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A. J. Jacobs, fully Arnold Stephen Jacobs, Jr.

(1968 - )


American Journalist and Author

A 2002 Oxford study showed counting sheep actually delays the onset of sleep. It's just too dull to stop us from worrying about jobs and spouses
A few weeks later, I?m in a fluorescent-lit classroom in Chelsea awaiting the start of the official Mensa test. I?m sitting next to a guy who?s doing a series of elaborate neck stretches, like we?re about to engage in a vigorous rugby match. He?s neatly laid out four types of gum on his Formica desk: Juicy Fruit, Wrigley Spearmint, Big Red, and Eclipse. I hate this guy. I hope to God he?s not a genius.
A loud noise will get your fight-or-flight response going. This, over the years, can cause real cardiovascular damage.
After decimating several vegetables, I decide juicing is my favorite form of food preparation. There's something perversely appealing about subjecting an innocent plant to that much violence.
Back to the books. The world?s largest bell was built in 1733 in Moscow, and weighed in at more than four hundred thousand pounds. It never rang?it was broken by fire before it could be struck. What a sad little story. All that work, all that planning, all those expectations?then nothing. Now it just sits there in Russia, a big metallic symbol of failure. I have a moment of silence for the silent bell.
Behavior shapes emotions.
Cigarettes' cost far outweigh any resulting trimness, just as asphyxiation outweighs the benefits of stretching out the spine when you hang yourself from a shower curtain rod.
Did you hear about the middle Eastern potentate? he asked me. This potentate called a meeting of the wise men in the kingdom, and said, I want you to gather all the world's knowledge together in one place so that my sons can read it and learn.The wise men went off, and after year, they came back with twenty-five volumes of knowledge. This potentate looked at it and he said, No. It's too long. Make it shorter. So the wise men went off for another year. When they came back, they gave the potentate a piece of paper with one sentence on it. A single sentence. You know what the sentence was?
Ezekiel and his fellow prophets have become my heroes. They were fearless. They literalized metaphors. They turned their lives into protest pieces. They proved that, in the name of truth, sometimes you can't be afraid to take a left turn from polite society and look absurd.
Hand and wrist aches are more common than ever...Wikipedia favorite, Raver's Thumb, which you can get from repeatedly waving a glow stick in the air (see, kids, ecstasy really is bad for you).