Weird, Wacky, and Wonderful “Stuff” (Part 1)

-March 15, 2012

I don’t know about you, but I hate the fact that there’s so much amusing, interesting, and thought-provoking stuff going on in the world about which I am unaware.

One problem is that new information is being generated and disseminated at such a mind-boggling rate. Do you know that it took at least 10,000 years between the first shell fishhooks being invented (the oldest found to date is from 16,000 years ago, but they are thought to have been used much earlier) and the development of the barbed fishhook (these emerged roughly 6000 years ago). Compare this to the rate of new inventions today … no wonder my mind is so boggled.

A recent article in Time magazine stated that for every minute that passes in real time, 60 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube. This equates to five months of video every hour or ten years of video every day. To put this into perspective, more video is uploaded to YouTube every month than has been broadcast by the three big American television networks in the past 60 years!

It’s scary to realize that there is no way one can stay on top of everything… but, having said this, we should not allow ourselves to go under without fighting back. Fortunately, I have friends who devote vast amounts of time to scouring the Internet for the latest and greatest and weirdest and wackiest “happenings” around the globe, and I intend to share these nuggets and gems with you in a series of Weird, Wacky, and Wonderful “Stuff” columns.

So tighten up your belts, hold on to your hats, and prepare yourselves for a roller-coaster ride of fun and frivolity…

Do you know how many different computer programming languages there are in the world? I was just looking at a list of “notable” programming languages on the Wikipedia. There are 50 languages that begin with the letter ‘A’ alone, including A#, A+, A++, Action!  ALF, Alice… all the way to Axum (Click Here to see the full list).

Here’s an oldie but goodie – even if you’ve seen it before it will make you laugh out loud – I know some people who laughed until tears came out of their eyes when they saw it for the first time. I am of course speaking of the legendary Rockwell Retro Encabulator:

Another absolute classic is the computer-generated Pipe Dreams piece from the folks at Animusic. I could watch this over and over again. In fact I do watch it over and over again, because I have the Animusic #1 and #2 DVDs, and cannot wait for Animusic #3 to come out:

As you probably know by now, I’m a huge fan of all things Steampunk. Who amongst us could forget the classic Steampunk Abe Lincoln, for example?

Can you imagine going to a fancy dress party wearing this costume? I keep on thinking about making one of my own, but I don’t have the patience to grow the beard to go with it (that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it). Actually, I just ran across another incredible picture of a guy wearing a Steampunk-styled arm prosthesis … the attention to detail is glorious:

All of which leads me to the following video of a Steampunk Wine De-corking Machine that completes its task by pouring a glass of wine. This Heath Robinson / Rube Goldberg-styled machine, which took around three years to build, is thought to be the world's largest corkscrew. If I had one of these, I’d be drinking a heck of a lot of wine while showing it off to all my friends:

On a slightly more scientific bent … did you hear the recent announcement about a light-emitting diode (LED) that pulls heat energy from its surroundings and emits it as light? This results in more light output than electrical input power. Click Here to see the full article on

OK, back to the weird and wacky… I’m sure you recall my earlier blogs It's hard to be in a bad mood while you're playing the ukulele! and Stand back – I have a ukulele and I'm not afraid to use it! Well, have you seen the Futulele? This little scamp takes your iPad and iPhone and turns them into a Ukulele:

And people say I’m strange…

Click Here to see other articles in this "Weird, Wacky, and Wonderful" series...

If you found this article to be amusing and/or of interest, visit Programmable Logic Designline where – in addition to my blogs on all sorts of "stuff" (also check out my Max's Cool Beans blog) – you will find the latest and greatest design, technology, product, and news articles with regard to programmable logic devices of every flavor and size (FPGAs, CPLDs, CSSPs, PSoCs...).

Also, you can obtain a highlights update delivered directly to your inbox by signing up for my weekly newsletter – just Click Here to request this newsletter using the Manage Newsletters tab (if you aren't already a member you'll be asked to register, but it's free and painless so don't let that stop you [grin]).

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