Inside Einstein's Refrigerator

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Others tried to repeat the Miracle Mike phenomenon. It couldn't be done. One chicken, named Lucky, lived 11 days. Guess he wasn't so lucky after all.

The folks of Fruita held the first "Mike the Headless Chicken Day" two years ago. They have chicken races, hold egg tosses and Pin-the-Head on Mike games. And, of course, they eat lots of chicken.

The Bat Bomb

Silverman's look at history soars to strange heights with other flying creatures. Before atomic weapons brought the Japanese to their knees, the Americans were working on another secret weapon — the bat bomb.

Pennsylvania dentist and inventor Lytle Adams was driving home, listening to the tragic reports of the Pearl Harbor bombing on his car radio. He thought of the ultimate counterattack: There were millions of bats in local caves. If small incendiary devices were tied to these creepy creatures, and if we could set them upon Japan at dawn, Tokyo would be crippled.

OK, there are a lot of kooks out there with crazy ideas. But Adams was a high-flying executive. He and a partner formed the airline that eventually became US Airways. He had the ear of first lady Eleanor Roosevelt and other officials. "This man is not a nut," President Roosevelt wrote in a memo, according to Silverman.

Adams had it all worked out. The bats would be cooled down, to force them into a state of semi-hibernation. Fighter planes would release them over targets. The bomb-carrying bats would warm up, instinctively head for the nooks and crannies in local buildings — and then BOOM. No more enemy.

With FDR's endorsement, the National Defense Research Committee and the Army air force began to look for the best kamikaze bats. Millions of dollars would be spent before researchers found that even the largest bats couldn't carry the smallest 2-pound bomb.

When the government turned to the A-bomb, Adams was outraged. "We got a sure thing like the bat bomb going, something that could really win the war," Adams is quoted as saying. "And they're jerking [around] with tiny little atoms. It makes me want to cry."