Chuck's Weekly Cite-Seeing Tour The Crème de la Crème, Every Monday
Hand-Picked and Lightly Seasoned by Chuck Shepherd
April 23, 2012 (datelines from April 13 or later) (links correct as of April 23)
San Diego, Calif: Prof. Vilayanur Ramachandran, who runs the Center for Brain and Cognition at UC San Diego, came up with 30-some people who claim to be periodic gender-shifters, e.g., breasts today, gone tomorrow, same with penises. It’s just a hypothesis, he said. Scientific American
Canterbury, England: University of Kent researcher Sarah Johns, who apparently couldn’t think of anything else to research, tells us definitively that men prefer pink, not red female genitalia. (Bonus: Also, kindly be aware that caterpillars of the large white butterfly prefer to vomit when they’re alone, as opposed to within their protective group. Good to know.) Live Science via Yahoo News /// Science Daily
Shizuoka, Japan: Police officer Tetsuya Ichikawa, 50, was arrested for coming up behind a 25-yr-old woman in a restaurant and licking her hair. “I wanted to lick so I did.” Agence France-Presse via Herald Sun (Melbourne)
Washington, D.C.: Our long national nightmare is over is not over. The FCC now wants the U.S. Supreme Court to re-, re-, re-view the Janet Jackson Nipple ruling. MSNBC
Melbourne, Australia: The Federal Court ruled that a woman on a business trip, though off-duty in a motel room having wall-banging sex, still gets worker compensation if she's injured by a fixture falling off the banged wall. (Bonus: A U.S. appeals court paved the way for a New York City widow to collect on her husband's accident insurance, even though the man had intentionally applied the electric shock to his genitals for sexual excitement.) Sydney Morning Herald /// New York Post
I'm sure these Du Pont scientists knew exactly what they were doing. But I still think I would have backed up a bit as they were doing this. Image from eBay. Article from Chicago Tribune, Jan. 23, 1935:
Sent there recently by California high school students to measure the radiation from a solar storm. Details here. I wish my high school science projects had been that cool. Instead, they were all intensely boring. The only one I even remember was a water electrolysis experiment that I had to work on for weeks, and which involved the edge-of-your-seat thrill of watching a battery split water into hydrogen and oxygen.
The Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) Research & Support site defines the phenomenon as, "a physical sensation characterized by a pleasurable tingling that typically begins in the head and scalp, and often moves down the spine and through the limbs." Various stimuli can trigger the sensation -- certain kinds of sights, sounds, and situations. It's sometimes referred to as a "braingasm".
I'm not sure whether ASMR is considered to be a scientifically verified phenomenon. Nevertheless, there's a sizable community of people who actively seek the sensation, and they post videos on youtube designed to trigger it. That's why, if you wade deep enough into the depths of youtube, you'll eventually come across a whole slew of odd ASMR-trigger videos, such as this one of the sounds of gift wrapping
I believe that the whisper videos I posted about yesterday are related to this ASMR phenomenon -- because whispering can be an ASMR trigger. That is, most people simply find it annoying to have to strain to hear someone whispering, but there are a few who are getting a tingly, braingasm feeling from it.
During the 1920s, the cigar industry began to suffer from image problems. The rise of organized crime during Prohibition, and the image of the stogie-chomping gangster--developed in part by Hollywood, and personified by such actors as Edward G. Robinson--gave the cigar an aura of disrespect among the public. Later that decade, the cigar industry faced a second crisis, when American Tobacco began promoting new, machine-rolled cigars. Its advertising asked: "Why run the risk of cigars made by dirty yellowed fingers and tipped in spit?" The image proved disastrous for the cigar industry as a whole. Cigar makers rushed to convert their manufacturing from hand-rolled to machine-rolled products, but cigar sales plunged through the 1930s. During this same time period, the cigar industry was hit hard by the rise in cigarette use across the United States. Cigar consumption never recovered to its early 1920s peak.
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.
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