Back in 1989, Coppin State College in Baltimore started a program designed to teach kids critical thinking skills -- how to "formulate meaningful questions, identify pertinent data and determine fallacies and biases." It did this by having the kids examine and discuss "weird facts" and weird news stories. Perhaps Chuck's work was on the curriculum. (link: Google News)
The picture shows teacher Tom Payne teaching the kids some weird facts. I don't know what happened to the program. It doesn't seem to exist anymore. In its place, we should try to make Weird Universe mandatory reading in all high schools.
Chuck's Weekly Cite-Seeing Tour The Crème de la Crème, Every Monday
Hand-Picked and Lightly Seasoned by Chuck Shepherd
February 27, 2012
(datelines from February 17 or later) (links correct as of February 27)
Hong Kong: The Guizhentang pharmaceutical company is looking to expand (by 3x) the size of its bear-bile-farming operation. Bear bile is thought to be a magic curative for many illnesses (and according to the farmers, bears couldn't be prouder to give it up) (sedated) (with long-ass syringes). New York Times
San Francisco: The state Administrative Office of the Courts is collecting demographic data on all judges in the state, to encourage diversity in the selection of 50 new ones. (But they can't ask about "sexual orientation," can they?) (Yes.) The Weekly Standard
Columbia Heights, Minn.: A cop noticed that Eric King, 21, seemed to be shuffling along with the gait of someone 101 rather than 21. (It was that 19-inch TV in his pants, along with remote and power cords, from a shoplifting.) KSTP-TV (St. Paul)
Cayce, S.C.: I know how you and I can make some money! Let's scam an insurance company! Ummm, I'll handle the paperwork, and you . . your job is to let me chop off your hand, OK? WIS-TV (Columbia)
Wasilla, Alaska: Two local artists displayed their sculpture, "Warrior Within," at Wasilla High, but yanked it after three days. It's a pair of shields, surrounded by feathers, and according to people up in Palinville, it looks too much like a hoo-hah [image Completely Safe For Work]. Mat-su Valley Frontiersman (Wasilla)
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.