Weird Universe Blog — July 11, 2017


Design company Hochu Rayu has come up with a noise-blocking helmet for office workers. From their website:

Helmfon is a device in a form of helmet, which thanks to the system of active sound absorption allows to concentrate in open working spaces. Because of the special absorption features, this helmet fully reflects the outside sound waves and thus makes the process of working comfortable, with no outside noise. In addition to it, the helmet blocks the Helmfon noise to outside surroundings and thus people, who sit near the Helmfon user don’t experience any discomfort of hearing unimportant sounds.

Our main idea was to create a tool, which helps fully concentrate on working project, get some personal space and doesn’t allow office noise kill person’s productiveness.

It reminds me of the isolator helmet invented by Hugo Gernsback, back in 1925. (See Laughing Squid for more details).

Posted By: Alex - Tue Jul 11, 2017 - Comments (6)
Category: Inventions

Claude Hall, RIP

Obit source.

Frank Chacksfield page.

Posted By: Paul - Tue Jul 11, 2017 - Comments (2)
Category: Music, Obituaries

July 10, 2017

Bugs for Dolls

From the Pittsburgh Press - Oct 23, 1938:

Dead Crickets Are Toys in China

In China, where life is hard and patience strong, the toy man is a favorite of old and young. On the streets of Peiping he displays his wares and children flock to see — and if they have pennies — to buy. A set of his most fascinating wares are fashioned from skins of dead crickets, dressed up to satirize the many street vendors in the ancient city.

"This cricket has been mounted to represent a vendor of flowers and plants."

"These crickets represent a barber shaving a customer."

"Barbers bring their trade to the customer in China. They carry their 'shops' on long poles which they balance on one shoulder. Above is a Chinese cricket-barber carrying his tools along the street, offering to shave the head of any he meets."

"Bicycles fill the streets of Peiping. Hence the toy-man's set would be incomplete without a cricket astride a wheel."

Posted By: Alex - Mon Jul 10, 2017 - Comments (3)
Category: Toys, 1930s

Land of Islam

Posted By: Paul - Mon Jul 10, 2017 - Comments (0)
Category: Foreign Customs, 1930s, Africa, Middle East

July 9, 2017

Extra Milers

The Extra Miler Club is a group of people whose goal is to visit every county (and equivalent jurisdiction) in every state of the United States. That's 3,143 counties. Indian reservations don't count, although some visit them anyway. Parishes do count, as do independent cities.

If you finish the goal, you're called a "county completer." Only 51 people have joined this elite group, and they're all listed here.

More info:

Posted By: Alex - Sun Jul 09, 2017 - Comments (1)
Category: Clubs, Fraternities and Other Self-selecting Organizations, Hobbies and DIY, Travel, Collectors

Outboard Motorboat Steeple Chase

The stuff with the girls in the first video is charming. But the insane part is the motorboat steeple chase race.

Apparently, a version of this is still practiced in--where else?--Australia. Although they seem to have eliminated the airborne part of the race.

Posted By: Paul - Sun Jul 09, 2017 - Comments (3)
Category: Contests, Races and Other Competitions, Death, Oceans and Maritime Pursuits, 1950s, Australia, North America

July 8, 2017

Edmonton Rebranded

In 2015, city officials in Edmonton, Alberta decided that their municipal slogan, "City of Champions," needed an update. Several years and $2 million later, they have a replacement. The new slogan is simply "Edmonton."

It's a non-slogan slogan, apparently reflecting Mayor Don Iveson's belief that we live in a "post tag-line era." More info: Daily Hive, Edmonton Sun

I'm reminded of the time in 1973 when the Army Materiel Command (AMC) held a contest to name its new national headquarters in Washington DC. After reviewing 524 entries, the prize committee announced the winning suggestion. The new headquarters would be called "The AMC building."

Posted By: Alex - Sat Jul 08, 2017 - Comments (4)
Category: Advertising

Toys Are Made for Children

Sometimes the writer masters the metaphor, and sometimes the metaphor masters the writer.

"You keep me jumpin' in your hopscotch world."

Posted By: Paul - Sat Jul 08, 2017 - Comments (0)
Category: Fey, Twee, Whimsical, Naive and Sadsack, Ineptness, Crudity, Talentlessness, Kitsch, and Bad Art, Music, 1960s

July 7, 2017

World’s Largest Corkscrew

I just returned from visiting family in the Northern Neck region of Virginia. One of the oddities I encountered there was the giant corkscrews which stand at the entrance to the Dog and Oyster Vineyard in Irvington. Inside the vineyard, they'll tell you that these, at 40-feet tall, are the largest corkscrews in the world, and also that they're functional. If you bring a giant bottle of wine, they could open it.

I don't think this claim has been officially verified in any way. And since the corkscrews are anchored to the ground, I think they'd have trouble opening anything.

Another claimant to the title of World's Largest Corkscrew is a giant corkscrew that stands outside the Corkscrew Liquor Store in Hurley, Wisconsin. According to the Chicago Tribune it's only 24-feet tall, so the Dog and Oyster corkscrews have it beat.

image source:

According to Guinness, the record for the largest corkscrew goes to one that was only 5ft 8.1 in long that was created for the Watterfaescht festival in 2015. It was actually demonstrated to work, which I assume that Guinness considers to be essential for claiming the title.

Posted By: Alex - Fri Jul 07, 2017 - Comments (1)
Category: World Records

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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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