Deadline is 1944 sci-fi story about the use of nuclear bomb. It includes topics such as uranium enrichment, methods of isotopic separation and moral questions about the weapon. Author had no knowledge of Manhattan project and came up with the idea from scientific journals.
On September 10, 1973, NASA Astronaut Owen Garriott successfully pranked flight controllers by playing a recording of his wife whilst on SkyLab. There were no women on board the space station and was used to make it look like there was a stowaway.
Controllers in Houston were startled to hear a woman’s voice beaming down from Skylab. The voice startled capsule communicator (CAPCOM) Bob Crippen by calling him by name, and then the woman explained: “The boys haven’t had a home-cooked meal in so long I thought I’d bring one up.”
After several minutes in which she described forest fires seen from space and the beautiful sunrise, the woman said: “Oh oh. I have to cut off now. I think the boys are floating up here toward the command module and I’m not supposed to be talking to you.”
As the Skylab astronauts later revealed, Garriott had recorded his wife, Helen, during a private radio transmission the night before.
In the 80s, businessman Armand Hammer bought a significant portion of the company that makes “Arm & Hammer” products simply because people kept asking him about the name.
In 1943, Irving Berlin presented himself with the Best Song Oscar at the 15th Academy Awards for creating the Christmas song “White Christmas”. Upon opening the envelope and seeing his name, Berlin informed the audience, “I’m glad to present the award. I’ve known him for a long time.”
Children belonging to the Moken tribe of Thailand have perfect vision underwater. They do is by constricting their pupils and changing their lens shape, just like dolphins and seals. They use this ability to hunt for fish, clam and shells to eat. This skill can be acquired, when exposed to underwater environment enough at an early age – before ~5 years.
In 1963 a man from eastern Germany stole a tank and drove it into the Berlin wall, fleeing to the western side of the country.
A British company developed most uncomfortable toilet ever — on purpose. A start-up company in the UK developed a new, downward-tilting toilet meant to make employees so uncomfortable in the loo that they take care of business quicker. The StandardToilet is slopped about 13 degrees forward to increase strain on the legs, making it painful to sit on for longer than five minutes.
“Anything higher than that would cause wider problems. Thirteen degrees is not too inconvenient, but you’d soon want to get off the seat quite quickly,” said Mahabir Gill, founder of the company.
Sixto Rodriguez, a US-based ’70s musician, became a construction worker after commercial failure in the US. However, unbeknown to him, he achieved cult-like status in South Africa, where both his albums went platinum. His daughter found out after discovering a website dedicated to him, in 1997.
Peter Ostrum, who played Charlie in the 1971 film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory currently earns just $8-9 every three months from royalty payments.
Zell Kravinsky donated his kidney to a poor African American man. He calculated the chances of dying from the procedure at 1 in 4,000, and said “to withhold a kidney from someone who would otherwise die means valuing one’s own life at 4,000 times that of a stranger”.