“Hey kid, go to the store and get me a glass hammer, will ya?” Many professions prank newcomers by giving them an impossible task: find a left-handed screwdriver, striped paint, elbow grease, a lobster gun…
Traffic is so bad, why don’t we build more roads to deal with it? Since the 1940s, city planners have known (and often ignored) one counterintuitive rule: more roads means more congestion.
The Emeco 1006 Navy chair was originally designed to survive a torpedo hit. In continuous production since 1944, it has found a second life as the go-to chair for interrogation scenes in film.
We all know that chocolate chip cookies are the best thing since sliced bread. But what is older than sliced bread? Well, the list is long: Betty White. Sidney Poitier. The ex-pope.
The gambler’s fallacy is the belief that random independent events “even out” over time. In Monaco in August 1913, this belief cost casino gamblers millions because of an extraordinary streak at a roulette table.
January 25, 1979: the day that the robot uprising began. Well, not precisely, but that day saw the first human fatality caused by a robot. It would not be the last.
Horse-drawn canal boats made up the early British Industrial Revolution’s transportation network. But they presented a tough problem: how to get a horse from one bank of a canal to another, without disconnecting the rope?
General Ne Win, the dictatorial leader of Burma, was a fan of numerology. This meant that he had a penchant for creating new currency in interesting denominations – and making the old banknotes worthless.
How do you effectively communicate risk when something is risky over the medium or long term? Measure the risk in micromorts (the one-in-a-million chance of dying) and microlives (half an hour of extra life).
A government that employs soft power aims to coerce rather than control – to build influence with other nations through non-violent means. For the government of Thailand, this approach includes restaurants.