Weird Universe Blog — March 15, 2017

Polar Do’s and Don’t's

From the U.S. Navy's Polar Manual (4th ed., 1965):

Number 26: Do not touch cold metal with moist, bare hands. If you should inadvertently stick a hand to cold metal, urinate on the metal to warm it and save some inches of skin. If you stick both hands, you'd better have a friend along.

The whole list is pretty interesting and worth a read. You can download the entire manual from the Defense Technical Information Center (PDF - 33 MB).

Posted By: Alex - Wed Mar 15, 2017 - Comments (5)
Category: Military, Body Fluids

Follies of the Madmen #307

Original ad here.

Posted By: Paul - Wed Mar 15, 2017 - Comments (6)
Category: Business, Advertising, Domestic, Wives, 1930s

March 14, 2017

The Hand Drop Test

Emergency medical technicians often have to figure out if a patient is really unconscious, or if they're faking it. One of the techniques they use to do this is the "hand drop" test. Steve Whitehead of describes it:

Without warning, we gently pick up the patients hand and hold it above their face. Without delay, we drop it. If the patient were truely unconsious, the hand would fall and strike them in the face. Most likely on the mouth or chin. We’re not going to let that happen, but the patient doesn’t know that.

Steve notes that the test is remarkably reliable, and the reason this is so is because:

Patients don’t know what their hands are supposed to do when dropped over their face and the idea of striking themselves is instantly unappealing. But what to do instead? The resulting dilemma is both revealing and, often, hilarious. The amusing nature of watching a conscious patient decide what to do with their falling hand is certainly part of the popularity of this exam. 

However, he warns that there are patients who have "played the game before" and may be able to fake a convincing response even to the hand drop test. In an article on "Faking Unconsciousness" in the journal Anaesthesia (April 2000), the author noted:

During a ‘hand drop’ test, to my astonishment, I have caught the glimmer of a smile and realised that this patient knew too much. She had indeed read the literature.

Posted By: Alex - Tue Mar 14, 2017 - Comments (2)
Category: Health

Guestward, Ho!

Continuing our look at really dumb and inept TV shows.

Wikipedia page.

Posted By: Paul - Tue Mar 14, 2017 - Comments (2)
Category: Ineptness, Crudity, Talentlessness, Kitsch, and Bad Art, Stereotypes and Cliches, Television, 1960s

March 13, 2017

7 Clicks (March 13, 2017)

7 Clicks
A Weird Universe News Service
March 13, 2017

A DUI'd lawyer, given probation provided he goes on the wagon, slipped up 2x, then in desperation tells judge he can't be effective without an occasional drink. []

Sex "Westworld" is coming, beginning with a 4-robot selection at a brothel to open soon in Spain. [Forbes]

Going Too Far: Crowdfunding a 2018 "Brewdog" hotel in Columbus, Ohio, with, e.g., a tap in each bedroom [Daily Mail]

Gone Way Too Far: A parish priest in Spain who, for Carnival, dressed as Hugh Hefner among the babes. [The Local]

Australia's version of Martin Shkreli: sold a farm couple with 1 printer 2,000 ink cartridges--defiantly. [The Age]

A parable for our times--that speech in which human rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin urged U.N. delegates to prevent ISIS genocide . . . but merely caused a media tizzy of Clooney-ness [Washington Post]

Meanwhile, this parking space goes for $300k (plus monthly condo fee and real estate tax) [DNAInfo]

Posted By: Chuck - Mon Mar 13, 2017 - Comments (2)

Does college turn young women into communists?

Back in the 1930s families were concerned about whether they should send their young daughters off to college, fearing they might come home infected with communism. So in 1934, psychologist Stephen M. Corey set out to determine whether such fears were justified.

Corey administered the Thurstone Attitude Scale to 234 female freshmen at the University of Wisconsin, examining their attitudes to six areas: Reality of God, War, Patriotism, Communism, Evolution, and Church. A year later he retested 100 of these students when they were sophomores.

Godless communists?

When he presented his findings at the Midwestern Psychological Association convention in May 1940, he assured everyone that it was safe to send young women to college, saying, "There was no great difference in the girls' attitudes. The average co-ed apparently would rather mix with stag lines than picket lines."

He also emphasized that the young women lost none of their feminine habits at college. A United Press reporter paraphrased his words:

He found that in general college did little to upset or change a co-ed's home training but that she might learn to apply her makeup better, dress better and talk better. "But she won't talk about Communism — college offers too many other diversions."

However, if you look at his 1940 article in the Journal of Social Psychology*, in which he published the results of his study, you find somewhat different information. There he revealed that after a year at college the attitudes of the young women did change slightly, but consistently, in the direction of liberalism — which is to say that they showed less sympathy for god, war, patriotism, and the church, and more sympathy for communism and evolution.

Corey wrote in that article, "The opinions of the students appeared to have undergone at least a degree of liberalization during their one year of attendance at a University."

I guess he wasn't actually lying to the folks at the Midwestern Psychological Association. It's all how you choose to spin the data.

San Bernardino County Sun - May 5, 1940

* Corey, S.M. (1940). "Changes in the opinions of female students after one year at university." The Journal of Social Psychology, 11: 341-351.

Posted By: Alex - Mon Mar 13, 2017 - Comments (4)

March 12, 2017

News of the Weird (March 12, 2017)

News of the Weird
Weirdnuz.M518, March 12, 2017
Copyright 2017 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Lead Story

Exploiting Villains: In February, two teams of South Korean researchers announced cancer-fighting breakthroughs--by taking lessons from how two of medicine's most vexing, destructive organisms (diarrhea-causing salmonella bacteria and the rabies virus) can access often-unconquerable cancer cells. In journal articles, biologist Jung-joon Min of Chonnam National University described how his team "weaponized" a cancer-fighting invader cell with salmonella to stir up more-robust immune responses, and nanoparticle expert Yu Seok Youn's Sungkyunkwan University team coated immunizing cells with the rabies protein (since the rabies virus is remarkably successful at invading healthy cells) to reach brain tumors. [ArsTechnica, 2-9-2017] [Science Magazine, 2-10-2017]

Unclear on the Concept

(1) Gemma Badley was convicted (in England's Teesside Magistrates Court in February) of impersonating British psychic Sally Morgan on Facebook, selling her "readings" as if they were Morgan's. (To keep this straight: Badley is the illegal con artist, Morgan the legal one.) (2) Michigan is an "open carry" state, and any adult not otherwise disqualified under state law may "pack heat" in public (except in a few designated zones). In February, an overly-earnest "Second Amendment" fan, James Baker, 24 (accompanied by pal Brandon Vreeland, 40), believed the law was an invitation to walk into the Dearborn police station in full body armor and ski mask, with a semi-automatic and a sawed-off rifle (and have Vreeland photograph officers' reactions). (Yes, both were arrested.) [The Gazette (Middlesbrough), 2-21-2017] [Detroit Free Press, 2-6-2017]

Wells Fargo Bank famously admitted last year that employees (pressured by a company incentive program) had fraudulently opened new accounts for about two million existing customers by forging their signatures. In an early lawsuit by a victim of the fraud (who had seven fraudulent accounts opened), the Bank argued (and a court agreed!) that the lawsuit had to be handled by arbitration instead of a court of law because the customer had, in its original Wells Fargo contract (that dense, fine-print one he actually signed), agreed to arbitration for "all" disputes. A February Wells Fargo statement to claimed that customers' forgoing legal rights was actually for their own benefit, in that "arbitration" is faster and less expensive. [Consumerist, 3-1-2017]

News That Sounds Like a Joke

Ex-Colombo family mobster and accused hitman "Tommy Shots" Gioeli, 64, recently filed a federal court lawsuit over a 2013 injury at the Metropolitan Detention Center in New York City. He fell and broke a kneecap while playing ping-pong (allegedly because of water on the floor), awaiting sentencing for conspiracy to commit murder. The New York Post also noted that the "portly" Gioeli, who was later sentenced to 18 years, was quite a sight at trial, carrying his "man purse" each day. [New York Post, 2-7-2017]

Great Art!

French artist Abraham Poincheval told reporters in February that in his upcoming "performance," he will entomb himself for a week in a limestone boulder at a Paris museum and then, at the conclusion, sit on a dozen bird eggs until they hatch--"an inner journey," he said, "to find out what the world is." (He apparently failed to learn that from previous efforts, such as the two weeks he spent inside a stuffed bear or his time on the Rhone River inside a giant corked bottle.) He told reporters the super-snug tomb has been thoroughly accessorized, providing for breathing, eating, heart monitor, and emergency phone--except, they noted, nothing on exactly how toileting will be handled. [The Guardian (London), 2-21-2017]

The Job of the Researcher

A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration "bioacoustic research" team recently reported recording and listening to about 2,000,000 underwater sounds made over a four-month period by various species of dolphins ("whistles," echolocation "clicks," and "burst pulses") and can, they believe, distinguish the sounds to match them to a particular dolphin species (among the five most prevalent)--with 84 percent accuracy. The team built a computer algorithm to make estimating dolphin populations much easier. [Hakai Magazine, 2-16-2017]

The Continuing Crisis

Compelling Explanations: (1) Oklahoma state Rep. Justin Humphrey, justifying his proposed bill to require a woman seeking an abortion to first identify the father, told a reporter in February that the father's permission is crucial because, after all, the woman is basically a "host" who "invited that [fetus] in." (2) After the North Dakota House of Representatives voted yet again in January to retain the state's Sunday-closing "blue laws," Rep. Bernie Satrom explained to a reporter, "Spending time with your wife," he said, "your husband, making him breakfast, bringing it to him in bed" is better than going shopping. [The Intercept, 2-13-2017] [Valley News Live (Fargo) , 2-1-2017]

Small-Town Government: The ex-wife of deputy sheriff Corey King of Washington County, Ga. (largest town: Sandersville, pop. 5,900), filed a federal lawsuit in January against King after he arrested her for the "crime" of making a snarky comment about him on Facebook (about his failure to bring the couple's children their medicine). King allegedly conspired with a friendly local magistrate on the arrest, and though the prosecutor refused the case, King warned the ex-wife that he would still re-arrest her if she made "the mistake of going to Facebook with your little [excrement] . . . to fuss about." [WMAZ-TV (Macon), 2-7-2017]

Leading Economic Indicators

In a first-person profile for the Chicago Tribune in February, marketing consultant Peter Bender, 28, recalled how he worked to maximize his knowledge of the products of company client Hanes--and not just the flagship Hanes underwear but its Playtex and Maidenform brands. In an "empathy" exercise, Bender wore bras for three days (a sports bra, an underwire, and a lacy one)--fitted at size 34A (or "less than A," he said). "These things are difficult," he wrote on a company blog. "The lacy one," especially, was "itchy." [Chicago Tribune, 2-21-2017]

News You Can Use

"Fecal transplants" (replacing a sick person's gut bacteria with those of a healthier one) are now almost routine treatments for patients with violent abdominal attacks of C.diff bacteria, but University of California researcher Chris Callewaert says the concept also works for "patients" with particularly stinky armpits. Testing identical twins (one odoriferous, the other not), the researcher, controlling for diet and other variables, "cured" the smelly one by swabbing his pit daily with the sweat of the better-smelling twin. The Callewaert team told a recent conference that they were working on a more "general" brew of bacteria that might help out anyone with sour armpits. [New Scientist, 2-10-2017]

The Weirdo-American Community

Stephen Reed, the former mayor of Harrisburg, Pa., pleaded guilty on the eve of his January trial on corruption counts stemming from the approximately 10,000 items of "Wild West" and "Americana" artifacts worth around $8 million that he had bought with public funds during 28 years in office. For some reason, he had a single-minded obsession with creating a local all-things-cowboy museum, and had purchased such items as a stagecoach, stagecoach harnesses, a "Billy The Kid" wanted poster, a wagon wheel, and a totem pole. Somehow, he explained, as he was leaving office after being voted out in 2009, the items he had purchased (theoretically, "on behalf of" of Harrisburg) had migrated into his personal belongings. [Washington Post, 1-26-2017]

A News of the Weird Classic (May 2013)

Caribou Baby, a Brooklyn, N.Y., "eco-friendly maternity, baby, and lifestyle store," recently [2013] hosted gatherings at which parents exchange tips on "elimination communication"--the weaning of infants without benefit of diapers. Parents watch for cues, such as a certain "cry or grimace" that supposedly signals the need to hoist the tot onto a potty. The little darlings’ public appearances sometimes call for diapers but can also be dealt with behind a tree, they say. Said one shocked parent, "I have absolutely been at parties and witnessed people putting their baby over the sink." [Update: The maternity store is now called Wild Was Mama, and "elimination communication" meetings are not mentioned.] [New York Times, 4-19-2013]

Thanks This Week to the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors.

Posted By: Chuck - Sun Mar 12, 2017 - Comments (0)

Double-Chin Eradicator

I wonder how long you'd have to roll this thing over your face before it made the slightest bit of difference.

The Canyon News - Aug 4, 1938

Posted By: Alex - Sun Mar 12, 2017 - Comments (2)
Category: Inventions, 1930s

I’m Having Your Baby

"Having your baby is a way of saying I'm thinking of you."

No argument there!

Posted By: Paul - Sun Mar 12, 2017 - Comments (4)
Category: Music, 1970s, Pregnancy

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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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