Shirikodama (n): Small anus ball

There are some, shall we say, highly unique elements of Japanese culture, and their folklore is right up there. Literally. According to Japanese folklore, the human soul exists as a small hardened magical ball within the anus known as 'shirikodama' (尻子玉 - literally 'small anus ball'). Tales tell of lake-dwelling monsters known as 'kappa' who try to kill you by 'extracting' your shirikodama if you dare venture into their lake.

Weighty words

If you own an eBook reader, you know it can save you a lot of shelf space: a 4GB model can hold around 3,500 books which would otherwise weigh around 2 tons. But is a 'full' eBook reader heavier than an empty one? Yes. Just. A billionth of a billionth of a gram heavier - about the weight of a DNA molecule.

"A young man right at the beginning of his career"

To say that famed actor Sir Christopher Lee led an extraordinary life would be a vast understatement. For example, he was a die-hard metal fan and musician, and at age 91 became the oldest musician to enter the Billboard charts (at #22) with his Christmas single 'Jingle Hell'. In 2010, he released his first complete metal album: 'Charlemagne: By the Sword and the Cross'. It was critically acclaimed and awarded the 'Spirit of Metal' award at the 2010 Metal Hammer Golden Gods ceremony. Accepting the award, he described himself as "a young man right at the beginning of his career".

King Umberto's uncanny end

On 28 July 1900, King Umberto I of Italy visited a small restaurant in the town of Monza. As the owner greeted him, the King realised they looked identical and also shared the same name. But the coincidences kept coming: they were both born on March 14, 1844 in the same town. They both married women named Margherita on the same day, and both had sons called Vittorio. They both served in the military and were promoted (to different ranks) on the same day, AND the restaurateur opened his restaurant on the very same day that King Umberto was crowned. Amazed, the King invited his doppelgänger to the palace, only to find the restaurateur couldn't make it: he was killed in a gun-related accident earlier that day. Later that day, the King was assassinated by a gunman.