Fans of Transformers will like this one. It's a computer mouse that can transform into a Trypticon (some kind of robotic dinosaur). It's not wireless though so you would have to try and transform this thing while it's connected to the computer or you will have to unplug the mouse. You can buy one here if you want to try it out.
Maybe we're already in the Matrix. How would we know? While you ponder that, scientists at the University of Florida are developing a neural implant that can think independently. This is not just an implant that deciphers brain signals, but one that can learn, adapt to various scenarios and help the host achieve certain goals. The initial technology is being developed for therapeutic applications, such as allowing paraplegics the ability to control their own limbs again. You can read more about the Neural Implants here. Of course, giving such a "machine" partial control of your brain could lead to any number of problems; questions about who is really in charge. Which version of the future would you prefer to live in: I, Robot, 2001: A Space Odyssey or The Matrix?
Today you can do a lot with cell phones. Now you can detect ghosts with it by attaching this cell phone charm called the Baketan 2 Ghost Radar cell phone charm. All you have to do is push the button. If the light starts blinking blue then there aren't any ghosts, if it blinks red then you just found a ghost. You can buy one here if you want to try it out.
Problem: You don't want to get breathalysed driving home drunk from the pub.
Solution: Ride a zebra to the pub instead.
Because I'm a TOTAL killjoy, I might have thought that, say, not getting drunk would be an easier solution. Shows what I know. http://www.news.com.au/story/0,27574,25585689-13762,00.html
Returning to a topic close to my heart (well, the cholesterol is at any rate), I'd like to start this food of the weird round-up with an intriguing piece of recent research that chocolate milk may, in fact, be a better "sports drink" than many sports drinks. In trials conducted by scientists from James Madison University on thirteen college football players, low-fat chocolate milk outperformed commercial high-carbohydrate recovery drinks, with tests showing lower levels of kinases associated with muscle strain. Though equally effective as a training aid, chocolate milk is unlikely to replace sideline "energy" drinks like Gatorade anytime soon. Which is a pity, if nothing else, a switch to chocolate milk would enliven the coach's traditional "post-game shower" (Net Doctor).
Of course, the athletic benefits of chocolate could only be improved by adding a protein supplement, right? Well not if, as alleged by one Tampa Bay business, that extra protein came in the form of an infestation of moths. Wholesaler "Mar-Len Confections" and retailer "Chocolates by Michelle" are currently suing one another over the fate of a shipment of $4500 worth of chocolate supplied by the former. According to Michelle Palisi, owner of the eponymous business, the chocolate was contaminated with live moths, meaning she not only had to throw out the shipment and replace it, but also had to hire an exterminator to eradicate the moths and clean the building. Wes Niedecken, owner of Mar-Len, disputes this, blaming poor pest control on the part of Palisi. The moths themselves are not unusual, and candy - especially chocolate - is a particular favourite of caterpillars. Fortunately for the consumer, the FDA has strict rules in place... no more than 60 insect parts per 100 grams of chocolate (St. Petersburg Times).
Also coming up for a food related day in court is NC teen John Szwalla, who tried to hold up a convenience store... with a banana. The 17 year-old, now facing charges of attempted armed robbery, initially told staff at the Winston-Salem store that he had a gun, though the truth quickly became apparent when owner Bobby Rae Mabe and a customer managed to jump Szwalla and pin him to a chair. The would-be robber then tried to dispose of the evidence by, you guessed it, eating the banana. He was unable to dispose of the peel however and police later took it away as evidence. Recalling his harrowing experience Mabe said, "If he had had a gun he would've shot me, but he had a banana" (Sky News).
But while the humble banana might not be the weapon of choice, it can still make you money. At least, that's what banks in Davao in the Philippines think. Fresh from the success of sub-prime mortgages, banks are apparently eyeing banana plantations as the next big growth sector. One local bank plans to double its $27 million investment in bananas by the end of the year, citing growing demand. Said bank president Alex Buenaventura, "Banana has become the fabled duck that lays golden eggs" (Business Mirror).
While it's easy to mock, perhaps Mr. Buenaventura enthusiasm mightn't be quite the joke it first appears. Banana imports to Japan have leapt over 25% in just a few months on the back of a new diet craze, the "Morning Banana" diet. Initially aired on a social networking site, this new fad has already spawned four bestselling books and a raft of TV endorsements, with public and celebrities alike lining up to show off their new - banana-induced - bodies. As for the diet, it is simplicity itself, just eat bananas for breakfast, and nothing else, then enjoy whatever you want for lunch and dinner (Inventor Spot).
Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.
Chuck is the purveyor of News of the Weird, the syndicated column which for decades has set the gold-standard for reporting on oddities and the bizarre.
Our banner was drawn by the legendary underground cartoonist Rick Altergott.