Can you solve the "scrambled box tops" puzzle?

Here's a puzzle from Martin Gardner's Mathematical Games column, which ran for many years in Scientific American. I found it in his low-priced Dover edition anthology, My Best Mathematical and Logic Puzzles.

Imagine that you have three boxes, one containing two black marbles, one containing two white marbles, and the third, one black marble and one white marble. The boxes were labeled for their contents – BB, BW, WW – but someone switched the labels so that every box is now incorrectly labeled. You are allowed to take one marble at a time out of any box, without looking inside, and by this process of sampling you are to determine the contents of all three boxes. What is the smallest number of drawings needed to do this?

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Enjoy life -- make the Perler bead trinkets of Link and other Zelda characters

What's more fun than playing The Legend of Zelda? Not making Perler bead art of the characters and icons in the game, that's for sure. But Perler beading is enjoyable, in a non-creative way (unless you are using it to make art without a pattern, which makes it enjoyable and creative) . If you aren't familiar with Perler beads, they are small colored plastic beads. Each bead is like a pixel. You place the beads on a pegboard according to a pattern sheet, then fuse the beads together by running a hot iron over them. The Legend of Zelda Perler Bead Kit has 2000 beads, a pegboard, a pattern sheet with 12 designs, an ironing paper. You supply the iron. Read the rest

Teapot magically pours tea or milk

Tim from Grand Illusions (which sells cool cabinet-of-curiosity style stuff) demonstrates the Assassin's Teapot:

This teapot comes from China, and it is a trick teapot! Inside there are two separate compartments, and depending where you place your fingers - either covering one hole or covering another hole - you can get the teapot to pour out of either internal compartment.

Supposedly, back in the day, it was a way to get rid of an enemy, since you could pour out some tea for yourself and drink it quite safely (provided you had covered the correct hole) and you could then pour a drink for your enemy, and they would unknowingly get what was in the second compartment, maybe poison.

I also like his demo of an "atomic trampoline": Read the rest