As it turns out, Americans did not invent the most American appliance known to man. The television was invented by a Russian engineer named Boris Rosing who, in 1907, used a cathode ray tube to receive images and figured out how to transmit light to a receiving screen.
In 1925, a Scottish scientist named John Logie Baird transmitted moving images to a cathode ray tube using 30 line (line not pixel) resolution. And then we go back to Russia, where Leon Theremin gave a huge kick to the TV’s quality and the first fully functional model of the most important part of any American living room.
Although I suppose that just adds to it's whimsy. Play-doh was originally developed as wall paper cleaner. However, it was soon noted that it was really bad at being wall paper cleaner and much better at being modeling clay.
When it first came out, the only color available was white. However, it only took a year for play-doh to paint itself with every color in the rainbow. Soon enough, kids were bouncing off of the walls for it!
We may laugh at the flightlessness of birds like ostriches and penguins nowadays but you did not want to mess with their oldest ancestor, Phosurhacida. Aka: The Terror Bird. It was the largest species of predators in South America between 62 million to 2 million years ago.
They were roughly 3 to 10 feet tall and munched on small mammals. They used their massive beaks to either pick up prey and slam them into the ground or inflict precision strikes on critical body parts. Archeologists say that this species left the world at about the same time we got here.
It’s an ominous but revealing title. In 1939, Wendell Johnson conducted a stuttering experiment on 22 orphaned children. The children were placed in control and experimental groups and half of the children were given positive reinforcement for their speech while the other half was belittled, ridiculed, and accused on constantly stuttering.
Many of the children who went into the experiment speaking normally and received negative reinforcement came out with speech problems that they suffered from their entire lives. The experiment and it's results were initially hidden to protect Johnson’s reputation. However, the University of Iowa publically apologized for the Monster study in 2001.
A group of journalists formed a secret society whose only purpose was to make references to an 'occult hand' whenever possible!
This is what happens when you put a bunch of drunk journalists together late at night. In 1965, Joseph Flanders, wrote regarding a farmer who was shot by his own family when he came back home late at night; “It was as if an occult hand had reached down from above and moved the players like pawns upon some giant chessboard.”
Amused by this purple prose, his colleagues decided to celebrate it by forming the Order of the Occult Hand while they were hanging out at a local bar. The name sounds pretty hardcore, but all they ever did was sneak the phrase “as if an occult hand had” into magazine articles. The phrase crept it's way into various publications. Some uses of it:
- "As if an occult hand had slipped over his shoulder to assist, the little plastic shelf slides back into the machine and begins to whirr."
- "It's as if an occult hand had reached out and intentionally destroyed your data."
- As if an occult hand moved her to action, she discovered the intercom worked both ways."