Weird Universe Blog — September 10, 2021

AutoVision

Back in the 80s and 90s, Jay Schiffman had big hopes for his AutoVision system, which allowed a person to watch TV while driving a car. His device projected the image onto a small mirror positioned on the windshield, so that the driver could look at the road and a TV show simultaneously.

Schiffman always insisted that AutoVision actually made driving safer, not more dangerous. From the Chicago Tribune (Sep 6, 1998):

Schiffman says he was surprised to discover that television improved the drivers' concentration. He believed the moving and talking images enticed the drivers to keep their eyes on the road as they peeked at the projections in front of them.

In addition, the images kept the drivers alert, he said, stimulating their sympathetic nervous system, or fight-or-flight response.

I don't think many people were convinced by his argument. But maybe self-driving cars will create a new market for his invention.

More info: Patent No. US5061996A; "TV for Cars" Popular Science (Dec 1990)



Newport News Daily Press - May 15, 1998

Posted By: Alex - Fri Sep 10, 2021 - Comments (0)
Category: Television | Cars

Sour Cream Cookbook Ad

We're sweet on sour cream.

Posted By: Paul - Fri Sep 10, 2021 - Comments (1)
Category: Food | Advertising | 1950s

September 9, 2021

Paying Back Your Parents

In the news recently was a story about a teenager whose parents asked her to pay back her school expenses:

When she was 15, her parents sent her to a private school for a couple of years, convinced she needed straightening out due to her rebellious behavior. Now that she is more mature, they expect her to pay back thousands of dollars in school fees.

This reminded me of the story that the artist Ernest Thompson Seton told in his 1940 autobiography (Trail of an Artist-Naturalist). He claimed that when he turned 21 his father presented him with an itemized bill for $537.50, which his father said was what it had cost to raise him, including the doctor's fee for his delivery. His father expected him to pay it.



According to Seton, he briefly considered paying the bill, but then decided against it, figuring he needed to keep all the money he had to establish himself as an artist.

Ernest Thompson Seton



Posted By: Alex - Thu Sep 09, 2021 - Comments (2)
Category: Money | Parents

Advertising Club Beauty Contest



Miss Margaret Gorman presenting the wooden loving-cup to "Miss" Alexandria, winner of the Advertising Club's "beauty" contest, held at the Raleigh yesterday. In business life pretty "Miss" Alexandria is Sylvan Oppenheimer. "Miss Congress Heights," the young "lady" with the rolling pin, is Allan De Ford. The debonair "Miss" Georgetown is Sidney Selinger and the charming young lady with the raven locks, "Miss Four-and-a-Half Street," is none other than Paul Heller] [1921 September 21]


Source.

Posted By: Paul - Thu Sep 09, 2021 - Comments (2)
Category: Awards, Prizes, Competitions and Contests | Beauty, Ugliness and Other Aesthetic Issues | Humor | Parody | Advertising | 1920s

September 8, 2021

The Attack-Trained Iguanas of Irenee du Pont

Irénée du Pont was president of the Du Pont Company from 1919 to 1925, and remained on its board of directors until 1958.

He built a mansion named Xanadu down in Cuba, where he trained iguanas to attack and kill on his command. Details from Du Pont Dynasty: Behind the Nylon Curtain by Gerard Colby:

the most bizarre of Irénée's pastimes was his large collection of iguanas. Irénée spent thousands of dollars to breed, feed, and keep these crocodile-like lizards in specially constructed pens. Some of these tough, vicious lizards grew to 3 feet in length under Irénée's loving care, and more than once the old industrialist was seen marching about with one of these ugly beasts crawling next to him on a leash. Irénée derived a peculiar kind of pleasure from these lizards. By barking a command, he could make them all come out of their pens and surround him, standing at attention. He had trained them, on another command, to attack a target to kill. It was an appalling example to the Cubans of the degeneracy of the idle rich. In a moment of the bizarre captured for history, a Life photographer in 1957 recorded old Irénée feeding his iguanas papaya from a jar at a time when most of the Cuban population was suffering from malnutrition.

"Irénée du Pont, 80, bends to pat an iguana on his Cuban estate where many of these lizards wander. He feeds them papaya from jar he holds"
Life - Aug 19, 1957

Posted By: Alex - Wed Sep 08, 2021 - Comments (5)
Category: Animals | Eccentrics

Italian Hobbit Village





Their home page.

Video below in Italian only.


Super Hobbit from simone zuccarini on Vimeo.





Posted By: Paul - Wed Sep 08, 2021 - Comments (2)
Category: Domestic | Real Estate | Fantasy | Europe

September 7, 2021

The Voice Bomb

This is another example of the military's interest in using sound to demoralize the enemy. This device was rather straightforward: "Dropped from a plane, the balloon bomb would drift to earth while the recorder blared out surrender demands or other morale-breaking messages to the enemy."

See also: Weird alien sounds designed to terrify and panic, and Ghost Tape Number Ten


The Pantagraph - Oct 12, 1951

Posted By: Alex - Tue Sep 07, 2021 - Comments (4)
Category: Psychology | 1950s | Weapons

Seelye’s Wasa Tusa

Patent medicine earned Dr. A. B. Seelye a fortune that allowed him to build a fine mansion that is open to the public today.



What was in his fabled Wasa Tusa?



A.B. Seelye made his fortune in patent medicines with the A.B. Seelye Medical Company. At one time he had over 500 salesmen traveling through 14 states. The Wasa Tusa they sold contained 65 percent “non-beverage alcohol, chloroform and sulphuric ether.”


Source of quote.

You can read his digitized ALMANAC, HEALTH GUIDE AND COOKBOOK here.




Posted By: Paul - Tue Sep 07, 2021 - Comments (0)
Category: Domestic | Money | Patent Medicines, Nostrums and Snake Oil | Nineteenth Century | Twentieth Century

September 6, 2021

Boiled Fish Paste Crust Pizza

In 2014, the Korean patent office granted a patent for "a manufacturing method of boiled fish paste crust pizza."

Doesn't sound appetizing to me, but perhaps boiled fish paste is popular in Korea.

Posted By: Alex - Mon Sep 06, 2021 - Comments (1)
Category: Inventions | Junk Food

Mystery Gadget 96

What are these genteel people genteelly doing?

The answer is here.

Or after the jump.



More in extended >>

Posted By: Paul - Mon Sep 06, 2021 - Comments (3)
Category: Technology | Nineteenth Century

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