Weird Universe Blog — May 24, 2017

Mystery Gadget 48

What's going on here?

Answer at the link (scroll down).

And after the jump.

More in extended >>

Posted By: Paul - Wed May 24, 2017 - Comments (5)
Category: Technology, 1910s

May 23, 2017

Lloyd Thomas Koritz — Human Guinea Pig

As a young doctor-in-training at the University of Illinois Medical School in the early 1950s, Lloyd Thomas Koritz volunteered to be a guinea pig in a variety of experiments. In one, he ate a pound of raw liver daily (washed down by a quart of milk) to help study liver metabolism. In a fatigue study he was kept unconscious for 11 hours.

But the most dangerous experiment involved being hung in a harness from a specially-constructed mast and knocked out with anesthesia and curare, so that his breathing stopped. Researchers then tested methods of resuscitating him. They were searching for more efficient ways of resuscitating electrocuted power line workers, so that they could revive the workers while they were still hanging from the poles instead of having to lower them while unconscious to the ground, which takes a lot of time.

I think it would be hard nowadays to get approval to do these kinds of tests on human subjects. Koritz said he disliked the liver-eating experiment the most. In 1953 he was given the Walter Reed Society Award for being willing to repeatedly risk his life for the sake of science.

"Drugged into unconsciousness and paralysis, [Koritz] willingly risked insanity
and death in a significant experiment. This test helped determine the best way
to revive electrically-shocked linemen."
Saturday Evening Post - July 25, 1953

San Bernardino County Sun - Apr 9, 1953

San Bernardino County Sun - Apr 9, 1953

Posted By: Alex - Tue May 23, 2017 - Comments (5)
Category: Science, Experiments, 1950s

Horn OK Please

Atlas Obscura does a great job explaining the wacky phrase from India, "Horn OK Please." But they do not place the video of the song that uses the same title upfront enough for my tastes!

Posted By: Paul - Tue May 23, 2017 - Comments (1)
Category: Languages, Slang, Motor Vehicles, India

May 22, 2017

Looking For Girls

One for the strange excuses file.

Freeport Journal Standard - Apr 26, 1954

Posted By: Alex - Mon May 22, 2017 - Comments (0)
Category: 1950s

Jack the Stripper

Original article here.

Posted By: Paul - Mon May 22, 2017 - Comments (6)
Category: Crime, Public Indecency, 1960s, Women, Nudism

May 21, 2017

News of the Weird (May 21, 2017)

News of the Weird
Weirdnuz.M528, May 21, 2017
Copyright 2017 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Lead Story

Officials in charge of the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal heritage site recently installed "speed bumps" (similar to those familiar to Americans driving residential streets)--but on a pedestrian walkway, with row upon row of risers, to resemble a washboard. A Western travel writer, along with editors of People's Daily China, suggested that officials were irked that "disorderly" tourists had been walking past the ancient grounds too rapidly to appreciate its beauty or context. [Daily Telegraph (London), 5-4-2017]

The Job of the Researcher

"Marine mammologist" Dara Orbach's specialty is figuring out how bottlenose dolphins actually fit their sex organs together to copulate. When dolphins die of natural causes, Orbach (a post-doctoral fellow at Nova Scotia's Dalhousie University) is sent their genitals (and also those of whales, porpoises, and sea lions) and fills each one with silicone to work from the mold in understanding the sex act's mechanics. Dolphins' vaginas are "surprising" in their "complexity," she told Canadian Broadcasting Corporation News in April, for example with the ability to twist inner folds to divert the progress of any sperm deposited by undesirable mates. [CBC News, 4-26-2017]

Bright Ideas

Compared to busy coastal metropolises, "Indiana" may evoke repose, and entrepreneur Tom Battista is suggesting the state's largest city capitalize on the sentiment by reserving a destination site on a low-lying hill overlooking the chaotic merge lanes of two Interstate highways--affording visitors leisurely moments watching the frantic motorists scrambling below. He plans three rows of seats and a sunshade for the relaxed gawkers to take in the "ocean"-like roar and imagine overwrought drivers' rising blood pressure (while their own remains soothingly calm). [WTHR-TV (Indianapolis, 4-25-2017]

Several treatments are available to combat the heart arrhythmia "atrial fibrillation," but all require medical supervision, which John Griffin, 69, said he tried to acquire at the emergency room at New Zealand's Waikato Hospital in April, only to be met with delay and frustration. Griffin went home that day, took notice of his neighbor's 8,000-volt electric security fence, and, with boots off, in a fit of do-it-yourself desperation, nudged it with his arm. He got quite a jolt, he said, but he walked away, and his heart returned to natural rhythm. The medical director of the Heart Foundation of New Zealand said that Griffin was lucky and sternly warned against the "procedure." [New Zealand Herald, 5-2-2017]

Weird Science

Medical researchers have been frustrated for years at failures in getting certain cancer-fighting drugs to reach targeted areas in women's reproductive tracts, but doctors in Germany announced in April a bold technique that appeared to work: sending the drugs via sperm cells (which seem to roam unobstructedly as they search for an egg). The process involves coating active sperm cells with an iron adhesive and magnetically steering them to their internal targets. [, 4-14-2017]

News That Sounds Like a Joke

Sean Clemens, now awaiting trial in Liberty, Ohio, in the death of an 84-year-old woman, allegedly confessed his guilt to a co-worker after telling the man that something was bothering him that he needed to tell someone about--but only if the co-worker would "pinkie-swear" not to tell anyone else. (The co-worker broke the code.) [WKBN-TV (Youngstown), 4-25-2017]

In the course of pursuing claims against Alaskan dentist Seth Lookhart for Medicaid fraud, government investigators found a video on his phone of him extracting a sedated patient's tooth--while riding on a hoverboard. (He had apparently sent the video to his office manager under the title "New Standard of Care.") Lookhart had been indicted in 2016 for billing Medicaid $1.8 million for patient sedations unnecessary for the procedures they received. [Alaska Dispatch News, 4-21-2017]


In April, Tennessee state representative Mike Stewart, aiming to make a point about the state's lax gun-sales laws and piggybacking onto the cuddly feeling people have about children's curbside lemonade stands, set up a combination stand on Nashville's Capitol Hill, offering for sale lemonade, cookies--and an AK-47 assault rifle (with a sign "No Background Check," to distinguish the private-sale AK-47 from one purchased from a federally licensed dealer). (In fact, some states still regulate lemonade stands more than gun sales--by nettlesome "health department" and anti-competitive rules and licensing, though Tennessee allows the stands in most neighborhoods as long as they are small and operated infrequently.) [WKRN-TV (Nashville), 4-5-2017]


(1) The Wall Street Journal reported in February that among the most popular diversions when Syrian households gather to escape the country's bombs and bullets is playing the Hasbro war board game "Risk" (even though the game's default version contains only five armies--not nearly enough to simulate the many Syrian factions now fighting). (2) The parliament of Australia's New South Wales, entertaining a February citizen petition to cut societal "waste," admitted that the petition's required 107,000 signatures (already on a USB stick) would, by rule, have to be submitted in hard copy (4,000 pages), even though the pages would immediately be electronically scanned into a format for data storage. [Wall Street Journal, 2-16-2017] [Sydney Morning Herald, 2-26-2017]

People Different From Us

In March, an electrician on a service call at a public restroom in Usuki, Japan, discovered a crawlspace above the urinal area, which had apparently been a man's home (with a space heater, gas stove, and clothing). Investigators learned that Takashi Yamanouchi, 54, a homeless wanderer, had been living there continuously for three years--and had arranged everything very tidily, including the 300-plus plastic two-liter bottles of his urine. (It was unclear why he was storing his urine when he resided above a public restroom.) [Rocket News, 4-2-4-2017]

Least Competent Criminals

Not Ready For Prime Time: (1) In March, WTTG-TV in Washington, D.C., broadcast surveillance video of a 7-Eleven armed robbery in the city's northeast sector--since some footage offered a clear picture of the suspect's face. Moments into the robbery, the man peered upward, caught sight of the camera, and, shocked, reached for his apparently-forgotten ski mask on top of his head, where (better late than never) he pulled it into place. (2) In November, three teenagers were arrested after stealing superfast Dodge cars in the middle of the night from a dealership in St. Peters, Mo. (After driving less than a mile, police said, the three had lost control of their cars, crashing them, including "totaling" two 700-horsepower Challenger Hellcats.) [WTTG-TV, 3-28-2017] [KTVI (St. Louis), 11-16-2017]

No Longer Weird

News that was formerly weird but whose patterns more recently have become so tedious that the stories deserve respectful retirement: (1) On May 5th, an elderly woman in Plymouth, England, became the most recent to drive wildly afield by blindly obeying her car's satellite navigation system. Turning left, as ordered, only to confront a solid railing, she nonetheless spotted a narrow pedestrian gap and squeezed through, which led to her descending the large concrete stairway at the Mayflower House Court parking garage (until her undercarriage got stuck). (2) Police in East Palestine, Ohio, said the 8-year-old boy who commandeered the family car and drove his sister, 4, to the local McDonald's for a cheeseburger on April 9th was different from the usual underaged drivers in that he caused no problems. Witnesses said he followed traffic signals en route, which the boy attributed to learning from YouTube videos. [, 5-5-2017] [WFMJ-TV (Youngstown), 4-12-2017]

A News of the Weird Classic (October 2013)

Imminent Swirling Vortex of Damnation: Land developers for the iconic Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colo. (the inspiration for the hotel in Stephen King’s “The Shining”) announced recently [2013] that they need more space and thus will dig up and move the hotel’s 12-gravesite pet cemetery (another Stephen King trope). Neighbors told the Fort Collins Coloradoan in September [2013] that they feared the construction noise more than the potential release of departed spirits (though an “Animal Planet” “dog psychic” who lives in Estes Park volunteered her services to calm the pets’ souls). (Update: Apparently, it worked.) [Fort Collins Coloradoan via USA Today, 9-26-2013]

Thanks This Week to Chuck Hamilton and to the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors.

Posted By: Chuck - Sun May 21, 2017 - Comments (2)

Follies of the Madmen #315

Original ad here.

Posted By: Paul - Sun May 21, 2017 - Comments (2)
Category: Business, Advertising, Products, 1930s, Nudism, Cars

Agave Guitar

Continuing the theme of musical instruments made of odd things (matchstick violins, lobster violin), here's a guitar made out of agave cactus.

Does it really matter what wood you make an electric guitar out of? This site here says it does, and it sounds like hard woods are generally better than soft woods. So I'm assuming that agave wouldn't be the first choice of most guitar players. Though it would be very light.

This guy here makes agave surfboards.

Posted By: Alex - Sun May 21, 2017 - Comments (1)
Category: Music

May 20, 2017

A license to kill

Maybe they were hoping to appeal to the serial killer demographic.

The ad ran in Playboy magazine, 1964.

The after shave is briefly mentioned in Playboy and the Making of the Good Life in Modern America, by Elizabeth Fraterrigo:

Bond reached the status of "popular hero" in the mid-1960s, bringing an explosion of press coverage and Bond-themed merchandise and advertising. Colgate-Palmolive launched the 007 line of men's toiletries, with a misogynistic slogan that called forth the linkage of seduction and masculine power in the Bond narratives: "007 gives any man the license to kill... women." During this period, sales of Fleming's Bond novels peaked, and several other Bond-inspired playboy-spy-adventure films appeared.

Posted By: Alex - Sat May 20, 2017 - Comments (2)
Category: Advertising, Gender, 1960s

Swift Pavilion, 1939 World’s Fair

The exhibition hall for Swift's was shaped like a giant hotdog.

Posted By: Paul - Sat May 20, 2017 - Comments (4)
Category: Architecture, Fairs, Amusement Parks, and Resorts, Food, 1930s

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All original content in posts is Copyright © 2016 by the author of the post, which is usually either Alex Boese ("Alex"), Paul Di Filippo ("Paul"), or Chuck Shepherd ("Chuck"). All rights reserved. The banner illustration at the top of this page is Copyright © 2008 by Rick Altergott.

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