Category:
Technology

The Hopkins Beast

Back in the early 1960s, researchers at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab created one of the first autonomous robots. They called it "The Beast." From Popular Science, Sep 1964:

A computer brain and a flexible arm with microswitch fingers enable a robot to "stay alive" at the Johns Hopkins physics lab. Called "The Beast," the wheeled, two-foot high robot "senses" when its batteries are beginning to run down. It then feels its way along a wall until its fingers find an electrical outlet, plugs itself in and gets a revitalizing charge. "The Beast" has no function other than to satisfy the impish sense of humor of the Hopkins scientists.

The picture of "The Beast" comes from frc.ri.cmu.edu.

Posted By: Alex - Mon Dec 22, 2008 - Comments (3)
Category: Robots, Technology

Soviet Space Stamps

image
These were sent to me by my Belgian pal Peter Dans-
saert.

Click on the image twice, to get them really big!

Posted By: Paul - Thu Dec 11, 2008 - Comments (6)
Category: Art, Communications, Postal Services, Stamps, Futurism, Patriotism, Technology, Space Travel, 1960s, Russia, Yesterday's Tomorrows

Phone Spell

What phonespell does: "Enter a 6 to 10 digit phone number and we'll show you what words and phrases your phone number spells."

The only semi-meaningful phrase in my phone number was "alpa".

Please don't leave your full number (spelled out) in the comments, even if it is something really cool. We don't want to be responsible for crazy people calling you.

Posted By: Alex - Thu Nov 13, 2008 - Comments (13)
Category: Technology

High Cost of Electronics

In a recent post featuring a typewriter advertisement, the discussion turned to the high cost of electronics in past eras.

Check out the price for this early calculator. The ad dates from "the early 1970's," according to the site where I found it. The Online Inflation Calculator says:

"What cost $345 in 1974 would cost $1435.60 in 2007."

Posted By: Paul - Tue Nov 04, 2008 - Comments (15)
Category: Business, Products, Technology, 1970s

Hoberman Arch

Six years have passed since the whole world saw the wonderfully weird portal created by Chuck Hoberman, but it's never too soon to admire it again.

Wouldn't you want a small version of this in your home?

Posted By: Paul - Thu Oct 30, 2008 - Comments (10)
Category: Inventions, Sports, Technology, Television

Spring Heel Shoe

image
These ridiculous shoes come in many different styles at the J. Rubio website. I saw a guy wearing a pair when I was passing through an airport recently, and he looked like the dorkiest dork that ever dorked.

The verdict is still out, however, on whether wearing them will turn you into the mythic monster known as Spring-heeled Jack.

Posted By: Paul - Wed Oct 22, 2008 - Comments (14)
Category: Fashion, Shoes, Flight, Human Marvels, Stupidity, Technology, Fictional Monsters

Follies of the Mad Men #36

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[From Playboy magazine for May 1980.]

Because satyriasis and nymphomania are such funny hooks with which to pitch a lubricant.

Posted By: Paul - Sun Oct 12, 2008 - Comments (5)
Category: Addictions, Sex, Business, Advertising, Products, Technology, 1980s

Survival Under Atomic Attack

A reader named John, commenting on the WHY STUDY SCIENCE? thread, asked to see a film about surviving atomic attack. Here it is, John!

(There's no static image on the screen, but just click the PLAY button on the bottom of the viewing window.)

Posted By: Paul - Wed Sep 24, 2008 - Comments (8)
Category: Armageddon and Apocalypses, Disasters, History, Military, Movies, Patriotism, Technology, War, Weapons, Reader Recommendation, 1950s, Yesterday's Tomorrows

Why Study Science?

Has science ever looked duller than in this video?

Posted By: Paul - Fri Sep 19, 2008 - Comments (4)
Category: Boredom, Education, Family, Children, Parents, Futurism, Pop Culture, Science, Technology, Video, 1950s, Yesterday's Tomorrows

Kiddie Treadmills

image
Those tykes today! if they're not wearing Baby High Heels, they're improving their lung capacity like little Wall Street "Masters of the Universe" on special kiddie treadmills. Read all about the craze here.

Posted By: Paul - Thu Sep 18, 2008 - Comments (16)
Category: Business, Products, Exercise and Fitness, Fads, Family, Children, Parents, Frauds, Cons and Scams, Technology

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Who We Are
Alex Boese
Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction books such as Elephants on Acid.

Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.

Our banner was drawn by the legendary underground cartoonist Rick Altergott.

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