Wikipedia:Unusual articles/Technology, inventions and products

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Technology, inventions and products[edit]

World War I pigeon photography.
Cower, you leeches, in the presence of the Tempest Prognosticator!
Antikythera mechanism An analog computer built in Ancient Greece.
Canard Digérateur Or "Digesting Duck", an automaton built to simulate a duck eating, digesting, and excreting.
Centennial Light A hundred-year-old light bulb that has been burning nonstop for 30 years.
Clocky An alarm clock that hides from its owner.
Digital sundial Unlike an analog sundial, a clock that indicates the current time with numerals formed by the sunlight striking it.
Dreamachine A device made with a light bulb and a record turntable that reportedly induces lucid dreaming. (And you thought the makers of Die Another Day made it up. There's still no news about invisible Aston Martin V12 Vanquishes.)
Electronic voice phenomenon Alleged spiritual voices heard in white noise and radio interference.
Hedy Lamarr Film actress co-invents communication system later used in cell phones, Wi-Fi and other forms of wireless technologies.
History of perpetual motion machines The concept has eluded and baffled the greatest minds for thousands of years – and will continue to elude anyone who tries to build one.
Klerksdorp sphere Spheres with three parallel grooves dated to be three billion years old... Evidence of ancient intelligent life? An unusual natural phenomenon? Who knows...
List of inventors killed by their own inventions Perilous parachutes, lethal lighthouses and murderous motorcycles!
Marvin Heemeyer Why it's always a bad idea to put the guy next door out of business if he has a ten-ton armor-plated bulldozer in his garage.
The Mississauga Blob A flaming object that fell from the heavens onto a back-yard picnic table in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada in 1979. The mystery of its true nature drew worldwide attention and speculation. Turns out it was a frisbee.
Mosquito laser A bug zapper with a difference.
One red paperclip A man's small piece of metal turns out to be worth more than expected.
Parking chair Using household objects to reserve parking spaces.
Featured articlePigeon photography Pigeons were used by the Germans for aerial surveillance in World War I, and apparently also in World War II. Not to forget the CIA's own pigeon camera.
Project Cybersyn Chilean robo-socialism control chamber invented by a Brit with a gigantic beard.
Royal Mail rubber band One billion are used every year and often seen littering the streets of UK cities.
Russian floating nuclear power station Self-contained, low-capacity, floating nuclear power plants.
Spork A cross between a spoon and a fork. Not to be confused with a knork.
Tempest Prognosticator Meteorology by frightened annelid.
Turboencabulator A device whose sole function is to expose technological ignorance.
Uncanny valley How to measure your emotional response to androids.
Useless machine In most cases, toys for adults.
Wheat lamp A type of lamp used by miners that is unrelated to wheat.
Wrap rage Ever been driven mad by packaging that just won't open?
Xianxingzhe A Chinese robot, according to the Japanese, that will save its country from corporate capitalism with its crotch cannon.

Hygiene and sanitation[edit]

Toilets in Japan have some special features.
"Darkie" toothpaste Racist toothpaste from Taiwan.
Groom of the Stool The most intimate Royal office.
Hotel toilet-paper folding Ever wondered why it was so?
Interactive Urinal Communicator A talking urinal made for advertising purposes.
iLoo Microsoft's attempt to bring you the interwebzzz inside the portable public loo.
Committee to End Pay Toilets in America A 1970s organization whose campaign was to end pay toilets in the United States of America.
Japanese toilets The most advanced toilets in the world with computers, nozzles and flashing lights.
List of people who died on the toilet You could say they died on the throne
Lloyds Bank turd Possibly the largest example of fossilised human feces ever found, discovered under the future site of a Lloyds Bank in England.
Stainless steel soap Metallic soap that removes odours from the hands.
Toilet-related injury Not all injuries and deaths linked to toilets are urban legends.
Toilet paper orientation On the pros and cons of letting toilet paper hang over or under the roll.
Whizzinator A fake penis used to beat drug tests (complete with dried urine, heater, syringe). Comes in white, tan, Latino, brown, and black
World Toilet Day International holiday declared by the United Nations.

Clothing and accessories[edit]

Koteka An unusual traditional garment of western New Guinea, also known as the "penis gourd".
Meat dress of Lady Gaga A dress made of flank steak. Currently preserved as jerky in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Muffin top A marketing mishap, many well-meaning young women, and vanity came together to form this demographic.
Shoe tossing The practice of throwing footwear, whether for humorous or political purposes.
Sweater curse Think your loved one will be pleased if you knit them a sweater? Think again.
Three Wolf Moon A T-shirt with wolves howling at the moon that gained popularity after one person wrote a parodic review for it on Amazon.com.
Tin foil hat Headgear which allegedly prevents a person from having their minds read or controlled.

Transport[edit]

East German Ampelmännchen.
Not so snail-mail after all, eh?
"Sinking? We're not sinking!"
Don't reach for that sick bag 'til you're back on the floor.
Ampelmännchen The East German "traffic-light little-man" (Ampelmännchen).
Amtrak paint schemes Various colors of the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak).
British Rail flying saucer Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's the 10:13 to Venus.
China National Highway 110 traffic jam The world's longest-lasting traffic jam, in which some drivers were stuck for up to 5 days, moving only 0.6 miles per day.
Dagen H September 3, 1967: The day that Sweden changed its traffic directionality.
Dymaxion car A 1933 concept car with 3 wheels. It was 20 feet (6.1 m) long, carried up to 11 passengers, could go at speeds of up to 120 miles per hour (190 km/h), and had a steering wheel that turned the car in the opposite direction.
Experiment A boat with eight horse-powers. Literally.
Get Out and Push Railroad Just what it sounds like.
Gimli Glider A confusion over units leads to a Boeing 767 plane running out of fuel mid-flight and becoming a glider.
Human mail Why buy an expensive ticket when you can go by mail?
Iron Dobbin A mechanical horse made in 1933 for the Italian Fascist Youth Movement.
Jesus nut Not your local Bible-thumping preacher but the bolt on the top of a helicopter that connects it to the rotor blades.
Loose wheel nut indicator Yes, those little yellow tags you see on truck wheels really do have a purpose.
Mile High Club Soaring members.
Mehran Karimi Nasseri An Iranian refugee who lived in Charles de Gaulle Airport from 1988 until 2006.
Miss Belvedere A car buried in a time capsule in 1957 and unearthed in 2007, only to discover that it had suffered 50 years of water damage underground and wouldn't start.
Passenger train toilets Why passengers must be discouraged from flushing or using toilets while the train is at a station.
Peel P50 The world's smallest production car.
Reliant Regal A three-wheeled car formerly manufactured in England that could be driven with a motorcycle license.
Rocket mail The delivery of mail by rocket or missile, attempted by various organisations in many different countries, with varying levels of success.
RP FLIP A manned ship designed to be capsized at a 90° angle for weeks on end.
School bus yellow A color especially formulated for use on school buses in the United States.
Screw-propelled vehicle Get there by screwing.
Shipping container architecture The concept and art of using intermodal containers to build stuff.
Society for the Prevention of Calling Sleeping Car Porters "George" An association formed to oppose the custom of addressing railway sleeping car porters as "George" regardless of their actual name.
South Pointing Chariot An ancient Chinese mechanical compass which took a millennium to reproduce.
Train surfing As respectable and practical as drying one's hair in most parts of the world.
Unused highway Lost highways, unloved and unused.
USGlobal Airways An active airline founded in 1989 that has never operated a single commercial flight.
Vomit Comet Lack of gravity is not good for the stomach.
Wallsend Metro station All railroads lead to Rome. With "no smoking" signs, although tobacco was unknown to ancient Romans...

Computing[edit]

Could a unicycle balance itself?
Blinkenlights DAS KOMPUTERMASCHINE IST NICHT FÜR DER GEFINGERPOKEN UND MITTENGRABEN!
The Book of Mozilla A well-known computer Easter egg found in the Netscape and Mozilla series of browsers.
Brainfuck Not what you think it is – unless, maybe, you’re a computer geek...
Brian's Brain He's so smart, he has his own cellular automaton.
Bush hid the facts Revelations of a vast right-wing conspiracy, or just a glitch?
Chudnovsky brothers A pair of mathematicians who built a supercomputer out of spare parts.
Esoteric programming language Refers to programming languages designed as a test of the boundaries of computer programming language design, as a proof of concept, or as jokes, and not with the intention of being adopted for real-world programming.
Evil bit Indicates if a packet has been sent with malicious intent, so that it can be ignored.
Guru Meditation error If you thought the blue screen of death was bad, this computer error would hamper your quest to reach Nirvana.
Hyper Text Coffee Pot Control Protocol Protocol for controlling and monitoring coffee pots. Attempting to use a teapot while brewing coffee will yield you the "HTTP 418: I'm a teapot" error message.
I Am Rich You must be if you could afford this US$999.99 iPhone application that did, well, not very much of anything.
iFart Mobile Setting the precedent for useless iPhone apps everywhere.
IP over Avian Carriers An Internet protocol for sending data packets using homing pigeons.
iSmell A computer peripheral designed to emit smells for websites and emails, later named one of the "Worst Tech Products" by PC Magazine.
Leet T3h 1@ngu/\&e 0f H@xx0rz.
Lenna How an image of a nude Playboy model became the industry-standard digital image compression test subject.
lp0 on fire Want to panic a Unix user? Display an error that their printer is on fire.
MacQuarium Vintage Macintosh computers-turned-fishtanks.
MONIAC Computer A water-based analogue computer used to model the United Kingdom economy, bringing a new meaning to the term liquidity.
On the Cruelty of Really Teaching Computer Science A 1990 academic paper which argues that computer programming should be understood as a branch of mathematics, and that the formal provability of a program is a major criterion for correctness.
Reality distortion field Surely an obscure quantum-physics phenomenon? Nope!
Rubber-hose cryptanalysis Cryptography by other means.
Scunthorpe problem Spam filtering based on text strings can cause problems. Just ask the residents of S****horpe.
Self-balancing unicycle The ongoing academic effort to teach robots to ride unicycles.
Shellshock Worse than a heartbleed.
Trojan room coffee pot The fascinating target of the world's first webcam: a coffee machine at the computer science department of Cambridge University.
Utah teapot A 3D model which has become a standard reference object (and something of an in-joke) in the computer graphics community.