Inside Einstein's Refrigerator

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Adams eventually tried to conduct some testing himself. He experimented with bats carrying a new sort of explosive called "napalm." The Navy eventually took over the Adams Plan, renamed Project X-Ray, but after conducting $2 million worth of experiments over a 27-month period, they apparently deemed the project positively batty.

The Great Baby Race

Then there was eccentric Canadian lawyer Charles Vance Millar. When he died in 1926, he turned his will into an elaborate joke. He gave lucrative shares in the Ontario Jockey Club to a preacher and a judge who reviled gambling. Of course, they both accepted the gifts.

Millar gave shares in a local brewing company to every preacher in Toronto. But the big prize in his will — $100,000 — went to the woman who gave birth to the most children over the next 10 years. Like race horses, scads of women competed.

Newspapers ran box scores showing which contestants were in the lead, highlighting the lucky mothers of twins and triplets. Controversies arose over whether stillborn births and illegitimate children counted. One woman was disqualified because not all of her 10 children had the same father. (She eventually got a $12,500 consolation prize.) Four women with nine children each eventually shared the prize.

Buck Wolf is entertainment producer at The Wolf Files is published Tuesdays and Thursdays. If you want to receive weekly notice when a new column is published, join the e-mail list.