Best of Wikipedia is my new favorite site. As someone who too frequently has to resist the urge to spend hours link-hopping around obscure wikipedia articles, BoW is a dangerous place. They simply put up a couple of unusual and fascinating articles a day. For those of you with more self-control a sample of some of their recent entries includes:
Gruen Transfer: In shopping mall design, the Gruen transfer refers to the moment when a consumer enters a shopping mall, and, surrounded by an intentionally confusing layout, loses track their original intentions. Spatial awareness of their surroundings play a key role, as does the surrounding sound and music. The effect of the transfer is marked by a slower walking pace and glazed eyes.
Paraprosdokian A paraprosdokian is a figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected in a way that causes the reader or listener to reframe or reinterpret the first part. It is frequently used for humorous or dramatic effect, sometimes producing an anticlimax. For this reason, it is extremely popular among comedians and satirists. An example by Groucho Marx is, “She got her good looks from her father, he’s a plastic surgeon.”
Semantic Satiation Semantic satiation (also semantic saturation) is a cognitive neuroscience phenomenon in which repetition causes a word or phrase to temporarily lose meaning for the listener, who can only process the speech as repeated meaningless sounds.
So there you go.
[Comic via XKCD, obviously.]