Wacky Inventions Real and Imaginary

Harnessing the power of the bra, and the inspiration of cheese and sheep

Two of the great inventors of our time finally get their due: Wallace and Gromit have a museum exhibit devoted to their inventions — from the snowmanotron to the crackervac — as well as true but equally quirky inventions. Who knew someone cared enough about the canaries that went down into mines to build them a resuscitation chamber?

Also in today’s links: an Egyptian hoax that will soon make the rounds of middle school slumber parties, hermit crab torture, and more.

  • I found an idea that gives me the willies more than the stink-free underwear for astronauts: reusable toilet wipes. That’s one of several of the more out-there environmental offerings, also including condoms from sustainable latex sources and plates made from pig pee.
  • The Egyptian government denies that a text message sent to cell phones is making the rounds and killing recipients. A hook-hand also was found on the victims’ car doors.
  • I am trying to convince myself to start eating seafood, so I am none too pleased at this evidence that crustaceans experience and remember pain. Apparently hermit crabs try to escape their shells when shocked, and try to avoid future shocks.
  • With so many zeros now in circulation in the news — explaining billions and trillions of dollars lost, or set to be spent — and with one-hundred-trillion-dollar notes recently issued in Zimbabwe, it can be hard to get a handle on what these numbers mean. Here’s a rundown.