Don't use cat on binaries, it will screw up the console. But you can use strings to find strings in binaries.
You may be able to save your terminal with reset.
Also, something fun to do, is "strings /dev/mem" You can find some interesting stuff
BTW, when he says "reset", he means typing "reset", not pushing the rest button.
Also, you can do "file myunknownfile" to find out what it is before you cat it.
BTW, mbishop -- that "strings /dev/mem" trick was way, way cool. I'm finding it fascinating. It's especially fascinating because my daughter uses my Linux system's tinyproxy to filter her Internet and I noticed web searches were in my system's memory.