Oddities

Theory from Stephen King’s son: ‘Jaws’ holds clue to unsolved 1974 murder

The worlds he conjures are full of terror and mischief. One of the novellas in his latest book, “Strange Weather,” tells of a gun massacre. Another recounts a bout of inclement weather that sends lethal shards of crystal raining down on unsuspecting residents of Boulder, Colo. Joe Hill — a pen name used by Joe Hillstrom King, the son of Stephen King — has an eye for the macabre. When Hill trained his eye on “Jaws,” 40 years after Steven Spielberg’s tale of a man-eating great white shark first smashed box-office records in the summer of 1975, the writer saw something that prickled his skin with goose bumps Read More

The Artist Who Steals (re-purposes). Is It Art or Theft?

ONE recent afternoon in the offices of the Midtown law firm run by David Boies and his powerful litigation partners, a large black clamshell box sat on a conference table. Inside were raucous, sometimes wildly funny collages of photographs and magazine pages handmade by the artist Richard Prince, works of art that have become the ur-texts of one of the most closely watched copyright cases ever to rattle the world of fine art. In March a federal district court judge in Manhattan ruled that Mr. Prince — whose career was built on appropriating imagery created by others — broke the law by taking photographs from a book Read More

The Fenn Treasure: Buried In The Rockies, Many Seekers Have Searched For It

Somewhere in the Rockies, in the roughly 1,000 miles between Santa Fe, New Mexico, and the Canadian border, may be a treasure chest worth millions. The man who claims to have hidden the fortune back in 2010 is Forrest Fenn, now 87, a former Vietnam fighter pilot and art dealer. Fenn estimates that as many as 350,000 people have gone hunting for the treasure, he tells CNBC Make It, adding that there is no way of knowing whether anyone has actually gotten close. “It could be found soon or 1,000 years from now,” he says. “No one knows where that treasure chest is but me,” Fenn told Read More

Copyrights From the 1920s Start Expiring in 2019 If Congress Doesn’t Act

On January 1, 2019, every book, film, and song published in 1923 will fall out of copyright protection—something that hasn’t happened in 40 years. At least, that’s what will happen if Congress doesn’t retroactively change copyright law to prevent it—as Congress has done two previous times. Until the 1970s, copyright terms only lasted for 56 years. But Congress retroactively extended the term of older works to 75 years in 1976. Then on October 27, 1998—just weeks before works from 1923 were scheduled to fall into the public domain—President Bill Clinton signed legislation retroactively extending the term of older works to 95 years, locking up works published in Read More

Robots Are In A Race To Mine The Ocean Floor, Is That Good

WHEN THE 300-FOOT Maersk Launcher docked in San Diego early Monday morning, it unloaded a cargo of hardened black blobs scooped from the bottom of the sea. The blobs are not rocks, but naturally-occurring metallic nodules that could one day yield metal deposits of cobalt, manganese, and nickel—not to mention scarce rare earth minerals. As worldwide demand rises for electric vehicle batteries and wind turbines, along with next generation technologies and weapon systems, demand for these metals has taken off. And the seabed is a prime target for those mining operations. Of course, it’s no small feat to bring these potato-sized nodules from the bottom of the Read More

A Brief History of Time Travel: A Relatively New Device

Jamie Gleick’s new book explores our (surprisingly new) obsession with era-hopping. Of all time travel’s paradoxes, here’s the strangest of them all: hop on a TARDIS back to 1894 and the concept didn’t even exist. “Time travel is a new idea,” explains New York-based author James Gleick, 62. “It’s a very modern myth.” Gleick’s entertaining Time Travel: A History, out in hardback in February, quantum leaps from HG Wells’s The Time Machine – the original – via Proust and alt-history right up to your Twitter timeline. Until we get the DeLorean working for real, fellow travellers, consider it the next best thing. 9th century BCE The Mahabharata Read More

NYC PENTHOUSES WERE BUILT FOR SERVANTS; SOMETHING CHANGED

Before the 1920s, New York City rooftops were nothing more than damp hovels. Pipes snaked between grim water towers. Chimneys spewed sheets of dark soot. Broken glass rustled with every gust of wind. But the servants put up with it because it was home. In fact, they occupied the city’s first penthouses, poorly insulated clapboard structures constructed off-book and high out of sight. Then—wait for it—wealthy young bohemians took note, and moved in.   In the early 20th century, Manhattan was running out of space. Four-story mansions had long outspent their practicality, and architects were pioneering apartment living. But as more people were able to crowd onto Read More

Off the Grid Living: A Homemade Island in Vancouver

Floating off the coast of Vancouver Island, a 45-minute boat ride to the nearest town, is a sustainable island fortress complete with a dance floor, art gallery and garden. For artists Catherine King and Wayne Adams, this is home: a labor of love 24 years in the making. This story is a part of our Human Condition series. Come along and let us connect you to some of the most peculiar, stirring, extraordinary, and distinctive people in the world. Great Big Story is a video network dedicated to the untold, overlooked & flat-out amazing. Humans are capable of incredible things & we’re here to tell their stories. Read More