The ADE 651; an inert rod of metal with a plastic hinge, was sold as a bomb detector. It was used by the military of Iraq, Afghanistan and more than a dozen other countries for years before anyone noticed that it did nothing at all.
The Slinky was invented by accident, when a Mechanical Engineer was working to devise springs that could keep sensitive ship equipment steady at sea. After accidentally knocking some samples off a shelf, he watched in amazement as they gracefully “walked” down instead of falling.
In 1961 when Yuri Gagarin returned from space Nikita Khrushchev wanted to boost the Soviet’s anti-religion campaign by saying: “Gagarin flew into space, but didn’t see any god there.”
There are 22 American states that can revoke your professional license for defaulting on college loans.
In a project called Pleistocene Park, some Russian scientists are trying to restore a small region of Russia to the way it would’ve looked ~10,000 years ago.
It is possible to coat droplets of water with silica, resulting in a dry powder known as “dry water”.
There’s a surgery that claims to change the color of your eyes. The surgery involves taking a laser and burning away the melanin layer of your iris. Over the course of a few weeks, your eyes naturally turn from brown to blue as the damaged melanin is removed by your body.
Along with the new Tesla semi truck, Elon Musk unveiled the second-generation Tesla Roadster. The Roadster 2, which Musk says will be the fastest production car ever, apparently does 0-60 in 1.9 seconds and, uh, it shows:
If you want to get your hands on one, however, you’ll have to wait until 2020 (and have $200,000 lying around).
In 1964 paintings by a chimpanzee were displayed in a Swedish art gallery pseudonym “Pierre Brasau”, supposedly an unknown french artist. The paintings were praised by critics, one of which went as far as to say “Pierre is an artist who performs with the delicacy of a ballet dancer.”
The city of Melbourne gave email addresses to trees so locals could report problems, but they received thousands of love letters instead.