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Showing posts from October, 2018

The man who tricked P.T. Barnum

A rather amusing story about a fellow who successfully tricked P.T. Barnum out of $25 appeared in newspapers in October of 1861, and involves a man who sold Barnum a "cherry-colored" cat. Barnum soon learned, however, that cherries come in a variety of colors.

The Curious History of the Magic 8-Ball

With the possible exception of the Ouija board, the best-selling prognostication device in American history is the Magic 8-Ball. According to Mattel, over one million Magic 8-Balls are sold each year. I've owned one, and there's a good chance that you have too. However, while almost every man, woman and child is familiar with this beloved toy, few people are aware of its curious history.

Here are some truly fascinating facts about the Magic 8-Ball and its inventor, Albert Carter.

1. Carter was the son of a real-life fortune-teller

The inspiration behind Albert Carter's toy was a divination device used by his mother, Mary, who eked out a living as a professional clairvoyant in Cincinnati, Ohio, during the early 1900s. It was based on a tool used by psychics for "automatic writing"-- the supposedly supernatural phenomenon of jotting down words without conscious thought.

2. Carter's toy was originally known as the Syco-Seer

In 1945, Carter's invention hit toy…

Science confirms Earth's core is solid

For generations schoolchildren have been taught that the core of the Earth is liquid, while a smaller percentage of non-conformists adhere to the theory that the earth is hollow. Science has now conclusively proven that the earth is solid, confirming the theory first proposed by female Danish seismologist Inge Lehmann in 1936.

According to Daily Mail, Associate Professor Hrvoje Tkalčić and PhD Scholar Than-Son Phạm of Australia National University (ANU) arrived at this conclusion by studying shear waves, or 'J waves', which are produced by earthquakes and can only travel through solid objects. These waves cannot be observed directly, so the researchers had to devise a creative way to detect them.

They accomplished this feat though correlation wavefield method, a method which has been traditionally used to calculate the thickness of the ice-shelf in Antarctica. This correlation wavefield method also revealed another interest fact about the planet's core.

'We found the inn…

Jettatore: The Evil Eye of Casoli Paracrotti

At the turn of the last century, one of the roughest neighborhoods of New York was Five Points-- a bubbling cauldron of immigrant gangs, political corruption, overcrowded slums, filth and disease. One particularly rowdy area within Five Points was Mulberry Bend (or, as it was referred to be locals, "The Bend"). The Bend was a maze of tenement-lined streets and treacherous alleys with colorful names such as Bandit's Roost and Ragpicker's Row. In 1911, Mulberry Bend was demolished; Columbus Park now occupies the plot of real estate that was once known as the most dangerous and violent place in America.

During the late 19th century, however, the most feared man in Mulberry Bend was neither gang leader "Bill the Butcher" Poole nor his blood-thirsty Bowery Boys. Neither was it Irish mob boss John Morrissey or Tammany Hall thug Paudeen McLaughlin. No, the most feared denizen of Mulberry Bend was a diminutive Italian banana merchant by the name of Casoli Paracrott…