Pulse Rate May 2014

Australia’s Nail Brewing created the most expensive beer in the world in 2010. Called Antarctic Nail Ale, it cost $800 a bottle and was made from melted Antarctic ice.

British Columbian Jim Smith is considered the first Elvis impersonator. He began performing at 16 when Elvis himself was only 21.

Conspiracy theorists take note: An MIT experiment found that tinfoil hats actually amplify radio waves.

Hong Kong’s Sun Yee On gang is the largest criminal organization in existence, claiming about 55,000 members worldwide.

In the 1940s, ice pick lobotomy proponent Dr. Walter Freeman used to go on tour in his “lobotomobile” to mental institutions around the US to demonstrate the now-debunked procedure.

And in the least-scary animal department: Rabbits growl and hiss.

The phrase “pulling the plug” does not refer to electrical cords, but the method of draining the earliest modern flush toilets.

The capacity of the human stomach is about two quarts. Competitive eaters can triple that number.

It’s not cheap to become a New York City pushcart vendor. Annual fees for a prime spot in Central Park can cost the equivalent of a small house.

Basmati or Jasmine is fine, but avoid “Disco Rice” at all costs—it’s New York sanitation slang for maggots.

The direct ancestor of the near-obsolete electronic pager was a radio-controlled bomb detonator developed to blow up Nazi bridges during WWII.

Cricket fighting has been a pastime of Chinese aristocracy for a millennium. They even selectively breed bulked-up, aggressive versions of the chirping insect.

Contraband records in the 1950s Soviet Union were pressed using discarded X-rays. These “bone rock” or “rib rock” LPs centered the bone image for maximum aesthetic effect.

michael isenbek

Michael Isenbek, Associate Editor, dabbles in both fiction and nonfiction writing, coordinates the Pulse event listings and writes the text for "Zoom," among other editorial tasks. He has a Master's Degree in Liberal Studies and a Bachelor's Degree in Cultural Studies with a concentration in Journalism from SUNY Empire State College.