lives were cheap, this photograph of a 1932 logging crew in the Pacific Northwest showed how lumberjacks [...]

The Late Movies: Erupting Volcanoes

On this date 6 years ago, Alaska’s Fourpeaked Mountain erupted (at left), its first eruption in at least 10,000 years. Fourpeaked had been dormant for so long that many geologists believed it to be extinct. To mark the anniversary of Fourpeaked Mountain’s re-entry into the active volcano category, tonight we present a variety of videos [...]

Survivorman Returns

Image courtesy of Discovery Channel. I’m a big fan of Les Stroud, better known as Survivorman. When his survival show first appeared on Discovery seven years ago, it was a breath of fresh air — by shooting everything himself (he lugs all the gear with him; no crew), Stroud gave us a voice in the [...]

How Did the Chicken Cross the Ocean?

At some point in the last few thousand years, someone in India or Southeast Asia decided to try catching one of the wild fowl than ran through the jungles and roosted up in the trees. We don’t know exactly what that person was intending, but the bird probably wasn’t destined to be stuffed and roasted or [...]

How the Canadian Provinces and Territories Got Their Names

Here’s a little more Canadian history on this Canada Day. Alberta Named in honor of Princess Louise Caroline Alberta (1848-1939), the fourth daughter of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert and the wife of the Marquess of Lorne, Governor General of Canada from 1878 to 1883. Lake Louise, the village of Caroline, and Mount Alberta are also named after her. British Columbia The name refers to the Columbia District, the [...]

Headbuttin’ Bumphead Parrotfish

[YouTube Clip] Biologists think that the giant bumphead parrotfish use their big, bumpy head to break corals into tiny chunks, but Roldan Munoz of the National Marine Fisheries Service has found another reason: [...]