Weird Universe Blog — September 15, 2017

Wasabi Smoke Alarm

Fire alarms for the deaf typically involve strobe lights or vibration (such as a vibrating bed or pillow to wake a sleeper). But over in Japan, a few years back, researchers invented an alarm that sprayed the smell of Wasabi into the air. Tests revealed it could wake sleepers within two minutes.

The researchers also tested the smells of banana, coconut milk, and tea tree oil, but they found the smell of wasabi worked best.

More info: BBC News

Posted By: Alex - Fri Sep 15, 2017 - Comments (1)
Category: Inventions

September 14, 2017

More stolen lampposts

Phideaux draws our attention to yet another attempt at stealing lampposts by strapping them to the roof of a car. In Florida, this time. A month ago it was the Netherlands.

Posted By: Alex - Thu Sep 14, 2017 - Comments (3)
Category: Crime, Cars

Burger Grease Artist

In 2009, Arby's commissioned artist Phil Hansen to paint a version of the Mona Lisa using grease from the burgers of 14 of their competitors. He called his creation Mona Greasa.

Another curious fact about Hansen. According to wikipedia, while in high school he managed to cause himself nerve damage because of his obsession with pointillism.

He's also written a book that sounds interesting: Tattoo a Banana: And Other Ways to Turn Anything and Everything Into Art

Posted By: Alex - Thu Sep 14, 2017 - Comments (1)
Category: Art, Junk Food

Mystery Illustration 57

This complete kit equips you to...?

Answer is here.

Or after the jump.

More in extended >>

Posted By: Paul - Thu Sep 14, 2017 - Comments (8)
Category: Fashion, 1930s

September 13, 2017

Full Financial Disclosure

Back in the old days, when politicians still felt obliged to reveal their finances...

October 1952: Mike Murphy, 12-year-old candidate for secretary of the student body at Madison high school in Phoenix, AZ, felt it would be the honest thing to do to release a full financial statement. He revealed that he earned a dollar a week allowance, and a dollar for every gopher he caught in the yard. Gophers from neighbors' yards didn't count. He won the election.

Kansas City Times - Oct 13, 1952

Posted By: Alex - Wed Sep 13, 2017 - Comments (4)
Category: Politics, 1950s


This particular kind of alarmist article seems to have no current analogue.


Posted By: Paul - Wed Sep 13, 2017 - Comments (6)
Category: Teenagers, Bohemians, Beatniks, Hippies and Slackers, 1960s

September 12, 2017

Wraparound Headphones

The Jecklin Float electrostatic headphones. They were non-adjustable. So they either fit, or they didn't. But apparently the sound quality was pretty good.

Popular Mechanics - Dec 1973


Posted By: Alex - Tue Sep 12, 2017 - Comments (2)
Category: Headgear, 1970s

Showgirls With Hiccups

Posted By: Paul - Tue Sep 12, 2017 - Comments (4)
Category: Health, 1960s, Screams, Grunts and Other Exclamations

September 11, 2017

Parachute Plane

Apparently this thing did fly. It was designed by Steven Nemeth in the early 1930s. He boasted that it was so simple to fly that a person who had never been off the ground could learn to fly it in 30 minutes. Plus, it could be housed in a hangar not much larger than an average garage.

There was only one prototype ever made, and it's not clear why the plane was never developed further. Disciples of Flight speculates that "the design’s low aspect ratio wing may have meant a lot of additional drag."

Newsweek - Mar 31, 1934

Posted By: Alex - Mon Sep 11, 2017 - Comments (3)
Category: Air Travel and Airlines, 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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