CRAIG CONLEY (Prof. Oddfellow) is recognized by Encarta as “America’s most creative and diligent scholar of letters, words and punctuation.” He has been called a “language fanatic” by Page Six gossip columnist Cindy Adams, a “cult hero” by Publisher’s Weekly, and “a true Renaissance man of the modern era, diving headfirst into comprehensive, open-minded study of realms obscured or merely obscure” by Clint Marsh. An eccentric scholar, Conley’s ideas are often decades ahead of their time. He invented the concept of the “virtual pet” in 1980, fifteen years before the debut of the popular “Tamagotchi” in Japan. His virtual pet, actually a rare flower, still thrives and has reached an incomprehensible size. Conley’s website is
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Today — May 29, 2017 (permalink)

"Crystals that talk."  From Popular Mechanics, 1932.
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May 24, 2017 (permalink)

"A king and a president in butter" -- a headline in Popular Mechanics, 1908.
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May 19, 2017 (permalink)

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"How a strange accident saved me from baldness."  From Popular Mechanics, 1926.
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May 18, 2017 (permalink)

"Is the earth still inhabited?  While scientists are wrangling over the question as to whether Mars or Venus is signaling us, it would be well to start an inquiry into whether the earth is inhabited."  From Life, 1920.  We say the same thing about scientists touting artificial intelligence: is there any intelligence on earth to begin with?
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May 16, 2017 (permalink)

"The North Pole was made of peppermint candy."  From Andy's Adventures on Noah's Ark by Douglas Zabriskie Doty, 1902
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May 15, 2017 (permalink)

"Robot fireman detects flames with 'electric eye,' which shoots an extinguishing fluid through a dummy cigar."  From Popular Mechanics, 1932.
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Headline(s) from Popular Mechanics, 1907.
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May 14, 2017 (permalink)

A headline for another story is more interesting with the iillustration that appears directly above it.  From Popular Mechanics, 1933.
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May 13, 2017 (permalink)

We love how the presenter of these stories by the ghost of O. Henry handles any skeptical readers.  We've reproduced about half of the preface, but it's all delightful.  From My Tussle With the Devil by O. Henry's Ghost [via a Ouija board], 1918.
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"Bees not so busy despite poems of endless toil."  From Popular Mechanics, 1923.
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May 12, 2017 (permalink)

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May 11, 2017 (permalink)

This is typical of the "New Inquisition" mindset behind vintage Popular Mechanics: "Poison gas guards 'health' of art treasures."  If only Big Science could gas all the arts, this toxic sentiment suggests.  It's an example of why Robert Anton Wilson called Big Science the New Inquistion.  The headline is a variation of the old witch test -- if she sinks, she's not a witch, and if the art survives the poison gas, it's "healthy."  Yikes.  From 1932.
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May 8, 2017 (permalink)

You might naturally have assumed that "unfriending" is a newfangled term of social media.  But "un-friends" go back at least as far as 1899's The Lost Pibroch by Neil Munro.
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You know that music is crucial to epic battle scenes, and the soundtrack to the end of the world will be A Banjo at Armageddon (Berton Braley, 1917).
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May 5, 2017 (permalink)

Here's Big Science telling you not to trust your intuition.  There's one phrase here that we actually do agree with -- "it pays to be dubious," to which we would add "of everything published in vintage Popular Mechanics."  It's all hogwash!  From 1931.
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May 3, 2017 (permalink)

"Heartbeats of clock heard with stethoscope."  From Popular Mechanics, 1931.  And we can picture the clock -- one with human hands, as depicted here.
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"Use conch shells as horns for phonographs."  From Popular Mechanics, 1919.
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"It may surprise you, but games can be a great way to make learning more fun." —The Brain-Boosting Benefits of Gaming

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