In 1957, Albert Sfredda secured a patent (No. 2,786,540) for a square-wheeled tank. He explained:
A vehicle equipped with square wheels of the type contemplated by my invention gives better traction and a smoother ride when used on rough terrain than one having circular wheels. Following are the reasons: the sides of a square wheel constitute large flat surfaces for bridging ruts and cavities in the ground whereas a circular wheel follows the surface of the ground and enters many ruts; and the sides of a square wheel provide a large contacting area with the ground when they lie parallel thereto, and, hence, afford better pushing effect, whereas a round wheel affords only a small pushing area, which often results in causing a digging effect.
Sfredda was correct that square wheels would provide better traction on rough terrain than circular wheels would. The video below explains why. But the problem, of course, was that his tank would have difficulty moving on a regular, flat road.
Along similar lines, Macalester College has had a square-wheeled bicycle on permanent display since 1997. More info: macalester.edu
A 1958 composition by Iannis Xenakis. Some info about it from YouTube:
Concret PH, the title being a reference to the architectural design and construction material, is a crackling two minutes of pointillistic sounds. Xenakis recorded the sound of burning charcoal, then layered and transposed the recordings to create evolving densities and ranges of snaps, crackles, and pops. This piece, along with Varèse's Poème électronique, remains a classic of the electroacoustic genre.
It has the virtue of being short. But he should have titled it 'Music to eat Rice Krispies by'.
Balloonfest '86 was a 1986 event in Cleveland, Ohio, United States, in which the local chapter of United Way set a world record by releasing almost one-and-a-half million balloons. The event was intended to be a harmless fundraising publicity stunt, but the balloons drifted back over the city, Lake Erie, and landed in the surrounding area, causing problems for traffic and a nearby airport. The event also interfered with a United States Coast Guard search for two boaters who were later found drowned. In consequence, the organizers and the city faced lawsuits seeking millions of dollars in damages, and cost overruns put the event at a net loss.
Ford has collaborated with fragrance firm Olfiction to create a scent called "Mach-Eau" that smells like gasoline. Or, as they put it, the fragrance has "smoky and rubbery accents reminiscent of the petrol smell so many love." They've done this, they say, for the sake of owners of electric cars who miss the smell of gasoline.
However, it seems that Ford isn't actually selling this fragrance. So we have to take their word for it that they really did create it.
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.