Weird Universe Blog — November 30, 2023

Dial Comes to Town

Posted By: Paul - Thu Nov 30, 2023 - Comments (0)
Category: Family | PSA’s | Technology | Telephones | 1940s

November 29, 2023

Rachel Pinney, the Silent Doctor

In August 1961, Rachel Pinney took the following vow: "I intend to maintain silence on every Wednesday until my country formally renounces Nuclear Weapons. This silence is to be maintained non-violently in the face of any provocation."

Since Pinney worked as a medical doctor, her vow created some awkwardness with the patients she saw on Wednesdays. She had to communicate with them by means of nodding her head, hand signals, and notes (writing prescriptions).

According to her obituary, she maintained the vow for almost 30 years. Of course, the UK still has nuclear weapons.

Her once-a-week protest reminds me of Mildred Ruth Gordon who fasted every other day to show support for draft resisters.

Daily Mirror - Aug 10, 1961

Posted By: Alex - Wed Nov 29, 2023 - Comments (0)
Category: Riots, Protests and Civil Disobedience | Atomic Power and Other Nuclear Matters | 1960s

Somnambulist Bathing

Posted By: Paul - Wed Nov 29, 2023 - Comments (0)
Category: Hygiene | Sleep and Dreams | Danger, Risk, and Peril | 1910s

November 28, 2023

Cup Final Seats

"A man who placed advertisements in a national newspaper offering 'Cup Final seats" for £15 sent applicants small canvas stools with 'Cup Final' written on them."

He probably thought he had figured out the perfect crime.

The Guardian - May 24, 1977

Posted By: Alex - Tue Nov 28, 2023 - Comments (0)
Category: Stupid Criminals | 1970s

Ross Bolleter’s Music for Ruined Pianos

His Wikipedia page.

Over the past thirty years Bolleter has explored the timbral possibilities of ruined pianos, as quoted: old pianos that have been exposed to the elements of time and weather thus acquiring novel and unexpected musical possibilities. A piano is ruined (rather than neglected or devastated) when it has been abandoned to all weathers and has become a decaying box of unpredictable dongs, tonks and dedoomps. The notes that do not work are at least as interesting as those that do.

Ross Bolleter has five ruined pianos in his kitchen including the original ruined piano from Nallan Sheep Station, near Cue, 800 km north east of Perth, Western Australia. At Kim Hack's and Penny Mossops's olive farm, Wambyn, near York, Western Australia, Kim Hack and Bolleter developed the Ruined Piano Sanctuary, where some forty pianos are ruining in their own ways, and at their own pace, variously under trees, in dams, and on roofs. Bolleter's CD Frontier Piano, which represents the best of his work from 2007–2014, is almost entirely devoted to recordings of these dying pianos. Each piano in decay is a long-running composition. Death comes to every piano, and dying, each sings a different kind of song.

Posted By: Paul - Tue Nov 28, 2023 - Comments (1)
Category: Destruction | Music | Avant Garde | Cacophony, Dissonance, White Noise and Other Sonic Assaults

November 27, 2023

A year of chocolate

When he died in 1976, John Bostock left money in his will so that every child under five in the village of Westgate-in-Weardale would be given a bar of chocolate once a week for a year.

The children in Eastgate-in-Weardale must have felt like they drew the short end of the straw.

Burton Daily Mail - Mar 5, 1976

Posted By: Alex - Mon Nov 27, 2023 - Comments (0)
Category: Death | Chocolate | 1970s

Dog Collar with Decorative Tie

When you want to bring your dog to the office, he or she must be properly dressed in a business-like manner.

Patent here.

Posted By: Paul - Mon Nov 27, 2023 - Comments (1)
Category: Business | Fashion | Patents | Dogs | 1940s

November 26, 2023

A system for climbing vertical surfaces

The French patent office granted Raymond Saulnier a patent in 1951 for "a system for climbing vertical surfaces." A British patent followed in 1952.

Saulnier had come up with a way to allow vehicles, or even people, to climb vertical surfaces without the aid of ropes. His insight was that climbing any slope is essentially a problem of adhesion. If a force stronger than gravity is pushing you against the slope, then you won't slide down. And that adhesive force could be supplied by the downward pressure of propellors or jet nozzles.

Of course, powering propellors or jet nozzles requires a lot of energy. So Saulnier imagined powering them with compressed air supplied by a tube from the ground. He suggested that firefighters, among others, might find his system useful for scaling the sides of buildings.

I've never seen a prototype of Saulnier's invention in action. But when I was in Target the other day, I noticed a Sharper Image-branded toy named the "Gravity Rover" that "climbs from floor to wall to ceiling." It occurred to me that this was Saulnier's invention transformed into a toy.

It's a pretty cool toy, but based on videos of it, extremely loud.

Posted By: Alex - Sun Nov 26, 2023 - Comments (0)
Category: Technology | Toys | Patents

Follies of the Madmen #582

Posted By: Paul - Sun Nov 26, 2023 - Comments (3)
Category: Anthropomorphism | Medicine | Advertising | Stop-motion Animation | 1960s

November 25, 2023

Everyone left early again

How a wonky thermostat turned a family into social outcasts.

Life - Oct 8, 1951

Posted By: Alex - Sat Nov 25, 2023 - Comments (0)
Category: Advertising | 1950s

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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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