Mental Floss

Watercooler Ammo Reject Pile!

Mangesh Hattikudur

This week Jason and I started a new, Monday-Thursday newsletter called Watercooler Ammo. The idea is to send readers one super fun bit of trivia, a photo that makes us laugh, or a nerdy, whimsical link, that you can pass on to friends. This week's series included all sorts of fun topics: How an embarrassing Hello Kitty patch helped keep Thai cops in line, the time the Army Corps of Engineers stopped the Niagara falls from flowing, why cell phones might help cure Alzheimer's, and much more. And basically, this whole experiment was just a fun way for Jason and me to send you more nerdy stuff.

For you non-subscribers, here's a sneak peek at the sort of stuff that was almost good enough for the letter, pulled from the first week's reject pile:

Dinosaur Ballet

This video, by animator Ross Butter, makes me laugh every time I watch it. If you're thirsting for culture, there's really nothing quite as satisfying as Dinosaur Ballet. (Link via the always incredible Neatorama)

Downsizing the Solar System?

While you can't exactly pick up the Solar System and put it in your pocket, new research from Nathan Kaib at the University of Washington at Seattle points to the idea that the Solar System is much more compact than previously thought. The link comes from New Scientist magazine, and it's pretty fascinating to think that Kaib's models could help solve some of the mysteries about comets and the Solar System's outer Oort Cloud that have been plaguing astronomers for years.

The Explanatory Sling

Screen shot 2010-01-21 at 1.13.26 PM
Screen shot 2010-01-21 at 1.13.26 PM /

Dinner Table Trick, 2.0

The Presurfer posted this BMW motorcycle ad, which does a wonderfully cheeky revision on that old magic trick. While I'm not a huge fan of promoting ads, this one made me smile, and you'll see why it almost made Watercooler Ammo.

If you want to see stories better than these in your inbox (these are from the reject pile after all), be sure to sign up for Watercooler Ammo here.