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Uncommon Knowledge

Uncommon Knowledge

Uncommon Knowledge: What’s The Most Unusual Collection?

July 13, 2015


Collecting things is a common pastime, and each collection is as unique as its collector. If it can be collected, categorized, and obsessed over, somebody’s done it. From the familiar (dolls, comic books, snow globes) to the bizarre and unsavory (air sickness bags, toenail clippings), collectors have collected it. So what’s the most unusual collection in the world? Collectively, it must be the multiple collections of William Davies King. What does he collect? Everything. And nothing.

Chronicled in his 2008 book, Collections of Nothing, King’s accumulations of stuff are mundane but staggering in their variety—cereal boxes, tuna can labels, the patterns from the inside of security envelopes. His collecting began innocently enough, when he inherited a stamp collection. But this common collecting activity soon led to more and more esoteric and ephemeral items, crossing the line into what can only be called organized hoarding. Essentially, King was a collector of collections, and his book is a fascinating reflection on his futile efforts and his ultimate realization that he was collecting… nothing.

Cheese & Crackers Serving Board | $48.00

Uncommon Knowledge

What’s Going On With The Robot Claw Game?

July 6, 2015

You put in your money. You position the claw over the stuffed giraffe so perfectly that future generations will most likely write songs about it. You make your brave descent. The prize is within your robotic grasp. The thrill is intoxicating. Then, without any warning, the claw grows listless and its tissue-thin grip slips right past the disappointed giraffe. What gives? Turns out, these infuriating machines are built with variable PSI strengths. It’s designed to “pay out” and give you a toy only as often as will guarantee a steep profit for the machine. Every 10-20 tries, the claw will regain its strength and deliver that giraffe to your loving arms. So much for beginner’s luck.

Hydraulic Robotic Arm Construction Set | $35.00

Uncommon Knowledge

Uncommon Knowledge: Can You Trust Your Gut?

July 1, 2015
Considering the fact that it’s connected to your brain by a nerve that handles all things “anxious feelings,” yeah. The vagus nerve, also known as the “wandering nerve,” has multiple branches that go from the brain’s cerebellum, lightly touches your heart, then finds it final destination at the lowest part of your abdomen—those gut feelings you get about a bad date or that questionable job offer. The vagus nerve is constantly sending updated sensory information about the body’s organs to your brain, meaning gut instincts are literally emotional intuitions that are transferred up to your brain—jury’s still out on what happens when you have a bad feeling about something AND indigestion. That might call for a sick day.

Molecular Gastronomy Kit – Cuisine |$49.00 – 65.00

Uncommon Knowledge

Uncommon Knowledge: Are Polar Bears Sneaky?

June 22, 2015


Totally. Polar bears would make great spies or robbers, in case you’re looking for a large bear to assist you in a jewel heist. We already know that a polar bear’s fur helps it blend in to its environment. But did you know that this camouflage also hides them from infrared technology? In the mid-1990s, scientists were trying to track the bears, but had some trouble seeing them with the naked eye due to the white on white combo. To solve this, scientists set up infrared cameras. Think again, scientists! Cameras were able to pick up heat from the bears’ eyes, nose, and breath, but their enormous bodies were all but invisible. Turns out the bears’ large deposits of blubber keep their bodies from radiating heat, making the infrared signature of polar bear fur almost identical to that of the snow. Now who’s up for a game of super cold hide and seek?

Sagacious | $65.00 – 120.00

Uncommon Knowledge

Uncommon Knowledge: What caused the first speeding ticket?

June 15, 2015

Personalized Family Ride MinivanIf you guessed a whopping twelve miles per hour, you were right. In 1899, cab driver Jacob German was driving his car through the streets of New York City, just minding his own business. Though horse-powered cabs were still more prevalent but at the time, there were roughly 60 Electric Vehicles worked as cabs throughout the city. A bicycle cop saw Jacob’s cab speeding down Lexington Avenue at breakneck speed (12mph, if you recall), easily pulled him over with his bike, and delivered a stern reprimand for ignoring the posted 8mph speed limit on straightaways and 4mph around curves. For this, Jacob German was thrown in jail for an indeterminate amount of time. This was the first speeding punishment on record; the first written citation came five years later in Ohio. Harry Myers of Dayton received a ticket for his own blistering speed…also 12 miles per hour.

Personalized Family Ride – Minivan | $125.00