Weird Universe Blog — June 9, 2018

Open Zipper Alarm

US Patent Application No. 2009/0195400A1 describes an invention that can "provide a warning or alert regarding the position of the zipper."

Sounds potentially useful. What kind of warning does it give you? Apparently you've got a choice of a sound, vibration, having a page sent to a remote device, or getting an electric shock.

Posted By: Alex - Sat Jun 09, 2018 - Comments (4)
Category: Inventions

Follies of the Madmen #368

Cigarettes tied to alarming increase in skirt flareups!

Original ad here.

Posted By: Paul - Sat Jun 09, 2018 - Comments (1)
Category: Business | Advertising | Tobacco and Smoking | 1990s

June 8, 2018

Ghost Fashion Show

A recent fashion show in Saudi Arabia remained "Ramadan appropriate" by showing the clothes minus the models. The dresses and gowns were hung from drones and then flown down the runway.

More info (and a few more clips) here.

Posted By: Alex - Fri Jun 08, 2018 - Comments (2)
Category: Fashion

Frances DuBay

"Frances DuBay (and her Educated Stallion) Vintage 50’s-era publicity still promoting a ‘Broadway Roadshow Productions’ film recording of her: 'LADY GODIVA' act. The horse was a mare named 'Melody Lady', and disrobed her during a strip routine; as well as performing a variety of 32 other tricks."

Apparently she ended up in court in LA in 1951, but I can learn no more than that.

Posted By: Paul - Fri Jun 08, 2018 - Comments (2)
Category: Animals | Public Indecency | Sex Symbols | 1950s

June 7, 2018

The Mad Clipper

He briefly terrorized the housewives of Charleston in the Summer of 1969:

Police files show the man frequently tells women in a door-to-door campaign that he is opening a new beauty salon. He offers the lady of the house a sampling of his work. Those who agree have wound up bald.

Beckley Post-Herald - June 24, 1969

Posted By: Alex - Thu Jun 07, 2018 - Comments (4)
Category: Crime | 1960s | Hair and Hairstyling

Celi Bee’s “Superman”

Her Wikipedia page.

Posted By: Paul - Thu Jun 07, 2018 - Comments (0)
Category: Music | Comics | 1970s

June 6, 2018

Homage to New York

Paul posted yesterday about the Metamatics (art machines) of Jean Tinguely. Another certifiably weird work by Tinguely was his "Homage to New York" (aka "self-destroying work of art"). It was an elaborate sculpture designed to destroy itself, which it did for the amusement of an audience on the night of March 17, 1960. As described on

During its brief operation, a meteorological trial balloon inflated and burst, colored smoke was discharged, paintings were made and destroyed, and bottles crashed to the ground. A player piano, metal drums, a radio broadcast, a recording of the artist explaining his work, and a competing shrill voice correcting him provided the cacophonic sound track to the machine’s self-destruction—until it was stopped short by the fire department.

Some more footage (non-embeddable) here.

Waterloo Courier - Mar 18, 1960

Posted By: Alex - Wed Jun 06, 2018 - Comments (2)
Category: Art | 1960s

June 5, 2018

Dentists smell fear

Recent research reveals that dentists can not only smell fear, but that when they do their job performance significantly declines. From New Scientist:

The researchers asked 24 student volunteers to each donate a T-shirt they had worn during a stressful exam, and another worn at a calm lecture. The team doused the T-shirts with a chemical that masks body odour, so that no one could consciously smell it. A separate group of 24 dental students said they couldn’t detect any difference between the two sets of shirts.
Next, examiners graded the dental students as they carried out treatments on mannequins dressed in the donated T-shirts. The students scored significantly worse when the mannequins were wearing T-shirts from stressful contexts. Mistakes included being more likely to damage teeth next to the ones they were working on.

So, if your fear causes your dentist to start making more mistakes, I assume that will only increase your fear, causing your dentist to make even more mistakes, leading to a downward-spiraling cycle of terror.

The academic study is here.

Posted By: Alex - Tue Jun 05, 2018 - Comments (4)
Category: Experiments | Psychology | Teeth

Tinguely’s Metamatics

His Wikipedia page.

Posted By: Paul - Tue Jun 05, 2018 - Comments (2)
Category: Art | Avant Garde | Technology | Twentieth Century

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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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