Tuesday, 25 October 2016


Safety signs - whether at roadsides or elsewhere - are rarely the source of entertainment or amusement, and with good reasons. No one wants to face the dangers of what lies ahead. But sometimes you may come across some signs that makes you giggle or smile, and it turns out they're more common that you think. The following infographic by My Safety Sign is a compilation of some of the funniest warning signs from around the world.

[Click on image to enlarge]

[Source: My Safety Sign.]

Monday, 24 October 2016


15 Towns with a Population of 15 (Or Less)
By Jake Rossen,
Mental Floss, 15 October 2016.

Does your town feel too congested? Wish you had more alone time? Like having the road, air, land, and post office all to yourself? You could buy a private island for around US$100,000, but then you’d have to rely on submarine cables for power. Or, you could head to one of the not-so-bustling metropolises around the globe that feature occupations so slight a family moving in could possibly double the population. Check out 15 areas that fewer than 15 people call home.

1. Monowi, Nebraska (Pop: 1)

Image credit: AroundMe

Before automation cut farming jobs, the small Nebraskan hamlet of Monowi was home to roughly 300 residents. That was slowly curbed to a couple: the Eilers, who had lived there since they were children. When Elsie Eiler’s husband, Rudy, passed away in 2004, she became the town’s sole occupant. Eiler, 82, runs the bar, the Monowi Tavern, and acts as the village’s sole librarian in a building dedicated to her late husband. Every year, Eiler collects taxes from herself to keep the area’s four street lights on.

2. Tortilla Flat, Arizona (Pop: 6)

Image credit: Arizona Lodging Experts

An Old West relic tucked in Tonto National Forest, the tiny town of Tortilla Flat whose center of business is the Superstition Saloon and Restaurant, owned and operated by the town’s population of six. A biker contingent runs up neighboring Old Highway 88 and briefly raises the populace to 500 or so every year, and the town also has a post office, should any of them get the urge to send a postcard.

3. Picher, Oklahoma (Pop: 10)

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

When the Environmental Protection Agency declares your town a biohazard, you're probably not going to be left with much of a city council. Picher was originally at a hearty 20,000 residents before toxic sludge from heavy metal mining contaminated the area in the early 1980s. While federal grants funding continued the clean-up work, most of Picher’s locals took home buy-outs; those that didn’t were hit by a tornado in 2008 that injured 150 and killed eight. Roughly 10 have stayed behind, including a pharmacist who didn’t think the government offer was that great and doesn’t mind sourcing water from tested wells.

4. Villa Epecuén, Argentina (Pop: 1)

Image credit: Alaina

South of Buenos Aires, the 1500 residents of the spa town Villa Epecuén felt protected from rising waters by a man-made flood wall. But in 1985, the wall collapsed and the nearby salt lake virtually submerged the town, drowning it in 33 feet of water. It took nearly 30 years for the water to recede, revealing the town’s decrepit buildings. One former occupant, Pablo Novak, decided to inhabit the ruins, moving into an abandoned house to tend to cattle. As of 2015, Novak was still there, running into the occasional tourist with questions about his experiences in the Argentinian Atlantis.

5. Cass, New Zealand (Pop: 1)

Image credit: EcoEye

KiwiRail employee Barrie Drummond was dispatched to Cass in 1987 to oversee a section of rail line connecting nearby Christchurch to Greymouth. While he initially felt he'd be too isolated in the zero-population town, locals from nearby made him feel welcome. The rent was cheap, traffic was non-existent, and a KFC was still within driving distance; in his spare time, he built a mini-golf course and a bowling green. As of 2014, Drummond was still the town’s sole resident and organizer of Cass Bash, a music festival that draws crowds from neighboring areas.

6. Buford, Wyoming (Pop: 1)

Image credit: Mark Brennan/Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

A 10-acre stopover, Buford was purchased in 1992 by Dan Sammons, who used money from his moving business to become the land’s only resident. He built a log cabin and opened a trading post while publicizing Buford as a single-entity population, turning it into a tourist attraction for visitors en route to Yellowstone National Park. In 2013, Nguyen Dinh Pham purchased the town for US$900,000 with plans to host a Vietnamese coffee business, PhinDeli, on the land. Pham, realizing the perks of owning your own town, renamed it PhinDeli Town Buford. Sammons moved to Colorado; a property caretaker has taken his place to keep the sign accurate.

7. Hibberts Gore, Maine (Pop: 1)

Image credit: Lincoln County News

An errant map survey has carved out a small slice of Palermo as an unincorporated, 640-acre piece of land. The U.S. Census has recorded just one resident: Karen Keller, who embraced Hibberts Gore after the dissolution of her marriage. A 2001 Boston Globe article on the anomaly brought Keller a bunch of unwanted attention: she unsuccessfully petitioned the Census to count her as part of nearby Lincoln County. As of 2012, Keller was in the process of renovating her house and avoiding a stream full of unfriendly turtles and snakes.

8. Gross, Nebraska (Pop: 2)

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

Multiple fires and limited access to a railroad shut down Gross’s chances to be much of an entity. Today, just two residents remain: Mike and Mary Finnegan, who operate the Nebrask (no "A") Inn within the town’s limits. The couple arrived in 1985 and promptly made their 5-year-old son the unofficial mayor. A law on the books prohibiting serving wine on Sundays was repealed because they said so; the eatery has gotten rave reviews on its Facebook page.

9. Funkley, Minnesota (Pop: 5)

Image credit: Waymarking

When you’re both the mayor and barkeep in a tiny town, there’s not much stopping you from printing your own currency. That’s what Emil Erickson does, though the cash - which bears his likeness - is only good at the tavern. Funkley’s population also doubles as its city council. Without much else to appeal to residents, it’s always been a sparsely populated spot: just 26 people called it home in 1940.

10. Centralia, Pennsylvania (Pop: >12)

Image credit: Douglas Muth/Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

Although a dozen people refused to take government buyouts to evacuate Centralia in 1992, there’s a good reason everyone else did: the town has been on fire for over 50 years. It’s believed coal mining precipitated a large-scale blaze that’s been fed for decades thanks to the mining shafts. Streets are prone to cracking open, creating sinkholes and releasing an eerie smoke. Officials believe the fires could rage another 250 years; the properties of residents who pass away will be subject to eminent domain.

11. Lost Springs, Wyoming (Pop: 4)

Image credit: QuirkyTravelGuy

While the sign says "Pop: 1," the four residents of Lost Springs say that’s a Census error. The town was once home to 280 in the mining days of the 1920s. As work dissolved, so did the community. Currently, there’s a town hall, a post office, a park, a general store, and a few public bathrooms.

12. Bonanza, Colorado (Pop: 3)

Image credit: ColoradoGuy

Mark Perkovich retired to Bonanza in 1994 to find solitude. He got it: Bonanza, a former mining town in the Rockies, is completely desolate with the exception of its lone resident. Aside from chatting with the mailman, Perkovich occupies his time by clearing snow and tending to his property. In 2014, Colorado considered dissolving Bonanza due to its lack of a pulse: Perkovich opposed the change, but disliked the fact that his property taxes to the county didn’t actually buy him anything. In 2015, a couple was rumored to have moved in, tripling the population.

13. Weeki Wachee, Florida (Pop: 4)

Beautiful, sun-kissed, and largely absent of any humans, Weeki Wachee has just three citizens but plenty of mermaids. Weeki Wachee Springs State Park is home to a submerged theater carved into the limestone of a spring where tourists can watch ocean sirens swim around. The attraction has been around since 1947, when ex-Navy officer Newton Perry opened for business. In 2001, mayor Robyn Anderson declared herself a "mer-mayor" due to her past as a performer.

14. Swett, South Dakota (Pop: 2)

Image credit: ExitRealty

Originally stuffed to the brim with a population of 40 in the 1940s, Swett’s lack of economic impact - it has one tavern - has whittled the population down to just two: Lance Benson and his wife. A traveling concessions salesman, Benson bought Swett in 1998 to oversee the bar and catch customers from nearby towns. (He lived in the lone house.) In 2014, he decided he wanted to move on and put the town up for sale. It was recently listed at US$199,000: the cheery description from Exit Realty noted that "locals believe the residence to be haunted."

15. Nothing, Arizona (Pop: 0)

Image credit: NotSoFancyNancy

You won’t find much more than a general store and part of a gas station in Nothing, a desert villa 120 miles from Phoenix. Nothing was incorporated in 1977 as a way of injecting some humanity into a stretch of US 93, but its residents didn’t find it too hospitable: the last of them moved out after a pizza parlor failed to attract passing truckers. The name became prescient, and there are currently no known occupants. In June 2016, Nothing was subject to a Century 21 publicity stunt in which free patches of land could be given out to dads on Father’s Day. Approximate value? Nothing.

Top image: Town of Nothing, Arizona, USA. Credit: Hike Arizona via Amusing Planet.

[Source: Mental Floss. Edited. Top image added.]


A lot of medical problems can be solved or avoided with the proper use of what nature provides us in the first place. Herbs have been a part of human medicine throughout history, and they still are today. While some herbs can be used for multiple purposes, most of them are best used for a specific illness. The following infographic by My Juicer Expert lists the top 10 herbs that heal most of everyday medical problems.

Top image credit: stevepb/Pixabay.

[Source: My Juicer Expert.]

Sunday, 23 October 2016


10 More Things We’ve Learned From Wikileaks
By Debra Kelly,
Listverse, 23 October 2016.

With the presidential election right around the corner, still more emails are being released by Wikileaks. These new batches of emails provide a continuing look into what goes on behind the scenes in the democratic campaign, and are a sobering look at the real story behind the media crusade.

10. Laura Graham


Laura Graham was deputy director of White House scheduling during Bill Clinton’s time in office, a job that required her to interview with John Podesta. She’s also become the Clinton’s chief of staff and the chief of operations for the Clinton Foundation, meaning that she is in the center of everything that is going on in the Clinton camp. Doug Band, who has been at the heart of newly-exposed comments regarding Chelsea Clinton, called Graham “the glue that holds it all together”.

The leaked emails suggest that not all is rosy behind the scenes at the Clinton Foundation. On December 8, 2011, Band sent an email warning about the state of Graham’s mental health. Not only did he tell other Clinton supporters that he had just talked Graham out of driving her car off a Staten Island dock and ultimately committing suicide in the water, he gave a reason, too. He writes, “She called to tell me the stress of all this office crap with wjc and cvc as well as that of her family had driven her to the edge and she couldn’t take it any more.” The email goes on to say that Chelsea would undoubtedly not care, and be more worried about what the press was saying about her in recent articles.

9. The Hillary Victory Fund


Back in July of 2016, Wikileaks released some emails hacked from the Democratic National Committee that seemed to prove just how hand-in-hand officials and their fundraisers went. Those emails led to the resignation of Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the party chairwoman, and put the spotlight directly on just what kind of things donations to the party could get you. Those included everything from a more prominent position at public events to VIP packages, luxury hotel rooms, and access to various Democratic officials.

More recently released emails from this latest batch of leaks shows that the trading of fundraising dollars for favors continues with the Hillary Victory Fund. Among the most damning evidence is an email from Minh Nguyen to John Podesta, in which he talks about “trying to land the campaign a big fat whale that can give between $100,000 to maybe $1 million”. That donation hinged on one thing: “If their ego can be reassured that they won’t be treated “just like any other donor.””

The email also says, in two different places, “I’m 100% sure this is out of protocol.” and “If it’s 100% unappropriate I understand.” Accusations of bending the rules about campaign funding have plagued the committee for months, and these emails (sent in December of 2015), suggest that the accusations weren’t unfounded.

8. Bending DNC Fundraising Rules


In addition to trading donations for political favors, the Hillary Victory Fund has been associated with a practice that has been allowing for the bending and breaking of committee fundraising caps. Bloomberg took a closer look at what was going on behind the transfer of funds between the HVF and the DNC, and used the donations of S. Donald Sussman as an example.

Sussman first gave the HVF US$343,400, an oddly specific sum that will definitely come into play. The HVF then transferred US$33,400 to the DNC, which is the max donation he would be allowed to give for the election. The HVF then transferred US$10,000 from his donation, bundled in a larger transfer of US$179,000, to the Democratic Party of South Carolina. The same day - April 25 - the South Carolina Democrats funneled that same amount into the DNC. Since state parties transferring money to federal ones don’t have to disclose where all the money came from, it’s a work-around that allows more money than is legally allowed to be donated into a campaign from a single source. Election laws limit personal donations but not state, putting the Wikileaks emails in a whole new light.

7. Receiving Town Hall Questions


When the above-mentioned Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigned amid scandal, the position was taken over by Donna Brazile. According to the Wikileaks emails, Brazile sent Jennifer Palmieri an email on March 12, 2016, that began, “Here’s one that worries me about HRC,” and continued with a run-down of a series of statistics and a question on whether or not “Ohio and the 30 other states” should get rid of the death penalty. The email was titled, “From time to time, I get the questions in advance”.

The next day, Clinton was at a town hall in Ohio when she was presented with the same question - almost verbatim - from undecided voter Ricky Jackson, who had been wrongly convicted, sentenced to death, and eventually exonerated.

Brazile later said that she certainly had not shared the questions, and that she didn’t even know what was going to be asked. A similar position was held by TV One’s Roland Martin, who claimed first that not even his own executive producer knew what the questions were going to be, before saying (a few hours later) that he had sent the questions to CNN through that producer and his crew.

Brazile has also been implicated in the election rigging scandal recently uncovered by Project Veritas. More damning evidence on that front is due to be released on Monday.

6. Pulling Strings for Special Cancer Treatments


Back in 2008, Nancy Pelosi made headlines after pulling some strings to help Fred Baron receive an experimental cancer treatment in spite of being denied by the drug’s manufacturer. The drug, Tysabri, was made by Biogen, Inc., and had been approved for use in the treatment of Crohn’s disease and multiple sclerosis. It was being tested for use in treating bone marrow cancer, but Biogen refused to try it in Baron in case ill effects gave the drug a black mark that ultimately resulted in it being denied to other patients. Pelosi pulled strings, the drug was given, and it didn’t work.

The Dallas Morning News later ran a story about just how those strings got pulled. Baron was well-known to the DNC, as both a party fundraiser and as one of the key players in the John Edwards scandal that saw money funneled into an account to keep his mistress quiet. The DNC was not the only one coming to Baron’s aid, either, and buried in the Wikileaks emails is a conversation with John Podesta that talks about the board members of Biogen, a plea from Baron’s wife, and a reminder of the money that Baron had donated to the Mayo Clinic. Lisa Baron’s original email was also included, where she threatened to “take out full pg add in boston globe to ceo and board members” if they wouldn’t prescribe the drug.

Bill Clinton and other DNC party members went to bat for Baron in order to get the drug released. Lisa Baron was quoted as saying, “It’s not fair that other people can’t pick up the phone and make the government give them a drug.”

5. Radical Solutions

In March of 2016, Neera Tanden, Jake Sullivan and John Podesta were exchanging a series of emails that seems to hint about much, much bigger things that they were all aware of. They were talking about some ideas with the ultimate goal of trying to decide what was going to be put forward as official positions for Clinton’s campaign, and one reads, “Strengthen bribery laws to ensure that politicians don’ change legislation for political donations.”

It sounds like a favorable stance to adopt, and it’s the second suggestion in the list. Farther on in the email, it reads, “The second idea is a favorite of mine, as you know, but REALLY dicey territory for HRC, right?” Other suggestions include things like disclosing the donors who contributed to election commercials, and full, transparent reporting when it comes to government contracts, and limiting the money contributed to campaigns by lobbyists.

The only real response is “We will mull. I can see this either way.”

4. The Trans-Pacific Partnership


On October 8, 2015, Clinton was quoted as saying, “As of today, I am not in favor of what I have learned about it.” At the time, that was a bit confusing, as while she was secretary of state, she sang the praises of the plan. Her stance as a part of the government was to call the plan all sorts of things, from “gold standard” to “groundbreaking,” and she even went as far as trying to get more nations on board with the plan.

That was after Wikileaks first got involved with the plan, releasing drafts of the free-trade agreement that, at the time in 2013, included 12 different countries. Now, Wikileaks has released emails that date from the same time as Clinton’s flip to suggesting that the trade agreement had some serious concerns that needed to be addressed before she would endorse it. Speechwriters debated on how to present her current position without undermining her previous comments, bringing up things like poor working conditions in some of the nations the agreement would be with, as well as environmental and public health concerns.

Going over drafts of speeches and comments, speech writers clearly had their hands full making it clear that she opposed the plan while adding in positivity, compliments and focus. Joel Benenson wrote, “But the reality is HRC is more pro trade than anti and trying to turn her into something she is not could reinforce our negative around authenticity.”

3. Email Deletion


The issue of whether or not Clinton deleted a whole bunch of emails that were stored on a private email server has been one of the sticking points of the campaign. The issue has been at the heart of countless debate and online discussion, and buried in the Wikileaks emails is one that shows a step-by-step, internal discussion on just what went into the process of sorting through emails and deciding which ones to give the order to delete.

In the emails, it was mentioned that a complete vetting process was undertaken to save the work-related emails that had been turned over to the government. There are also a list of “possible questions” and the answers that were approved for those questions, including one about whether or not the entire server was completely wiped of all emails afterward. The official answer is, “I asked that they be deleted, how that happened was up to the company that managed the server. And they are cooperating fully with anyone that has questions.”

Rumor has it that Wikileaks has all of the deleted emails and will be releasing them closer to the election.

2. Pay-to-Play in Morocco


Accusations of accepting campaign donations in exchange for favors has dogged the campaign from the beginning, and the day after Clinton dodged the question in the last presidential debate, emails were released that suggested that is exactly what was happening on a massive scale. The country in question is Morocco, and the donation in question was a US$12 million commitment from the nation’s King Mohammed VI.

News outlets originally reported that the Clinton campaign had accepted US$1 million for a phosphate company owned by the Moroccan government, and also noted that it was highly unlikely that she would be heading to Morocco for an event that was scheduled for the month after her campaign kicked off in earnest. And, according to the recently leaked emails, that was a huge problem.

Huma Abedin wrote, “Just to give you some context, the condition upon which the Moroccans agreed to host the meeting was her participation. […] The King has personally committed approx $12 million both for the endowment and to support the meeting.”

1. The Million-Dollar Birthday Present


And speaking of donations for favors, there is also the decidedly massive US$1 million “birthday present” that Qatar wanted to give Bill Clinton. According to the leaked emails, the topic was brought up in a 2012 meeting between the Clinton camp and ambassadors from Rwanda, Malawi, Brazil, Peru, and Qatar. The email in question contained talking points for each interaction, and at the top of the list was a request from Qatar.

It read, “Would like to see WJC “for five minutes” in NYC, to present $1 million check that Qatar promised for WJC’s birthday in 2011.”

It was followed by a note saying that Qatar was more than open to hearing their suggestions on what investments they should make in Haiti, and it also noted that they’re happy to consider any suggestions that the Clintons made.

Top image: Hillary Clinton Emails. Credit: Wikileaks.

[Source: Listverse. Edited. Top image added.]


8 Skeptical Early Reactions to Revolutionary Inventions
By Shaunacy Ferro,
Mental Floss, 14 October 2016.

Not every inventor is recognized as a genius in their time. And not every invention is recognized as a game-changer when it first comes out. Plenty of inventions and technologies throughout history have seemed considered newfangled, superfluous, or even flat-out dangerous at first glance. Here are eight now-ubiquitous technologies that were unappreciated, underestimated, and feared at their debut.

1. The printing press

Image credit: Daniel Maclise/Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

In 1492, the monk Johannes Trithemius, a leading scholar in his time, predicted that the printing press would never last. In his essay “In Praise of Scribes, he argued that handwriting was the moral superior to mechanical printing - an opinion surely influenced by the fact that monks working as scribes worried that the printing press would put them out of work.

“The word written on parchment will last a thousand years,” Thrithemius boasted. “The printed word is on paper… The most you can expect a book of paper to survive is two hundred years.” Parchment, the material monks used for their books, is made of animal skin, while paper is made from cellulose derived from plant fibers. Modern paper does degrade because it's made from wood pulp, but in Trithemius's time, paper was made from old rags, a material that remains stable over hundreds of years, as the surviving copies of the Gutenberg Bible show. Trithemius went on to write that “Printed books will never be the equivalent of handwritten codices, especially since printed books are often deficient in spelling and appearance.” Ironically, his screed was disseminated by printing press, not hand-copied by monks.

2. Ice cubes

Image credit: Darren Hester/Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 2.5

People in cold climates have always had access to ice in the winter, but it was only in the early 19th century that the ice market became global, and it took a considerable marketing campaign to get there. New England’s Frederic Tudor spent decades trying to drum up widespread interest in the ice he harvested from frozen ponds.

When it came out that he was preparing to ship many tons of ice to the sweltering West Indies, he “was laughed at by all his neighbors” back home in Massachusetts - as a local history from 1888 recounts - who thought loading up a ship with ice and setting sail for the Caribbean was an insane undertaking. As the Boston Gazette wrote of his voyage, “We hope this will not prove to be a slippery speculation.” The paper had to preface news of his ice endeavor with “No joke.”

When he did ship a 130-ton load of ice to the Caribbean island of Martinique, in 1806, no one wanted it. People were intrigued by the novelty, but had no idea what to use it for. As his valuable cargo began melting, Tudor was forced to turn as much as he could into ice cream. He lost thousands of dollars on the venture, but eventually, he was traveling the world bringing ice to hot places from New Orleans to Calcutta, plying people with chilled drinks and convincing doctors to use ice on their feverish patients. He's now known as "The Ice King."

3. The telephone

Image credit: Alexander Graham Bell via the Library of Congress // Public Domain

In advance of Philadelphia’s Centennial Exposition of 1876, where Alexander Graham Bell would later debut his telephone, The New York Times published an editorial accusing an early phone inventor, German scientist Johann Philipp Reis (who had died in 1874), of conspiring to empty concert halls. The Times, writing of the telephone as a method of broadcasting classical music, warned that “a patriotic regard for the success of our approaching Centennial celebration renders it necessary to warn the managers of the Philadelphia Exhibition that the telephone may really be a device of the enemies of the Republic.” What if every town in America got a phone, and never had to show up to celebrations like the Centennial in person again? the author wondered. He continued:
"There is so far nothing to indicate that this is Prof. Reuss’ dark design, but as all foreign despots, from the Queen, in the Tower of London, to the Prince of Monaco, in the backroom of his gambling palace, are notoriously and constantly tearing their hair as they…note the progress and prosperity of our nation, it is not impossible that they have suggested the infamous scheme of attacking the Centennial Celebration with telephones."
After Bell introduced his telephone to the world, his father-in-law and business partner, Gardiner Hubbard, famously offered to sell it to Western Union, the company that held a virtual monopoly on U.S. telegraph enterprises. Western Union President William Orton (who had a contentious relationship with Hubbard), turned him down - a decision he surely came to regret when Western Union's own efforts to develop a telephone were shut down by a patent lawsuit from the Bell Company. Though the exact nature and price of the offer is contentious, it is now considered one of the worst decisions in business history, since the phone would go on to make Western Union's telegraph business obsolete.

4. The car radio

Image credit: Kaldari/Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

In 1922, Outlook magazine, a New York-based weekly, breathlessly reported that “This equipment, with which you can listen to the radio concerts while driving in your car is said to be the very latest development of inventive genius for the amusement of the radio fan.”

But not everyone was excited. In 1930, The New York Times quoted an unnamed traffic authority in Washington, D.C. expounding on the potential pitfalls of the technology for drivers. “Music in the car might make him miss hearing the horn of an approaching automobile or fire or ambulance siren,” he told the Times. “Imagine fifty automobiles in a city street broadcasting a football game! Such a thing as this, I am sure, would not be tolerated by city traffic authorities."

A 1934 poll of Automobile Club of New York members found that 56 percent found car radios to be distracting to the user, fellow drivers, and just “more noise added to the present din” of the road. Several states moved to ban the controversial devices, which opponents argued could lull drivers to sleep. However, a 1939 study found that radios didn’t have any effect on taxicab accident rates, and the bans never became widespread.

5. The skateboard

Image credit: Tequask/Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 4.0

In the 1960s, the relatively new sport of skateboarding had sparked plenty of interest among young people, but not so much among their parents. Many decried skateboarding as a fleeting but potentially lethal craze. In 1965, Pennsylvania’s traffic safety commissioner, Harry H. Brainerd, thought that skateboarding was “extremely hazardous fad,” according to The Pittsburgh Press, and argued that parents “would be well advised not to permit the children to use skateboards until they have been instructed in and understand basic, common sense rules of safety for their use.” He wasn’t the only one that thought kids couldn’t be trusted to ride early skateboards without killing themselves. The liberal political organization Americans for Democratic Action petitioned the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission in 1979 to ban skateboards outright, saying that “The design of the skateboard itself cannot be improved in any way to make it safe.” Needless to say, kids kept skating.

6. The Walkman

Image credit: Anna Gerdén/Wikimedia Commons // BY-SA 3.0

Sony’s first Walkman portable cassette player came onto the scene in 1979, changing how people listened to music. But not everyone bought into the pet project of Sony CEO Akio Morita at first. In his book Made in Japan, he recounts that in the beginning, “It seemed as though nobody liked the idea. At one of our product planning meetings, one of the engineers said, ‘It sounds like a good idea, but will people buy it if it doesn’t have a recording capability? I don’t think so.’” Even once the product was developed, Morita says, “our marketing people were unenthusiastic. They said it wouldn’t sell.”

It did sell - in 1982, the Daily News of Bowling Green, Kentucky declared that it was “now clear that the Walkman and its successors not only sell and sell from Anchorage to Ankara, but also appear to have become a semi-permanent appendage to most of the world’s ears.” It had attracted a different kind of criticism by then, though. Municipalities started trying to ban people from wearing headphones while walking across the street, arguing that it was a safety hazard. A law fining people US$50 (or 15 days in jail) for wearing a headset while crossing the street - even if the music is off - is still on the books in Woodbridge, New Jersey today.

7. The cell phone

Image credit: Rico Shen/Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0

In 1981, telecommunications consultant Jan David Jubon was skeptical of how popular the rumored new devices known as cell phones could be. "But who, today, will say I'm going to ditch the wires in my house and carry the phone around?" he said in The Christian Science Monitor.

Even Marty Cooper [pictured above], known as the “father of the cell phone,” didn’t predict how ubiquitous mobile phones could be at that point. "Cellular phones will absolutely not replace local wire systems," Cooper told the paper. “Even if you project it beyond our lifetimes, it won't be cheap enough."

8. The iPhone

Image credit: Carl Berkeley/Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 2.0

On the cusp of the debut of the first iPhone in 2007, several tech writers made bold predictions about how hard it would fail. “That virtual keyboard will be about as useful for tapping out emails and text messages as a rotary phone,” TechCrunch’s Seth Porges wrote in a piece titled “We Predict the iPhone Will Bomb.”

Bloomberg writer Matthew Lynn argued that “The iPhone is nothing more than a luxury bauble that will appeal to a few gadget freaks. In terms of its impact on the industry, the iPhone is less relevant.”

Unsurprisingly, the CEO of Microsoft wasn’t a big fan of the new phone either. “There’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share,” then-CEO Steve Ballmer told USA Today in 2007. “No chance.” In December 2014, the iPhone had captured almost 48 percent of the smartphone market in the U.S. - though those numbers have dropped since then - compared to the Windows phone’s less than 4 percent.

Top image: Old telephone. Credit: PublicDomainPictures/Pixabay.

[Source: Mental Floss. Edited. Top image added.]