Weird Universe Blog — May 31, 2020

Freeze-Dried Human Bodies

Philip Backman's 1978 patent describes a process for freeze-drying human bodies.

The problem with freeze-drying any large animal is that there's not enough surface area to allow for rapid freeze-drying. So, to increase the surface area, Backman explained that it would first be necessary to freeze the body and then smash it into small pieces in a hammer mill. Once the body had undergone this "surface enhancement," it could be rapidly freeze-dried, which would remove the water in the body, reducing its weight by 95%. The resulting remains could be kept in an urn, just like cremated remains.

Backman argued that his freeze-drying process had all the advantages of cremation (in terms of reducing the body to a compact size), but cost less. However, the funeral industry apparently didn't like the idea of running bodies through a hammer mill.



Posted By: Alex - Sun May 31, 2020 - Comments (6)
Category: Death | Inventions | 1970s

May 30, 2020

Jesus in a Tree

Last month, crowds in Magangue, Columbia flocked to see an image resembling Jesus that appeared in a tree at night.

Streetlights beneath the tree created the illusion. So it's not clear why no one had ever noticed it before.

As far as pareidolia goes, it's actually a pretty good one.

More info: The Sun



The tree during the day:

Posted By: Alex - Sat May 30, 2020 - Comments (1)
Category: Religion

1979 TV Commercials

Your time machine back to forty years ago. Perhaps a solace in such troubled times as now.

Posted By: Paul - Sat May 30, 2020 - Comments (0)
Category: Business | Advertising | Culture and Civilization | Foreign Customs | 1970s

May 29, 2020

Beef Rainbows

I've often noticed this phenomenon. Occasionally wondered what caused it, and sometimes suspected it must be due to toxic chemicals.

image source: imgur



Turns out, it's totally normal and nothing to worry about. The common name for it is 'beef rainbows,' but the technical term is birefringence. The Texas A&M meat science page offers an explanation:

It is caused by the reflectance of light off of muscle proteins, and it is analogous to the color distribution produced by a prism. Muscle proteins are arranged in strands called myofilaments, which are bound together to form myofibrils. Myofibrils are bound together to form muscle fibers, which form together to form muscle bundles and finally whole muscles. When the myofilaments are cut at the appropriate angle, exposing a cross section of the myofilaments, the reflectance of light off the proteins produces the characteristic appearance associated with iridescence.


The USDA also reassures consumers that it doesn't mean that meat is spoiled:

Iridescent Color of Roast Beef
Sliced cooked beef or lunch meat can have an iridescent color. Meat contains iron, fat, and many other compounds. When light hits a slice of meat, it splits into colors like a rainbow. There are also various pigments in meat compounds which can give it an iridescent or greenish cast when exposed to heat and processing. Iridescent beef isn't spoiled necessarily. Spoiled cooked beef would probably also be slimy or sticky and have an off-odor.


via TYWKIWDBI

Posted By: Alex - Fri May 29, 2020 - Comments (5)
Category: Food

Partisan Boxers

Just in time for the 2020 election, from the legendary Frederick's Of Hollywood.



Ad source.

Posted By: Paul - Fri May 29, 2020 - Comments (5)
Category: Animals | Politics | Underwear | 1950s

May 28, 2020

Guard Pig

We recently posted about tarantulas used to guard jewelry. Another unconventional security animal was CP, the guard pig, trained to attack by animal trainer Marcel Leblanc:

The thin, tanned Leblanc said he has trained attack dogs for Canadian police departments for 17 years.
Leblanc said he bought CP—which stands for Canadian Pig—"to fatten up and slaughter for a friend's party."
But he said he noticed the 150-pound, 6-month-old, pink and white Yorkshire pig learned tricks quickly. So he placed the animal among the Doberman pinschers and German shepherds in a police canine training program.
"The pig performed better than the dogs," said Leblanc.

If a 150-pound pig was charging at me, I'd sure run away!

Orlando Sentinel - Sep 23, 1979



El Paso Times - Oct 10, 1979





Fort Worth Star Telegram - Oct 10, 1979

Posted By: Alex - Thu May 28, 2020 - Comments (7)
Category: Animals | Crime | 1970s

The Phone Thing

Those of us who are old enough might recall that in addition to linear slide rules, there were circular slide rules.

Such an arrangement of movable circular parts was extrapolated to a variety of other gadgets for calculating different things.

You can see a museum of such "disk or wheel" charts here.



I set out on this search thanks to the 1979 ad below.

I wonder if anyone relies on such devices nowadays, or if businesses create them for promotional purposes, as Bell Telephones did in 1979.



Phone Thing source. (Page 6)

Posted By: Paul - Thu May 28, 2020 - Comments (3)
Category: Business | Advertising | Telephones | Instruments and Measuring Devices | 1970s

May 27, 2020

The gunman who wasn’t there

"Oakland police spent two hours last night trying to convince a mentally disturbed gunman holed up in his apartment to surrender—only to discover that he was standing next to them helping to direct the police."

San Francisco Examiner - June 16, 1974

Posted By: Alex - Wed May 27, 2020 - Comments (0)
Category: Crime | 1970s

Prahlad Jani, RIP

I believe that it was our revered founder Chuck Shepherd who first introduced me to the "breatharians," people who claim to get along fine without eating or drinking.

Alas, one of the most famous just passed away.



His obit.

His Wikipedia page.

Posted By: Paul - Wed May 27, 2020 - Comments (0)
Category: Food | Human Marvels | Obituaries | India

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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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