Weird Universe Blog — November 17, 2022

Breakaway Stethoscope

Joshua Allen Stivers of Puyallup, WA recently received a patent for a "breakaway stethoscope." It works like a normal stethoscope, but breaks apart if someone tries to use it as a garrote to strangle a person:

Medical staff, such as doctors, nurses and technicians, are often required to deal with unruly and/or aggressive patients that may become violent and cause injury to themselves or others. Medical staff also often carry and wear a stethoscope while working and tend to rest the stethoscope around the neck and on the shoulders when not in use. Unfortunately, violent patients may see that as an opportunity to harm the doctor, nurse or technician by grabbing the stethoscope that is resting on the wearer's neck and strangle or injure the wearer and in some cases cause death. Thus, there is a need for a breakaway stethoscope that will separate into two or more pieces when forcefully pulled on or forcefully wrapped around a doctor's, nurse's, or technician's throat to prevent injury or death to the doctor, nurse or technician.

A quick google search reveals that stethoscopes become weapons disturbingly often. So it's kind of surprising that breakaway ones aren't already standard issue.

Derby Evening Telegraph - Aug 9, 1948

via Jeff Steck

Posted By: Alex - Thu Nov 17, 2022 - Comments (3)
Category: Crime | Medicine | Patents | Weapons

November 16, 2022

Color photographs to fight crime

Use color film so you can see the blood better.

Time - May 19, 1952

Posted By: Alex - Wed Nov 16, 2022 - Comments (1)
Category: Photography and Photographers | Advertising | 1950s | Blood

Fat Woman in Quicksand

Source: The New York Times New York, New York 14 Aug 1908, Fri

Posted By: Paul - Wed Nov 16, 2022 - Comments (0)
Category: Oceans and Maritime Pursuits | Danger, Risk, and Peril | 1900s | Obesity

November 15, 2022

The Crocker-Henderson Odor Classification System

In the early twentieth century, odor researchers Ernest Crocker and Lloyd Henderson created a classification scheme that allowed them to number and catalog every smell in the world. Kind of like a Dewey decimal system for smells. Every different odor was assigned a four-digit code.

Their system was based on the premise that every smell is a combination of four "primary odors." So the four-digit code was created by judging and listing the relative strength of each primary odor.

Crocker would sometimes telephone Henderson and call out a number: 6443! 8257! Henderson would have to guess what it was – Old grapefruit rind? Tomato sauce? Shaving lotion? Most times, according to Crocker, Henderson would be right. They would go on "smelling binges" in the Arnold Arboretum, putting a number to each blossom.

The problem was that judging the relative strength of each primary odor in any one smell turned out to be a very subjective process. Other people struggled to replicate the numbers that Crocker and Henderson came up with. So their system was never adopted by other researchers.   

More info:

Popular Science - Mar 1949

Posted By: Alex - Tue Nov 15, 2022 - Comments (2)
Category: Science | Smells and Odors

Whore to Score

How times have changed. Now, "whore" is practically G-rated.

The album cut below retains "whore."


Posted By: Paul - Tue Nov 15, 2022 - Comments (1)
Category: Censorship, Bluenoses, Taboos, Prohibitions and Other Cultural No-No’s | Music | 1970s | Swears

November 14, 2022


Sheila Stiltner sure seemed fascinated by the turtle-tater.

Newport News Daily Press - Aug 8, 1964

Posted By: Alex - Mon Nov 14, 2022 - Comments (4)
Category: Vegetables | 1960s

Mystery Gadget 103

What's this device do?

The answer is at the link.

Or beyond the jump.

More in extended >>

Posted By: Paul - Mon Nov 14, 2022 - Comments (2)
Category: Inventions | Nineteenth Century

November 13, 2022

Wingless Chickens

Because he disliked "gnawing on stringy chicken wings," Peter Baumann bred wingless chickens. This was back in the 1940s. Evidently his wingless chickens failed to interest the chicken industry. I haven't been able to find out what became of his flock.

To illustrate the helpless quality of these wingless birds, photographer Francis Miller dropped one from six feet to show how it failed to fly, as opposed to a winged chicken that glided downwards.

Images from Life - July 18, 1949:

"Wingless chicken (below) plummets helplessly downward when dropped from 6-foot height, while normal bird settles gently with wings spread"

Posted By: Alex - Sun Nov 13, 2022 - Comments (1)
Category: Animals | Farming | 1940s

RIP Mehran Karimi Nasseri

Airport dweller Mehran Karimi Nasseri has passed away. His Wikipedia entry offers a good summary of his life.

An obit is here.

Posted By: Paul - Sun Nov 13, 2022 - Comments (0)
Category: Domestic | Eccentrics | Emigrants, Immigrants and Borders | Air Travel and Airlines | Europe

Page 3 of 19 pages  < 1 2 3 4 5 >  Last ›
Custom Search
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.

Go to top