Accidental Inventions: Slinky

In 1943, Richard James invented one of the greatest toys ever. James, a naval engineer, was conducting an experiment with tension springs. During the experiment, one of the springs fell to the floor and began to “walk.” James took the spring home to his wife, Betty, and asked her if she thought it was something […]


Pseudoscience: Cryptozoology

Cryptozoology (from Greek, kryptos, “hidden” + zoology; literally, “study of hidden animals”) refers to the search for animals whose existence has not been proven. This includes looking for living examples of animals that are considered extinct, such as dinosaurs; animals whose existence lacks physical evidence but which appear in myths, legends, or are reported. The […]


Biology: Earwax is Genetically Determined

There are two distinct genetically determined types of earwax (cerumen). The wet type, which is dominant, and the dry type, which is recessive. Asians and Native Americans are more likely to have the dry type of earwax (gray and flaky), while white and black people are tend to have the wet type (light to dark […]


Origins: The Birth of Pac-Man

Pac-Man was developed primarily by a young Namco employee named Tōru Iwatani in 1979. On May 22, 1980,  the first Pac-Man machine was installed  in a movie theater in  Tokyo. The game was based on the concept of eating, and the original Japanese title was Pakkuman (パックマン), inspired by the Japanese slang phrase paku-paku taberu […]


First Printed Book: Gutenberg Bible

The Gutenberg Bible (also known as the 42-line Bible, the Mazarin Bible or the B42) was the first major book printed in the Western world with a movable type printing press invented by Johannes Gutenberg in Mainz, Germany between 1454 – 55.   It is believed that a total of 180 copies of the Bible […]

Faberge Egg - Peter The Great Egg- 1903

Fabergé Imperial Easter Eggs

The House of Fabergé made thousands of jeweled eggs  from 1885 through 1917. The majority of these were miniature ones that were popular gifts at Eastertide. The most famous eggs  were the larger Imperial Easter Eggs made for Alexander III and Nicholas II of Russia. Fabergé was given complete creative freedom in creating the eggs.  […]



Acronyms: LASER

  The word LASER is actually an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. A laser emits light through a process of optical amplification based on the stimulated emission of photons.    In 1917, Albert Einstein established the theoretic foundations for the laser and the maser in the paper  “On the Quantum Theory […]


Polydactyly: Extra Digits

Polydactyly (from Ancient Greek (polus) “many” and (daktulos) “finger”) is a condition in which a person (or animal) has more than five fingers per hand or five toes per foot.  The condition has an incidence of 1 in every 500 live births. Having an abnormal number of digits (6 or more) can occur on its […]


Seward’s Folly: The Purchase of Alaska

On March 30, 1867, Alaska was purchased from Russia by the United States for $7.2 million (about 2 cents/acre). Initiated by U.S. Secretary of State William H. Seward, the Alaskan purchase was ridiculed in Congress and in the press and was called “Seward’s folly,” “Seward’s icebox,” and President Andrew Johnson’s “polar bear garden.” The government […]