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How much TV do Americans watch?

16 Oct

I was flipping though a copy of Eckhart Tolle’s book: A New Earth when I came upon this claim:

The average American by the time his is sixty years old, will have spend fifteen years staring a the TV screen.

Really! Fifteen years? Since 15 is 25% of 60 you would have to watch six hours of television every day since birth to reach that number!

I was skeptical that this could be the case, but when I looked into this, Tolle’s figure appears to be only a slight exaggeration. I found this New York Time article that reports “on average, American adults are watching five hours and four minutes of television per day.”

Quiz kids

17 Jun

Quiz kid Ruth Duskin Feldman died last week at the age of 88.

See how you can do against these Quiz kids:

Who was the first actor to play Adolf Hitler?

26 May

Moe Howard. That’s right Moe Howard.   Read the details at Dangerous Minds. 


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The strangest thing I learned this week: optography

6 Mar

I had never heard of optography, the supposed retrieval of an image from the retina of a dead person, until I heard John Dickerson discuss it on this week’s Slate’s Political Gabfest.

The College of Optometrists has a good page on this alleged phenomenon.


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Who was Mirin Dajo?

2 Dec

Most extraordinary claims disappoint on closer inspection. The late Sylvia Brown did not really have psychic powers and, after over a century of trying, parapsychology has not produced a single convincing repeatable experiment.

Yet, there is a region of events that are not paranormal but fall at the extreme edge of the plausible. It is here that we find the case of the Dutch fakir, Mirin Dajo.

Dajo was able pass swords through his trunk without apparent injury. Here is a Pathe newsreel of one of his demonstrations:


Here is a paper by W. Peter Mulacz with an explanation of how Mirin Dajo accomplished his feats.

Unfortunately, there is a limited amount of information on Dajo available in English. I would like to more a know bout Dajo. I think his story is interesting psychologically and physiologically.

But beyond that, I would like to know more about Dajo’s beliefs and motivations. He apparently thought his performances would contribute to world peace and he was an advocate of Esperanto.

Was Moe Howard related to Harry Houdini?

9 Sep

Several years ago, I had heard that the wife of Moe Howard of the Three Stooges was a cousin of Harry Houdini. I searched the Internet and looked through my collection of Houdini biographies but could find no mention of this supposed connection. Indeed, several Internet sites dismissed this as an urban legend.

However, I was listening to this interview with Moe Howard from 1972 and Moe says quite directly that his wife was Houdini’s cousin. I searched the Internet again and found this explanation.

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