Filmmaker, photo hound, author of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. Ransom was a daily contributor to mentalfloss.com for many, many years.
As tests of human endurance go, few are stranger "“ or more subtly sadistic "“ than Texas' annual "Hands on a Hardbody" contest. Sponsored by a Nissan dealership as a publicity stunt and featured in a fascinating 1997 documentary, its rules are pure evil genius: to win a brand-new truck, all contestants have to do is keep their hand on it ... longer than anyone else. Including hourly five-minute breaks and occasional drug tests to make sure goofballs and bennies... READ ON
What do ghetto-blasting superfreaks who retrofit their hoopties with massive subwoofers have in common with the most avid of churchgoers? More than either camp is prepared to admit, most likely: according to a study by British acousticians, "people who experience a sense of spirituality in church may be reacting to the extreme bass sound produced by some organ pipes." Turns out that inaudibly low but exceedingly loud sounds (AKA infrasound, or anything below 20 Hz) can have profound effects... READ ON
"I was walking along a path with two friends when suddenly the sky turned blood-red "“ there were tongues of fire above the blue-black fjord and the city "“ I stood there trembling with anxiety, and sensed an infinite scream passing through nature."
Who can read Edvard Munch's willies-inducing description of his 1893 masterpiece, The Scream, without pausing to contemplate our own impending environmental apocalypse(s)? From the grotesque new strength of cyclonic storm... READ ON
Imagine every nasty, chewed-up wad of gum you've ever had the misfortune of discovering on the bottom of your shoe or the underside of a desk, times 10,000, magically transposed to one... READ ON
So long as we're blogging about apes using the internet, I feel duty-bound to remember the web's own simian Neil Armstrong: Koko, the first gorilla to walk in cyberspace, making nerd history in 1998 by participating in the very first -- and to date, the only -- interspecies web chat. Now, while that sounds pretty impressive at first blush (as it must have to the more than 20,000 AOL subscribers who logged in to "watch," as it were), Koko's end of the conversation was... READ ON
Male seahorses carry the eggs and birth the babies.