Talk about a bucket list: here are natural wonders—the dazzling glowworm caves in New Zealand, or a baobob tree in South Africa that's so large it has a pub inside where 15 people can drink comfortably. Architectural marvels, including the M.C. Escher-like stepwells in India. Mind-boggling events, like the Baby Jumping Festival in Spain, where men dressed as devils literally vault over rows of squirming infants. Not to mention the Great Stalacpipe Organ in Virginia, Turkmenistan's 40-year hole of fire called the Gates of Hell, a graveyard for decommissioned ships on the coast of Bangladesh, eccentric bone museums in Italy, or a weather-forecasting invention that was powered by leeches, still on display in Devon, England.
Created by Joshua Foer, Dylan Thuras and Ella Morton, ATLAS OBSCURA revels in the weird, the unexpected, the overlooked, the hidden and the mysterious. Every page expands our sense of how strange and marvelous the world really is. And with its compelling descriptions, hundreds of photographs, surprising charts, maps for every region of the world, it is a book to enter anywhere, and will be as appealing to the armchair traveler as the die-hard adventurer.
Anyone can be a tourist. ATLAS OBSCURA is for the explorer.
Do you want to uncover your partner’s secret desires and fantasies? Enhance your health, rev up your career, improve your mind? Develop a more intimate knowledge of your own personality . . . and a deeper understanding of those you love? Your character isn’t influenced just by your sun sign. It is shaped by the natural rhythms at work on the precise day you were born. The Book of Birthdays, written by acclaimed British astrologer Russell Grant, shows you how to use this exciting astrological breakthrough to achieve a more dynamic understanding of yourself, your mate, and your world. Are you a bright, energetic spring baby? A vividly colorful child of the fall? Were you born in the heat of summer or the waning light of winter? Unlike any other astrology book, The Book of Birthdays reveals how the season of your birth affects the huge collective of characteristics that makes you unique. Also learn:
• How the exact time of the day you were born sets you apart from others who share your sun sign
• How the changing cycles of nature will influence all the seasons of your life
• Insight into the quirks and tendencies that make you you!
With individualized tips for robust mind and body health and inspirational personality profiles for every day, The Book of Birthdays is a must for every astrology buff—and a happy celebration of every birth date of the year!
Challenging what most of us assume to be verifiable truths in areas like history, literature, science, nature, and more,The Book of General Ignorance is a witty “gotcha” compendium of how little we actually know about anything. It’ll have you scratching your head wondering why we even bother to go to school.
Think Magellan was the first man to circumnavigate the globe, baseball was invented in America, Henry VIII had six wives, Mount Everest is the tallest mountain? Wrong, wrong, wrong, and wrong again. You’ll be surprised at how much you don’t know! Check out THE BOOK OF GENERAL IGNORANCE for more fun entries and complete answers to the following:
How long can a chicken live without its head?
About two years.
What do chameleons do?
They don’t change color to match the background. Never have; never will. Complete myth. Utter fabrication. Total Lie. They change color as a result of different emotional states.
How many legs does a centipede have?
Not a hundred.
How many toes has a two-toed sloth?
It’s either six or eight.
Who was the first American president?
What were George Washington’s false teeth made from?
What was James Bond’s favorite drink?
Not the vodka martini.
From the Hardcover edition.
Kafka is one of 161 inspired—and inspiring—minds, among them, novelists, poets, playwrights, painters, philosophers, scientists, and mathematicians, who describe how they subtly maneuver the many (self-inflicted) obstacles and (self-imposed) daily rituals to get done the work they love to do, whether by waking early or staying up late; whether by self-medicating with doughnuts or bathing, drinking vast quantities of coffee, or taking long daily walks. Thomas Wolfe wrote standing up in the kitchen, the top of the refrigerator as his desk, dreamily fondling his “male configurations”. . . Jean-Paul Sartre chewed on Corydrane tablets (a mix of amphetamine and aspirin), ingesting ten times the recommended dose each day . . . Descartes liked to linger in bed, his mind wandering in sleep through woods, gardens, and enchanted palaces where he experienced “every pleasure imaginable.”
Here are: Anthony Trollope, who demanded of himself that each morning he write three thousand words (250 words every fifteen minutes for three hours) before going off to his job at the postal service, which he kept for thirty-three years during the writing of more than two dozen books . . . Karl Marx . . . Woody Allen . . . Agatha Christie . . . George Balanchine, who did most of his work while ironing . . . Leo Tolstoy . . . Charles Dickens . . . Pablo Picasso . . . George Gershwin, who, said his brother Ira, worked for twelve hours a day from late morning to midnight, composing at the piano in pajamas, bathrobe, and slippers . . .
Here also are the daily rituals of Charles Darwin, Andy Warhol, John Updike, Twyla Tharp, Benjamin Franklin, William Faulkner, Jane Austen, Anne Rice, and Igor Stravinsky (he was never able to compose unless he was sure no one could hear him and, when blocked, stood on his head to “clear the brain”).
NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST • NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FINALIST
In this landmark addition to the literature of totalitarianism, award-winning journalist Barbara Demick follows the lives of six North Korean citizens over fifteen years—a chaotic period that saw the death of Kim Il-sung, the rise to power of his son Kim Jong-il (the father of Kim Jong-un), and a devastating famine that killed one-fifth of the population.
Demick brings to life what it means to be living under the most repressive regime today—an Orwellian world that is by choice not connected to the Internet, where displays of affection are punished, informants are rewarded, and an offhand remark can send a person to the gulag for life. She takes us deep inside the country, beyond the reach of government censors, and through meticulous and sensitive reporting we see her subjects fall in love, raise families, nurture ambitions, and struggle for survival. One by one, we witness their profound, life-altering disillusionment with the government and their realization that, rather than providing them with lives of abundance, their country has betrayed them.
Praise for Nothing to Envy
“Provocative . . . offers extensive evidence of the author’s deep knowledge of this country while keeping its sights firmly on individual stories and human details.”—The New York Times
“Deeply moving . . . The personal stories are related with novelistic detail.”—The Wall Street Journal
“A tour de force of meticulous reporting.”—The New York Review of Books
“Excellent . . . humanizes a downtrodden, long-suffering people whose individual lives, hopes and dreams are so little known abroad.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“The narrow boundaries of our knowledge have expanded radically with the publication of Nothing to Envy. . . . Elegantly structured and written, [it] is a groundbreaking work of literary nonfiction.”—John Delury, Slate
“At times a page-turner, at others an intimate study in totalitarian psychology.”—The Philadelphia Inquirer
Perhaps no other paranormal situation captures our imagination more than a haunted house. The idea of sharing a home with the dead is unsettling for the current inhabitants, but according to professor Hans Holzer, it can be equally as upsetting to the ghost. In The House Is Haunted, Holzer explores more than eighty haunted houses—all over the United States and abroad—dissects their history, and speculates on the reasons the otherworldly inhabitants continue to stay in their earthly abodes.
When Hungarian professor Ernő Rubik invented the Rubik’s Cube (or, rather, his Cube) in 1974 out of wooden blocks, rubber bands, and paper clips, he didn’t even know if it could be solved, let alone that it would become the world’s most popular puzzle. Since its creation, the Cube has become many things to many people: one of the bestselling children’s toys of all time, a symbol of intellectual prowess, a frustrating puzzle with 43.2 quintillion possible permutations, and now a worldwide sporting phenomenon that is introducing the classic brainteaser to a new generation.
In Cracking the Cube, Ian Scheffler reveals that cubing isn’t just fun and games. Along with participating in speedcubing competitions—from the World Championship to local tournaments—and interviewing key figures from the Cube’s history, he journeys to Budapest to seek a meeting with the legendary and notoriously reclusive Rubik, who is still tinkering away with puzzles in his seventies.
Getting sucked into the competitive circuit himself, Scheffler becomes engrossed in solving Rubik’s Cube in under twenty seconds, the quasi-mystical barrier known as “sub-20,” which is to cubing what four minutes is to the mile: the difference between the best and everyone else. As Scheffler learns from the many gurus who cross his path, from pint-sized kids to engineering professors, it’s not just about memorizing algorithms or even solving all six sides—it’s about discovering how to solve yourself.
Join paranormal expert and storyteller extraordinaire Hans Holzer as he explores ghostly manifestations of every variety and delves into the true nature of “the other side.” In this groundbreaking book—featuring eye-opening photographs of ghostly apparitions and visitations—Holzer presents hundreds of case histories, tips on interpreting sounds and other signals from the beyond, and more.
From the #1 New York Times best-selling author of God Is Not Great, a provocative and entertaining guided tour of atheist and agnostic thought through the ages--with never-before-published pieces by Salman Rushdie, Ian McEwan, and Ayaan Hirsi Ali.Christopher Hitchens continues to make the case for a splendidly godless universe in this first-ever gathering of the influential voices--past and present--that have shaped his side of the current (and raging) God/no-god debate. With Hitchens as your erudite and witty guide, you'll be led through a wealth of philosophy, literature, and scientific inquiry, including generous portions of the words of Lucretius, Benedict de Spinoza, Charles Darwin, Karl Marx, Mark Twain, George Eliot, Bertrand Russell, Emma Goldman, H. L. Mencken, Albert Einstein, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, and many others well-known and lesser known. And they're all set in context and commented upon as only Christopher Hitchens--"political and literary journalist extraordinaire" (Los Angeles Times)--can. Atheist? Believer? Uncertain? No matter: The Portable Atheist will speak to you and engage you every step of the way.
In their groundbreakingly useless book, The Book of Useless Information, the members of the Useless Information Society proved that knowledge doesn't have to be useful to be entertaining. Now they present a new collection of their most fascinating, hilarious, and wholly trivial findings. The Ultimate Book of Useless Information includes such "did you knows" as:
- Peanuts are one of the ingredients in dynamite
- The average person spends two weeks of their life kissing
- And giraffes have no vocal cords
Okay, so maybe you know all the stuff you're supposed to know--that there are teenier things than atoms, that Remembrance of Things Past has something to do with a perfumed cookie, that the Monroe Doctrine means we get to take over small South American countries when we feel like it. But really, is this kind of knowledge going to make you the hit of the cocktail party, or the loser spending forty-five minutes examining the host's bookshelves?
Wouldn't you rather learn things like how the invention of the bicycle affected the evolution of underwear? Or that the 1949 Nobel Prize for Medicine was awarded to a doctor who performed lobotomies with a household ice pick? Or how Catherine the Great really died? Or that heroin was sold over the counter not too long ago?
For the truly well-rounded "intellectual," nothing fascinates so much as the subversive, the contrarian, the suppressed, and the bizarre. Richard Zacks, auto-didact extraordinaire, has unloosed his admittedly strange mind and astonishing research abilities upon the entire spectrum of human knowledge, ferreting out endlessly fascinating facts, stories, photos, and images guaranteed to make you laugh, gasp in wonder, and occasionally shudder at the depths of human depravity. The result of his labors is this fantastically illustrated quasi-encyclopedia that provides alternative takes on art, business, crime, science, medicine, sex (lots of that), and many other facets of human experience.
Immensely entertaining, and arguably enlightening, An Underground Education is the only book that explains the birth of motion pictures using photos of naked baseball players.
Richard Zacks is the author of History Laid Bare: Love, Sex and Perversity from the Ancient Etruscans to Warren G. Harding, which was excerpted in classy magazines like Harper's and earned the attention of the even classier New York Times, which noted that "Zacks specializes in the raunchy and perverse." The Georgia State Legislature voted on whether to ban the book from public libraries. He has studied Arabic, Greek, Latin, French, Italian, and Hebrew, and received the Phillips Classical Greek Award at the University of Michigan. He has also told his publisher that he made a living in Cairo cheating royalty from a certain Arab country at games of chance, although the claim remains unverified. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, The Atlantic Monthly, Time, Life, Sports Illustrated, The Village Voice, TV Guide, and similarly diverse publications. Zacks is married and busy warping the minds of his two children, Georgia and Ziegfield. He resides in New York City, and can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
From the Hardcover edition.
Advice on writing and on life from an acclaimed bestselling author:
"Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he'd had three months to write. It was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother's shoulder, and said, 'Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.'"
Everything Is Under Control covers the range of Wilson's kaleidoscopic knowledge, from John Adams to the Voronezh (former Soviet Union) UFO sighting, the Campus Crusade for Cthulhu to the Mothman prophecies, and everything in between. What do the Freemasons, the Kennedys, and Princess Diana have in common? All are at the center of gigantic conspiracy theories with incredibly complex and endlessly multiplying twists, turns, highways and byways. Arranged by alphabetical entries which include cross-references to other entries in the book and also provide addresses to related sites on the Web, this book is truly interactive--you can dip in, read through, or follow one of the URLs from an interesting entry onto the internet.
What some famous people say about Robert Anton Wilson:"A dazzling barker hawking tickets to the most thrilling tilt-a-whirls and daring loop-o-planes on the midway to higher consciousness."
"Wilson managed to reverse every mental polarity in me, as if I had been pulled through infinity."
--Philip K. Dick
"One of the most important scientific philosophers of his century--scholarly, witty, scientific, hip and hopeful."
--Dr. Timothy Leary
The Darwin Awards shares the stories of those human beings who improve the gene pool by removing themselves from it in a sublimely idiotic fashion.
Marvel at the thief who tries to steal live electrical wires. Gape at the lawnchair jockey who floats to a height of 16,000 feet suspended by helium balloons. And learn from the man who peers into a gasoline can using a cigarette lighter. All contend for Darwin Awards when their choices culminate in magnificent misadventures.
These tales of trial and awe-inspiring error-verified by the author and endorsed by website readers-illustrate the ongoing saga of survival of the fittest in all its selective glory. The Darwin Awards vividly portrays the finest examples of evolution in action, and shows us just how uncommon common sense can be.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
• The ancient Egyptians applied electric eels to cure gout.
• Medieval dentists burned candles in patients’ mouths to kill invisible worms gnawing at their teeth.
• Renaissance physicians timed surgical procedures according to the position of the stars, and instructed epileptics to collect fresh blood from the newly beheaded.
• Dr. Walter Freeman, the world’s foremost practitioner of lobotomies, practiced his craft while traveling on family camping trips, cramming the back of the station wagon with kids—and surgical tools—then hammering ice picks into the eye sockets of his patients in between hikes in the woods.
Strange Medicine is an illuminating panorama of medical history as you’ve never seen it before.
HUMANS ARE THE ONLY ANIMALS THAT ENJOY SPICY FOOD (there’s a reason no one sells Tabasco-flavored cat food).
NAPPING CAN SAVE YOU FROM A HEART ATTACK (assuming you are not operating heavy machinery at the time).
PSYCHOLOGISTS CAN ASSESS YOUR PERSONALITY FROM HOW YOU DIP FRIES IN KETCHUP (nice fries, sociopath).
SURFING THE INTERNET ACTUALLY MAKES YOU SMARTER (but not as smart as reading this book will).
Now the next time someone tells you smugly that Pluto isn’t a planet, you can counter with any one of these hundreds of weird facts and remain king or queen of the cocktail (or kegger) chatter.
For those who’ve despaired of ever learning a foreign language, here, finally, is a book that will make the words stick. At thirty years old, Gabriel Wyner speaks six languages fluently. He didn’t learn them in school -- who does? -- rather, he learned them in the past few years, working on his own and practicing on the subway, using simple techniques and free online resources. In Fluent Forever Wyner reveals what he’s discovered.
The greatest challenge to learning a foreign language is the challenge of memory; there are just too many words and too many rules. For every new word we learn, we seem to forget two old ones, and as a result, fluency can seem out of reach. Fluent Forever tackles this challenge head-on. With empathy for the language-challenged and abundant humor, Wyner deconstructs the learning process, revealing how to build a foreign language in your mind from the ground up.
Starting with pronunciation, you’ll learn how to rewire your ears and turn foreign sounds into familiar sounds. You'll retrain your tongue to produce those sounds accurately, using tricks from opera singers and actors. Next, you'll begin to tackle words, and connect sounds and spellings to imagery, rather than translations, which will enable you to think in a foreign language. And with the help of sophisticated spaced-repetition techniques, you'll be able to memorize hundreds of words a month in minutes every day. Soon, you'll gain the ability to learn grammar and more difficult abstract words--without the tedious drills and exercises of language classes and grammar books.
This is brain hacking at its most exciting, taking what we know about neuroscience and linguistics and using it to create the most efficient and enjoyable way to learn a foreign language in the spare minutes of your day.
The Big, Bad Book of Botany introduces a world of wild, wonderful, and weird plants. Some are so rare, they were once more valuable than gold. Some found in ancient mythology hold magical abilities, including the power to turn a person to stone. Others have been used by assassins to kill kings, and sorcerers to revive the dead. Here, too, is vegetation with astonishing properties to cure and heal, many of which have long since been lost with the advent of modern medicine.
Organized alphabetically, The Big, Bad Book of Botany combines the latest in biological information with bizarre facts about the plant kingdom’s oddest members, including a species that is more poisonous than a cobra and a prehistoric plant that actually “walked.” Largo takes you through the history of vegetables and fruits and their astonishing agricultural evolution. Throughout, he reveals astonishing facts, from where the world’s first tree grew to whether plants are telepathic.
Featuring more than 150 photographs and illustrations, The Big, Bad Book of Botany is a fascinating, fun A-to-Z encyclopedia for all ages that will transform the way we look at the natural world.
In this groundbreaking book, Hans Holzer tracks down the most famous and infamous ghosts who lurk among national monuments, historical houses and mansions, and even museums. Holzer searches for true encounters with eminent politicians such as Alexander Hamilton and Woodrow Wilson; literary ghosts such as Robert Louis Stevenson; and Hollywood ghosts, including Jean Harlow. Each new encounter is more fascinating than the last, as Holzer investigates notable souls who have moved to the world beyond.
Does the sensation of Tingrith(1) make you yelp? Do you bend sympathetically when you see someone Ahenny(2)? Can you deal with a Naugatuck(3) without causing a Toronto(4)? Will you suffer from Kettering(5) this summer?
Probably. You are almost certainly familiar with all these experiences but just didn’t know that there are words for them. Well, in fact, there aren’t—or rather there weren’t, until Douglas Adams and John Lloyd decided to plug these egregious linguistic lacunae(6). They quickly realized that just as there are an awful lot of experiences that no one has a name for, so there are an awful lot of names for places you will never need to go to. What a waste. As responsible citizens of a small and crowded world, we must all learn the virtues of recycling(7) and put old, worn-out but still serviceable names to exciting, vibrant, new uses. This is the book that does that for you: The Deeper Meaning of Liff—a whole new solution to the problem of Great Wakering(8)
1—The feeling of aluminum foil against your fillings.
2—The way people stand when examining other people’s bookshelves.
3—A plastic packet containing shampoo, mustard, etc., which is impossible to open except by biting off
4—Generic term for anything that comes out in a gush, despite all your efforts to let it out carefully, e.g., flour into a white sauce, ketchup onto fish, a dog into the yard, and another naughty meaning that we can’t put on the cover.
5—The marks left on your bottom and thighs after you’ve been sitting sunbathing in a wicker chair.
6—God knows what this means
7—For instance, some of this book was first published in Britain twenty-six years ago.
8—Look it up yourself.
Do you want to know what a cockroach’s favorite food is, or how long it would take to drive to the sun?
Amaze your friends and family by telling them that a baby giraffe is six feet long when it is born, or that tigers have striped skin!
From the creators of The Book of Useless Information, this is an amazing collection of the wildest, oddest, funniest facts about history, science, food, animals, and more!
Phantom panthers haunting eastern North America
Bay State ghosts and spirits
Mad gassers in Illinois
Champ, the famous Lake Champlain monster
The Minnesota Iceman
The Missouri Momo and the infamous Eastern Bigfoot
And many more!
Coleman's witty insight and astonishing experiences will captivate followers of Charles Fort and just-plain-curious readers alike. For, as Coleman frankly reveals, these strange creatures and unimaginable wonders may lie just beyond your own backyard....
…a mortgage is literally a death pledge? …why guns have girls’ names? …why salt is related to soldier?
You’re about to find out…
The Etymologicon (e-t?-‘mä-lä-ji-kän) is:
*Witty (wi-te\): Full of clever humor
*Erudite (er-?-dit): Showing knowledge
*Ribald (ri-b?ld): Crude, offensive
The Etymologicon is a completely unauthorized guide to the strange underpinnings of the English language. It explains: how you get from “gruntled” to “disgruntled”; why you are absolutely right to believe that your meager salary barely covers “money for salt”; how the biggest chain of coffee shops in the world (hint: Seattle) connects to whaling in Nantucket; and what precisely the Rolling Stones have to do with gardening.
How much better would your life be if you had an army of Nobel Laureates, MacArthur ‘geniuses’ and National Medal of Science winners whispering tips in your ear about your body language, or how to resist that impulse purchase you’ll regret tomorrow, or when to sell your car—or even helping you trick your spouse into doing the dishes?
With this mighty little tome, you can have the next best thing--because Brain Trust is packed with bite-sized scientific wisdom on our everyday challenges, hand-delivered to you direct from the galaxy’s biggest brains. Based entirely on interviews with an incredible lineup of luminaries from the fields of neuroscience, economics, anthropology, music, mathematics, and more, Brain Trust is full of cutting-edge science that’ll help you see the real world better—and smarter.
--what advanced math can teach you about getting all your chores done today
--how creating a ‘future self’ can help you shop smarter at the grocery store
--what prairie voles can teach us about love
--how the science of happiness can help you trick lawyers into doing charity work
--the components of gullibility, and how they can help you scam-proof yourself
--the secrets to building your very own army of cyborg beetles
--how memetic information can help you exploit altruism for good…or evil
--why eating for eight hours can help you lose weight
--the behavioral economics behind selling your junk for big bucks on eBay
--how to get more plasure for less price
…And much, much more.
Anyone can be a success, but it takes real and original genius to foul up big time. These are the all-time greats, Gods in the field of failure, surreal artists, who spurn mere drab success ('I'm a winner, Lord Sugar') to explore the vast, magical, life-enhancing possibilities of getting it wrong. Any of us could make a mistake, but these great souls can turn the simplest everyday task into a scene of jaw-dropping wonder. These are the immortals.
Stephen Pile, President of the Not Terribly Good Club of Great Britain and author of the number-one best-seller The Book of Heroic Failures, takes us on an all-new and mind-bendingly hilarious tour to celebrate the most spectacular and absurd failures of the last twenty-five years.
Failure is everywhere. There are 235 stories in total spread from the Outer Hebrides to America, Ireland, Australia, Europe and Africa. The Syrian entry, for example, holds the world all-comers record as the driver who got most lost under satnav direction (5000 miles).
From the most driving test failures (959), the most pointless election (in Dakota, in which not even the mayor voted), the worst robbery (when two different sets of bank robbers struck simultaneously) and the worst mugger (who left his victim $250 better off), to the holidaying rugby team of fifty-somethings from Dorchester who, due to a mis-translation, ended up playing the top team from Romania live on state TV, this is the ultimate book to make you feel better about yourself and the world around you.
The Ultimate Book of Heroic Failures fails miserably at failing to be a runaway success amongst funny books.
—The Wall Street Journal
All made in America: The skyscraper and subway car. The telephone and telegraph. The safety elevator and safety pin. Plus the microprocessor, amusement park, MRI, supermarket, Pennsylvania rifle, and Tennessee Valley Authority. Not to mention the city of Chicago or jazz or that magnificent Golden Gate Bridge.
What is it about America that makes it a nation of inventors, tinkerers, researchers, and adventurers—obsessive pursuers of the never-before-created? And, equally, what is it that makes America such a fertile place to explore, discover, and launch the next big thing?
In America the Ingenious, bestselling author Kevin Baker brings his gift of storytelling and eye for historical detail to the grand, and grandly entertaining, tale of American innovation. Here are the Edisons and Bells and Carnegies, and the stories of how they followed their passions and changed our world. And also the less celebrated, like Jacob Youphes and Loeb Strauss, two Jewish immigrants from Germany who transformed the way at least half the world now dresses (hint: Levi Strauss). And Leo Fender, who couldn’t play a note of music, midwifing rock ’n’ roll through his solid-body electric guitar and amplifier. And the many women who weren’t legally recognized as inventors, but who created things to make their lives easier that we use every day—like Josephine Cochran, inventor of the dishwasher, or Marion O’Brien Donovan, who invented a waterproof diaper cover. Or a guy with the improbable name of Philo Farnsworth, who, with his invention of television, upended communication as significantly as Gutenberg did.
At a time when America struggles with different visions of what it wants to be, America the Ingenious shows the extraordinary power of what works: how immigration leads to innovation, what a strong government and strong public education mean to a climate of positive practical change, and why taking the long view instead of looking for short-term gain pays off many times over, not only for investors and inventors, but for the rest of us whose lives are made better by the new.
America and its nation of immigrants have excelled at taking ideas from anywhere and transforming them into the startling, often unexpectedly beautiful creations that have shaped our world. This is that story.
Alpha and Omega is a dispatch from the front lines of the cosmological revolution that is being waged at observatories and laboratories around the world-in Europe, in America, and even in Antarctica--where scientists are actually peering into both the cradle of the universe and its grave. Scientists--including galaxy hunters and microwave eavesdroppers, gravity theorists and atom smashers, all of whom are on the trail of dark matter, dark energy, and the growing inhabitants of the particle zoo-now know how the universe will end and are on the brink of understanding its beginning. Their findings will be among the greatest triumphs of science, even towering above the deciphering of the human genome.
This is the book you need to help understand the frequent front-page headlines heralding dramatic cosmological discoveries. It makes cutting-edge science both crystal clear and wonderfully exciting.
As the Xerox Corporation's official webmaster, Bill McLain often fielded as many as 1,000 questions a day on just about everything under the sun -- and beyond. The wildest, funniest, and even most astute are collected here (along with their answers) in McLain's second volume that's as fascinating and enlightening as his first, Do Fish Drink Water? A "veritable Internet legend known for having all the answers" (San Francisco Chronicle), McLain explains what keeps squirrels from toppling off telephone wires; why the skin on your fingers and toes shrivels up in the water; how seedless watermelons are created; and more. Whether it's animal, vegetable, mineral, or something completely different, the answer is bound to be as interesting as the question itself, and certain to satisfy the trivia hound in everyone.
A treasure trove filled with fascinating anecdotes about the tiny ripples that created big waves in history, Napoleon’s Hemorrhoids is much more than just a trivial fact book; it is an astonishing historical-fate book revealing how our most famous incidents, best-loved works of art, and most accepted historical outcomes are simply twists of fate.
Creative, alternative, and esoteric philosophical concepts of existence.
How did the universe really begin? Can we fluidly access our subconscious and communicate with each other? Did the Egyptians build pyramids differently than previously conceived?
These questions, along with many more, are addressed in Mysteries of the Universe; J.C. Vintner's second volume of the Ancient Earth Mysteries series. Volume II: Philosophy covers selected topics examining ancient cultures and their philosophical influence on the world while touching upon mankind's position in the universe. Explore new avenues of thinking through the mind's eye, and find out how we can change our future for the better. Mysteries of the Universe provides food for new thought as compelling inspiration for understanding our quantum purpose in the cosmos.
Slaughterhouse-Five, an American classic, is one of the world’s great antiwar books. Centering on the infamous firebombing of Dresden, Billy Pilgrim’s odyssey through time reflects the mythic journey of our own fractured lives as we search for meaning in what we fear most.
Praise for Slaughterhouse-Five
“Poignant and hilarious, threaded with compassion and, behind everything, the cataract of a thundering moral statement.”—The Boston Globe
“Very tough and very funny . . . sad and delightful . . . very Vonnegut.”—The New York Times
“Splendid art . . . a funny book at which you are not permitted to laugh, a sad book without tears.”—Life
You probably never knew…
• Ronald Reagan is the only president who has been divorced.
• It is estimated that half of the world’s spider species have yet to be discovered.
• November 15 is National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day.
And did you really ever have to know…
• The whiskers on a harbor seal are known as “vibrissae”?
• Modern scholars believe Isaac Newton may have had Asperger’s syndrome?
• In the 1920s, Hollywood made twice as many films a year as it does today?
If you find yourself transfixed by the most trivial of trivia, or mesmerized by the most minor of minutiae, The Useless Information Society's latest findings can satisfy your every need. This wide-ranging collection will fill every nook and cranny of your brain with information you'll surely never need, but will enjoy learning anyway!
Did you know...
- that penguins can jump six feet out of the water?
- that everyone is color-blind at birth?
Would you care to know...
- what the first meal eaten on the moon was?
- what country drinks the most Coca-Cola? (Hint: It's not the United States.)
In 1995, a secret society was formed comprising Britain's foremost thinkers, writers, and artists to trade and share in useless information (or, as founding member Keith Waterhouse, playwright and journalist, would have it, "totally bloody useless").
Organized into 14 major sections including Animals, Rail and Road, Music, and more, each has its own table of contents, enabling readers to find a pictorial definition of an object without necessarily knowing its name in advance. Can't remember the name of a kangaroo's pouch? Just flip to the "Marsupials & Monotremes" spread in Ultimate Visual Dictionary and find out. Or, turn the pages to discover the different components of the human body, identify the parts of a tractor, or figure out tricky sports terms.
Stunning color photography and detailed cutaway illustrations bring complex subjects to life, alongside straightforward explanations of basic principles and ideas. With this revised edition of DK's Ultimate Visual Dictionary, readers will never again be at a loss for words.
One for the grown-ups, this quirky new Ripley’s book is filled with bizarre and hilarious "Believe It or Not!" stories, trivia and lists— perfect for any fan of the unusual, and the ideal Father’s Day gift. Some of the utterly stupefying stories within include:
• Joseph Puyol, professional farter and highest paid entertainer in 19th-century France
• the craziest true CIA plots
• a divorce settlement that included a kidney
• the college student jailed for insulting a horse
• Iceland’s penis museum
• the gambler who broke Monte Carlo
• a man who removed his own appendix
The perfect gift for the man in your life. This title will engage its audience with stories, facts and charts that men can relate to. This title takes the unbelievable and strange facts that Ripley's is known for and expands upon these stories to make a fun and entertaining book for men. Did you know that military hot-air balloons and submarines were used in the American Civil War? Did you know that the Japanese Earthquake shortened a day? What about before Madoff? What was the first ponzi scheme? How about the craziest true plots of the CIA? This title will engage an adult male audience with all the unique and fun stories that Ripley's is famous for.
Not your average research book, How to Find Out Anything shows you how to unveil nearly anything about anyone. From top CEO’s salaries to police records, you’ll learn little-known tricks for discovering the exact information you’re looking for. You’ll learn:
•How to really tap the power of Google, and why Google is the best place to start a search, but never the best place to finish it.
•The scoop on vast, yet little-known online resources that search engines cannot scour, such as refdesk.com, ipl.org, the University of Michigan Documents Center, and Project Gutenberg, among many others.
•How to access free government resources (and put your tax dollars to good use).
•How to find experts and other people with special knowledge.
•How to dig up seemingly confidential information on people and businesses, from public and private companies to non-profits and international companies.
Whether researching for a term paper or digging up dirt on an ex, the advice in this book arms you with the sleuthing skills to tackle any mystery.
When Caitlin Moran sat down to choose her favorite pieces for her new book, she realized that they all shared a common theme—the same old problems and the same old ass-hats. Then she thought of the word ‘Moranifesto’, and she knew what she had to do…
Introducing every piece and weaving her writing together into a brilliant, seamless narrative—just as she did in Moranthology—Caitlin combines the best of her recent columns with lots of new writing unique to this book as she offers a characteristically fun and witty look at the news, celebrity culture, and society. Featuring strong and important pieces on poverty, the media, and class, Moranifesto also focuses on how socially engaged we’ve become as a society.
And of course, Caitlin is never afraid to address the big issues, such as Benedict Cumberbatch and duffel coats. Who else but Caitlin Moran—a true modern Renaissance woman—could deal with topics as pressing and diverse as the beauty of musicals, affordable housing, Daft Punk, and why the Internet is like a drunken toddler?
Covering everything from Hillary Clinton to UTIs, Caitlin’s manifesto is an engaging and mischievous rallying call for our times.
The tales of gods and heroes are often turned into tedious discourse that even Ovid would reject. This easy-to-read guide cuts out the boring details, and instead, provides you with a thrilling lesson in classic mythology.
From the heights of Mt. Olympus to the depths of the Underworld, this book takes you on an unforgettable journey through all the major myths born in ancient Greece and Rome, such as Achilles's involvement in the Trojan War; Pluto's kidnapping of the beautiful Proserpina; and the slaying of Medusa by Perseus, the heroic demi-god. You'll also learn all about the wonders of the world as well as the greatest creatures ever recorded in history.
Like Charon navigating the River of Wailing, Mythology 101 will guide you through the most glorious (and completely terrifying) tales the ancient world has to offer.
The “stay-behind,” a term coined by professor Hans Holzer, is a ghost who is not prepared to move to the “other side,” but prefers to remain among loved ones and its former home. In Stay-Behinds, Holzer reveals some of the most famous cases of these beings, including the haunting of Rose Hall Plantation in Jamaica and the strange case of Mrs. C.’s late yet lively husband.
• Explores the legends and origins of well-known gods and figures such as Odin, Thor, Krampus, and the Valkyries, as well as a broad range of magical beings such as the Elf King, the Lorelei, the Perchten, dwarves, trolls, and giants
• Draws upon a wealth of well-known and rare sources, such as the Poetic Edda and The Deeds of the Danes by Saxo Grammaticus
• Examines folktales, myths, and magical beliefs from Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, and England
The legends of the Norse and Germanic regions of Europe--spanning from Germany and Austria across Scandinavia to Iceland and England--include a broad range of mythical characters and places, from Odin and Thor, to berserkers and Valhalla, to the Valkyries and Krampus. In this encyclopedia, Claude Lecouteux explores the origins, connections, and tales behind many gods, goddesses, magical beings, rituals, folk customs, and mythical places of Norse and Germanic tradition.
More than a reference to the Aesir and the Vanir pantheons, this encyclopedia draws upon a wealth of well-known and rare sources, such as the Poetic Edda, the Saga of Ynglingar by Snorri Sturluson, and The Deeds of the Danes by Saxo Grammaticus. Beyond the famous and infamous Norse gods and goddesses, Lecouteux also provides information on lesser-known figures from ancient Germanic pagan tradition such as the Elf King, the Lorelei, the Perchten, land spirits, fairies, dwarves, trolls, goblins, bogeymen, giants, and many other beings who roam the wild, as well as lengthy articles on well-known figures and events such as Siegfried (Sigurd in Norse) and Ragnarök. The author describes the worship of the elements and trees, details many magical rituals, and shares wild folktales from ancient Europe, such as the strange adventure of Peter Schlemihl and the tale of the Cursed Huntsman. He also dispels the false beliefs that have arisen from the Nazi hijacking of Germanic mythology and from its longtime suppression by Christianity.
Complete with rare illustrations and information from obscure sources appearing for the first time in English, this detailed reference work represents an excellent resource for scholars and those seeking to reconnect to their pagan pasts and restore the old religion.
Do you really only use 10 percent of your brain? Can a bump to the head really restore memories? Does your brain ever lie to you? Why do you always forget where your glasses are, but never how to read?
The brain makes you who you are. This fascinating organ creates your personality and controls your reactions and emotions. It's responsible for how you perceive the world around you--all while controlling hundreds of physical functions like breathing, moving, circulation, and digestion. The brain is simply amazing!
The Everything Guide to the Human Brain will help you to unlock the mysteries of the brain. You'll learn how the brain communicates with each part of the body, how it affects your emotional life, why you dream, and how you remember things. And you'll also get in-depth descriptions of brain disorders and how science and medicine are working to heal or reverse them. Written in plain English, this ultimate user's guide will help you learn about the most influential part of your body!
In his book, Carmine Gallo has broken down hundreds of TED talks and interviewed the most popular TED presenters, as well as the top researchers in the fields of psychology, communications, and neuroscience to reveal the nine secrets of all successful TED presentations. Gallo's step-by-step method makes it possible for anyone to deliver a presentation that is engaging, persuasive, and memorable.
Carmine Gallo's top 10 Wall Street Journal Bestseller Talk Like TED will give anyone who is insecure about their public speaking abilities the tools to communicate the ideas that matter most to them, the skill to win over hearts and minds, and the confidence to deliver the talk of their lives.
The opinions expressed by Carmine Gallo in TALK LIKE TED are his own. His book is not endorsed, sponsored or authorized by TED Conferences, LLC or its affiliates.
According to Hans Holzer, only perhaps ten percent of all ghostly manifestations are true ghosts. The rest maybe impressions left behind by an emotional event in the past, which can be felt or seen by a sensitive person in the living world. Here Holzer explores several cases of various kinds of “non-ghosts” that are often confused with real ghosts, but are nevertheless remarkable, each in it’s own way.
Set the record straight!
Learn the truth behind fallacies, falsehoods, hearsay, and lies!
Isn’t it time you knew the honest-to-goodness truth? We’ve all come to believe hundreds of “false facts”—myths that we’ve blindly accepted as truth, misconceptions that we’ve ignorantly retold to others—Contrary to Popular Belief provides an instant remedy for your pounding head full of misinformation, giving you quick relief with enlightening and entertaining facts.
Inside you’ll learn:
George Washington was not the first president of the United States.
Leap year does not occur every four years.
The ostrich does not bury its head in the sand.
Thomas Edison did not invent the light bulb.
Ship captains cannot perform marriages at sea.
Sound does not travel at the speed of sound.
The needle on a compass does not point to the North Pole.
Leonardo da Vinci did not paint the Mona Lisa.
And more than two hundred other bits of conventional “wisdom” that are completely bunk.
With the help of his mum, Toby started handwriting and posting letters to everyone from research scientists in Antarctica to game-keepers in Chad and even the Pope. Not only did Toby achieve his goal but the world wrote back.
Dear World, How Are You? is a collection of the most fascinating and heart-warming letters he sent and received. It shows that the world is only as big as your imagination and is full of potential friends, waiting to be discovered, no matter where you live.
What is the difference between a kit and a caboodle?
Why don't people get goose bumps on their faces?
Where do houseflies go in the winter?
What causes that ringing sound in your ears?
Pop-culture guru David Feldman demystifies these topics and so much more in Why Do Clocks Run Clockwise? -- the unchallenged source of answers to civilization's most nagging questions. Part of the Imponderables® series and charmingly illustrated by Kassie Schwan, Why Do Clocks Run Clockwise? challenges readers with the knowledge about everyday life that encyclopedias, dictionaries, and almanacs just don't have. And think about it, where else are you going to get to the bottom of why hot dogs come ten to a package while hot dog buns come in eights?
The classic book on legends, lore, and unvarnished truths surrounding New Orleans' most famous Voodoo mistress—now in a modern, legible format. It also features other tales from surrounding parishes of days long gone by, an illustrated guide to palm-reading, humorous asides, and over 30 fascinating drawings and images.
In addition to facts and folklore about Laveau—including revealing research into some debunked myths and unanswered questions—the book offers entertaining stories of her life and the people around the New Orleans area, such as:
• Lafayette's visit to New Orleans . . . and to Marie Laveau herself?
• How Marie Laveau turned hate into love for some wishful suitors
• How she earned her free house on St. Ann Street, and how her death made city newspapers go wild
• The man with two wives—in two languages—and therefore a roosterhead in his coatpocket
• Why New Orleans doorsteps are so clean
• How an utter idiot won the election for mayor of Burley Landing
• The proper use of gris gris, and the meaning of palm mountains and lines
• How an honest thief fooled an unsuspecting Yankee
• Why zombies are created to be used as farmhands
This book is presented in a quality new edition with all the illustrations from the original properly presented, as well as additional images found only in the Quaint Press edition of this well-known look into the folklore of old New Orleans.