Diminutive Dynamo (Jul, 1946)

Diminutive Dynamo.

Only one-fourth the size of a match’s head and set in half of a small pearl, this dynamo speeds at 6,000 rotations a minute and generates electricity that can actually be measured by an electrometer. Made by M. Fernand Huguenin, Swiss watchmaker, the machine has 46 stainless steel parts, some of which can only be seen with a microscope, and weighs .06 gram.

Hobbyist Wears Thirty Watches (Jun, 1940)

Hobbyist Wears Thirty Watches
Champion watch-watcher of the world is Charles Brown, an English hobbyist who starts out in the morning with as many as thirty timepieces ticking on his person. In addition to conventional pocket and wrist watches, he wears tiny timepieces in the form of cuff links, rings, and Lapel buttons. For years, Brown has collected watches.

Papering the World to Make Crops Grow (Mar, 1924)

Papering the World to Make Crops Grow

STRIPS of paper, three feet wide and less than one thirty-second of an inch in thickness, have increased the production of pineapples in the Hawaiian Islands by more than forty per cent. Laid in a field of sun-grown Sumatra tobacco, in Florida, the same kind of paper increased production more than fifty per cent.

The Foster Portfolio (Sep, 1951)

In the early 90’s Showtime had a short-lived show called Kurt Vonnegut’s Monkey House, actually hosted by Vonnegut that showed productions of his short stories.

The Foster Portfolio

My business is handling other people’s money, and I have a great respect for money.

But how could I help a man like Herbert Foster, who had such an odd feeling about it?


I’M a salesman of good advice for rich people. I’m a contact man for an investment counseling firm. It’s a living, but not a whale of a one —or at least not now, when I’m just starting out. To qualify for the job, I hud to buy a Homburg, a navy-blue overcoat, a double-breasted banker’s-gray suit, black shoes, a regimental-stripe tie, half a dozen white shirts, half a dozen pairs of black socks and gray gloves.

Opportunity and You (May, 1929)

Opportunity and You

YOUNG men standing on the threshold of their careers often say, “Opportunity is dead. There aren’t the chances for making money that there once were.” No assumption could be more false. It is always true that the chances of a man’s making a huge fortune are highly problematical.

Signal Light for Babies’ Cribs (Sep, 1936)

Signal Light for Babies’ Cribs

IN the maternity ward in European hospitals a unique signal light system has been installed. Under each baby are two sheets of tinfoil separated by thin absorbent cloth. The tinfoil sheets are punched with a number of holes.

Man’s Hell on Earth! (Oct, 1937)

Man’s Hell on Earth!

Natural lakes of boiling water, spitting sulphuric flames, boiling mud, and incandescent lava, furnish the settings for a group of hideous demons which are worshipped even to this day.

By A. N. Mirzaoff

NOT long ago a group of French explorers came across a small group of islands off the southern tip of the Island of Kyushu or Kiushiu, Japan. Although there is nothing new about the existence of these islands, the average student knows little of their history.

Test Your Wits on These Mathematical Puzzles (Mar, 1932)

The Four Color Theorem was not proven until 1976 and required the use of a computer.

I’m pretty sure the thing about arabic numerals representing the number of angles in their characters is total B.S.

Test Your Wits on These Mathematical Puzzles


There’s nothing like a puzzle to test one’s mental alertness, and those presented here by Mr. Harris are certainly corkers. He also gives you some simple tricks which, though they only take a few minutes to learn, will convince your friends that you are a mathematical wizard of the first water. (P. S.— Answers are in the back of the book!)

Snow Storms Made to Order (Sep, 1936)

Snow Storms Made to Order

By Prof. S. L. Bastyamov
of the Artificial Climate Laboratory

THE heat of the Turkmenian sun blazes a few feet from biting Siberian frost. Balmy Caucasian weather is separated by a thin partition from a crisp Arctic day. All seasons of the year, summer and winter temperatures, calm weather and winds, humidity and drought are reproduced in the same place, in the same building—the Moscow Laboratory of Climate.

Mumbai New York Scranton

My sister Tamara has a new book out and you should all buy a copy.  Seriously, go buy one. I’ll wait…

If you’re thinking “didn’t his sister just come out with a movie a while back?“, that was my other sister Melinda. They’re twins and you should buy or watch her movie too. Yes, they make my brothers and I look lazy and unambitious, but that’s alright because we actually are lazy and unambitious.

On  a related note, I’m in NYC all week for work so I won’t have a chance to post any new stuff until next week. In the mean time, perhaps you’d like to read posts about Robots? Everybody loves robots.


Description from Amazon:

An extraordinarily moving memoir from an iconoclastic new talent—an artist, cook, and illustrator whose adventures at home and abroad reveal the importance of living life with your eyes wide open.

Best known for her witty illustrations, and as a cook beside her mischievous father in her family’s legendary Manhattan restaurant, in Mumbai New York Scranton, Tamara Shopsin offers a brilliantly inventive, spare, and elegant chronicle of a year in her life characterized by impermanence. In a refreshingly original voice alternating between tender and brazen, Shopsin recounts a trip to the Far East with her sidekick husband and the harrowing adventure that unfolds when she comes home. Entire worlds, deep relationships, and indelible experiences are portrayed in Shopsin’s deceptively simple and sparse language and drawings.

Blending humor, love, suspense—and featuring photographs by Jason Fulford—Mumbai New York Scranton inspires a kaleidoscope of emotions. Shopsin’s surprising and affecting tale will keep you on the edge of your seat.


“I’ve been trying to eat my way through Shopsin’s menu and realize it’s going to be a lifetime endeavor. Now Tamara, Kenny Shopsin’s daughter, has written a sprawling travel memoir that ranges all over the planet and which I finished the same day I started reading. Slinging simple declarative sentences that hide sounding depths, and speaking in a quiet voice that you realize too late is the hum of a jet engine, you’ll race to Mumbai and back before you have time to process the ride. But oh man will the memory linger.” (Patton Oswalt author of Zombie, Spaceship, Wasteland )

“Shopsin tells us this story in a terse, true manner. A beautifully illustrated memoir full of love, with no bullsh*t.” (Maira Kalman, author of And the Pursuit of Happiness and The Principles of Uncertainty )

“Sometimes a friend gives you a piece of writing and you are terrified to read it because what if it turns out your friend is a terrible writer? This was a particular concern with Tamara Shopsin, for not only is she a friend, but a brilliant designer, illustrator, cartoonist, and short order cook whose work in all these areas have long delighted and inspired me. So I am very relieved to report that MUMBAI NEW YORK SCRANTON is as virtuosic as her pancakes, which is to say: perfect, meaningful, and astonishing.” (John Hodgman, author of That is All )

“Tamara Shopsin writes like she illustrates—wry and succinct, with judiciously placed punch. She scatters Hansel and Gretel-style crumbs of fantastic, compelling memoir in woods of travelogue. Mumbai, New York, Scranton is muscular, efficient, understated, and surprising.” (Gabrielle Hamilton author of Blood, Bones and Butter )

“This (true) story is as dramatic as they come, complete with twin sister, eccentric father and the love of a good man. But because Shopsin is so fundamentally uninterested in being flashy, she gets our attention by not trying to get our attention. Mumbai New York Scranton gathers momentum secretly, accruing emotion entirely through food, art, furniture and the achingly mundane details that any survivor will recognize. Could not. Put. It down.” (Miranda July author of No One Belongs Here More Than You and It Chooses You )

“A charming, rewarding,and unusual narrative.” (Publishers Weekly )

Purchase on Amazon